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A phone surrounded by text messages that say  Hello your car warranty is about to expire
Vanessa Garcia / Money; Getty Images

Based on the contents of our voicemail inboxes, you might think every American is driving around a clunker that's one rattling bolt from disintegration.

Over and over, sometimes multiple times a day, we hear that our “car warranty is about to expire” — but if we just press “one” at the prompt, a pleasant female voice assures us, we can rectify that by purchasing an extended warranty.

The spiel, which usually comes in the form of a robocall, is what the experts call a “legacy scam" — that is, it’s been around for years. But 2020 brought on a used car boom, with millions of cooped-up social distancers flooding the market, and an abundance of scam calls followed.

Now the calls are so prevalent that even the people who fight scam artists for a living want to throw their hands up.

“It’s a problem,” says Amy Nofziger, a fraud expert for the AARP. “We’re all getting these phone calls.”