Tag Archives: nuisance calls

Ofcom Study – Ban on Cold Calling is claimed

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A research initiated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) reveals the truth about unsolicited nuisance calls in the UK and thus calls for action to solve to problem of far too many cold calls.

The Ofcom Study
Within a period of four weeks 850 consumers were asked to keep a diary of all cold calls they receive. The Ofcom research revealed that 80 percent of the participants received unwanted calls regularly, on an average even more than twice a week. Especially calls on PPI reclaim (Payment Protection Insurance) were the most annoying and yet also the most often ones. While at least one out of four people got called more than 10 times, most calls came from PPI claim companies as well as from market research firms.

What is next?
In terms of the survey findings the Citizens Advice called for a complete ban on cold calling. Not only because more than one third of all complaints from companies are related to cold calls. Mostly firms dealing with financial services use cold and silent calls and thereby demanding upfront fees or trying to sell unprofitable offers, cheating people out of their pension. Furthermore the companies get personal data through the nuisance calls, mostly unbeknown and unauthorised by the individuals. A ban would help to make cold calls clearly identifiable as illegal. Citizens Advice recommends the banning of credit brokers and claims management companies as well as of pension unlocking services.

Ofcom follows a different strategy though. Not the banning but a wide investigation into claims management companies making the cold calls is needed. Thereby not only the big companies will be in the focus of enforcement actions, also smaller companies are responsible for the nuisance calls to a large extent and should be overseen. Ofcom is now promoting wider investigation and action regarding cold calls, especially dealing with claims. Thereby they focus on silent calls as well, which are done by the company’s telephone systems automatically without even having a staff member conducting the calls.

Taking Action
The government as well as other regulators and institutions are called upon to take action more effectively. Ofcom already imposed penalties for silent and abandoned calls done by major firms as TalkTalk. Furthermore the ICO supports the attempts of Ofcom by pointing out the regulations and industry rules to over 170 marketing companies. Nevertheless householders can get active themselves. By signing up for the free Telephone Preference Service (TPS) individuals can stop nuisance calls on the purpose of marketing and sales. However, as we already mentioned in our last article, it is extremely hard to block most of the calls, as they often come from overseas call centres. Not more than one third of all abandoned calls can be cut out. For further improvement Ofcom is currently collaborating with the ICO and the Ministry of Justice for more effective actions.

We will keep you informed about upcoming achievements in the struggle against nuisance calls in our blog on tellows UK.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/may/17/ofcom-urged-ban-cold-calling

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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.

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Weekly Update on the UK’s Top 5 Most Wanted Telephone Numbers

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Here we go again with Tellows weekly update on 5 most annoying spam and scam numbers in the UK. Let’s have a look what has been changed and who is the new Top 5 leader this week:

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. 01792455426 from Swansea – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 8
4. 01933441081 from Wellingborough – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 7
5. 01942710601 from Wigan – United Kingdom with a tellows Score of 7

1st place this week goes to the number 01422387713 from Halifax. There were more than 15000 inquiries for the Top Leader this week. Tellows user tmstony reported this number as harassment call and commented on this number:

Calls and hangs up. Unable to take no for an answer and behaves badly when I refuse to confirm personal data.

2nd place goes to the number 01618505451 from Manchester. Our users already know this number very well as it has been irritating them for the last couple of months and still persist being harassing. Tellows user Mad woman told us:

These blighters called my mobile phone – a number I never give out and saved for friends and family only and worried about a friend in hospital. Called them back, in a panic. Obviously a chattering call centre. Asked for who were they – HYC – what does that stand for Help Your Claim (hello??). And why did you think I needed help with any scurrilous claim? Got the schpiel, personal questions etc. OUTRAGEOUS! Said something unprintable and have now reported to Information Office Commission (government run) www.ioc.co.uk. Thx for your good work.

Last but not least this week number 01942710601 from Wigan. This is the first time this number appears in our weekly Top 5. Our user Jag commented:

I made a financial query on the MSE site and this number keeps on calling. FED UP!!!

Please do not hesitate to share your experience with us! Number of inquiries for unknown numbers increase every day and we need your contribution in order to provide more and more information on spam and scam numbers.

Together we can!
Your Tellows Team

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New Top 5 of Most Annoying Numbers in UK

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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

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App Support

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Hey there fellow tellows app user,

Below you will find some examples of known app errors and their solution.

General

  • How does tellows collect its information about phone numbers?

–>Our users provide this information by leaving comments about their experiences with individual phone numbers. This information also includes ratings, information about the call type and the owner of the phone number

  • Will the tellows app block all nuisance calls?

–>Although tellows has information about lots of phone numbers, some spam calls may still slip through the net. If you receive a spam call, leave a comment on the number and this information will help us expand our database so that we can help others protect themselves from the same caller!

iOs

  • Why isn’t the tellows app listed under ‘Call Blocking and Identification’?

