Posts Tagged claims company

Weekly Top 3: Updated Old Tricks

Investing in new technology, developing smart ideas, innovating, outsourcing, call centers – the buzzwords of our business-minded con artists. They’re professionals and they know their stuff. 7 in 10 receive nuisance calls, texts and emails everyday, yet these large-scale scam operators are never penalized because apparently they are just “annoying” and not yet causing “substantial distress” to people.

You, as the target market of these fraudsters, should know better than their old tricks. Update yourself with these words of advice:

  • Don’t give any personal information to strangers or to businesses – remember, they should already know your details!
  • Ignore employment agencies asking for payment in advance
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly and let your bank know immediately if there are any entries you don’t recognise
  • Often, you can’t get lost money back, particularly if you have handed over cash. But you have more protection if you paid by credit card or a debit card.

For our weekly top 3, the approach of our scammers is always a hard sell. Strategies are aggressive and their tactics include cold calls and unsolicited pitches – as if they are really selling some products or services BUT actually no. They are disguised as telemarketers who just want to get your bank details or other personal info. Worse huh!

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Masters of Dis-Gas? – scam callers masquerading as UK energy providers!

The scam under discussion this week is a convincing one – so convincing, in fact, that they almost had us fooled. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

The caller claims to be from British Gas, calling for an array of reasons – paying your overdue bill, arranging a maintenance visit, etc. etc – and from more than one number. The area code indicates that the calls are coming from Leeds.

The most common calls are supposedly from the ‘Arrears Department’ at British Gas, wanting you to pay up. One user tells us it’s Capita, a debt collection company in Leeds, phoning on behalf of British Gas. However, some of you have smelt a rat. Here’s a comment about 01132989890:

When I answered, it was a recorded message: press any number for an important message about my bill. I didn’t press anything and it went on to say that my gas meter reading was due within the next week. British Gas email me about meter readings and this is about a month too early! Be wary!

And a comment about 01132989000:

Have had more than 10 calls from this number about non-payment of my latest bill… mighty strange as i have never given them my mobile number and left British Gas several years ago.

People who have never even been with British Gas also seem to receive calls from this number. Indeed, one user living in a remote village where British Gas is not actually available was contacted.

The sleuthier among you have attempted to call the number back, only to find that lo and behold, the number is not recognised.

This is where it gets confusing. Whilst some of you have also cleverly given British Gas a ring directly to ask what’s going on, some of you report being told that this number belongs to an offshore service of theirs, whilst others were told that it isn’t! What to believe?

We tried searching on this handy page:
http://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/contactus-personal-details/did-we-call-you.html
The search service did not seem to recognise 01132989000 or 01132989890 as belonging to British Gas, which is suspicious in itself. Some of your experiences with this caller further indicate that this is a number to be wary of: one call started with the caller asking to speak to the ‘laptop owner’ and a receptionist from a doctor’s surgery also reports being hounded by this number on the surgery line.

We’re dubious about this one. If you get a call from this number, or any other unrecognised number claiming to be British Gas, we strongly advise using the link above, or contacting British Gas directly. Under no circumstances should you give your bank details out unless you are absolutely certain of a caller’s identity!

Keep your wits about you and have a great week!

Your tellows team

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PPI Nuisance Calls: An Ongoing and Prevalent Problem in the UK

As demonstrated by numerous comments on tellows worldwide, nuisance calls have become a frequent and extensive problem around the globe. For an increasing number of users from the UK, PPI calls pose a particularly persistent and common issue and have been an often discussed topic on our tellows blog. The fact that – not without reason – most consumers have grown increasingly suspicious of telephone calls by unknown numbers is illustrated by comments such as those of Fifalde, who wrote about the number 01494590777:

This number tried calling my mobile several times yesterday – I don’t answer any numbers that I don’t recognise or have stored in my phone so I left it – no voicemail left which is a dead giveaway that its either PPI or something else. I just added it to my reject list. Hope this helps

