DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - You hear that sound of your ringing phone. You look down at your screen. And, if you're lucky, you see the words "SCAM RISK" and know better than to answer.
But, if you live in Texas, you're more likely to get these calls than any other state. And, to make matters worse, if you live in the 214- or 817- area codes, you live in one of the most targeted metro areas in the country according to a 2021 T-Mobile report on scam calls.
"We do know scammers target areas where they can be the most successful," Steve Carlson said. The T-Mobile spokesperson says their report found attempted scam calls steadily rose to a record high in 2021. Nationwide, consumers received 425 million calls every week. The report finds this is a more than 116% from 2020.
"Texas, through FTC data, is 32nd of 50 states for residents who are in the do not call registry.…that's a relatively low percentage," Carlson said. "That's going to be a wider pool of numbers that scammers can be targeting."
The report finds more than half of the scammers - 51% - tried to sell a fake vehicle warranty. The others claimed to be with the social security office, wireless providers, car insurance companies and package delivery services.
"They don't like working weekends any more than the rest of us," said Carlson talking about the thieves.
T-Mobile finds consumers should be on high alert Monday through Friday when scammers make up to 80 million calls per day. It states the volume peaks on Wednesdays. Scammers slow down on the weekends, and on some holidays. Researchers say Sunday was the slowest day of last year for scam callers, and the days before Christmas is another slow time.
Another report by YouMail, Inc. also lists Texas - and Dallas specifically - on the most targeted list.
It finds earlier this year- the most common scam call was about a loan approval. The following month it was an Obamacare health insurance policy where thieves asked you to press zero to be transferred to an agent and press nine to be removed.
And that's exactly what the FCC says you should never do.
- Once you've answered, do not hit a button to stop the call. Just hang up.
- Better yet, do not answer unknown calls at all.
- If you do, never respond to questions…especially with the word "yes."
Carlson says the thieves could be recording your voice. "If you answer yes, they might try to use that recording of you saying yes to authenticate something else they're trying to do with you."
The FCC advises consumers to talk to their phone companies about the latest call "blocking and labeling solutions." There are apps you can download to your mobile device at little or no cost to block potential spam calls. Also, ask your wireless company about built in features to block unwanted calls using your cell phone settings.
For more "Call Blocking Tools and Resources," click here.
Now may be the time to start taking action against the scammers according to a third report.
The Truecaller Insights US Spam & Scam Report states nearly 60 million Americans lost nearly 30 billion dollars in 2021 in phone scams. Truecaller found one in three Americans have fallen victim to a phone scam.
Click here for more findings from the 7th edition of the Truecaller Insights US Spam & Scam Report.
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