Top-5 Scam Calls

According to First Orion data, the top-5 scam call types by volume are vehicle warranty, health insurance, social security, Medicare and healthcare. Unsurprisingly, the report’s top scam type for almost every month this year was the vehicle warranty scam.

Top 5 Scams: Vehicle Warranty

  • Vehicle Warranty scams try to sound legitimate by using language like “expired coverage,” “vehicle service contract” and “final courtesy call.” 
  • Calls are often spoofed to look like numbers in the same area or state where the person lives, which is a tactic called neighborhood spoofing. Other calls use toll-free numbers as spoofing tactic.
  • Here’s what one survey respondent said they experienced with a scammer: “The most recent one was regarding an extended warranty. I did not recognize the phone number but was expecting a call from a contractor, so I answered it. When I answered I heard a beep and then a man say my name waiting for me to respond with a yes. I hung up at this point.”

Top 5 Scams: Healthcare

  • Healthcare scams often target seniors, uninsured consumers, parents or consumers with chronic issues like diabetes. 
  • The scammer often identifies themselves as a representative from Consumer Council, Senior Aide, Senior Aide Helper or United Advisors. 
  • They often leave messages that offer healthcare benefits and discount quotes on insurance, hearing aids, etc. 
  • Another surveyor had this encounter with a healthcare scammer: “A person called me on the phone and introduced themself as a branded insurance company manager. They took a comment about the policy, then slowly started with an amazing offer . . . I realized it was fraud, I said I don’t want this policy. Then I hung up the phone call.” 

Top 5 Scams: Social Security 

  • There are two primary types of Social Security scams: Fraudulent activity and the promotion of eligible benefits.  
  • When scammers claim there is “suspicious” activity on a person’s account, they’re more likely to react quickly to protect their personal information. The sense of urgency is what scammers bank on with this tactic.  
  • Scams claiming social security eligibility are similar to any other benefit-offering scam tactic. A “once in a lifetime offer” or “press one to get this amazing opportunity” are common phrases used by scammers. 

Top 5 Scams: Medicare 

  • Medicare scam calls often ask for a person’s Medicare number and other associated information. These scams are often easy to believe, particularly when they know the age or other personal information of the person they are calling.  
  • Another tactic that scam callers are using is neighborhood spoofing. They rapidly rotate numbers and include toll-free call-back numbers in their scams. 
  • A survey respondent said that a scammer attempted to sell them Medicare when they didn’t need it:  “They were trying to sell me Medicare . . . but I have private insurance. I’ve tried to remove my number/name and block anyone from out of state, but nothing changes that. I’ve had this cell number for years.” 

Top 5 Scams: Health Insurance 

  • The health insurance scams overlap with the Medicare scams and use a lot of the same techniques and messaging to fraud consumers.  
  • Open enrollment periods are often peak times for these types of scams, but we see healthcare-related scam activity all year. Scams tactics include offers to fix an enrollment, a claim issue, a special offer or a gift for signing up.

So, we know who is affected by these scammers, but where are these scams happening most often? Phone scams are everywhere, but there are certain spots scammers like to pester, time and time again. If you’re in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma or Texas, First Orion found that those may be at risk of receiving more scam calls than in other states.

Scam Trends on the Rise  

  • Life Insurance : In the last 90 days, First Orion’s data shows that life insurance scams have surged by more than 5,000%. Yikes! If there’s anyone you shouldn’t trust with life insurance, it’s a scammer on the other line. The tactic with this scam uses phrases like “approval at the state level” for a discounted senior plan and promises 100% coverage for funeral costs.

Don’t answer unknown numbers. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message. 

If you have received any suspicious or scam-like calls, be sure to report your findings to the FTC.