PPI Calls as Cost Trap and Disturbance of Everyday Life
According to a new survey conducted by Citizens Advice, two thirds of British adults have received messages related to claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) – 98% of which were unsolicited and without permission. More than half also said they were contacted more than 10 times within the past year often considered a disturbance of everyday life for the recipients: whereas nearly a quarter received calls during dinner with family, 14% were interrupted at work.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizen Advice, noted that those who fall victim to a PPI claims scam suffer twice the damage – once with the bank and a second time when the claims firm doesn’t provide the full compensation the victim deserves. Reporting number 02086148283 as PPI claims scam, user SiM warned about possible costs as well:

PPI company that cons you into signing up with them and then takes 30% of whatever they find for you, as payment. They also use a computer dialer that calls numbers and then hangs up on you if an operator is not available to talk at you

Furthermore, Guy stressed that nuisance calls “are often a sign that the service on offer is not very good or is actually a scam” and demands a ban for financial services firms from cold-calling to help consumers detect untrustworthy companies and scams.

PPI Claims Scam Approach and Target
More than 90% of the participants of the latest Citizen Advice survey stated that they were contacted by telphone regarding PPI claims with 40% receiving automated messages on their landline whereas 35% were contacted via text message on their mobile phone. According to previous research of the organisation, nuisance calls were not restricted to claims management companies alone: cold calls accounted for 35% of complaints concerning financial services.

As with most scams, the main aim is to gain access to the victim’s money. In the case of this particular scam, the victim is often persuaded to pay fees in advance for fake loans and sometimes, a person’s bank details have been passed on to other companies. With at least half of 30,000 complaints between April 2012 and March 2013 related to PPI and other financial services, users like Nikki who commented on the number 01625665142, are not alone with their grievances:

Ppi credit agent, told not interested 5 times, still continue to ask if I have had any texts or voicemails when asked what’s it to do with them they get angry an then say well have you checked your credit file, when told one last time I’m not interested the woman said fine an hung up. Don’t waste time answering to them

Numbers Related to PPI Claims Calls
Among the most recently reported and commented on telephone numbers connected to PPI claims on tellows are the following numbers:

 

To stay on the safe side, don’t provide any personal or financial information about yourself (and especially your bank account) on the telephone. Also don’t forget that you have the right to end the conversation by simply putting down the phone – especially if the person on the other end of the line seems to have a dubious agenda. If you have any information on a phone number that might be untrustworthy – PPI related or not – don’t hesistate to report it on tellows.

Sources:
telegraph.co.uk

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How to stop nuisance calls – the elderly as perfect victims

Nuisance calls are on the news again. Just a few weeks ago we told you about the findings of a study, that revealed highly startling news on the business practice of nuisance callers and the real extent of scam in the UK. The findings of Ofcom did not only show how nerve-wracking unwanted calls are in the eyes of most people, the results were also combined with a claim on improved and immediate action, which in detail means: a complete ban on cold calling. This week we will give you another clean proof on the necessity of action.

The current problem concerning nuisance calls
The starting point of the ongoing silent, abandoned, harassment and any other unwanted calls is the fact, that the existing mechanisms launched for protection and defence are not working at all. The Telephone Preference Service TPS as a free service for customers to opt out from receiving marketing calls, is not at all hindering businesses to use phone calls as a working method for any kind of promotion or scam. As the restriction is not broad enough, a registration of one’s number on TPS does only help to stop unsolicited calls with a sales purpose, which means that for example any kind of recorded message as well as research or silent calls are not under the control of TPS. As already mentioned in the blog on the Ofcom study, problems especially occur if the caller is calling from abroad, as there is actually no legal basis for taking action against this.

desperate man on the phone

Photo by Alon, flickr.com

Elderly people attracting the attention of scammers
Although it is well-known, that especially elderly people are likely to be taken in by fraudsters, there are still not a lot of options on how to deal with it, as a recent example in the Guardian shows. What bothers the most is, that there are no actual attempts that would help to improve this situation, except for claims of consumer organizations and so far unredeemed promises of officials. The only help might be to fall back on private companies offering services and products to deal with the unsolicited calls yourself. When it comes to elderly people, this means that younger relatives need to help out. As the example of the guardian writer shows very clearly, this is as necessary as frustrating. She shows us through her own experience with an elderly relative, that most of the techniques that would work for us – like just not answering calls from unknown numbers or not giving away personal information – are not as useful for elderly people. Particularly politeness, forgetfulness or just loneliness are the biggest problems here. Elderlies tend to answer all calls as they want to be friendly; they talk to the researchers as they need conversation; and they give away their bank account data as they trust the friendly voice at the other side of the phone. So what is best to do?

