Your package is delayed, your bank card has been frozen, you got a creepy message from a mythic murderer and congratulations—you won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes!
These are among the top scams or spam messages associated with the most suspicious phone numbers reported by users to the BeenVerified Scam Call Monitor.
Below are the top 12 list of scam and spam phone numbers out of more than 150,000 dodgy phone numbers that users reported using a reverse phone tool operated by BeenVerified in the past two years. Some trends we are seeing from these Dirty Dozen:
Text scam messages are king. Of the top 12 phone numbers users checked, nine were related to unwanted text messages trying to get users to click on a suspicious link or call a phone number, often with an urgent message.
Bank and credit cards are the most common business imposter cons. Four of the top 12 reported phone numbers reportedly ran scams that impersonated communication from banks or credit card companies.
Delivery scams are still common.Three of our top 12 are related to alleged delivery scams, impersonating DHL, FedEx or other brand name companies to attempt to trick users into clicking a link. Delivery scams rose to become the most common users reported at the height of the pandemic.
You won a prize! Two of the top 12 scam numbers purportedly attempted to lure users to respond by promising cash or product prizes, another common way fraudsters try to entice victims.
Not a scam: “Hello, this is Ghostface. Where am I hiding?” One of the most reported phone numbers the past two years was actually part of a marketing stunt for the latest “Scream” movie. While some people may interpret these types of calls as a scam, they were in fact a marketing campaign used by the Scream movie franchise.
Here are the top scam or spam phone numbers BeenVerified users reported, ranked by total number of comments users left complaining about a suspicious call from these phone numbers. Most of the Dirty Dozen had between 100 and 200 complaints from users.
1. Notice-Account ([WellsFargo] Reach us NOW (865) 630-4266
This alleged scam text message warns victims that their Wells Fargo account has been temporarily locked and they should call right away. Scam messages often try to create a sense of urgency to encourage victims to drop their guard and react without thinking, rather than contacting their bank directly first (and don’t use the number or link scammers provide—check your credit or debit card for official bank contacts for customers).
2. We have a failed delivery attempt for XXX. Call (469) 709-7630
In this top phone number purported scam attempt, users reported either they or a loved one were mentioned by name for a failed delivery attempt. One user reported: Text to my mom about me: “We have a failed delivery attempt. To make changes to the address on file. Call 469-709-7630 file# 196*****.”
Another user reported: The address on record for (Father’s NAME) is incorrect, please contact 469-709-7630 to correct it.
And another: When I called to see who they were, I was asked to enter only the last two digits of my SSN for verification. I hung up.
3. You won Publisher’s Clearing House! (805) 637-7243
It appears that scammers may use the same number for a variety of scams. Users of our reverse phone number tool reported this number was used for scam callers claiming to be from Publisher’s Clearing House, as well as representatives from Visa’s fraud department. Still more users reported this number for calls claiming that an unpaid bill may result in a freezing of their assets. Others reported calls from this number in both Spanish and Chinese. A sample of user comments:
Said I won the Publishers Clearing House for $7 million, a Mercedes and $7,000 a week for life.
Visa fraud department: Asking if I made a $499 purchase. If I hang up the charges will go through and press 1 to dispute charges.
4. Bank Account temporarily ON HOLD! Call now: (858) 605-9622
Users reported this text-based scam from this number that namechecks a variety of brand name banks such as PNC, Chase and Wells Fargo. The scam text reads: (Bank name): ACCNT #5674 temporarily ON HOLD! Your security is our priority. Call now: (858) 605-9622 (Do Not Disregard!)
By casting a wide net of big bank names, the scammers likely hope to land on someone who actually has an account with the bank named. Again, by using alarming language (“ON HOLD! Do Not Disregard”), scammers attempt to scare victims into dropping their guard.
5. Debit Card Frozen Call: (863) 532-7969 Immediately
Another bank-related scam, this time without using any bank name—because, who doesn’t have a debit card? Users report this text: Debit Card Frozen. Call: 863.532.7969 Immediately We observed a potential risk related to your Account.”
This highlights another common tactic with bank-related scams: Reporting that there is a security risk to your account, when in fact the message is the doorway to a real security risk, if victims take the bait.
6. AT&T Free Msg: Congrats to 2 lucky users! (904) 495-2559
If fraudsters aren’t luring victims with alarming news, they are baiting people with too-good-to-be-true news. Lottery and prize scams are among the most common reported. The text reported in this scam: ATT Free Msg: Congrats to 2 lucky users! Today’s winners of our raffle are: Tim N***** and you, (Name)! Claim now: j2kmz.info/XXXXX (904) 495-2559
Dishonorable mention for our Dirty Dozen: (904) 501-5027. Many users reported this number as well for an identical text scam.
7. Lose weight! Or, track your parcel (312) 339-1227
Again, spammers appear to recycle the same phone numbers for different scams. Here users reported two different alleged scams: One touting a weight-loss product, the other a delivery scam:
Hi. I was looking all day for a product that would kickstart our weight loss journey and saw this. It was featured in Forbes. Everyone’s been raving about it. My friend said they lost 17 pounds in the first 2 weeks. I just got one and I think you can even get a complimentary bottle, but there aren’t many left. Check this: hardbodyketo.com/XXXX
Parcel Tracking: Hello, your package with the track code 94385***** is waiting for confirmation on the shipment location: foryouonhold.com/XXXX
8. Is that Ghostface on the line? No, it’s a “Scream VI” spam call (917) 540-7996
In March of this year, dozens of users reported a creepy voice message from this number: Is this (my name)? Oh good! I’m happy I finally get to speak to you (my name). We’ve never met, not officially, but I feel life [sic] I already know you. It’s funny how you can see someone’s true character when they are alone. Or at least when they think they’re alone. I have one question for you, (my name). Guess where I’m hiding?
