Top 3 Scams Genie Blocked this Month


With over 100,000 unknown calls screened by Genie in May, we thought it would be important to share the common scam trends we identified, with the hope of keeping you protected.


We are counting down the top 3 scam calls that Genie has blocked this month.


#3: Senior Aides Calls

652 Genie Cases

Genie blocked many Senior Aides scam calls this month - Seniors are often the target of many scams because much of modern-day technology has progressed beyond what many elders are familiar with and they are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.


Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that an estimated $3 billion is lost to them each year (National Counseling on Aging, 2022).


These “Senior Aides” calls are no different. Scammers are attempting to target many Genie owners with offers to help with various financial matters - like insurance or social security. The scammers often begin by asking “Can you hear me okay?” or “is this (your name)?”. This is done in hopes that you respond “Yes” which is then recorded to authorize various charges over the phone (CNET, 2017).


Here is an example of a transcript that Genie recorded from one of these calls:

Can you hear me okay? I'm with Senior Aide Helper regarding Insurance.

I'm a social security disability consultant on a recorded line, press one to be removed

now. I see here that you recently inquired about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.



#2: Debt “Relief” Robo-Calls

842 Genie Cases

As many people fight an uphill battle of debt, scammers have seen it as an opportunity to prey on the financially exhausted. Genie has identified many of these scams this month.


With ‘Debt “Relief” Robo-Calls’, Scammers target individuals with large amounts of debt and promise to lower or completely erase it by negotiating with their creditors, using a new found “loophole”, or “policy” that ends in a few days.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, “these operations often charge cash-strapped consumers a large up-front fee, but then fail to help them settle or lower their debts – if they provide any service at all. Some debt relief scams even tout their services using automated "robocalls" to consumers on the Do-Not-Call List” (FTC, 2022).


Here is an example of a transcript that Genie recorded from one of these calls:

This is the central processing center for tax experts. This call is to inform those individuals on our state list that may still have back taxes about the new zero tax debt forgiveness program that is now open for enrollment. The new zero tax debt owed relief program will allow you to significantly reduce or eliminate altogether your back taxes, as it could now be considered temporarily non collectable. This can save you a significant amount of money.



#1: Hardship Debt Assistance Calls

2366 Genie Cases

Finally, the most common scam call Genie identified this month is a specific kind of debt relief scam: ‘Hardship Debt Assistance’.


Individuals who have declared financial hardship often feel extremely overwhelmed by monthly bills and are desperate for help. So they are easy targets for scammers to call claiming to reduce or eliminate debts with no real intention of helping at all.


The FTC warns that “If a debt relief company tells you to pay before it does any work for you, it's a scam. If you send your money to a debt settlement company instead of your credit card company, you are taking a risk. The payment might not get to your credit card company on time. You might get charged late fees” (FTC, 2022).

Here is an example of a transcript that Genie recorded from one of these calls:

Hello, it's James from the hardship department. We hope you're having a blessed day. The reason for this call is that we have extended enrollment for the 2023 hardship program. This program is designed to help you consolidate your bills into one low monthly payment. You can also include your credit card debt and any type of collections into the program.



About Genie:


Genie is an AI personal assistant answering unknown callers on behalf of each Genie owner. Genie speaks to the callers, determines who’s calling and why, and decides if they should be blocked or allowed through. For more about Genie you can visit https://www.lifesgenie.com/.

 

SOURCES:

CNET - https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/can-you-hear-me-scam/

NCOA - https://www.ncoa.org/article/top-10-financial-scams-targeting-seniors

FTC - https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/topics/consumer-finance/debt-relief-credit-repair-scams

And https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2017/06/signs-debt-relief-scam

Caller Center - https://www.callercenter.com/866-201-7988.html