Kategorie-Archiv: nuisance calls

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Laws and regulations

NHS Covid-19 contacting call- real or fake one?

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Dear tellows friends,

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.

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(English) 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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(English) New Rules to Protect Consumers against Nuisance Calls

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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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A Call for Reform: Empower Regulators to Fine More Companies as Nuisance Callers

FacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailThree 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.

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Parliament Acts on Worsening Nuisance Calls

FacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailDue 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.

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(English) Data Protection and Nuisance Calls – Rights and Regulations

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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.Facebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram

(English) A few clicks from an in-app advert can lead to a £200 cost

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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.

Kind regards,
Team TellowsFacebooktwitteryoutubeinstagram