Car Warranty Robocalls and How to Stop Them

Car extended warranty robocalls are not the only ones plaguing our mobile devices and landlines, but they are dangerous because they sound plausible, and many people fall for them. What you should be aware of is that robocalls are getting quite good at being convincing, so we all need to take extra care of how we handle them.

What Are Robocalls?

A robocall is a recorded message that mimics an actual phone call, but there is no real person on the other end of the line. Robocall technology uses a computerized dialer to reach your phone number.

There are many ways in which your phone number can end up on a robocall list, and most of them are illegal. Robocalls use a phone number generator that predicts numbers of a specific area code following the pattern of a few confirmed phone numbers.

Of course, not all of the generated numbers will be valid, and that is why robocall scams cast a wide net, calling thousands of numbers a day to check which ones are active. Once the number is validated, it ends up on a robocall list and is eligible for telephone harassment.

Although it may sound like a harsh word, harassment is precisely what these annoying calls feel like. Depending on the report, it seems that up to 65 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. in 2019. This means that it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t received a spam call.

You can check some of the common robocall scams in the table below.

Type of Robocall scam

How to Recognize It

Car Warranty Scam

  • Offers warranty extension for 50% or more off the regular price
  • Requires immediate decision

Travel Scam

  • Offers extremely cheap airfare tickets
  • Promises enormous discounts on hotel prices in exotic places

IRS Scam

  • Happens right around the time the taxes are due
  • Informs you that you owe a significant sum in back taxes, although you already paid
  • Asks for payment details over the phone, so the transaction can be made instantly

Charity Scam

  • Happens after natural disasters or public health crises
  • Asks for donations to be made by providing your financial details on the call

Is Every Robocall Illegal?

The answer is no—not every robocall is unlawful. When they started, robocalls seemed like an affordable and quick way to convey messages to the broader public. Call centers that proved to be a logistics nightmare for both businesses and government agencies were, to an extent, replaced by machines that could deliver information that did not require an immediate response.

Because setting up a robocall operation was so simple, they became an instant hook to various fraudsters. Since you can run such an enterprise from anywhere in the world with limited funds, legal robocalls were outnumbered by fraudulent calls in no time.

You can receive legitimate robocalls, and they usually come from:

  • Government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that inform you about deadlines or essential policy changes
  • Charities that ask for donations
  • Political campaigns that present their programs and remind you to vote
  • Pharmacies that use robocalls to let you know that your prescription is ready for pickup
  • Schools and campuses that notify you about sudden closure or an unexpected change in opening times

What’s important is that none of these robocalls will ask for your details. They are only made to pass information that can be double-checked on the website of the particular institution or by calling their customer support center. Such calls are usually accompanied by emails or other forms of communication.

How to Recognize Fraudulent Auto Warranty Robocalls?

Recognizing fraudulent car warranty robocalls can be tricky because the scammers got pretty good at posing like legitimate companies and dealerships. The scheme can get elaborate, but it always starts with a robocall, i.e., a prerecorded message.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You get a robocall that says that your car warranty is about to expire and that you can extend it for a particular amount of money
  2. The voice prompts you to press a number to connect with an agent that will explain the details of the deal to you
  3. The voice suggests you press another number if you want to be taken off the calling list

It all sounds legitimate in the beginning, so choosing one of the options seems like a safe thing to do. Well, it’s not. Both actions are equally dangerous because they are meant to either connect you with a fraudster who will offer a scammy pitch or confirm that your phone number is real and that it can be used for further robocalls.

In case you do speak to an agent, you can be sure that they are going to ask for personal details. It can be your driver’s license number, social security number, or your financial information like bank account or credit card numbers.

If you choose to press a number that is supposed to take you off the calling list, the scammers will know that they dialed an active number, and they can sell it for thousands of dollars to other fraudulent businesses, which will lead to more robocalls.

Which Tricks Do Extended Warranty Robocalls Use?

There are several tricks that robocall scammers use to convince you that the call is legitimate and to ease you into revealing your personal information. With modern technology, it is relatively simple to pose as a real company, so it’s not surprising that over $10 billion have been lost on phone scams in 2018.

