European Cybersecurity Month: Phishing, Vishing, Smishing

Dear tellows fellows,

October has always been the European cybersecurity month for the past six years. The European Commission and the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) arranged the occasion to raise awareness of cybersecurity and to provide users the opportunities to protect themselves from cyber-criminals.  The focus of the campaign is to give users some useful tips and tricks to prevent themselves from being a victim of cyber scams. These include phishing, smishing, and vishing. In case you haven’t heard of these scams, we have collected information about these types of scams below. Check it out!

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New Rules to Protect Consumers against Nuisance Calls

Dear tellows fellows,

we are very happy to hear that Ofcom has recently strengthened the consumer protection rules. The changes are made in order to provide more protection against nuisance calls, caller ID spoofing, and other types of telephone frauds. The new rules came into force in the beginning of this month and are reviews of the General Conditions of Entitlement, the main rules that all phone, broadband and mobile providers must follow to operate in the UK. Today, we would like to give you an overview of the changes that Ofcom made in order to protect you better against dubious numbers. Check out the key changes below!

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Cross-devices Blacklists for Registered tellows Members

Dear tellows fellows,

more and more frequently consumers are victims of telephone spam or frauds, or are simply provoked by frequent unwanted calls. They use various tricks to pull our money out of our pockets. Here in our community, many phone owners report and rate the numbers that called them, sharing their experiences with other users to protect you and themselves. This works in an easy and uncomplicated way.

The heart of us is the tellows score. It is calculated from all previously stored ratings for a specific phone number. Users of the community can report and rate phone numbers on a scale of 1-9, where 9 means that a very dangerous or very annoying phone call is on the line and 1 is a rather harmless one. So you can rate and categorize each phone number on a scale from 1 (trustworthy) to 9 (dubious). From 7 on, the corresponding phone number is placed on a blacklist of the community and is thus blocked for everyone using the tellows products by itself and provides an appropriate protection. Depending on the rating, you can then assess the seriousness of a called number. In this way you can inform yourself online about the experience other users have already made with the respective number. And if there is a cost trap or telephone fraud behind it, you can know it because of the negatively rated number before they call you back again. Additionally, you can create your personal blacklist and add unwanted numbers that are not yet rated or don’t appear in the blacklist. If you rate a number negatively, it will be added to your personal blacklist and will be blocked the next time you receive a call. Even if the overall rating assigned by other tellows users of the phone number is different, it will still be blocked.

In order to be able to benefit from the collected assessments and experiences at an early stage, for example even before a call is answered, the successful tellows app for devices with Android or iOS was developed. This already indicates during the ringing, how trustworthy the calling number is by using the reports of the community. Thus, when the call is received, the tellows score is displayed.
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Tech Support Scam Returns with a New Trick

Dear tellows fellows,

as you might remember, we have posted an article about fake technical support scam in the beginning of last August to warn you of the rising issue of a Microsoft scam. Microsoft has also released several statements on their official website to warn people about this fraud. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop scammers from finding other ways to trick people.

Recently, we found out that many fake tech support scammers have been using another method to deceive Microsoft users. They take advantage of Microsoft TechNet portals and created over 3000 fake pages. The TechNet portal is usually used by Microsoft users to save documentations of products and images as well as to offer community forums for its users. Unfortunately, the scammers have found a way to use the subdomain of TechNet portal, gallery.technet.microsoft.com, in order to be displayed on Google. Although the pages are usually blank pages with error message, the scammers’ purpose is to display their phone numbers on the headline of the pages. They mostly affiliate the tech support with Bitcoin or Coinbase Helpdesk. The problem has gotten bigger, as the fraudsters were able to rank quite high on google search and their fake pages were displayed on the first page when the users search for keywords such as “Helpdesk Microsoft”, “Helpdesk Coinbase”, etc.
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Interview with Our Intern

Dear tellows fellows,

it’s very important for us to provide our users the best service and useful information on our platform. All the employees working at tellows are involved in different projects to improve tellows everyday. Since earlier this year, one of our interns had been helping us to make tellows better in many different ways. We asked him to give us a peek of how it feels like to be a tellows intern and what tellows does behind the scene. Check out the interview below!

Could you first tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to do an internship at tellows?

“I’m Matteo from Italy and I’m a graduate in Economics. I wanted to have more work experience that is related to my studies and my favorite subjects so I searched for new job opportunities and found the chance to work at tellows as an intern for 6 months. I already knew about tellows before, because I used the platform to search for unknown numbers in the past. Continue reading

Most searched numbers: 1st week of September

Dear tellows fellows,
We’re happy to always receive your reports about phone numbers every day. With the help of all the ratings and comments that you post at tellows, we can help the entire community to prevent new telephone scams and dubious calls. In this post, we would like to share about the most searched numbers in the first week of September with you.

Let´s go trough the most searched numbers!

08003289393

New Sky: BT asking to add the telephone number of the New Sky business to add to the BT directory free of charge.
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HMRC Scam – Police is coming!

Dear tellows fellows,
we constantly receive information about new types of telephone fraud from our users. We want to thank you for always keeping our community updated and for warning other users about new types of scams!

telephone scam

We have been seeing several reports in our tellows community regarding frauds claiming to be from HMRC. Usually it is an automated voice message warning you that the police will become involved if you ignore the call, or requiring an urgent call back. Many users have already reported about a recorded message, a common feature with all these calls. Therefore, we want to warn you about this type of fraud.

Here are some reports about this type of scam from our users:
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Introducing Our New Rating Box

Dear tellows fellows,

Our community is changing and developing every day. We always take our users’ suggestions and ideas into account, in order to make tellows a better platform. Therefore, we have developed some new features to make the tellows community even more helpful and effective than before!

1. Rating without comment

It is very important for us that we can give information for our users which are not just informative but also helpful. We believe it’s significant to consider the fact that our users might not have enough information to write lengthy comments about some phone numbers. Therefore we have developed a new feature, so that you are able to rate a phone number without writing any comment, especially if you think that there’s no necessary information you can share. Continue reading

Caller Types at tellows

Every number that you find in our community is classified according to the type of call. Through different types of call, our users can easily recognize to which category the number belongs to. But sometimes the different call types might be confusing. You might sometimes be wondering whether a certain number should be categorized “Telemarketer” or as “Aggressive Advertising”. To avoid any kind of confusion and to show the clear differences between the caller types, we would like to give an overview of every single caller type that we have at tellows. But we won’t just explain what the term means, we will also give you some tips if you perhaps receive these types of call. Continue reading

Fake Technical Support On The Rise

Dear tellows fellows,

lately we have been seeing many reports in our tellows community regarding fraudsters claiming to be computer tech support. These fraudsters used the most classic trick: they claimed to be from a well-known company such as Microsoft and told us that our computer had been infected or hacked. In order to fix the computer problem and prevent the virus from damaging the computer any further, they offered “assistance”. If we had agreed to this, they would give us some instructions we must follow. Usually, we would be asked to visit certain websites and enter our personal data there. Some fraudsters could even hack the computer and show a pop-up window to ensure us that our computer had indeed been infected by some viruses. In the end, they would either try to steal our personal bank data through the access we gave or charge us for the costs of fixing the non-existent computer issue. Continue reading