–>Unfortunately, this is a bug from Apple for all Caller ID apps. Apple suggests a workaround: If the iPhone won’t let you activate the app, you should wait at least 1 hour before you try to open the settings again. The app should finally appear in the menu option. This may take between 1-3 days, so we suggest you try to enable it from time to time. You should also restart your phone and try to enable the app again. If this does not work, check that your screen setting are appropriate, as this can block the app from being listed and please try to reinstall the app and restart your phone

  • How do I activate my premium subscription on my iPhone?

–>Buy it through the app, nothing else is required! Your app status updates automatically from lite to pro

Android

  • How do I manually block a number? (free)

–>When you rate a number negatively it will be blocked on your device. Make sure, you activated the block feature in the app settings. You can find your local scorelist in settings

  • How do I get numbers blocked automatically?

–>This feature requires premium. On the settings page, use the section: “Block incoming calls by local scorelist” to select which calls you would like to block. If you have premium, all calls from numbers with scores above the one selected will be blocked (e.g. score 8 and above).

There are many more answered questions in our FAQ, check them out! If you cannot find what you are searching for, you can always use our contact form on the FAQ Website.

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Work Methods of Call Centres – The Importance of Telephone Number Blocks

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Constant avaiability through our mobile and smartphones has become a part of our daily routine. Although there are, undoubtably, advantages to this avaiability, for some people this benefit turned into curse, especially as far as unsolicited calls are concerned.

One Company, Innumberable Phone Numbers – Thanks to Phone Number Blocks

Who does not know about the problem of being called by unknown phone numbers? Often the perpetrator is only one call centre disguised behind a broad range of phone numbers. How does that work? On one hand, call centres employ the Voice over IP technology to generate random phone numbers to conceal their true numbers, on the other hand, most call centre request vast blocks of telephone numbers from the network provider.

A phone number block contains at least 10 phone numbers which match each other in their initial digits. The public telephone network offers block numbers containing up to 1000 phone numbers. Some companies with a high affinity to telecommunications maintain block numbers supplying up to 10000 phone numbers to support their telephone systems. Another variant of block numbers refers to the bulk of extension numbers to define a telephone systems substations.

The main advantages of number blocks enables companies the use of Direct Dial Ins, that provides the telephone system’s substation to be avaiable directly from internal and public networks without the need of being relayed manually. As far as the consumer is concerned, he or she will be able to skip the company’s or institution’s swithboard and call the desired colloquist directly through the extension number. Additionally, consumers can recognize the number and attribute it to a certain company or institution.

Call Centres Use a Large Variety of Numbers

De facto most call centres use their number blocks to their own profitable ends. Hence consumer will be targeted by various numbers behind which telemarketers and lottery scams lurk. Most call centre expect their numbers being blocked every now and then. In order to avoid any losses call centres draw on a vast pool of numbers, essentially, thanks to the number blocks provided by the nertwork operator. The more number block a company has at its disposal, the more phone numbers it can employ. Although numbers of nuisance callers are blocked not only by consumer on a regular basis but also by official institution – some only after thousands of complaints – the call centres supply of replacement numbers enables the company to go on as if nothing happened.

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The Most Wanted Scam and Spam Calls in the UK

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Here we go again with last week’s 5 most annoying spam and scam numbers:

1. 01422387713 , from Halifax – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
2. 01618505451, from Manchester – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
3.01933698538, from Wellingborough – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7
4. 01709384780, from Rotherham – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 6
5. 01942710601, Wigan – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 6

The first 3 places this week go to PPI claim companies. I’m sure you’re all sick to death of having these calls and the day when they will stop calling you will be the happiest day of your lifes.

Tellows user Fed-up commented on the number 01422387713 :

Call daily on my work phone. Have requested they stop but they still persist

Another tellows user Lucius wrote the last comment on this 01618505451 number:

yet another scam with profound interest in me claiming my PPI. they cold call any number they get their dirty little fingers on. scum/scam.

Telemarketing calls are also still annoying our users. This time calls from Vodafone. Our user Ian_Belfast is writing:

I recently had a text from Vodafone telling me they would call soon to check that I am on the right price plan. Inquiries on the web suggest that this number belongs to Vodafone,so nothing to worry about except that it’s irritating that they have rung three times in one day and hung up on answer each time

We’re looking forward to reading more of your comments!
Keep us updated and have a spam free week !

Yours,
Team Tellows

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The British Top 5 Phone Scammers

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The winner of this week is scam from Manchester claiming to get back your PPI. They call you, leave no message and hope you will call them back. If you do so, they charge you double for your phone call.
Let’s see who are the UK spammers of the week:

1. 01618505451, from Manchester – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
2. 01933698538, from Wellingborough – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7
3. 01614867770, from Manchester – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
4. 01706830603, from Rochdale, Rossendale – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7
5. 01912760399, from Tyneside – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7

Tellows-user Tyson has reported number 01618505451 with a Tellows score of 9 and wrote:

Scam artists wanting your money like the banks and the PCM of uk does fuckall again come on bnp

Second place belongs to the number 01933698538 what is another “reclaim your PPI” scam. SMGR wrote the last comment on this number:

Icemark Consumer Solutions – looking to recover PPI (I have never had a loan or credit card). Did not pick up – a recorded message left a voicemail

For the first time in our Top 5 appeared number 01614867770 that was reported as Harassment call with Tellows score of 9 by our user P.A.T. :

Several calls over the last few days some silent. Have sent an email telling them that if they call again I shall log nit and ask my solicitor to claim £30 for each call I answer! Silent or not.

