The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Thursday it has ordered phone companies to block any traffic regarding known robocall scams marketing auto warranties from a specific operation which was said to be responsible for more than eight billion calls since 2018.
The robocalls originated from Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies and international associates, according to the FCC.
"Building on FCC action earlier this month, all U.S. voice service providers must now take all necessary steps to avoid carrying this robocall traffic," an FCC news release said.
Many of the robocalls included prerecorded messages which encouraged consumers to speak with someone about extending or reinstating their auto warranty.
"We are not going to tolerate robocall scammers or those that help make their scams possible. Consumers are out of patience and I’m right there with them," said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
If phone companies fail to cut off the robocalls from this specific group entirely, they must regularly report to the FCC about how they are mitigating the traffic.
"Now that U.S. voice service providers know the individuals and entities associated with this scheme, the Enforcement Bureau will closely monitor voice service providers’ compliance with this order and take appropriate enforcement action as necessary," said Acting FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal.
FCC tips for avoiding auto warranty robocall scams
Auto warranty robocalls were the top complaint from consumers for the last two years, according to data collected by the FCC.
"While the total number of complaints filed with the FCC about auto warranty scams rose from close to 7,600 in 2020 to more than 12,000 in 2021, the complaints were on the decline in the final months of the year," the FCC said.
Many of these calls claimed your auto insurance or your extended warranty is about to expire and some even used a consumer’s real information to sound legitimate.
These scammers are usually seeking personal or private financial information in order to commit fraud or possibly receive money, according to the FCC.
Here are some tips from the FCC to avoid auto warranty robocall scams:
- Don’t share - Do not provide any personal information to anyone that calls you unexpectedly.
- Be aware – Telephone scammers are good at what they do and may use real information to gain your trust and imply that they work for a company you trust.
- Caller I.D. – Criminals might use "spoofing" to deliberately falsify the information transmitted.
- Double check - If you think it might be a legitimate call, hang up and call the company with which you have an established business relationship using a phone number from a previous bill or on their website.
For more information, visit the FCC website.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.