How to deal with scam and spam calls
Of course, a complaint is one of the first steps to do when receiving unsolicited calls. But this is not an immediate solution, it helps on the long run, not for the present. First of all, checking the possibilities that are offered by your provider makes sense. Some opportunities of blacklisting numbers or blocking calls are integrated in most of the systems.

But as the author of the guardian article points out as well, this is still not enough for the protection of elderly people. What she found might be the best solution for this problem in years, the trueCall device, blocking calls from unknown numbers completely, redirecting them to the answer phone straight away. Although this of course is not a free device, this product might be the perfect solution for a lot of different problems, as it can be used to block numbers, record important messages or even ask who is calling to decide right away if one should answer the phone. Although we could not test it, the mere existence of such a blocker means, that there are people actually thinking about how to solve the problem of unsolicited calls, as officials regularly fail to do so.

As many other applications, devices or web pages, also tellows works for the purpose of informing people on the dangers of unsolicited calls and hindering companies to scam. As long as the regulators are not able to take efficient enforcement action for the protection of consumers, it is up to tellows, trueCall et al. to support the fight on unwanted calls.

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Ofcom Study – Ban on Cold Calling is claimed

A research initiated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) reveals the truth about unsolicited nuisance calls in the UK and thus calls for action to solve to problem of far too many cold calls.

The Ofcom Study
Within a period of four weeks 850 consumers were asked to keep a diary of all cold calls they receive. The Ofcom research revealed that 80 percent of the participants received unwanted calls regularly, on an average even more than twice a week. Especially calls on PPI reclaim (Payment Protection Insurance) were the most annoying and yet also the most often ones. While at least one out of four people got called more than 10 times, most calls came from PPI claim companies as well as from market research firms.

What is next?
In terms of the survey findings the Citizens Advice called for a complete ban on cold calling. Not only because more than one third of all complaints from companies are related to cold calls. Mostly firms dealing with financial services use cold and silent calls and thereby demanding upfront fees or trying to sell unprofitable offers, cheating people out of their pension. Furthermore the companies get personal data through the nuisance calls, mostly unbeknown and unauthorised by the individuals. A ban would help to make cold calls clearly identifiable as illegal. Citizens Advice recommends the banning of credit brokers and claims management companies as well as of pension unlocking services.

Ofcom follows a different strategy though. Not the banning but a wide investigation into claims management companies making the cold calls is needed. Thereby not only the big companies will be in the focus of enforcement actions, also smaller companies are responsible for the nuisance calls to a large extent and should be overseen. Ofcom is now promoting wider investigation and action regarding cold calls, especially dealing with claims. Thereby they focus on silent calls as well, which are done by the company’s telephone systems automatically without even having a staff member conducting the calls.

Taking Action
The government as well as other regulators and institutions are called upon to take action more effectively. Ofcom already imposed penalties for silent and abandoned calls done by major firms as TalkTalk. Furthermore the ICO supports the attempts of Ofcom by pointing out the regulations and industry rules to over 170 marketing companies. Nevertheless householders can get active themselves. By signing up for the free Telephone Preference Service (TPS) individuals can stop nuisance calls on the purpose of marketing and sales. However, as we already mentioned in our last article, it is extremely hard to block most of the calls, as they often come from overseas call centres. Not more than one third of all abandoned calls can be cut out. For further improvement Ofcom is currently collaborating with the ICO and the Ministry of Justice for more effective actions.

We will keep you informed about upcoming achievements in the struggle against nuisance calls in our blog on tellows UK.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/may/17/ofcom-urged-ban-cold-calling

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UK’s Most Wanted Spam and Scam Callers

Another week has passed and we are back to you with our weekly update. This week’s peculiarity is concerning all those annoying PPI claims companies and telemarketers with their calls and even worse is that they are refusing to remove people’s numbers from their lists – that’s the way they work. As a result, in these tough economic times, your telephone seems to ring more often and the amount of annoying or harassing phone calls from telemarketers and PPI claims companies may even double.