Some of the common tricks of car warranty robocall scams are:

  • Spoofing
  • Obtaining a lot of your personal information before the call is made
  • Urgency

Spoofing

Spoofing became the number one trick the robocallers use to trick you into answering the phone. With many spam calls happening, a bunch of Americans stopped picking up when the unknown number appeared on the screen.

That is why fraudsters developed spoofing. It’s a technique, which makes the number on the screen appear as a familiar, local number. This will give you the impression that a neighbor or a local business is calling you, while the call can be coming from another side of the planet.

Callers go as far as to spoof the numbers of government agencies, major utility providers, or established businesses to get the people to pick up the phone.

Personal information

You should not be surprised if you get an extended car warranty offer even if you don’t have a car.  Some robocalls cast a wide net and wait for the right fish to get caught in it. Some, on the other hand, know exactly who you are and what you need.

In the Google and social media era, obtaining someone’s personal information is not that difficult. Fraudsters may work on your particular case for quite some time before they call you. If your warranty is about to expire, you may receive a scam call from someone who:

  • Knows what type of a car you drive
  • Is familiar with your license plates number
  • Provides the exact expiration date of your warranty

Robocall scammers can even mimic your regular dealership or car company, so the entire offer seems legitimate, or even customer-oriented.

Urgency

Phone scams will always require immediate action or response. This is true for all types of robocall frauds, including the car warranty calls. The caller will present a unique opportunity to extend your warranty for a much lesser sum, but only if you accept it instantly.

The offer is usually:

  1. Time-limited, which means that it will expire if you don’t take it during the call
  2. Restricted to a certain amount of users, and you are unsurprisingly the last they called

The idea is to make the issue pressing and to limit the time and space you have to think about or analyze the information you got from the caller.

How to Deal With the Robocall Car Warranty Nuisance?

You should always follow common sense when it comes to incredible one-time offers, and that means that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Why would someone allow you to extend your car warranty for half the sum you usually pay?

In other words, the best way to deal with such calls is to avoid them. Here are some tips you can use when faced with a car warranty robocall:

  • Register on the National Do Not Call List
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers
  • Don’t engage with the caller
  • Don’t follow instructions provided on the call
  • Don’t disclose any personal information to the caller

Do Not Call List

The National Do Not Call List may not be as effective as it used to be in protecting against spam calls, but it is the best starting point. The Do Not Call List was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and relies on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to prevent the pest that the robocalls and telemarketing calls have become.

If your number is on it, telemarketers are not allowed to call you because they violate the law. Fraudsters will not respect the law, but it will keep legitimate businesses at bay. You can also be sure that all robocalls you do receive are fraudulent.

Here are some useful articles regarding the List:

  1. How to check if your number is on the Do Not Call List
  2. Do Not Call List Expirations
  3. Do Not Call List Exceptions

Don’t Answer Calls From Unknown Numbers

Although it’s the best advice you can get, it also may be the most difficult to follow. We talked about spoofing, so most robocalls will try to appear as local or official phone numbers. Once you answer the call, you may notice that something is weird because the sound may be off or broken, similar to what you get on a Skype or a Zoom call.

Most robocallers use Internet-based phones, so the quality of the call is usually not the best. If you are on the Do Not Call List, almost all robocalls that come your way are illegal, so the best course of action is to hang up.

Stay Silent

If you do answer a robocall, you should try not to engage with the caller. As soon as you realize you are talking to a machine, just disconnect from the call. It is especially important not to say yes during the call because some robocalls are designed to record your voice and use it for authorization of financial transactions and dodgy deals.

Speaking will only prove to the machine that there is a real person on the other side of the line and that the number is eligible for additional spamming. Some robocalls intend only to verify the number and sell the information to other scammers.

Don’t Follow Instructions

It’s common to receive instructions on a robocall. The caller advises you to press certain numbers, say something out loud, or call back a number for further details. None of these actions is something you should do. While some are meant to confirm your number or identity, others pull you deeper into the scam.

In case you think that the call may be coming from a legitimate company that maintains your car or insures it, look up the number for yourself and call them. This will help you verify the number and the offer.

Protect Your Personal Details

Sensitive information should not be discussed over the phone, and no legitimate business would ask you to do that. Lawful robocalls serve to pass information, not extract it from people, so refrain from disclosing any of the following to the caller:

  1. Social Security number
  2. Driver’s license number
  3. Bank account details
  4. Credit card number

Under no circumstances should you give away such information to an alleged car dealership or anyone else. If the caller hints that they need anything of the above, rest assured that a robocall scam came your way.

