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 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
21st October 2013 brought good news for all phone-owners as British regulator Ofcom joined forces with international regulators in the UK, USA and Canada to crack down on ‘spoof’ callers.
Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be working with the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Canada’s Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). This new task force aims to share international resources and knowledge to tackle nuisance callers’ stranglehold over phonelines the world over.
Spoof calling, for those unfamiliar with the term, involves using a nifty bit of software to mask the number you’re actually calling from, in order to prevent the recipients of your calls being able to locate you, or call you back. This is of course, infuriating for those of us badgered incessantly by anonymous callers. What’s even more infuriating is that whilst some spoofers use gobbledegook numbers instead of their own, others have really taken the biscuit and tactically use well-known organisations’ digits to execute some quite remarkable conning manoeuvres.
Whilst spoofing has been happening for years, the people behind it are becoming ever more audacious. Regular spoofing will be something along the lines of what user Steven reports about number 01164465587:
SILENT CALL and if you try and call it back it is unrecognised. Looks like a scam or a spoof. The BT 1471 read this number correctly but it is duff.
Commenting on number 01618149908, user Dawn mentions another standard spoofing tactic: hiding a phone number with a bad reputation and using an as yet ‘clean’ one so you aren’t forewarned when the phone rings.
just so people know,,,,DRD ALSO CONTACT YOU USING THIS NUMBER ,,,,07734953850,, i have found out that this is a “SPOOF” number they are used by tele marketing to make them seem legitimate number calling you
If you’ve been called by 000-000-0000 (or another unlikely-looking number), it’s highly probable that the caller was using spoofing technology. Difficulty in tracking down spoofing culprits is increased thousandfold by the fact that the origin of the call is completely untraceable. Without an area code, there is generally no way of discerning where or who a call has come from. This means that internationally-placed spoof calls are becoming increasingly common: hence the transatlantic team-up.
The joint statement from the six organisations, published on the ICO’s website, avers that they
will work together to share information and target organizations responsible for spoofing.
The member organisations will pool resources, share information and work in collaboration with telecommunications industries in their respective countries to target and reprimand offending organisations. Guidelines on what constitutes ‘misuse’ of the spoofing technique are also being reconsidered, revised and made much clearer, with a view to introducing tougher punitive measures: monetary penalties of up to £500,000 are being considered for foul-players.
In the UK, US and Canada, all telemarketers are legally obliged to identify themselves, meaning that spoofing, and also number-concealment, are against the law. Always be on your guard with unknown callers and watch out for the warning signs: are they trying to weasel information out of you, personal or otherwise? If they claim to be calling on behalf of a service you use, ask yourself if this is how they normally contact you. Try to call back on the official company number if you’re in any doubt at all and never respond to threats or implausible claims.
Take care and have a great week!
Your tellows team
As most of our tellows users know all too well, incessant calls from telemarketers or call centres have become a genuine nuisance. Thus, services to put a stop to these type of unsolicited calls enjoy increasing popularity. Aside from apps such as the tellows app to detect spam and scam calls, there is the option to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to prevent unwanted and cold calls.
A Scam Claiming to Stop Spam
However, not all service provider are trustworthy: some fraudsters try to take advantage of the fact that many consumers are plagued by unsolicited calls. The police advise to be extremely cautious of callers claiming to provide services to prevent unwanted calls. Claiming to be aware of the fact that you have been bothered by numerous unsolicited calls recently, the caller attempts to offer information and appliances in order to stop the calls.
In some instances, the caller may even know some personal information such as your address, the bank you use or your credit/debit card number. Some of our tellows users have made similar experiences as Betty Sinclair, who allocated the number 07825874525 to BT, who reported:
Unknown number sent numerous messages, knew details about myself which unnerved me.
Generally, the purpose of the call is to obtain further information regarding your credit/debit card such as the issue or expiry date, account number, security code, to access your credit card account or use for identity theft.
Recognizing and Dealing with the Scammers
Sometimes even seemingly insignificant details can be a clue that you are targeted by scammers. Therefore you should be wary, how the caller identifies him- or herself: even though the scammers often claim to be calling from BT directly, only BT Privacy at Home offers the telephone preference service. Similarly, user spammed, who commented on the number 01274802868, noticed:
The caller said they were calling from British Telecom. As a former worker for BT they stopped calling themselves British Telecom back in the early 90s.
To avoid falling a victim to these types of scams, you should never give bank or personal details on the telephone, especially if you have doubts about the legitimacy of the call. If the caller claims to be from your bank, phone them on the number that you normally use or know to be legitimate to confirm that the call you receive was genuine.
