For some time now, there has been a ranking system for the tellows community – the tellows karma points. In order to honour the dedicated educational work of our members and to make the interactions in the community even more transparent, you can now fight your way from level to level. The high score list in the members‘ area shows both your score and your ranking in the community. The patch next to your username defines your level and shows the community how many karma points you have already collected.
Overview of the new levels
In order to publicly display the commitment in the community, each user is given a patch. In doing so, you can reach a total of four different levels depending on your score. You reach the level „Investigator“ if you participate in the investigative work of the community. Via the „Defender“ level, which you reach when you have collected 50 points, you can fight your way up to the „Protector“ level (100 points or more). With a legendary karma value of 500 points, the „Legend“ rank is rightly awarded for unparalleled community involvement.
Join tellows now and receive benefits
As a member, you automatically earn Karma points. As soon as you are logged in, you have access to a personalized infographic in the member area that reveals exciting facts about your activity in the community and shows to what extent your ratings are helpful for the general public. Depending on the level you reach, exciting rewards will be unlocked. For example, voucher codes for our FRITZ!Box Caller Protection are available for family and friends when you reach the higher levels. In addition, comments from „protectors“ and „legends“ are automatically rated as positive. As a registered tellows user you additionally benefit from the protection against deletion of your comments. Your comments cannot be deleted without a detailed review by the tellows team. Furthermore, members can create their own personal blacklist in addition to the community blacklist. You can find more info at member area. If you are not a tellows member yet, you can join
This is how the karma points system works
The tellows Karma Points are an exclusive ranking system for tellows members. As a logged in member, the point collection starts automatically. For each rating you get one point. The more detailed the ratings in the community are, the better the protection against spam calls. Therefore, providing the caller’s name as well as a comment on the rating earns bonus point each time. Reviews of other reviews are also rewarded. If your comments are marked as helpful, your karma account increases.
You can find an overview of the scoring system by clicking on one of the patches. The more points you collect, the faster your level in the tellows community increases. Collect Karma points now and contribute to the protection of the community with your commitment.
In this blog post tellows interviews an artificial intelligence (AI). Tellows has been dealing with the issue of phone rip-offs and scam calls for over 10 years. Therefore, we want to assess how well the AI ChatGPT knows about this topic. We put the AI’s knowledge to the test and rated its answers . At the end of the interview, we evaluate the AI’s answers from an expert’s point of view. We looked at various aspects of call protection, from the latest scams to the best ways to protect yourself from unwanted calls. Find out how effective AI is in protecting us from phone scams and whether it can help protect us from unwanted calls.
AI in action: The interview
Hello AI, are you ready for an interview?
Yes, I am ready for an interview. What do you want to know?
I want to talk to you about scam calls.
Sure, what specifically do you want to know about phone scams?
Is there a problem with phone scams and fake calls in the UK?
There is indeed a problem with telephone scams and fake calls in the UK. This type of fraud can come in different forms, such as fake phone numbers used by fraudsters to deceive potential victims or fraudulent calls where the fraudsters try to get personal information or money from the victims. There are also many fraudulent calls that impersonate government agency or company employees to gain the trust of victims. There are several steps one can take to protect themselves from phone scams, such as blocking suspicious numbers, being careful when sharing personal information over the phone and ignoring calls from unknown numbers. It is also important to educate yourself about the different types of phone scams so that you can recognise when you may be a victim of a scam.
We see the well-known „grandchild trick“ as one of the most dangerous scams, do you agree?
The grandchild trick is actually a very dangerous and widespread fraud method. In the grandchild trick, the perpetrators pretend to be relatives or friends of the victim and ask for money or personal information. Often the perpetrators pretend to be grandchildren who are in an emergency situation and urgently need money. Many people are particularly susceptible to this type of scam because they are concerned about their relatives and want to help. It is important to always be careful and never give money or personal information to strangers, especially if they are posing as relatives.c
What other telephone scams do you know about?
Some other common phone scams are:
„Winning Scam“: Perpetrators pretend that the victim has won a prize and ask for personal information or a fee in order to receive the prize.
„Imposter Scam“: Perpetrators impersonate officials of government agencies, banks or other institutions and ask for personal information or money.
„Phishing“: Perpetrators send emails or text messages with fake links asking the victim to go to a fake website to enter personal information.
„Robocalls“: automated calls that advertise or make fake offers.
It is important to always be suspicious and never give personal information or money to strangers, especially if you are unsure. If in doubt, you can contact the police or the institution in question to verify your identity.
What tips do you have to protect yourself from phone scams?
