Author Archives: Jessica Braasch

About Jessica Braasch

Since 2015 in the tellows team with a focus on Business Development and Marketing. My passion is analyzing marketing strategies and perfecting content. I present the developments of tellows as well as trends related to telephone fraud on the blog. Contact

The 7 biggest myths about telephone scam and Co.

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Dear tellows-fellows,

Superficial knowledge can be dangerous, we all know that. In terms of telephone advertising and fraud, it can cost you a lot of money and nerves! Therefore, today we present you the most common myths regarding telephone advertising, telephone fraud and possible manipulations on tellows and clearify them.

money transfer

1. Telephone scam only affects older people

As soon as one hears of telephone scam, one has more in mind the 93-year-old Mary-Ann, who was tricked by fraudsters, than the 26-year-old computer science student Stella. The fact is: Fraudsters often try to scam older target groups since they tend to be less careful and easier to be fooled. They are not always informed about the latest phone scam tricks, so a call from an alleged family member or the bank employee can turn into a costly trap.

However, this does not mean that everyone else can think themselves safe. Since there are many types of fraud, the victims differ. There are even tricks that mainly lead to success for the fraudsters among younger people. Such an example would be the Microsoft support scam, which targets access to sensitive data from their victims on the phone. According to Microsoft, this stitch is particularly successful in the age group of 18 to 34 years.

2. As long as I don’t give out any data about myself, I can’t lose any money

Unfortunately, this is also a misconception. It is true that you should never reveal your data on the phone, but there are other ways to get your money. Ping calls pose a great risk here. In this case, the fraudsters ring only a few seconds to provoke a recall. If this is done, a high fee will be charged, as the numbers are often foreign and you will be drawn into a waiting loop that can cost you a lot of money per minute.

3. I signed up on the do-not-call list, so cold calls cannot affect me

Another misconception that (unfortunately) is not quite true. In general telephone advertising (Cold Calls) is legal and if you registered on TPS or expressed your wish to not be contacted anymore, the company is not allowed to call you again. However, it is also true that countless companies do not comply with this. Apparently, the high fines of £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office do not deter this. In 2017-2018 over 2.7 Billion unsolicited calls, texts and emails were reported in the UK.

4. Phone fraud no longer exists today

Not only telephone advertising, but also telephone fraud continues to be practiced. On tellows, users report cases of telephone fraud every day in a variety of ways. In our annual report, we recorded that in 2019 users most commonly have been harassed by cellular fraudsters. Fraudsters pretend to be employees of renowned telecommunications industries in order to access data.

5. Reporting phone numbers is no use – the fraudsters simply change the number

This is not necessarily true. You may report all phone scams to Action Fraud, the reporting centre for all kinds of frauds. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau can then investigate these scams and take action. On tellows you can share your knowledge to warn other users before they can even fall for the fraud. Many people google phone numbers while they take calls if they are suspicious about the caller purpose or they do research afterwards. You can also use the comment feature to exchange experiences with other victims. 1-2 reviews are already sufficient to question a call and help someone else.

6. Anyone can post reviews and comments to tellows without being questioned

Fortunately, in this case we are talking about a misconception. First of all, every person can upload a rating or a comment, but the ratings and comments will be checked continuously by our automatic spam check system and the tellows team. Comments about discrimination, insults, defamation or similar will be deleted by us immediately. Of course, it can happen that we overlook such a rating once, so we are grateful for any advice from the community! If a company wrongly feels badly valued, we will also examine it in detail.

7. Everyone can see my contact details on tellows

Our goal is to protect you from phone advertising and fraud. We are therefore never interested in collecting data and names from private individuals. The tellows database initially includes every possible telephone number, i.e. as soon as someone enters a number combination on tellows, it is recognized as a potential telephone number. But no data about this number will be available without further comments.

You can see that telephone fraud and telephone advertising are still very present topics and it is therefore important that we act against them together. It is therefore best to check every suspicious number first on tellows.co.uk.

Either on our website or with the help of the app for iPhone or Android you can get insights on suspicious callers.

We hope we could help you with this post! If you can think of a myth about the topic, feel free to write us a comment.

You tellows Team

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tellows database – Where does the information about dubious phone numbers come from?

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tellows Scam Caller Types
Thanks to its large community, tellows offers up-to-date data on unknown phone numbers from all over the world. Using this information, we have developed various solutions to warn consumers of unwanted calls while the phone rings.

Where does the information come from?