Furthermore, you should be aware that if you receive unsolicited calls in spite of being registered at TPS, the calls are probably scam calls as well. User Paula, for instance, wrote about the number 00443562780913:
The person who called, spoke English with an accent, said she was not trying to sell anything but merely conducting a survey. She seemed to know both my name and when I asked her how they have these information, since I’m registered with TPS, she got evasive and asked if I could just answer her some questions.
In case you have provided personal and financial information to what you suspect to be scammers, you may contact your bank and, if necessary, ask them to issue a new credit/debit card. Moreover, you can report the scammers to the police at Action Fraud as well as on tellows to warn others who may be contacted by the scammers.
In the day of vast advancing technology, it is nearly impossible to keep track of all of the latest developments and the new possibilities subsequently emerging. Unfortunately, that also holds true for the various strategies and tactics of con artists who try to exploit the latest innovations for personal gain. One of these ever growing scam methods that has become rather popular among scammers is called “vishing” and, according to Financial Fraud Action (FFA UK), could affect nearly a quarter of adults in the UK.
How ‘Vishing’ Scammers Operate
The equivalent to the e-mail scam phishing, the telephone ‘vishing’ scam is not fundamentally different from others: the caller tries to gain access to sensible personal information under false pretences. Posing as employee of a legitimate body such as the bank, police, telephone or internet provider, the scammer attempts to obtain personal details and financial information regarding credit card and bank accounts (e.g. the pin number) as well as personal information including the full name, date of birth or address. Once received, the information can be used to access and empty the account or to commit identity fraud. Some scammers may also try to persuade the victim to transfer money to another bank account or withdraw cash to pay them.
User Brett, who appears to have been targeted by ‘vishing’ scammers, reported a similar story for the number 01267226778:
This number called repeatedly over a period of a week. I finally answered and everything seemed legit. They asked for my card details to ‘verify’ my details with the bank. DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR DETAILS.
Another comment that read similiar was made by Peter Smith on the number 02032867209:
Be WARNED!!They phone me talking about Bank refunds too! They mentioned UKask, I looked this up found THIS “UKash Common Scams” saying…..Reclaim bank charges scam. Ignore mails or calls claiming that you’re entitled to a refund on overpaid bank charges. These will typically come from a scammer claiming to represent a bank, official agency or law firm and will require all your personal details, and may claim a charge for their services.
Dubious and Fraudulent Calls in Numbers
Out of all the crimes in the past year related to online and phone banking, shopping and identity fraud, at least £7m of a total increase of £36m have been attributed to ‘vishing’ scams. Nearly a quarter of people in the UK have been on risk to become potential victims of the scam, receiving cold calls during which they were asked to offer personal or financial information. The FFA UK also reported that 4 in 10 people had difficulties distinguishing a trustworthy from a deceptive call. Furthermore, 30% of consumers stated that they had received at least 10 cold calls a month – 41% of which suspected the call to be dubious.
The fact that it’s not always easy to differentiate between a dubious and a trustworthy call, is also illustrated by the comments on the number 01131649097. Whereas user Jenny considered the number to belong to an actual bank fraud team, user, Anon shared a different opinion:
This is a scam. If your card is stolen and HSBC calls you, they wouldn’t ask you to call back. I received a call from this number AFTER I cancelled my card. I terminated the call when I realised it was a scan. I didn’t call back and didn’t receive another call. A genuine fraud department would call again.
How to be Cautious and Aware of Telephone Scams
- don’t give out or confirm any kind of personal information to an unknown caller
- don’t be afraid to put down the phone and disconnect the call
- don’t trust a caller just because he or she has some information about you: criminals could obtain some basic information about you (name, address and bank account details)
- be wary of requests to call them back even if they claim it is for you to check their authenticity (they could keep your phone line open by not hanging up)
- remember: banks don’t call asking you for your pin or to withdraw money to hand over or transfer to another account
In case you suspect to have been the victim of such a scam, contact your bank or card company immediately. If you know any details or numbers that seem suspicious or even dubious, don’t hesitate to share your information with us on tellows. Especially with scams like this one where the scammers are likely to use one number for several scams, it could help warning other people and possibly even prevent further scams.
Nuisance calls are on the news again. Just a few weeks ago we told you about the findings of a study, that revealed highly startling news on the business practice of nuisance callers and the real extent of scam in the UK. The findings of Ofcom did not only show how nerve-wracking unwanted calls are in the eyes of most people, the results were also combined with a claim on improved and immediate action, which in detail means: a complete ban on cold calling. This week we will give you another clean proof on the necessity of action.
