COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Robocalls did not slow down during the pandemic, including one type in particular, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
“Auto warranty robocalls are actually our top complaint category for all of last year, and that’s a trend that continued into this year,” said Associate Bureau Chief Eduard Bartholme.
Bartholme said this type of call usually comes from a pre-recorded voice, with an urgent message about your vehicle’s warranty or insurance.
“They claim that your warranty coverage is about to expire or maybe it has expired,” Bartholme said. “And due to the uncertainty of the pandemic or some other financial uncertainty in your life, it may be a good time to purchase a new warranty protection plan for your vehicle.”
According to the FCC, chances are it’s a scammer. It can be difficult, though, to tell if this call is fraudulent.
“Most of our vehicle information is publicly available,” Bartholme said. “So, you can find out who has what type of car.”
When scammers provide this specific (albeit publicly available) information, you may be more willing to listen, respond and act. But the FCC said there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
“Our best advice is, if you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer the call. Any legitimate caller will leave a message,” Bartholme said.
If you already have an auto warranty, call your provider.
The FCC urges call recipients not to respond to anyone who is pressuring them to act quickly or to pay over the phone.
If you have done either of these things, move quickly to protect yourself.
“If you’ve given information, and information only, you might want to look into checking your credit profiles,” Bartholme said. “Go online, check your credit reports.”
When it comes to robocalls in general, the FCC is hammering down on enforcement activity, issuing fines against people or companies making robocalls. It’s also working with phone providers to introduce new call-blocking technology, and giving companies the ability to block unwanted calls to stop them from ever reaching consumers.