Just as fashions fall in and out of favor, robocall scams are often seen taking on a cyclical nature as they find new victims each year. In 2021 we are lamenting the return of the car warranties scam which, despite many subscribers now being wise to this, is still proving profitable for the unscrupulous.

Luckily, most people recognize this as a scam as it has been going around for years. Others aren’t so lucky and fall for the scammer’s manipulative tactics. Victims typically receive multiple calls warning that their car warranty is about to expire either today or soon. The caller offers to take immediate payment to extend the warranty or buy a phony insurance service, to gain your credit card, bank account, and other personally identifiable information. They will likely use the name of a reputable company and the make, model, and year of your car to sound legitimate.

We are observing that these scam artists are becoming more tech savvy and now are using near-neighborhood spoofing. This means the call appears to come from an unknown number with an area code from the city or state you live in. Near-neighborhood spoofing causes many users to answer these unknown calls because they’re assuming that it may be their doctor, neighbor or family member trying to get in touch with them.

These scammers repeatedly call to trick the potential victim into thinking it’s an important and legitimate call. It gets even worse – once you answer your line is categorized as live. They now know someone is on the other side of your line and they will continue the harassment.

To prevent falling victim to these scams, it is important to ignore calls from unknown numbers. Luckily a car warranty scam is easy to identify at the beginning of the call, so you can hang up immediately if you do choose to answer.

It is a good idea to not answer unknown local numbers as well. Most should not be saved into your contacts or they will leave a voicemail or text message. Remember to never, ever give your personal information over the phone to anyone.

Finally, consumers can protect themselves by leveraging robocall detection solutions powered by  TNS Call Guardian.  In these trying times, vigilance is even more important than before; be smart and stay safe.

Jim Tyrrell is Senior Director of Product Marketing at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.