More than 9 million users in more than 50 countries use the tellows website, the tellows applications and the partner products every month to find information about unknown calls and report details about frequently called telephone numbers. More than 20,000 reviews are received every month. Users share the name of the caller, the type of call and the purpose. Positive telephone numbers can also be reported and company entries for various industries can be stored to help people find your business.

Regular checks of the content are necessary for a reliable protection. tellows performs manual checks and uses automatic spam checks to ensure optimal data quality and to avoid manipulations.

How is the tellows database structured?

The database contains only phone numbers with existing ratings that are of public interest as they have called a lot of people. A phone number can have multiple ratings. With the help of the ratings, tellows creates an average score, which makes it possible to estimate the reliability of the number. The database of a rated telephone number contains the tellows score, the caller type, the caller name, the number of ratings and search queries, the location, excerpts from comments and other assigned caller names and types.
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Introducing Our New iPhone App Partner

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Dear tellows fellows,

tellows database consists of over millions of telephone numbers reported by our users worldwide. As you can read on our API page, we are always open for any collaboration and partnership by offering the access to our database. Recently, we made a collaboration with Ever Apps LLC to support its anti spam call app for iPhone with the tellows database. In case you haven’t heard of this application, here’s a quick overview of our new partner app!

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Annual Review 2018

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Dear tellows fellows,

we, the tellows team, sincerely wish you a happy new year!

Thanks to you and your endless support we could reach our goals and grow even more in 2018. From the new features of the tellows app to our new and fresh homepage design, we will tell you all the important news in the following annual review. Check it out! Continue reading

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Tech Support Scam Returns with a New Trick

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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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French University Project with tellows API

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Dear tellows fellows,

tellows is versatile and the tellows data can be used for different systems. We developed an API that suits all kinds of projects and allows you to access the database and use the number details as preferred.

Today, we want to introduce a student project from the UPMC University in Paris, which was realized with the help of the tellows API.
For the students, the task was to build an Android App with an API. The idea was to develop a caller ID that identifies French numbers and shows whether a number is dangerous or trustworthy. With the help of our API, they managed to build the App in just a few weeks. As soon as a call comes in, it shows the respective tellows score that indicates if the number is dangerous or not. Opening the app, it will show a list of all recently received calls. Furthermore, it displays the number, score and country.

The final result was presented within the class and turned out successful. We are happy that we could be part of it and help to realize the project. However, a publication of the application is not possible.

screenshot appscreenshot app opened

tellows is happy to collaborate with companies and developers to create projects for commercial or research purposes. The collaborations are broad. For example, we have been working together with an organization but also with other Apps

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

If you need more information about our API, please visit this website.

Your tellows team

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tellows App for iPhone – New Login Feature and Personal Blacklist

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Dear tellows fellows,

We have good news! A new tellows iPhone version  for “tellows Caller ID & Blocker” is available in the App store: 1.4.0! The app works for all devices using iOS 10 or higher.

Version 1.4.0 comes with an improved protection from unwanted phone calls, thanks to some new features. You have the ability to log in to your own tellows account and easily access it from multiple devices. You can also edit your account settings and posted comments, when you log in to tellows in the web browser.

Additionally, you can now 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. You must be logged in to use this feature and synchronize your personal blacklist with your device. You can use your one personal blacklist across all devices and tellows products.
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tellows API for programmers – Protection from Nuisance Calls (e.g. with Asterisk)

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We have now created an API (live interface to tellows), which allows you to integrate the information about a number into your own programs. The API is mainly for programmers who want to access the data base of tellows.
An example application is the integration into a Asterisk telephone system, in order to process the score of numbers and respond accordingly.

For a detailed look at the tellows API with all available parameters, see our documentation: tellows API Documentation

If you are interested in an individual solution for your company, you can join our partner program: tellows API – Partnership Program

Response of the API via test access: https://www.tellows.co.uk/basic/num/08003289393?xml=1&partner=test&apikey=test123

Parameters in the URL
xml: 1 = XML output; 0 = HTML formatted output
partner: Partner login will be given by us on request
apikey: key for partner login and is also given on request
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The tellows app for Android and iPhone – Avoid Spam and Scam Calls with our Caller Identification

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You can now access real-time information about your incoming calls to learn more about the caller – whether it’s a trustworthy friend or an annoying telemarketer. Once your phone rings the tellows app will tell you the trustworthiness of the caller. Share you experience about the number by commenting on the caller’s phone numbers, thus warning your fellows tellows users against probable dangers.

The only requirement is of course, aside from internet access, an Android Smartphone or an iPhone.
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