Tuesday, December 5, 2023

T-Mobile says Scam Shield has blocked 21 billion scam calls in 2021


T-Mobile’s scam call screening service, Scam Shield, was officially launched in July 2020, and in its first full year of operation, Scam Shield has blocked a mind-boggling 21 billion scam calls, according to T-Mobile’s 2021 Scam and Robocall Report.

Scam callers take holidays, weekends off

The report offers some insights into the state of the scam call business. Social Security phishing scams, once the most common type of scam call, comprised only 11% of scam call volume. Fake vehicle warranty renewals were the most common type, accounting for 51% of all scam calls. These scams often include information about your vehicle to make them seem more legitimate, according to a Federal Communications Commission consumer report.

If scam calls seem like they’re out of control, the time of year may have something to do with that. According to T-Mobile, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas have the highest volume of scam calls, but call volume drops sharply after December 23. In addition to taking holidays, scam callers also take weekends off, leading to an 85% drop in call volume.

Scam call frequency also varies by region. Consumers in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia are the most common targets for spam calls, but the problem is commonly reported in most metropolitan areas.

Scam calls cost millions

When scam callers aren’t on holiday, they’re taking a lot of people’s money. According to a fraud report by the Federal Trade Commisssion, consumers lost $165 million dollars due to scam calls in the third quarter of 2021 alone. Text scams are also on the rise, accounting for another $32 million dollars lost in the third quarter of 2021.

According to T-Mobile’s report, Scam Shield identifies or blocks 700 scam calls per second. The algorithm isn’t perfect; customers who use the scam-blocking feature have reported missing important phone calls. Nonetheless, T-Mobile claims that Scam Shield is 99% accurate — which is to say that 99% of the time, if the caller ID says Scam Likely, it’s a scam. That knowledge can save customers money and hassle.

AT&T and Verizon have also published reports about their efforts to fight spam calls, but T-Mobile goes a step further. According to the report, which quotes Jon Freier, President of T-Mobile’s Consumer Group: “We are the only provider protecting every single customer with the free scam-fighting tools in Scam Shield, regardless of their plan or device.”

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