Let’s have a look on UK’s most wanted spam and scam callers this week:

1. 01422387713 from Halifax – United Kingdom with a tellows score of 9
2. 01618505451 from Manchester – United Kingdom with a tellows score of 8
3. 01792455426 from Swansea – United Kingdom with a tellows score of 8
4. 01942710601 from Wigan – United Kingdom Score with a tellows score of 6
5. 02076197597 from London – United Kingdom with a tellows score of 3

First place goes to the number from Halifax with a tellows score of 9 that has been reported by our users a Harrasment call. Tellows user Annette commented on the number 01422387713 :

They rang me – I hadn’t a clue what he was taking about – I told him he shouldn’t have my mobile number anyway – And I wasn’t interested in what he had to say noe was I going to confirm to him any information he asked for. I told him not to ring me again and to remove my number from the data base

A newcomer in our Weekly Top 5 with a number 01792455426 belongs to another PPI claims company called Lifestyle Money. Tellows user fred bloggs commented on the number:

apparently, through searching on the web, 01792455426 belongs to Liefstyle Money who call you about reclainming PPI which is very easy to do yourself and there is no reason why anyone should use a separate company !

The last but not least is another newcomer with a number 02076197597 that was reported as a fund raiser and Peter wrote the last comment on this number:

It’s a call center working for a fund raiser.
If you signed up to give money for a good cause, a third company working together with the fund raiser will call you and ask you to increase your donations.
It’s no scam but can be annoying if you ignore them and don’t ask them to remove you from their records.

As you can see there are many newcomers this week what means that the world of spam and scam is changing every day. New and new players are joining the game and we need your help to find them out !

Take care, friends of tellows !!!
Team tellows

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The Silent Call Plague – Weekly Top 3 Spammers

There’s not much news on the top UK spam ranks:

1. 01932504981 from Weybridge with a tellows score of 7
2. 07520905002 mobile phone number with a tellows score of 8
3. 02073286956 from London with a tellows score of 7

Insurance scam business is still flousishing, especially with the number 01932504981 that is still relentlessly trying to sell car insurance on behalf of Van compare.

User Odd call‘s comment speaks of the incompetence of the caller:

Answered and they said calling from car insurance company and that my insurance was up for renewal and was this right? I said “I have no idea” the guy on the other end said “oh my gosh!” and hung up. I have no idea what he thought I said, but it was different for a sales team to hang up on me rather than the other way round.

We got a silent call number on rank two for a change. Best comment of the week by scamhater says it all:

My advice is to always do what I do with these scam type calls;

1. use your phone to make a recording of 1 second of silence. (keep this 1 second silence in your ringtone or media folder)

2. save the recording and call it scamtone or something.

3. then enter the scammy number into your address book as ; scam1, scam2, scam 3 etc. Each one represents a different scammy number that you get over time.

4. finally, associate the 1 second of silence with each scammy number as a ringtone.

Simple – they can ring and ring and if you dont hear it you dont pick it up. If it is associated to a name ; Scam1 etc, you will never be tempted to ring it back from your call history.

Last week’s rank-3-number stayed where it is, still harassing people in the UK at all times of night. There are some hints that such silent calls at night could originate from an overseas call center, probably in India. Some companies are hiring telephone assistants in countries, where workforce is cheaper for them. They obviously did not keep the time zones in mind.

And as we already emphasized a million times, silent calls proved to be the precursors of real telemarketing or scam calls – so watch out!

Stay tuned and keep eyes and ears open for more spam numbers!

Kind regards,

Team Tellows

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UK’s Top 3 Spammers Sell Insurance

Surprise, surprise! 01484818084 is persisting on rank 1 of the British top spam numbers.

