The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it has identified the scammers behind more than eight billion automated auto warranty calls made to American consumers since at least 2018.
The state agency’s robotic call response team explained in a press release (will open in a new tab) that these incredibly annoying robocalls are coming from Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies, and international partners.
The FCC has now instructed US mobile carriers to take all necessary steps to avoid these robot calls on their networks in the form of a public notice. Operators who are unable to block these pesky robocalls should regularly report the steps they have taken to do so to the FCC.
FCC Acting Bureau of Enforcement Loyaan A. Egal provided further details on the agency’s future plans for automatic auto warranty calls, saying:
“Now that U.S. voice service providers are aware of the individuals and entities associated with this scheme, the Bureau of Enforcement will closely monitor voice service provider compliance with this order and take appropriate enforcement action as necessary.”
Over eight billion automated calls
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According to the FCC, Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama has made more than eight billion illegal automated calls to US consumers since at least 2018.
These automated warranty calls contain pre-recorded marketing messages that encourage unsuspecting consumers to follow a series of prompts to speak to a “warranty specialist” about extending or restoring their vehicle warranty.
What makes these calls especially compelling is the fact that the scammers behind them often use real consumer information about their cars to appear legitimate. The calls themselves may look for consumers’ personal or financial information in order to trick them into initiating a payment or collecting information about active phones.
Robotic call response team
The FCC Robotic Call Response Team was created under the leadership of Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworthel to bring together the expertise of the entire agency, including the talents of law enforcers, lawyers, politicians, engineers, economists and public relations professionals to combat spoofed and spam calls, and robotic calls. .
The team has so far issued record fines for robocalls and closed the gateways used by international bots to access American phones.
The Robocall Response Team is also responsible for the widespread adoption of STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication standards, which have been used to track illegal calls and improve blocking tools to protect consumers.
How to protect yourself from robocalls and other spam calls
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While there are several ways to block automatic calls on your smartphone if you accidentally answer one of them, the FCC warns that you should never give out personal information to anyone who calls you unexpectedly on the phone.
From here, you must remain cautious as phone scammers are very good at what they do and often use real information to gain your trust, implying that they are working for a legitimate company. At the same time, scammers often use spoofing to falsify the information displayed in your caller ID.
If you think a call from an unknown number might actually be legitimate, you can always hang up and try calling the company back using the phone number listed on a previous bill or on their website.
Finally, you can file a complaint with the FCC. (will open in a new tab) about any automated calls you receive to help others avoid similar scams.