Author Archives: Stefan Rick

Does it matter to you? International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF)

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Dear tellows readers,

This week we would like to share news from Europol (The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) and Trend Micro Research, together they released the Cyber-Telecom Crime Report 2019. The report explains our excessive dependence on telecommunications technology nowadays and how scammers take benefits from it by carrying out illegal activities. The cost of telecommunications fraud reached €29 billion according to Europol, as advanced technology dramatically increases fraudsters’ capabilities. tellows has already shared figures of the Missed call (the Wangiri fraud) and Vishing calls frauds before. This time we will have a look at International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF)! These frauds mentioned above are all infamous telecommunications frauds included in the Cyber-Telecom Crime Report 2019.
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tellows Study II: Harassment Calls Take Over in the UK

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Last year tellows Study I explored the most communicative countries according to our database, in which Colombia, USA and Mexico took the lead out of 50 countries. In 2019, tellows Study II aims at sharing our latest information of the most reported caller types in countries within Europe, Asia and South America at tellows’ platforms. Alone in the UK, almost 30% of the callers’ type are reported as harassment calls. Surprisingly the most noted caller types actually differ from country to country, let us check out the content below!

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ICO to Reduce High Number of Nuisance Calls

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Dear tellows fellows,

The holiday season is here and it gets even better as the new laws regarding nuisance calls have finally come into force!

New Legislation in the The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)

Nuisance calls have been a troubling issue in the UK for the past few years. According to Which, nearly three quarters of people in the UK receive at least one nuisance call a month. The government has now taken a further step to solve the never-ending problem of nuisance calls. Under the new legislation on the 17th of December, company directors who run unsolicited calls in their companies will be fined by the ICO of up to £500,000. Previously, the Information Commisioner´s Office (ICO) was only able to fine the companies and not the individuals who run the companies. Because of this, company directors have been able to evade justice by dissolving the company and setting up a new business under a different name. Thus, the new rules will give the ICO scope to fine the company, its directors, or both. The change would also allow the ICO to hold individual directors to account where the company fails to pay the fine or is placed into liquidation.

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European Cybersecurity Month: Phishing, Vishing, Smishing

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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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tellows iPhone App – Activating Caller Identification for iOS 10

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Dear tellows fellows,

The tellows iPhone app update is ready!

The latest version of the tellows app is not just able to identify your calls, it can also block annoying spam calls. To use the features of the tellows app with iOS 10, you need to activate the caller identification and protection first.

We tell you how to do it:
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Don’t fall for the scam claiming to be from SKY!

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Reports from people receiving calls from possible scammers claiming to be from a Sky contact center still continue on despite the recent conviction for conspiracy of 14 people who used the same trick, as sentenced by the Swansea Crown Court.

The latest report came from the victim who was advised to wait for a replacement viewing card to be inserted in her Sky box. The next scam caller told her that she was also entitled for a refund for the overcharging of Sky. After the victim gave her bank details to the caller, she then discovered that large sums of money had been withdrawn from her account.

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Android App Support

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Dear tellows users,

the following text contains frequently asked questions and their respective answers. If your question is not listed below, please use the contact form to address our support directly.

We are looking forward to your comments, suggestions and feedback. Should you miss features or feel the necessity for improvement, please let us know.

tellows Android App F.A.Q

-> How does the tellows Score sync work?
In contrast to the tellows iPhone app, our Android app syncs to the tellows servers in real time. Hence, there is no need to download any score lists or to update data bases. You are always up-to-date.

-> I already use the old Android app, do I have to pay for the update?
No. Since you remained true to our old app, it’s free for you.

->I’m from the Netherlands or Poland. Does the english version work for me as well?
Yes of course, Have a look at the app’s country setting and check whether you home country is selected. Otherwise the tellows app syncs with the wrong domain.

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Tiresome and Tenacious: The Week’s Top 3

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Hello tellows followers!

The theme this week is domestic utilities. These people call you at your home, whilst you’re at home, making you feel not at home. We hope we can save you a little time if the following come calling.

Have you recently become a landlord with Your Move? Prepare to be assailed with calls from these insurance telemarketers on 01392849890! With 4581 search requests, it seems that not all of you are convinced by their credibility either (tellows score: 4), so handle with caution! Sister number 01392849808 is also manned by telemarketers selling gas/water/electricity; estate agents Right Move and Reeds Rains appear to be passing on your details to ‘helpful’ third parties.

‘Annoyed’ states:

Estate Agents have given them my number, what a cheek! but try to prove it! First said they were offering a Estate Agent service to connect gas etc. when moving in. then once had me listening started talking tariffs, I swiftly told them I wasn’t interested and they put the phone down, but I know it won’t be the last junk call I’ll be getting. This should be illegal.

Shouldn’t it?

Next up, we have 02036170540, who’ll tells you it’s a survey then try to sell you energy devices for your home. They’re not likely to know your name exactly and for that matter, don’t seem sure of their own: they operate under variations on the ‘British Energy Council’ and ‘Domestic Energy Valuation’, to the ultimately vague ‘British Advisory Board’. It’s been searched 10170 times on tellows and you’ve left 41 comments!