Don’t hesitate to share your experiences with us,
Take care,
Your Tellows Team

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Mobile scam that hit thousands of people

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Last weekend tens of thousands mobile phone users in Ireland woke up to a missed call, that, at the first glance, appeared to have originated locally. However, it was actually just a carefully disguised premium rate service number based in Slovenia, which the scammers used to profit from those who called back. While there is still no exact data on how much money in total the users have lost, it is estimates that connection charge alone was in excess of €2 in addition to similar costs incurred by the users for each minute spent on the call.

The scam was initially set up to play on peoples’ feelings and emotions after missing a call in the middle of the night, and it worked to the extent that people called back. Once the user had called back, the automatized system would play random noises to ensure that the caller stays for as long as possible and pays as much as he can. Many of tellows users are also annoyed by the calls in the middle of the night, our user sleepless reported:

Last night, while I was sound asleep, my phone rang. WTF! I was really pissed because I was sleeping soundly and then a sudden phone call woke me up. I did not answer the first call and then, someone from this number gave me more rings and it reached 20 missed calls. That was ridiculous. I HATE IT , REALLY !

Our user Jippard gives a good advice to everyone who has ever got a missed call:

Don’t answer calls from this number. If you answer you’ll only get harassed more and more from this company and others. If you get calls from strange numbers that you don’t recognise don’t answer. If its an important call they’ll leave you a message and you can phone them back.

The good news are that everything is being done to stop the fraudulent earnings reaching the scammers pockets, and, hopefully, Irish consumers will be reimbursed for any costs they have incurred due to the scam. Nevertheless, the idea behind prevention of this particular fraud is not just to keep the customers happy or to stop those in charge of the scam profiting from it. Irish communications regulator ComReg has stated that prevention is also being done to prove to others who may attempt a similar trick that the payment system in Ireland is secure enough to be able to withstand such scams and not to pay out the wanted money.

No data protection issues can be seen so far in the case, as the numbers that were called had been generated by a computer and all had the same prefix of 087, therefore it appears that there is no connection to any phone lists being leaked or used. However, regardless of the fact that the scammers will not get their money, they are also unlikely to be traced as the host numbers that appear to have come from Slovenia may have been cloned and could have come from a completely different place.

ComReg spokesperson has said that such scams are not uncommon in Ireland and are dealt with as quickly as possible and that any person, who believes that they may have been a victim to this particular scam, should contact their personal phone service provider to check whether any costs have been incurred.

Phone scams are by all means not the only type of fraud that are constantly happening. Letters from supposed foreign Lottery funds asking you to cover administration costs before you receive your money; SMS telling you that you have won money and that you need to call back; advertisements suggesting work from home where you have to pay for materials first; fake computer virus alerts and emails from banks requesting your financial details – all of these are scams that are not uncommon and might be attempted on anyone, therefore it is always essential to watch out for them. And Tellows is always here for you to help fighting against annoying scammers. Together, we can !
Your Tellows

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Weekly Top 5 Annoying Spammers & Scammers

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Another week has passed and we are back to you with our weekly update. Scammers and spammers were very active this week and as a result we have a new Top 5 leader.

1. 01422387713, from Halifax – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
2. 01618505451, from Manchester – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7
3. 01792455426, from Swansea – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 8
4. 01933698538, from Wellingborough – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7
5. 02031671196, from London – United Kingdom, with a Tellows Score of 7

There were more than 10000 inquiries for the Top Leader !! It drives me crazy when I think of how these people are persistent in annoying UK citizens with their scam calls days, weeks and months long. They do not even somehow get our numbers, but they also know our names! Tellows-user rosie is very frustrated and she shared her experience with us:

THIS COMPANY KNEW MY NAME, AND WAS TRYING TO GET ME TO COMFIRM IT,
I SAID I DO NOT COMFIRM ANYTHING TO SOMEONE WHO I DONT KNOW, I KEPT SAYING TELL ME WHO YOU ARE AND I MAY KNOW WHO YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, ABIT OF THIS BANTER WENT ON, AND AS I WOULD NOT COMFIM, HE HUNG UP, IVE READ THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER COMFIRM ANYTHING TO STRANGERS

2nd place this week and the winner of the last week 01618505451 as well as owners of 3rd place 01792455426 and 4th place 01933698538 are very active telemarketers that “help you to claim your PPI” but actually don’t. Another classic scam. Our user GÄntz is also wondering how many are there ???

evers day another PPI calims company calls… how many are there?

The last but not least /02031671196 is another telemarketer. Tellows user scott has reported:

These guys hassle me every day for the past 3 months, they call at all hours to catch you off guard! They try to sell me vacant land for property development. AVOID at all costs!

Every week spamers and scammers are getting more and more active and we really need your help, dear Tellow-users, to report the numbers that have been annoying you the most. The war is not over. And we are very thankful for every comment you leave and every number you report !

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