Posts Tagged scam method

Lottery scammers prey even on the poorest villagers

Ratan Kumar, a 41-year old Indian villager came to the BBC Delhi office last month to claim his prize in a “BBC lottery” worth millions of rupees, only to know that he was scammed.

Ratan said he got a text message two years ago saying that he won the BBC’s national lottery for 20 or 30 million rupees (£194,000-£292,000). Unemployed, Ratan fell for it, communicated with the scammers until November last year, and sent his personal details.

The perpetrator presented himself to Ratan as the chancellor of BBC. “He promised me a large sum of money but said I would have to first send 12,000 rupees ($191; £117) so that he can transfer the money into an RBI (Indian bank) account, ” Ratan told the BBC office.

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The Clear-Cut Truth about Diamond Fraud

Diamonds are not just any girl’s bestfriend – it is also a very attractive investment alternative. Annual return can range from 2.5% to 10%, depending on the color.

However, unlike gold and silver, or other investments where prices are reported on a stock market, diamonds are not traded on a public exchange but negotiated privately. This makes it harder to know the real value of the diamond, thus making it susceptible to abuse. The diamond trading industry is also unregulated – brokers are not required to be registered with a certain government authority.

A BBC news report recently warned older people who are the targets of this new form of investment scam on diamond trading. About 250 reports were received last year by the City of London Police.

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Omnipresent But Not Omnipotent; How To Beat The All-New Multinational Phone Scam

Originating by all accounts in Latvia, Belarus and Afghanistan, the latest scam sending ripples across the phone network is a worldwide operation. The perpetrators send short, curiosity-provoking, incognito texts to individuals requesting that they call back any of an array of fee-charging +371 numbers. Read the rest of this entry »

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This Week’s Top 3 Most Wanted Numbers

Hello tellows users!

A motley crew of pesterers and swindlers for you this week! There’s no rest for the wicked and therefore no rest for your phone either.

Caller number one, 01913009131, has got it all wrong. The idea with telesales is to keep the customer on the phone long enough to flog the product; this lot seem to have missed the point and will generally get about a sentence out before hanging up on you. This means we’re not 100% sure what ‘The Consumer Helpline’ are selling, but user Taylor gives us a clue…

askin if my partner had an acident last year. told him it was a long shot and hung up

I believe the correct term is ‘ambulance-chasers’.

Caller number two, calling from 02081509083, is a mysterious gentleman who seems to have trampled over colleagues and customers alike to achieve his financial goals. Under a plethora of identities and company names (most of them false, it seems), this caller has created himself a reputation that goes before him.

ryan_235 advises:

don’t touch this guy with a bargepole!!!! dodgy investments and a nasty habit of ripping you off and never paying you back. steer well clear.

pn__ gives us an ounce more insight:

villas, golf courses, murky dealings in Spain… not to be trusted.

If you hear any of the following names: Morgan Forbes/Pearl Island/First Capital Wealth/Hugh Herschell, alarm bells should ring! Remember, these sorts of people make money by being charming, so keep your wits about you!

Sombrely bringing up the rear is caller number three, a company called OTPL, on 0280697934, who are selling – wait for it – funeral insurance.

User Lynne’s experience:

phoning to sell funeral insurance from India apparently, multiple calls per day, very irritating

Like a gaggle of very persistent vultures, they’ll hover over your phoneline, calling you several times a day, for that extra dose of doom and gloom that we all need on an November day.

Keep saving these numbers under ‘time wasters’, or blocking them altogether if you can. Knowledge is power, so if you’re unsure about a caller, pop the number into tellows.co.uk and see what other users are saying about the caller.

Have a great week!

Your tellows team

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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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No More Nuisance Calls: The False Promises of Scammers

As most of our tellows users know all too well, incessant calls from telemarketers or call centres have become a genuine nuisance. Thus, services to put a stop to these type of unsolicited calls enjoy increasing popularity. Aside from apps such as the tellows app to detect spam and scam calls, there is the option to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to prevent unwanted and cold calls.

A Scam Claiming to Stop Spam
However, not all service provider are trustworthy: some fraudsters try to take advantage of the fact that many consumers are plagued by unsolicited calls. The police advise to be extremely cautious of callers claiming to provide services to prevent unwanted calls. Claiming to be aware of the fact that you have been bothered by numerous unsolicited calls recently, the caller attempts to offer information and appliances in order to stop the calls.

In some instances, the caller may even know some personal information such as your address, the bank you use or your credit/debit card number. Some of our tellows users have made similar experiences as Betty Sinclair, who allocated the number 07825874525 to BT, who reported:

Unknown number sent numerous messages, knew details about myself which unnerved me.

Generally, the purpose of the call is to obtain further information regarding your credit/debit card such as the issue or expiry date, account number, security code, to access your credit card account or use for identity theft.

