Did you get a call from Anne with the Warranty Dept? If so, you’re not alone. Warranty scam calls are on the rise. These are the “courtesy” calls saying that your warranty is about to expire, usually relating to a car or other automotive warranty. Note: Learn how to turn the tables on these scam callers and get money from them in our article How to Shake Down Robocallers and Robotexters for Fun and Profit
Just this week we received scam automobile warranty calls from two numbers based out of Colorado, 303-731-8084, and 303-731-5163. Of course, they can make it seem like they are calling from any area code and exchange, and usually the robocalling software will match the area code to the number they are calling, to make it seem like they are local.
Oh, they make it sound pretty convincing, including hooks to make you think that it’s legitimate, like telling you that you “should have received mail” from them (this is to cause you to think “oh gosh, did I miss an important piece of mail?”), and that “warranties are mileage and time sensitive” (to give you a sense of urgency).
Frankly, we’re a bit surprised that it took this long for them to start becoming more frequent again. It was almost eleven years ago that the FTC arrested and prosecuted warranty scam robocaller Christopher Cowart. According to the Department of Justice, “CHRISTOPHER D. COWART, 49, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and CRIS D. SAGNELLI, 45, of Boca Raton, Florida, pleaded guilty on December 13, 2010 to federal fraud charges arising out of the telemarketing sales practices of Transcontinental Warranty, a Florida company selling so called “auto warranties” through robo dialing and voice blasting. COWART was the President and SAGNELLI the Vice President of the company.” The DOJ announcement also said that “On October 31, 2011, Christopher D. Cowart and Cris D. Sagnelli were each sentenced to five years imprisonment, fined $15,000, and given five years of supervised release to be served after they are released from prison.”
While that may have stopped Cowart, others have cropped up to take his place. And instead of learning the lesson from Cowart’s experience to not do it, they have probably learned “do it, and avoid the mistakes that Cowart made that led to his being caught.” Or, maybe not – spammers and scammers are often pretty dumb. Regardless of the reason, these scam calls are on the rise again.
Below are transcripts of two such calls, along with an audio sample of an actual call. Did you receive a call like this? Was it the same? If not, how did it differ? What number did it come from?
Audio of Actual Scam Warranty Call that We Received
Scam warranty call from 303-731-8084 to a Google Voice number:
Hi, this is Anne with the warranty department. Our records show that your vehicle warranty has expired or is about to expire. This is your final courtesy call as you should have received mail, press 1 to be connected to a warranty specialist warranties are mileage and time-sensitive. They must be extended before your vehicle reaches certain mileage again, press 1 to be connected with a warranty specialist.
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Scam warranty call from 303-731-5163 to a cell phone number:
Hi this is Anne with the Warranty Department. Our records show that your vehicle warranty has expired or is about to expire. This is your final courtesy call as you should have received mail. Press one to be connected to a warranty specialist. Warranties are mileage and time sensitive. They must be extended before your vehicle reaches certain mileage. Again press one to be connected to a Warranty Specialist.