Turns out this was a marketing campaign for the movie “Scream VI,” released on March 10. Marketers released an app that allowed users to input a phone number to have Ghostface call.
As the Hollywood Reporter noted: “Giving fans the opportunity to have Ghostface call them—or phone an unsuspecting friend—was just one of the tools “Scream VI” used to reach audiences in an unexpected way.”
9. Small-dollar tax scam and a Dyson vacuum (347) 437-1689
Last year, the BeenVerified Phone Scam Monitor reported a rise in this alleged scam, which is an update of an old script: Fraudsters typically bait victims with bogus claims of big-ticket purchases on their account. In this new variation, scammers claim instead only a small amount of unpaid taxes are owed to lure victims into clicking links. This number in particular sent this purported fake text about Dyson vacuums to try to ensnare victims:
Your track #YJL8**** containing the following products: 1.2022 Dyson v11. Cannot be delivered pending the outstanding tax balance has been paid. Current outstanding balance: $1.02. Additional info: localdysonpickup.com/XXXX
10. U.S-Post : Your package is on hold for address issue. (301) 307-4601
Another variation of the delivery scam—this one claiming to be from the US Postal Service—sends users an allegedly bogus text that their package is on hold and to click the link:
U.S-Post : Your package is on hold for address issue. Tap: staepst.info/XXX to check.
11. Call (878) 877-1402 Now! 994# Card-Locked Alert
Similar to our fifth most common scam phone number, this text message personalized the message by adding the victim’s phone number:
Call 878-877-1402 Now ! 994# Card-Locked Alert Account-ID: then my phone number.
One user called the number and followed automated prompts until she was told to put in her bank PIN number. “I hung up,” she said. * * That was the right move, as these “locked account” alerts are often phishing scams for users to unwittingly reveal bank information, PIN numbers and passwords.
12. Student loan forgiveness deadline coming. Call Kelsey at (202) 221-7923
Scammers follow the news and tailor their scams accordingly. As student-loan debt forgiveness has been a hot topic in recent years, scammers are making false claims about nonexistent deadlines.
Dozens of users reported getting phone messages from a “Kelsey Adams” about a fast-approaching deadline for student-loan forgiveness and the need to act—or else:
“Hi, this is Kelsey Adams.” (No company name given.) “I’m following up regarding your eligibility for loan forgiveness.” Threatens wage garnishment if I don’t call 202-221-7923 with code 210**.
Top phone scam area code numbers by state
The dozen numbers above are just a sampling of the more than 150,000 dubious phone numbers reported by users in recent years.
Here, we analyzed the top area codes of scam calls in each state to see which ones rise to the top. If you get a phone call you don’t recognize from these area codes, it’s more likely that the call could be from fraudsters.
Top phone carriers for scammers
Just as consumers shop around for phone companies, it appears scammers and spammers have their preferences as well.
BeenVerified analyzed scam phone numbers reported by users in the past 24 months to determine the phone carriers associated with the number. Here are the top companies:
While the list includes many names consumers would know—such as AT&T, Google Voice, T-Mobile and Verizon—names most consumers wouldn’t know are our two top companies, Onvoy and TextNow.
Why? Because both companies use technology based on Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP. And our analysis shows that VOIP is by far the most common way fraudsters communicate.
Most scam calls use VOIP technology
VOIP is the most common way that scam and spam callers try to connect with victims, accounting for between 59.04% and 76.00% of calls reported by users from July 2021 through June 2023.
Overall, the most common type of phone lines used by scammers over the past 24 months were:
- Non-fixed VOIP numbers - 60.59%
- Mobile phone numbers - 24.11%
- Fixed line VOIP numbers - 8.00%
- Fixed line numbers - 7.29%
Call type over time
Scam type by call type
Except for delivery scams, Apple product and stimulus check scams—which are dominant on mobile numbers— VOIP (especially VOIP mobile) dominates.
Protect yourself from phone and text scams
Here are some important tips to better guard yourself against fraudulent phone calls, texts or emails:
Check the phone number. Use a reverse phone tool to help determine if others have reported suspicious activity from the caller or number provided.
Think before you react. If you click on a link or respond to the call, scammers know they may have a victim on the hook.
Call companies directly to check fraud claims. Do not use links or phone numbers provided. Instead, check your card or account for the authorized fraud prevention number.
Never provide personal information or account details. Remember, this is often the intent of scammers: To scare you into providing key details that will allow them to compromise your account.
We analyzed 157,703 call complaints logged on a free reverse phone lookup tool owned and operated by BeenVerified for the period of July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023.
Some user comments in the study were lightly edited for clarity.
BeenVerified’s mission is to help people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives. BeenVerified and our associated websites curate dozens of public data sources and proprietary data sets to give people easy and affordable access to billions of public records.