It is already June in 2019, time flies! tellows team also has been busy keeping the information about phone scams up to date. As expected, unfortunately the numbers of spam calls, especially related to cost trap, is soaring because of a more advanced technology nowadays and scammers have more means to escape from the authority. Scammers have been taking advantages 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 is successful and 1050 numbers are deleted by HMRC, many numbers starts with 0300. HMRC also stated that the number of phone scam reports are reduced by 25%, which is a very promising sign.
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.
The report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) showed that around 3.9m British families do not have enough savings to cover their rent or mortgage for more than a month.
As CSJ Director Christian Guy said:
Some of the poorest people in Britain are cut off from mainstream banking and have no choice now but to turn to loan sharks and high-cost lenders.
Worse than loan sharks are online payday scammers. They take advantage of the financial situation of people. They ask for a fee promising to release the loan afterwards, but in the end, you get to pay a fee for nothing.
Investing in new technology, developing smart ideas, innovating, outsourcing, call centers – the buzzwords of our business-minded con artists. They’re professionals and they know their stuff. 7 in 10 receive nuisance calls, texts and emails everyday, yet these large-scale scam operators are never penalized because apparently they are just “annoying” and not yet causing “substantial distress” to people.
You, as the target market of these fraudsters, should know better than their old tricks. Update yourself with these words of advice:
- Don’t give any personal information to strangers or to businesses – remember, they should already know your details!
- Ignore employment agencies asking for payment in advance
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly and let your bank know immediately if there are any entries you don’t recognise
- Often, you can’t get lost money back, particularly if you have handed over cash. But you have more protection if you paid by credit card or a debit card.
For our weekly top 3, the approach of our scammers is always a hard sell. Strategies are aggressive and their tactics include cold calls and unsolicited pitches – as if they are really selling some products or services BUT actually no. They are disguised as telemarketers who just want to get your bank details or other personal info. Worse huh!
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.
Let’s welcome 2014 with our Weekly Top 3 – I guess this is a good way of starting the year to make sure that we can outwit, outsmart and outplay our enemies slash spam callers.
2014 is the year of the Horse, which according to Chinese culture, is a „symbol of speed and perseverance“ and people born in this year are – take note – „fabulous speakers who have a gift for getting through to other people“. Seems like this is the perfect recipe for the determined and creative spammers and scammers who pester us with everything illegal.
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.
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.
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
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
Small woodland creatures may be settling down for a winter’s rest but scam and spam callers have no intention of taking a break.
Here’s the latest in annoying:
The opportunists calling from 01612778191 have somehow tracked down your personal details and know you’re on a Vodafone Pay As You Go phone – and naturally they want to upgrade you. However, user lizzie claims that they are not Vodafone at all…
Vodafone have confirmed this company is not working on their behalf but cannot answer me as to how this company knows my monthly payment plan on PAYG
Beware of telemarketers and always always confirm that the caller is legitimate before signing up to anything or handing over any personal or financial details!
Meanwhile, 02070591411 are hailing users with survey requests. We’ve never heard of anything more general than a ‘Life Survey’ but I suppose you have to cater to all audiences. They also promise that Holy Grail of ‘no more nuisance calls’ if you complete the survey. Most amusing.
User +Alzir has been getting creative, but to no avail.
Five times in a week,I’ve tried everything from playing them music to swearing at them and they still won’t give up.
Finally, we have 08445715199, an example of the current plethora of spam-text-requests plaguing mobile phone users. You’ll get a text telling you that somebody has tried to contact you (despite a mysterious lack of missed calls in your history – oh well, you suppose, perhaps I was on the phone at the time). They demand that you ‘URGENTLY’ call them back, quoting a 6 digit reference number. Rest assured that hundreds of other people will have received exactly the same reference number and you will simply be put on premium-rate hold.
Handlebarchap fancies himself one step of the game…
text from 07463590467: ‘call us back on 08445715199 and quote this reference number’. DO THEY THINK I’M STUPID?? Wish these idiots would stop pestering me with their transparent con schemes!!
However, these texts can be quite convincing to the uncynical eye so we’re giving you all a heads-up nonetheless.
Don’t say we haven’t warned you.
Have a lovely week, watch your (digital) back and we’ll be back with next week’s top three!
Ciao for now.
Your tellows team
Hello tellows users!
A motley crew of pesterers and swindlers for you this week! There’s no rest for the wicked and therefore no rest for your phone either.
Caller number one, 01913009131, has got it all wrong. The idea with telesales is to keep the customer on the phone long enough to flog the product; this lot seem to have missed the point and will generally get about a sentence out before hanging up on you. This means we’re not 100% sure what ‘The Consumer Helpline’ are selling, but user Taylor gives us a clue…
askin if my partner had an acident last year. told him it was a long shot and hung up
I believe the correct term is ‘ambulance-chasers’.
Caller number two, calling from 02081509083, is a mysterious gentleman who seems to have trampled over colleagues and customers alike to achieve his financial goals. Under a plethora of identities and company names (most of them false, it seems), this caller has created himself a reputation that goes before him.
don’t touch this guy with a bargepole!!!! dodgy investments and a nasty habit of ripping you off and never paying you back. steer well clear.
pn__ gives us an ounce more insight:
villas, golf courses, murky dealings in Spain… not to be trusted.
If you hear any of the following names: Morgan Forbes/Pearl Island/First Capital Wealth/Hugh Herschell, alarm bells should ring! Remember, these sorts of people make money by being charming, so keep your wits about you!
Sombrely bringing up the rear is caller number three, a company called OTPL, on 0280697934, who are selling – wait for it – funeral insurance.
User Lynne’s experience:
phoning to sell funeral insurance from India apparently, multiple calls per day, very irritating
Like a gaggle of very persistent vultures, they’ll hover over your phoneline, calling you several times a day, for that extra dose of doom and gloom that we all need on an November day.
Keep saving these numbers under ‘time wasters’, or blocking them altogether if you can. Knowledge is power, so if you’re unsure about a caller, pop the number into tellows.co.uk and see what other users are saying about the caller.
Have a great week!
Your tellows team