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from phone scams: Be suspicious of calls from unknown numbers or calls where the number is withheld. Simply hang up if you are unsure. Never give out personal information such as account information, social security numbers or passwords over the phone unless you have verified the person calling and are sure they are a trustworthy person. Be wary if you are told over the phone that you have won something or that you have been selected to participate in a survey. Such offers are often scams. Ignore calls that ask you to press a certain button or leave a message to remove yourself from the caller list. Install an app that blocks unwanted calls or use your phone’s features to block unwanted calls. Report suspicious calls to the police or telecommunications regulator. Learn about the different types of phone scams and how to recognize them. Be especially careful if you are asked to transfer money to a bank account or by wire transfer, as this is a common way for scammers to get victims‘ money.
I fully agree with you on many points. However, I am very interested in one point. You talk about apps against scame calls: What do you think about automatic call protection?
Automatic call protection can be a useful tool to protect against phone scams. This type of protection can automatically block unwanted calls or forward them to voicemail before they reach the user’s phone. Some of these applications use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to detect and block calls from known scammers and unwanted callers. Others use databases of known fraudulent numbers and block them directly. There are also applications created by various organizations and regulators based on reports from consumers to detect and block unwanted calls. However, it is important to note that automatic call blocking is not 100% reliable and it is still possible for fraudulent calls to get through. Therefore, it is important to remain cautious and educate yourself about the different types of phone scams in order to quickly recognize when you might be a victim of a scam.
Do you know the call protection of tellows?
Yes, I am familiar with tellows call protection. Tellows is a free phone number information system that allows users to look up phone numbers and read reviews from other users to find out whether a number is trustworthy or not. Tellows also offers a call blocking service that allows you to automatically block unwanted calls. This service uses Tellows‘ database to block calls from known spam numbers. Users can also manually blacklist numbers and have them blocked automatically. Tellows is a popular choice for people looking for a way to protect themselves from unwanted calls, and it is a good addition to the options already mentioned. However, it is important to note that there is no 100% security here either, and it is always good to be cautious when receiving calls from unknown numbers.
The tellows team is a professional in the field of call protection. Can tellows protect against telephone fraud?
Tellows is a useful tool that can help users protect themselves from unwanted calls and phone scams by allowing them to look up phone numbers and read reviews from other users to find out whether a number is trustworthy or not. Tellows‘ call blocking service uses Tellows‘ database to block calls from known spam numbers, and also allows users to manually blacklist numbers and block them automatically. However, it is important to note that no method, including Tellows, can provide 100% protection against phone scams. Scammers change their methods and numbers often, so it is important to continue to be cautious when receiving calls from unknown numbers and always be aware of the latest scams. It is also important to never give out personal information or money to anyone without being sure that the person is trustworthy.
What role does the tellows community play in scam detection?
The tellows community has an important role in fraud detection as it allows users to look up phone numbers and read reviews from other users to find out whether a number is trustworthy or not. By allowing users to rate numbers and share information about unwanted calls and phone fraud, the tellows community helps keep the tellows database up to date and protect other users from fraud. These ratings and information can contribute to a number being blacklisted and thus automatically blocked. However, it is important to note that the tellows community is only a supplement to other protective measures and is not a substitute for caution and common sense. It is always advisable to inform yourself about current scams and methods in order to protect yourself and your data as best as possible.
We see it as our task to educate about telephone fraud. Which topics in the area of telephone fraud need to be educated about more?
Some of the phone scam issues that should be more educated about include:
1. „Fishing“ or voice phishing: This involves scammers calling and posing as representatives of banks, government agencies or other reputable organizations in order to obtain personal information or money.
2. „Impersonation Scam“: where scammers pretend to be friends, relatives, or even police officers in order to obtain money or personal information.
3. Tech Support Scam: Here, scammers call pretending to be employees of technology companies and offer help with technical problems. They then ask for access to the victim’s computer or personal information.
What is the most important message to the public to protect against telephone fraud? Formulated in one sentence
The most important message to the public to protect against phone scams is to always be suspicious of calls from unknown numbers and never give personal information or money to anyone without being sure the person is trustworthy.
Thank you for the interesting interview on the subject of telephone fraud and how to protect yourself from it.
You are welcome, it is important to educate about this issue. I am here to help you answer more questions.
The evaluation – expert opinion on the interview
The interview with the AI ChatGPT was very exciting and impressive. The AI was able to positively surprise on many points. It should be noted that precise and detailed answers are written in a matter of seconds. In terms of content, the partly detailed answers of the AI were completely convincing. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The AI „ChatGPT“ is very easy to use. After a free and uncomplicated login, a chat with the AI can already be started. In the input bar, questions or orders can be written, which are then answered by the AI within seconds. Due to the extreme popularity and corresponding load of the service, there are sometimes delays in the login process and in the response time of the artificial intelligence. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
+ The AI knows a wide variety of fraud schemes and can differentiate and explain them according to importance. In addition, the AI shows suitable protection options and behavioral tips for different types of fraud, which we as the tellows expert team agree with..