1. 01484818084 from Huddersfield with a tellows score of 8
2. 01932504981 from Weybridge with a tellows score of 7
3. 01412582118 from Glasgow with a tellows score of 8

As we already reported last week, number 01484818084 is a telemarketing number for PI claims, mortgages, insurance and even solar pannels. The latest comment by user Amber says that the number is still active, but it sounds like it is giving silent calls once in a while, as well:

Keep calling me, no one ever speaks, now on my phones “blocked number” list sends their call straight to my voice mail.

Insurance, insurance, insurance. Is there anything in life they do not have an insurance for? The company number on rank 2 is apparently Van Compare Insurance or Connect Quote – or a callcentre working for both of them. Several users reported this fact after having called them and after being led to the company´s answer machine.
copper1fox wrote:

Called this number back and this number takes you to an automated message advising they are calling up about car insurance.

On this week´s rank 3 we have a really ridiculous call centre. They really seem to be selling anything! Tellows users commented the following items sold by this number: air conditoning/dehumidifier, solar panels and grants, Home Safe Security and alarms as well as green energy.

User Broadsword wrote:

They rang twice man with strong Glasgow accent asking “Do you want any Gear”, plus other dirty comments. Laughed a few times and hang up. This at 10.30am.

Did they call you, too? What else can you tell us about these numbers? Are there any other harassing, ridiculous or dangerous numbers trying to call you?

We appreciate all useful comments on harassing phone numbers.

In the name of the community: Thank you!

Your Tellows Team

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Ignoring The TPS!? The British Top 3 Phone Spammers

The only number that didn´t change since the last British Top 3 spam number report is 01484818084 on rank 1.

1. 01484818084 from Huddersfield with a tellows score of 8
2. 01412582118 from Glasgow with a tellows score of 8
3. 01234945454 from Bedford with a tellows score of 7

Manyfold telemarketing offers seem to originate from number 01484818084 – the British top spam number! As we discovered recently with the help of all Tellows users, the callers are not only trying to sell PI claims or mortgages but also goods, suchs as solar pannels. The latest comment reveals even another “product” – CI insurace. Insurance scam seems to be the most flourishing fraud method of all in Britain.

User waveylines reported:

Asian person who rang me wanting my details…for a claim he reckoned i was due….was reluctant to give me any details about the company he worked for -was evasive but eventually told me that hie company was called Talk International and he worked in the CI claims department..Difficult to understand his accent….

Tellows does not want to promote any stereotypes or xenophobia. We highly depreciate this. Please keep in mind that suspicious telemarketing companies hire the cheapest workforce and therefore often make a profit out of globalization and bad economic situations in other countries.

The number on rank 2 is getting on people’s nerves with silent calls. It is a typical method of checking phone numbers with the help of an automath in order to give telemarketing calls sooner or later. Same thing with 01234945454 which is on rank 3.

Don’t let them take over! The community counts on your comments!

Your Tellows Team

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Spam Numbers Of The Week – The British Top 5

The most annoying numbers are still the same, though there are some changes on the minor ranks:

1. 01484818084 from Huddersfield with a tellows score of 8
2. 01234945454 from Bedford with a tellows score of 7
3. 07968463380 a mobil phone number with a tellows score of 7
4. 07787225074 a mobil phone number with a tellows score of 9
5. 07787241083 a mobil phone number with a tellows score of 9

This week’s most annoying phone number 01484818084 has been searched more than 5293 times now. Beware! Several stories about what the callers are offering on this number have been reported. The range is very wide, starting off with PI claims, mortgages as well as solar pannels. This does not sound trustworthy at all.

This is what waveylines wrote about this number:

Asian person who rang me wanting my details…for a claim he reckoned i was due….was reluctant to give me any details about the company he worked for -was evasive but eventually told me that hie company was called Talk International and he worked in the CI claims department.

For number 01234945454 we found out that the initial ping calls comming from this number turned into PPI claims spam. We already reported about this method in a previous article:

Main principle of the scam: the caller is trying to convince people that they are owed money for an unclaimed PPI insurance. The method of the fraudulant calls is simple: assuming the called person has a loan, stating exactly how much money the person is owed by the unclaimed insurance and offering their service of getting the client’s money back – after prior payment, of course.

read more

We count on you in the struggle against phone spam and scam!

Your Tellows Team

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