The current problem concerning nuisance calls
The starting point of the ongoing silent, abandoned, harassment and any other unwanted calls is the fact, that the existing mechanisms launched for protection and defence are not working at all. The Telephone Preference Service TPS as a free service for customers to opt out from receiving marketing calls, is not at all hindering businesses to use phone calls as a working method for any kind of promotion or scam. As the restriction is not broad enough, a registration of one’s number on TPS does only help to stop unsolicited calls with a sales purpose, which means that for example any kind of recorded message as well as research or silent calls are not under the control of TPS. As already mentioned in the blog on the Ofcom study, problems especially occur if the caller is calling from abroad, as there is actually no legal basis for taking action against this.
Elderly people attracting the attention of scammers
Although it is well-known, that especially elderly people are likely to be taken in by fraudsters, there are still not a lot of options on how to deal with it, as a recent example in the Guardian shows. What bothers the most is, that there are no actual attempts that would help to improve this situation, except for claims of consumer organizations and so far unredeemed promises of officials. The only help might be to fall back on private companies offering services and products to deal with the unsolicited calls yourself. When it comes to elderly people, this means that younger relatives need to help out. As the example of the guardian writer shows very clearly, this is as necessary as frustrating. She shows us through her own experience with an elderly relative, that most of the techniques that would work for us – like just not answering calls from unknown numbers or not giving away personal information – are not as useful for elderly people. Particularly politeness, forgetfulness or just loneliness are the biggest problems here. Elderlies tend to answer all calls as they want to be friendly; they talk to the researchers as they need conversation; and they give away their bank account data as they trust the friendly voice at the other side of the phone. So what is best to do?
How to deal with scam and spam calls
Of course, a complaint is one of the first steps to do when receiving unsolicited calls. But this is not an immediate solution, it helps on the long run, not for the present. First of all, checking the possibilities that are offered by your provider makes sense. Some opportunities of blacklisting numbers or blocking calls are integrated in most of the systems.
But as the author of the guardian article points out as well, this is still not enough for the protection of elderly people. What she found might be the best solution for this problem in years, the trueCall device, blocking calls from unknown numbers completely, redirecting them to the answer phone straight away. Although this of course is not a free device, this product might be the perfect solution for a lot of different problems, as it can be used to block numbers, record important messages or even ask who is calling to decide right away if one should answer the phone. Although we could not test it, the mere existence of such a blocker means, that there are people actually thinking about how to solve the problem of unsolicited calls, as officials regularly fail to do so.
As many other applications, devices or web pages, also tellows works for the purpose of informing people on the dangers of unsolicited calls and hindering companies to scam. As long as the regulators are not able to take efficient enforcement action for the protection of consumers, it is up to tellows, trueCall et al. to support the fight on unwanted calls.
Mobile phone fraud involves a variety of scams that either persuade you to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be non-existent or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by accident or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services. And each year millions of the UK consumers fall victim to mobile phone frauds.
There is one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam – students! Students are using their mobile phones almost 24 h a day and they are open to communication with the world. Those might be the reasons for the latest frauds in the UK, when students were victims.
Last fall college students have been left in thousands of pounds of debt after becoming involved in a mobile phone contract scam. A fraud has made young people sign up for numerous expensive mobile phone deals on the promise they will not be required to fulfil them. Young people from Preston College have taken out mobile phone contracts which they hand over to a fraudster, who promised to cancel the contracts. But instead he shipped them abroad to places like India and Pakistan leaving students facing bills for more than £2,000 each. Some of them were paid a fee for their work, while others were probably conned into the belief taking mobile phones would “improve their credit rating.” Police have today revealed frauds – criminals from Blackburn.
Very often scammed are especially international students. Tellows user m.wentzel reported number 02032398294 and his comment:
This is one of the numbers that pretends to be from the UKBA to fool international students in the UK and tell them there is something wrong with their imigration application. They have parts of your data (maybe name, zip-code etc.) and they try to get ALL of your information plus your credit card details. Do not give that information!
In 2012 BBC informed that in nine months viruses that steal cash have jumped from 29% of mobile malware to 62% . Mobile security firm Lookout said viruses were getting on to phones via booby-trapped apps and through adverts and webpages harbouring malware. Those viruses added charges to a user’s bill to cash in. Fraudsters inserted a virus called “NotCompatible”. Such a virus might be used to artificially inflate the popularity of an advert, a song on a music website to help generate a larger return for criminals.
Another example of scam adds has been reported by Tellows user London on number 07572597532:
Be careful people. This guy puts fakes adds on gumtree. But is a scam.