+ Explicitly asked about the „grandchild trick“, the AI knows how to shine with background knowledge.
+ The AI’s answers all seem very authentic and follow a sensible structure.
Despite the consistently good feedback, we have been able to identify some inaccuracies.
– When asked for tips on how to protect against telephone fraud, the AI explains various options, but does not mention the use of an online community (e.g. tellows). In our opinion, online communities are an important building block for protecting against and resolving telephone fraud. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
– Surprisingly well, the AI was able to explain what tellows is and what tellows does. Here, however, we would have hoped for an explanation of our call protection solutions as well as a link to the question „How to protect yourself from telephone fraud“.
In summary, the AI is able to deal with technical issues extremely confidently and is convincing across the board despite a few minor inaccuracies. Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
(tellows generated this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, tellows reviewed the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.)
Telephone scams and dubious calls are and will remain an issue that will not lose its relevance anytime soon. Quite the contrary. Every day, individuals continue to be confronted with the fraudulent stories of unscrupulous scammers.
The reasons given for the calls cover a wide range: from the delivery of shocking news to the announcement of an alleged profit. Often it is not easy to see through the scam, let alone keep track of it. For this reason, tellows has made it a business to always inform and warn you about the latest unwanted, dubious phone numbers.
Attention! Be skeptical with these callers
The listed call numbers were searched for particular frequency by tellows users in June 2022 and accordingly often rated negatively. The comments show that the scammers have a very strong Indian accent and are claiming to be working for O2 company. Be careful, official numbers are often targeted by scammers who manipulate phone numbers via spoofing, and their main goal, in this case, according to the comments is always to either get your personal data or your money directly with the “excuse” of the need to renovate the contract. What is particularly striking about June’s unwanted numbers is that virtually all of them started their activity of contacting people this month, for this reason, it is important to stay informed about the latest dubious numbers.
Stay safe from spam calls! Thanks to tellows APP, you can find out who’s calling you right away, rate numbers and block calls . Benefit from free Caller ID search, unknown number information, spam call blocker, personal blacklist and more!
we know what you might think: „Corona Virus scams again?!“ But trust me, even tough we already informed you about a lot of scams regarding to Covid-19, we have to inform you about this one! It is a really sneaky trick and there is a high probability that you might fall for the scam if you don’t know how to recognize it.
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. Weiterlesen →
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!
Three years since UK’s Information Communication Office has been given the power to impose a fine of up to £500,000, only two firms have been prosecuted so far. This is the situation despite the staggering increase in the number of complaints received between April and October last year, totalling to 100,000 – a far cry from the 30,000 reports in 2012.
One of these companies is First Financial, which was fined £175,000 after sending millions of spam texts to promote its website using unregistered sim cards.
Due to the increasing number of complaints regarding unwanted marketing messages and abandoned, silent phone calls, the UK Committee on Culture, Media and Sports has recently published its report on nuisance calls since it started its inquiry in July 2013.
The usage of nuisance calls is one of the most annoying marketing strategies nowadays, its benefits are highly controversial and justifiably so. Nevertheless dozens of companies call and message their customers as well as total strangers every day. While the tellows community offers fruitful hints about the source of certain telephone numbers, we now would like to provide you with useful information regarding your right to data privacy as well. Especially the regulations on personal data and its use are rigorous and actually promote benefits for all of us. But for a successful fight against scam and spam calls you need to know and defend your rights.
The following information will give you a broad knowledge on data security, mainly based on laws and regulations valid in UK. Some institutions were specially built for the protection of our data.
The Data Protection Act
The DPA is one of the most important pieces of legislation when it comes to data protection in the UK. The DPA was enacted to be in line with the data protection directive in the EU, which should guarantee protection of people’s right to privacy, especially concerning the processing of personal data. As it aims to safeguard consumer rights regarding personal data, the 1998 DPA also guarantees self-control over personal information and the right to privacy. It determines that any collection or use of personal date requires consent of the individuals concerned. Furthermore, all organisations processing this kind of data need to comply with the regulations of the Act and need to be registered at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as well. It also vests all individuals with the authority to get access to their stored data by any organisation.
Privacy Electronic Communication Regulations
The EC Directive, known as the E-Privacy Directive is a continuation of the DPA on data protection. It enables criminal proceedings through fines up to £500,000 for the unauthorised use of recorded messages for marketing purposes. The impact of the EC Directive also includes phone calls, emails and SMS messages. Thereby it provides the legal basis for consumer protection especially in the case of direct marketing and has been amended several times.
Information Commissioner’s Office
As mentioned before, the ICO is the authority for upholding consumer rights as well as data protection in the UK. The enforcement of both presented regulations is controlled by the ICO, who has multiple tools for opposing misuse of personal data. There are not only possibilities of monetary penalty, the ICO is also entitled to audit and prosecute anyone disregarding the DPA or the EC Directive.
