What’s the news: T-Mobile released its 2021 year-end report on Scams and Robocalls and T-Mobile Scam Shield identified or blocked over 21 billion scam calls — that’s 700 calls identified or blocked every second — in 2021. Overall, scam attempts increased by 116% this year.
Why it matters: Scammers and spammers worked harder than ever in 2021 as scam calls continue to be the number one complaint to the FCC. U.S. wireless customer are projected to lose $29.8 billion this year alone to these bad actors.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking to better protect themselves and their families against scammers.
BELLEVUE, Wash. — December 20, 2021 — T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) today released its first end of the year Scam and Robocall Report, sharing new data on how the Un-carrier kept customers protected against scams and unwanted robocalls in 2021. The bad news? Data through early December 2021, shows that attempted scam call traffic hit all-time highs and jumped over 116% from 2020. Today, scam call attempts are clocking in at an average of 425 million calls every week. The good news? T-Mobile Scam Shield has identified or blocked over 21 BILLION calls for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers through early December 2021. In 2020, T-Mobile launched Scam Shield and was the first major wireless provider to help protect EVERY customer against scammers — no special device, app or plan required.
“Attempted scam calls hit record highs in 2021, but with Scam Shield we are identifying or blocking an average 1.8 billion calls each month — or 700 calls per second! — for our T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers. We are the only provider protecting every single customer with the free scam-fighting tools in Scam Shield, regardless of their plan or device,” said Jon Freier, President, T-Mobile’s Consumer Group. “We know that scammers won’t stop as long as they continue to be successful, so we are doing everything we can to make their job as hard as possible. Scam Shield leverages T-Mobile’s powerful network to help keep our customers protected in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
In 2021, the Un-carrier continued to add new features to Scam Shield including improved Scam Reporting and eSIM support in the app, as well as new patented network tools to identify and block likely scam attempts. And while AT&T launched a new solution in May of 2021, they still require customers to be on their most expensive plans just to get Caller ID. Today, T-Mobile is blocking or identifying 3.5x more calls than AT&T’s solution and delivering Caller ID for free for every customer, regardless of plan. Verizon has yet to include prepaid or business line customers in their Call Filter protections. While others continue to catch up, the Un-carrier continues to improve Scam Shield and network tools. And all those new tools and data helped T-Mobile deliver today’s new insights into scammer behaviors.
Report data is determined by extrapolating from T-Mobile network and partners covering January 1, 2021 – December 14, 2021. Insights from the T-Mobile Scam and Robocall Report include:
- Scam calls reached record highs in 2021. After months of quarantine shutdown for many scammer operations in 2020, scammers came back in full force in 2021 and continued to get more aggressive as the year progressed.
- Scam volume doubled in 2021. The lowest measured month for scam traffic was January 2021, identifying 1.1 billion calls as Scam Likely. By November, volume had increased exponentially, and T-Mobile identified double the January traffic at 2.5 billion calls as Scam Likely.
- Scammers take it easy on the weekends. The T-Mobile network tracked about an 80% drop in calls identified as Scam Likely from Monday-Friday to over the weekends!
- Scammers are posing as businesses in large volumes. In terms of volume, the number one scam attempt in 2021 was related to fake vehicle warranties with over 51% of the Scam Likely volume. Other top scam attempts included pretending to be with the Social Security office (10%), wireless provider (9%), car insurance company (6%), or package delivery (4%). Scammers were also posing as health insurance or health providers, the IRS, or credit card companies.
- Scammers enjoy holiday down time. This year, April 4 (Easter), had the lowest scam volume of the year. And while the six weeks leading up to Christmas are historically the busiest time of the year for scam volume, call volume typically drops off sharply starting December 23.
- Scammers target some areas of the USA more than others. Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia had the highest volume of scam calls. The top metro area was Dallas/Fort Worth with the 214, 832, 210 and 817 area codes being the top four targeted in the country.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
T-Mobile’s powerful suite of protection technologies includes:
- Using AI, machine learning and patented technologies, T-Mobile analyzes call behavior to protect customers around the clock, responding to new threats and updating protections every six minutes.
- “Scam Likely” warnings automatically appear for every customer when a scam threat is detected.
- Turn on Scam Block to stop Scam Likely calls at the network level. With Scam Block turned on, Scam Likely calls won’t even ring through to your phone. To turn on Scam Block simply activate in the Scam Shield app or dial #662# from your T-Mobile phone.
- Free Caller ID to every customer – a first and only offering from a major wireless provider – so Un-carrier customers can always get information on who is calling, even if they aren’t saved in your contacts.
- STIR/SHAKEN call verification so every Un-carrier customer has the ability to see when a call has been authenticated by the T-Mobile network. When you see the verification, you can rest easy knowing the number on the display has not been spoofed by a scammer.
T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers can download the Scam Shield app on the App Store or Google Play and have a dashboard at their fingertips for all Scam Shield tools. With the app, you can enable Scam Block and check to see which calls have been blocked at any time as well as access to Caller ID and other free Scam Shield tools. Sprint customers using a T-Mobile SIM get the same network Scam Shield protections. Sprint customers not yet on a T-Mobile SIM can get the free Sprint Call Screener app that provides advanced detection and protection from unwanted calls.
For more information on Scam Shield, check out https://www.t-mobile.com/customers/scam-shield.
Follow T-Mobile’s Official Twitter Newsroom @TMobileNews to stay up to date with the latest company news.
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Turning on Scam Block might block calls you want; disable any time. STIR/SHAKEN verification requires eligible device with display capability. Report data is from T-Mobile network and partners covering January 1, 2021 – December 14, 2021.
T-Mobile US, Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint. For more information please visit: https://www.t-mobile.com.