Trust me. This guy is a scammer.
People are being tricked into signing up, often by typing in their mobile number online, for services they actually don’t want. Messages are then sent out which can cost users up to £4.50 per text to receive. Unless people keep a close eye on their mobile phone bills those charges can add up very quickly. For example, twenty-four-year-old Beth Coundley from Chichester got caught out after receiving around five texts a month for five months. In total she was charged around £130 despite insisting she never signed up for any services.
And those are just few examples of this huge problem. To protect yourself it is better not to respond to unknown numbers, to reply to text messages from someone you don’t know, to reply to any text that claims you won money. We have to remember it is not possible to win money without entering a competition.
Taking into consideration the amount of phone frauds, the UK government is doing everything possible to protect their citizens. There are advices how to protect yourself and your money in the internet, also everybody who becomes victims can make a fraud information report on webpage of Tellows. Police and National Fraud Authority are working together to fight this fight. Unfortunately, the development of technologies guarantees the development of fraudsters’ imagination.
Whenever someone receives a call from a strange number arrises a question: ”How to check who is calling me?” Answer is simple – check it on Tellows It works very simply. Put in the number of someone who called you, read the complaints and see where the number comes from, read experiences of other people and then post your own. Simple, you see!
Regarding the most wanted numbers we make our weekly updates on most annoying numbers in UK. So, are you ready to know who is hiding behind UK’s most annoying numbers this week ? Here we are with UK’s latest update on Top 5 of Most Annoying Numbers.
1. 01422387713 from Halifax – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 9
2. 01618505451 from Manchester – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 8
3. 01709384780 from Rotherham – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 6
4. 01933441081 from Wellingborough – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 8
5. 01614867770 from Manchester – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 8
The most wanted number 01422387713 this week comes from Halifax and Tellows user Fed up posted the last comment on this number:
Call daily on my work phone. Have requested they stop but they still persist
This is a classic harassment call and it has been our top leader for a couple of months already. The second place goes to number 01618505451 that has been reported as harassment call, also. Our user bagsy told us:
Calling me everyday for months despite me ignoring their calls. ask too many personal questions over the phone
If you receive harassing phone calls, hang up immediately on obscene callers or strangers who ask questions regarding private matters. Do not share your private information and be aware of scammers!
We wish you a scam free week!
Yours, Tellows Team
According to the world renowned cyber experts RSA, in 2012 UK consumers lost more money to online fraud than any other country. The RSA Anti-Fraud Command Centre (AFCC) released figures of a £405.8m loss in the UK for 2012 which was gained from 250 000 phishing attacks.
For the UK, this resulted in a 25% increase from 2011. The top five countries, which have a significant English speaking population, are as follows. US are second even though there loss was a decline of 19%. Canada, India and South Africa make up the rest.
An annual lost to the UK through cybercrime was estimated at £27bn by Detica-BAE Systems. From this £27bn, £21bn is believed to come from businesses.
The cost to consumers is equally catastrophic. Detica believes that a total figure of £3.1bn has a more encompassing scope than RSA. Fake antivirus packages and ‘scareware’ cost the consumer around £30m.
However, one must use caution when using estimations of cost as previous usages have been exaggerated wildly. However the RSA’s figures are based on attacks detected and dealt with by its AFCC. The attacks are then given the value of $300 per attack as this is the average from 8 years of operations, with 500 000 incidents tackled in this time. Detica’s totals use analysis from 25 industrial sectors and consultation with five British government agencies.
Due to the widespread use of chip-and-pin technology and other multi-factor authentication, the UK population are less at risk than those in the US.
Limor Kessem, Technical Lead of Knowledge Delivery at RSA believes that the UK are targeted due to an increase in technology for the average person. She said “The problem with the UK is that more people use the internet, more people have technology”.
The Office for National Statistics released figures last week that show that 84.7% of the UK public have used the internet at least once. In comparison, the US has a figure of 77.9%. In addition, the UK has the most usage for internet access from mobiles which increases the risk of attack.
New tactics are constantly being evolved by potential fraudsters to rid you of your money. For example, online fraudsters often require an individual, or an ‘insider’, to reside in the country of the target. This is in case attendance at a bank is required and in this sense the fraudster can impersonate the target. “It’s partly because of the accent. You have to sound like a local if you really want to make sure the transaction goes through”, said Kessem.
Highlighted in a 2012 UK Cards Association report on payment fraud were methods that a potential fraudster might carry out in-branch. The theft of a card at an ATM, or tricking individuals into revealing their card and PIN by posing as a telephone salesperson have been used in the past.