Every call or message as marketing measure needs to be consented by the individual to be permitted. In any case marketers need to provide a possibility to opt out any following messages or calls to meet the legal regulations. If this is disregarded, those responsible also disregard the regulations and thereby are liable to prosecution. Thus, consulting the ICO is everyone’s right. When there is violation of rights, the ICO takes action to ensure a proper handling of personal information and also enables individuals to detect the information held about them.
Telephone Preference Service
Next to these legal institutions and laws consumers have the possibility to use the TPS. This central register enables people to opt out from receiving unsolicited nuisance calls. As described before, organisations have to respect the request of individuals not to be approached if listed in the TPS. The free registration can be done by any individual for a certain number (mobile phone numbers as well) and takes full effect after approx. 28 days. The TPS offers a complaint system as well. Although the TPS is not allowed to take any action of enforcement, they regularly send updates about the incoming complaints to the ICO as the body responsible. This strongly supports their investigations.
While reliable companies accept the TPS entries as it is a legal requirement, it is quite easy for organisations working outside of the UK to circumvent the regulations. Through Caller ID spoofing, which allows deceptive organisations to display a number that is not the original one. Although this is obviously illegal, the ICO’s and TPS’s authority is not effective outside the UK. Unfortunately a TPS registration does also not prevent calls on the purpose of legit market research. Also the receipt of marketing text messages is not under the control of TPS. To stop receiving SMS messages you have to send a request to the company yourself, a simple „STOP“ message is enough though.
The Office of Communications
The Ofcom has an even broader scope. As it is a regulatory and competition authority approved by the government, it represents the interest of UK citizens regarding competition and protection for broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries. Thereby the Ofcom also deals with problems of nuisance calls and offers particular guidelines for several situations.
All of the presented regulations and authorities can help you taking care of annoying, even malicious phone calls and messages. In some cases however it might be advisable to consult a lawyer to advice you for further legal steps if necessary.
A wave of protests, triggered by the in-app advertising featuring in Talking Friends Cartoons encouraged parents to become more cautious about the iPhone apps their children use.
Parenting groups actively warn parents to pay more attention towards the iPhone and iPad usage by their children, as this can result in large telephone bills, generated by children who were incentivised by the in-app advertisements.
The app developers constantly have challenges to face: previously it were costly in-app purchases placed in the most common children’s apps and now – in-app adverts. The most recent “immoral” iPhone in-app advertisement encouraged children to sign up to a £208 (per year) subscription service.
Well-known children’s cartoon, featuring Talking Tom Cat and Talking Lila the Fairy became the basis for the Talking Friends app, which then, respectively, motivated smart phones developers, like iPhone, iPad and Android to develop the Talking Friends Cartoon app for their electronic devices. It is a cost-free app, allowing users to expand their knowledge of the favourite characters, download cartoon’s wallpapers and, moreover, view short cartoons developed in co-operation with Disney. However, apart from that app users were exposed to the banner at the bottom of the screen, that, if linked, transferred them to a quiz, advertised by a firm called Yamoja, encouraging to participate in it and get a chance to win a 64GB iPad.
To participate in the contest clients had to subscribe, paying a weekly fee of £4, for which in turn they got sent 4 weekly messages like „funtones, wallpapers, games, celeb news & more“.
Stuart Dredge, famous for his remarks about Apps, posted a comment on such adverts in his Apps Playground blog: „What an advert that tries to sign you up to a £4-a-week mobile content subscription was doing inside this app is genuinely beyond me.“
The application was cleared from the app, but a different expensive inbuilt app has been recently introduced by National Geographic.
A lot of discussions appeared after the launch of Dino Land app in the middle of February 2013 since it offered the clients to purchase additional virtual “bones” for total sum of £69.99, which allowed rising the pace of the game. The offer seemed particularly alluring for children who could not wait to finish the game and were eager to accelerate this process.
Dino add provides series of apps for children such as Playmobil Pirates, Coin Dozer and Racing Penguin that include inbuilt offers with costly extras. Websites for parents reveal the raising numbers of cases when parents received bills of £500 or even larger amounts because of their children buying add-ons offered in a game while playing, and suggest the parents disabling any acquisitions through the apps.
CEO and co-founder of Mumsnet Justine Roberts said: „App-developers need to build in greater controls from the start – it’s shocking that a few click-throughs from an advert can lead to a £200 cost for unknowing parents, and it shows just how important it is to keep an eye on your child’s device settings.“
Founder of website for parents Netmums Siobhan Freegard commented: „Few people mind a couple of targeted ads which are relevant to the app service, as they realise it’s the price to pay for the ‚free‘ app. But bombarding children using free apps with expensive products and services they can unwittingly sign up to a couple of clicks is immoral.“
Tellows highly recommend parents to pay more attention on apps your children are using to avoid such cases.