T‑Mobile Reveals 2021 Scam and Robocall Report

Digital Network SD-WAN

T-Mobile has released its first end of the year Scam and Robocall Report, sharing new data on how the Un-carrier kept customers protected against scams and unwanted robocalls in 2021.

The bad news? Data through early December 2021, shows that attempted scam call traffic hit all-time highs and jumped over 116% from 2020. Today, scam call attempts are clocking in at an average of 425 million calls every week.

The good news? T-Mobile Scam Shield has identified or blocked over 21 BILLION calls for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers through early December 2021. In 2020, T-Mobile launched Scam Shield and was the first major wireless provider to help protect EVERY customer against scammers — no special device, app or plan required.

“Attempted scam calls hit record highs in 2021, but with Scam Shield we are identifying or blocking an average 1.8 billion calls each month — or 700 calls per second! — for our T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers. We are the only provider protecting every single customer with the free scam-fighting tools in Scam Shield, regardless of their plan or device,” said Jon Freier, President, T-Mobile’s Consumer Group. “We know that scammers won’t stop as long as they continue to be successful, so 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.”

In 2021, the Un-carrier continued to add new features to Scam Shield including improved Scam Reporting and eSIM support in the app, as well as new patented network tools to identify and block likely scam attempts. And while AT&T launched a new solution in May of 2021, they still require customers to be on their most expensive plans just to get Caller ID.

Today, T-Mobile is blocking or identifying 3.5x more calls than AT&T’s solution and delivering Caller ID for free for every customer, regardless of plan. Verizon has yet to include prepaid or business line customers in their Call Filter protections. While others continue to catch up, the Un-carrier continues to improve Scam Shield and network tools. 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 80% 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 Scam Likely 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), 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 scam calls. 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.