SammyJ reports one of the classic telemarketing tactics:

Call at nearly 9pm, “im not selling anything”, then in the next breath, we want to help youoptimise your household energy bills!!!

As a sidenote, the ’20 seconds’ of your time they so politely request is a majestic underestimation.

Finally, with 19307 tellows search requests to their name and an impressive 36 comments, the people from 01233648537 phone on behalf of various organisations to do surveys – anything from water companies to Natwest (which seems to be the current activity). So – private survey company or con-ring? Sandra gives us a clue…

Missed call at 8.35pm on Sunday. They called again 5 minutes later and started off with natwest bank survey. When I refused to answer questions they said they also deal with Anglos water and started questioning me about monthly direct debit. Told them I’m not interested in speaking to them and hung up. Have tried calling me back twice now!

There are many legitimate companies that outsource independent survey organisations to carry out questionnaires for them, but it is ALWAYS worth checking the legitimacy, not giving out or confirming personal details, and remembering that you are not obliged to answer the survey. These people are requesting time from YOUR day!

Hang in there, hang up on them and hang it all and go on holiday if it gets too much.

Ciao for now,

Your tellows team

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Time To Draw The Line? UK Muses Bill Prohibiting ‘Non-Consensual’ Cold Calling

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It’s a time of flux in the telemarketing world: laws are changing internationally and indeed, some countries are forging long-distance alliances to crack down on tele-tormenters. The UK government is currently considering following other countries’ lead and introducing radical consumer protection measures with regard to cold calling.

Since 2010, for example, German citizens have had to specifically opt in to receive marketing calls and telemarketing companies are now legally obliged to display their caller ID. Meanwhile in the US, October 16th saw revisions to the Federal Communication Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) come into force, forbidding telemarketers to solicit using autodiallers or prerecorded messages without the express written consent of the phone-owner. This ‘express written consent’ is, albeit, something of a misnomer, covering anything from

permission obtained via an email, Web site form, text message, telephone keypress, or voice recording.

Nonetheless, it is a bold and effective motion in the fight against cold call harassment and the tough financial punitive measures ($500-$1500 penalties per call or text) are proving a strong deterrent.

The UK, meanwhile, is yet to see such a measure come into effect. With those who have signed up to the TPS (about 75% of UK landlines) often reporting receiving double the amount of sales calls received by those who aren’t, British phone owners are starting to lose faith in regulators’ capacity to keep ‘direct marketers’ in line.

User Jay the Kay, for example, says of 01904530013:

Called – very annoying as ring off when you answer – no idea how they got my (very private) number as only 4 people have it!!

‘Not happy’ is also somewhat irked about relentless and untimely calls from 01209219844:

Very annoying automated calls about pension, repeatedly calling at between 1am – 2am, leaving messages etc, cannot get it to stop, has broken my sleep so very grumpy

PhonePestReporter reported 01905744557 as ‘aggressive advertising’:

The PEST is: Domestic & General 🙁
They are a cold-calling pest phishing for new Loft Insulation contracts. 
I have automated calls on a daily basis for 2 months now – 3 rings and they hang up – never leaving a message. 

He (or she) goes on to voice the agonies of all those keen to see cold calling condemned to the past:

I wish the government would provide the regulators with some teeth to prosecute all these highly persistent phone pests making MULTIPLE nuisance calls. I changed my number relatively recently to avoid this, and I’m ex-directory and I’ve “opted out” so they should check before they call. I give my number out rarely to only be used by the individual companies I have to deal with. Therefore I know they have somehow acquired my number via some list processed illegally.

However, there is a ray of hope; the House of Lords are currently backing a bill which would see the UK go one step further than the USA and outlaw unsolicited calls and texts altogether. The Unsolicited Telephone Communications Bill has been provisionally passed and is to be submitted for a second reading. This strict set of regulations would mean that all telemarketers would have to gain the consent of their ‘marketees’ before calling; no mean feat when you consider the percentile of the population who’d voluntarily give the time of day to a PPI-pusher.

The regulation itself would be centralised and overseen by Ofcom, a gargantuan task necessitaing much closer surveillance than is currently, by all accounts, in effect. Moreover, such a drastic measure, as Lord Gardiner of Kimble notes, could be disastrous for the direct marketing industry. These are significant considerations which may regrettably cause the bill to stutter.

The APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on Nuisance Calls are nonetheless bravely pushing for change; be it a wholesale ban on unsolicited calls, or a much-needed enforcement of the current regulations, the winds of change may yet be whistling through the realms of coldcalling.

In the meantime, be sure to arm yourself by looking up unknown numbers on www.tellows.co.uk, reporting rogue or pest callers to the ICO or TPS and second-guessing any implausible claims an opportunist scam caller may make. Your phone line is your own! May others respect it.

Have a wonderful week!

Your tellows team

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