It is already June 2019, how time flies! The tellows team has also been busy keeping the information about phone scams up to date. As expected, unfortunately, the number of spam calls, especially related to cost traps, is soaring because of more advanced technology nowadays and scammers having more means to escape from the authorities. Scammers have been taking advantage of taxpayers in March and April as it was the tax season. According to HMRC, over 100,000 reports of frauds were reported last year and the number increased in the first quarter of 2019 by more than 300%. Around a week ago, HMRC announced that it has been working with Ofcom, Mobile UK, Mobile Ecosystem Forum and Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum together to prevent bogus tax calls. The cooperation was successful and 1050 numbers have been deleted by HMRC, of which many numbers started with 0300. HMRC also stated that the number of phone scam reports has reduced by 25%, which is a very promising sign.
Dear tellows users,
Today we would like to talk about the new features of our Android app!
Since 2014, the year we launched it, our app has grown: we have moved to over 450,000 downloads, more than 6,400 evaluations and 200,000 subscribers. Every day we work hard to improve it and your advice and feedbacks have been fundamental.
Functionality at a glance
- Immediately identify who is calling you:
We have improved Caller ID, so that the spam numbers are immediately detected through the tellows app; the tellows score will be always shown on the screen of our mobile phone and, in addition to the rating, you will also be able to find out the name of the caller, the type of call and from which location it phones. You will have all the information you need, so you can decide whether or not to answer calls!
- Find any number and info on callers:
With over 180.000 reviews per day, you can find out who is bothering you in no time. Thanks to your reports, our database is constantly updated and over time it has become a big world family. New countries and new languages are available in the application, no scammers or call centers around the globe will have a chance!
- Evaluate and comment on phone numbers:
Commenting and evaluating is now easier and more immediate, in order that you can help us in our mission against telephone scams; just connect to your account and enter in the tellows world from all devices in a simple and free way. It is not required to leave a comment anymore when rating a number which makes it faster to evaluate unknown numbers. Your negative rated numbers are also on your personalized blacklist and can be blocked with premium.
- Call barring and Blacklist customized with Premium:
In the Premium version, all dangerous numbers rated by you, are saved on your phone and can be blocked even in offline mode. All is possible thanks to the black list stored and updated locally and also use it without any advertising.
We could not be more proud of our product, but without your support and the trust that you give us every day, we would not have made the giant steps we have taken so far: you, our community tellows, are the beating heart of our app!
The movie ‘You’ve got a mail‘ is one of the tellows’ team favorite movies. But my readers, how many of us can become Joe and Kathleen in real life? Unfortunately, more people are falling victims to ‘romance scams’ regardless of gender, according to the official information* of many countries. Let us have a look at the figure:
The numbers above are surprisingly alarming. In the US, the losses of romance scams rose from $33M to $143M in 2015 to 2018 as stated in FTC. Online dating becomes more popular and common nowadays, thanks to the technology we can meet endless potential romantic partners online. However, we also become more vulnerable when there are scammers try to take advantages of the online dating platforms.
Here we are in the season of Springtime tax scams, again scammers are trying to take advantages from us, especially targeting the young people and the senior as stated by HMRC. The numbers of youngsters and the elder possessing a smartphone is growing through these years. According to Ofcom Communications Market Report 2018, over half of the population who aged over 55, and 95% of young people (from 16 to 24) own a smartphone in the same period. This means that fraudsters have higher chances to scam people successfully through bogus text messages or phone calls.
Phone scammers are directing at youngsters and the vulnerables since most of them are less familiar with the tax system. HMRC stated that close to 2,500 reports of tax scams were reported per day last Spring, with roughly 250,000 reports received in total during the whole season.
Scammers are most likely approaching potential victims with refund scams in the tax period by email or texts pretending to be HMRC. They will offer a tax refund or payment for around 100 pounds in exchange for personal information such as bank account details. Be prepared for phishing websites. HMRC already made 6000 requests to shut down these cloned websites last tax season. Moreover, Fraudsters mostly asked for immediate action, therefore beware of phrases like ‘you only have 2 days to reply’ or ‘urgent action required’ in text messages or e-mail.
According to Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith:
“These criminals will contact victims in many ways including spoofed calls, voicemails and text messages. People should spot the signs of fraud and be wary of emails with attachments which might contain viruses designed to obtain personal or financial information.”
Take Five, the national campaign that advises on protection against financial fraud, Katy Worobec:
“The offer of a tax rebate might sound tempting, but don’t let the criminals hoodwink you into giving away your details or your cash. If you’re worried that you might have given away any of your information, then contact your bank straight away.”
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.
This time tellows would like to share some insights about the impact of the Brexit on phone scams and unwanted calls. As we are all concerned, the Brexit is not only a frustrating process, but besides its own complexity and influences, there is also a very annoying side effect – the Brexit scams. Phone frauds are not strange to us, there are many fraudsters in the UK and we often read news about phone scams. However, Brexit is making it worse by providing these scammers more ways to deceive people. Let’s take a look at the latest four Brexit phone scams.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez and Kevin Grieve on Unsplash
Getting to know the Brexit scams
HMRC Brexit scams
Do you own a business and trade with the EU? If yes, then lets assume you have been told by the government that you have to register for a ‘UK trader number’. Scammers will try to reach you through email, text message or over the phone, and ask for your personal details such as bank account details, internet banking password or offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details.
If you receive an incoming call from a foreign number, you should be very careful! Fraudsters from abroad use these calls to deceive their victims and steal their money. And although this type of scam isn´t completely new, thousands of consumers fall victim to them every year. Even in 2019, the business with Ping-Calls (referred to missed call scams) flourishes in various countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan and more. Lately we registered an increasing number of reports regarding the “Missed Call”-scam in the United Kingdom on our site tellows.co.uk. However, what is this “Missed Call”-scam and how can you protect yourself against it? This article will answer these questions. Let´s take a look!
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!
Dear tellows fellows,
the first month of the year has passed. We’re very happy that all of our users have contributed to our platform by sharing useful information of various telephone numbers. Last month, we received more than 1200 ratings and comments in UK. The total number has increased by 200 ratings compared to December. In order to protect you from possible fraudsters and phone spammers, we would like to share some of the most searched numbers at tellows.co.uk. We’ve also added the type of callers and the name of companies, so you can see if the numbers are dangerous or not.
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!