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T-Mobile Finds 21B Scam Calls

December 23, 2021

T-Mobile released its first end of the year Scam and Robocall Report, sharing new data on how the Un-carrier kept customers protected against the growing scourge of scams and unwanted robocalls in 2021. The bad news? Americans are on track to receive 110 billion scam calls across all providers by the end of 2021 according to First Orion. T-Mobile data through early December 2021 shows that attempted scam call traffic on its network hit all-time highs and jumped over 116% from 2020. The good news? T-Mobile Scam Shield identified or blocked over 21 BILLION calls for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers through early December 2021. With patented tools and safeguards built into the heart of T-Mobile’s network, the Un-carrier is leading the industry in making sure every customer is protected. Scam Shield is identifying or blocking 3.5x more calls than AT&T’s solution and when the Un-carrier labels a call as “Scam Likely” data shows it has a better than 99% accuracy rate.

“Attempted scam calls hit record highs in 2021, but with Scam Shield we identified or blocked over 21 billion calls this year — or 700 calls per second! — for customers. We are the only provider protecting every single customer, regardless of their plan or device,” said Jon Freier, President, T-Mobile’s Consumer Group. “Scammers are relentless, but so are we. 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.”

The Un-carrier Leads, the Carriers Follow

In July 2020, T-Mobile launched Scam Shield to help protect EVERY customer against scammers — no special device, app or plan required. Like all Un-carrier Moves, Scam Shield was designed to change wireless for good, and the Carriers eventually – and weakly – followed. AT&T responded nearly a year later with a solution that still only gives customers on their most expensive plans Caller ID. And Verizon has added new protections but has yet to protect prepaid or business customers with their Call Filter app. That’s the Un-carrier formula. When T-Mobile leads and forces competitors to follow, wireless customers everywhere win.

While others play follow the leader, the Un-carrier blazes ahead, adding improved Scam Reporting and eSIM support in the Scam Shield app, as well as new patented network tools to identify and block likely scam attempts. The T-Mobile network analyzes billions of calls every second, updating in real time, 24/7 to keep customers protected. 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 85% 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 measured 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 and a Sunday), 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 calls identified as Scam Likely. 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.

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