Recognizing and Dealing with the Scammers
Sometimes even seemingly insignificant details can be a clue that you are targeted by scammers. Therefore you should be wary, how the caller identifies him- or herself: even though the scammers often claim to be calling from BT directly, only BT Privacy at Home offers the telephone preference service. Similarly, user spammed, who commented on the number 01274802868, noticed:

The caller said they were calling from British Telecom. As a former worker for BT they stopped calling themselves British Telecom back in the early 90s.

To avoid falling a victim to these types of scams, you should never give bank or personal details on the telephone, especially if you have doubts about the legitimacy of the call. If the caller claims to be from your bank, phone them on the number that you normally use or know to be legitimate to confirm that the call you receive was genuine.

Furthermore, you should be aware that if you receive unsolicited calls in spite of being registered at TPS, the calls are probably scam calls as well. User Paula, for instance, wrote about the number 00443562780913:

The person who called, spoke English with an accent, said she was not trying to sell anything but merely conducting a survey. She seemed to know both my name and when I asked her how they have these information, since I’m registered with TPS, she got evasive and asked if I could just answer her some questions.

In case you have provided personal and financial information to what you suspect to be scammers, you may contact your bank and, if necessary, ask them to issue a new credit/debit card. Moreover, you can report the scammers to the police at Action Fraud as well as on tellows to warn others who may be contacted by the scammers.

Source:
Chester Chronicle

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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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£ 7 Million in One Year with ‘Vishing’ Scams

In the day of vast advancing technology, it is nearly impossible to keep track of all of the latest developments and the new possibilities subsequently emerging. Unfortunately, that also holds true for the various strategies and tactics of con artists who try to exploit the latest innovations for personal gain. One of these ever growing scam methods that has become rather popular among scammers is called “vishing” and, according to Financial Fraud Action (FFA UK), could affect nearly a quarter of adults in the UK.

How ‘Vishing’ Scammers Operate

The equivalent to the e-mail scam phishing, the telephone ‘vishing’ scam is not fundamentally different from others: the caller tries to gain access to sensible personal information under false pretences. Posing as employee of a legitimate body such as the bank, police, telephone or internet provider, the scammer attempts to obtain personal details and financial information regarding credit card and bank accounts (e.g. the pin number) as well as personal information including the full name, date of birth or address. Once received, the information can be used to access and empty the account or to commit identity fraud. Some scammers may also try to persuade the victim to transfer money to another bank account or withdraw cash to pay them.

User Brett, who appears to have been targeted by ‘vishing’ scammers, reported a similar story for the number 01267226778:

This number called repeatedly over a period of a week. I finally answered and everything seemed legit. They asked for my card details to ‘verify’ my details with the bank. DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR DETAILS.

Another comment that read similiar was made by Peter Smith on the number 02032867209:

Be WARNED!!They phone me talking about Bank refunds too! They mentioned UKask, I looked this up found THIS “UKash Common Scams” saying…..Reclaim bank charges scam. Ignore mails or calls claiming that you’re entitled to a refund on overpaid bank charges. These will typically come from a scammer claiming to represent a bank, official agency or law firm and will require all your personal details, and may claim a charge for their services.

Dubious and Fraudulent Calls in Numbers

Out of all the crimes in the past year related to online and phone banking, shopping and identity fraud, at least £7m of a total increase of £36m have been attributed to ‘vishing’ scams. Nearly a quarter of people in the UK have been on risk to become potential victims of the scam, receiving cold calls during which they were asked to offer personal or financial information. The FFA UK also reported that 4 in 10 people had difficulties distinguishing a trustworthy from a deceptive call. Furthermore, 30% of consumers stated that they had received at least 10 cold calls a month – 41% of which suspected the call to be dubious.

The fact that it’s not always easy to differentiate between a dubious and a trustworthy call, is also illustrated by the comments on the number 01131649097. Whereas user Jenny considered the number to belong to an actual bank fraud team, user, Anon shared a different opinion:

This is a scam. If your card is stolen and HSBC calls you, they wouldn’t ask you to call back. I received a call from this number AFTER I cancelled my card. I terminated the call when I realised it was a scan. I didn’t call back and didn’t receive another call. A genuine fraud department would call again.

How to be Cautious and Aware of Telephone Scams

  • don’t give out or confirm any kind of personal information to an unknown caller
  • don’t be afraid to put down the phone and disconnect the call
  • don’t trust a caller just because he or she has some information about you: criminals could obtain some basic information about you (name, address and bank account details)
  • be wary of requests to call them back even if they claim it is for you to check their authenticity (they could keep your phone line open by not hanging up)
  • remember: banks don’t call asking you for your pin or to withdraw money to hand over or transfer to another account

 

In case you suspect to have been the victim of such a scam, contact your bank or card company immediately. If you know any details or numbers that seem suspicious or even dubious, don’t hesitate to share your information with us on tellows. Especially with scams like this one where the scammers are likely to use one number for several scams, it could help warning other people and possibly even prevent further scams.

Source:
theguardian.com

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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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