How to Report Auto Warranty Robocalls?

You should always make an effort to report robocalls regardless of the pitch that they are selling. Car warranty scams are frequent, and they seem to be working, so reporting them is crucial if we want to stop robocalls for good.

The FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) teamed up with telephone service providers, third-party call blocking apps, and various other organizations to fight back against robocalls on the national level. The FCC proposed $225 billion in fines against one billion spoofed robocalls made in the first five months of 2020.

Even though the FTC and the FCC may not be able to help you with specific calls, filing a complaint helps identify and prosecute as many spam callers as possible. You can report robocalls to any of the following to join the fight:

  1. FCC Consumer Complaint Center
  2. FTC Complaint Assistant
  3. Your phone carrier

How to Stop Car Warranty Robocalls?

ConsumerAffairs - Cancel robocalls and sue robocallers

Stopping robocalls altogether is not possible, no matter what some robocall-blocker ads might say. It is quite possible, though, to significantly reduce the number of calls you receive, so getting services that are designed to block spam calls is an excellent idea.

Robocalls don’t discriminate, so you are probably getting a bunch of them on both your mobile phone and your landline. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution that will allow you to stop robocalls because cells and home phones use different technology.

Stopping car warranty robocalls on your cell phone

According to the FCC guide to robocalls, all phone carriers must start adding robocall blockers to their clients by default. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon developed various tools for blocking robocalls, so you should check if the service has been added to your account.

The default tool is free of charge, but it may not have the advanced features. In case you want additional protection, you can get a paid version, which will provide extra filters and more detailed screening of all calls that come your way.

There are various third-party apps that you can download if the services of your providers are not enough, or if they are too expensive. Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, and YouMail are some of the most popular apps on the market at the moment.

Protecting Your Landline From Auto Warranty Robocalls

Landlines are particularly appealing to phone fraudsters because the protection of them is not top-notch. Although the options are limited, you should try some of the following and see if they will work for you:

  • Installing a call-blocking device
  • Activating one of the scarce home phone protection services

In case you are using a digital home phone with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, you are in a somewhat better position because carriers do offer better tools for protection on them. There are even third-party apps that you can try like the one that Nomorobo offers in partnership with CenturyLink.

Type of Phone

Available Service

Mobile phones

  • Carrier’s apps and tools
  • Third-party apps

Landlines

  • Call-blocking gadgets
  • Limited third-party services

Digital home phones

  • Limited carrier’s apps and tools
  • Limited third-party apps

Can DoNotPay Do Something About Car Warranty Robocalls?

Cancel robocalls and sue robocallers

In case you think you deserve to get more than just stopping spam callers from reaching your number, you can partner up with DoNotPay and take some of the robocaller’s not-so-hard-earned money. To be precise, you could get up to $3,000.

DoNotPay created RoboRevenge to help you get some payback for all the harassment. If you have been a victim of a phone scam, the DoNotPay robocall revenge will be even sweeter. Here’s how things work:

  1. When you receive a robocall, log on DoNotPay in your web browser or iOS app
  2. Select RoboRevenge
  3. Create a free virtual credit card
  4. Provide the details of the card to the caller once they ask for it
  5. Wait for the transaction attempt, which will allow DoNotPay to extract the caller’s details
  6. Follow the instructions that DoNotPay provides and file a robocall lawsuit that can get you up to $3,000

The process is simple because DoNotPay does almost all the work, and the trick is in the DoNotPay virtual credit card. Although it will appear to the caller as a real card, it’s a virtual card number that has no funding source behind it. It only serves to obtain information about the caller’s identity and account.

Once the caller tries to make a transaction, they are in direct violation of the law, and you are entitled to compensation. Everything is entirely legal and pretty efficient. You should be aware that Robo Revenge only works for robocalls made within the States.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay can help you with a lot of things that would require a fancy legal consultant. If you are looking for ways to lower your bills, dispute unfair parking tickets, get help with paying bills, or free yourself of unwanted subscriptions, log on DoNotPay in your web browser or iOS app and ask for assistance.

The world’s first robot lawyer can be handy in: