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.
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.
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.
Ratan Kumar, a 41-year old Indian villager came to the BBC Delhi office last month to claim his prize in a “BBC lottery” worth millions of rupees, only to know that he was scammed.
Ratan said he got a text message two years ago saying that he won the BBC’s national lottery for 20 or 30 million rupees (£194,000-£292,000). Unemployed, Ratan fell for it, communicated with the scammers until November last year, and sent his personal details.
The perpetrator presented himself to Ratan as the chancellor of BBC. “He promised me a large sum of money but said I would have to first send 12,000 rupees ($191; £117) so that he can transfer the money into an RBI (Indian bank) account, ” Ratan told the BBC office.
Diamonds are not just any girl’s bestfriend – it is also a very attractive investment alternative. Annual return can range from 2.5% to 10%, depending on the color.
However, unlike gold and silver, or other investments where prices are reported on a stock market, diamonds are not traded on a public exchange but negotiated privately. This makes it harder to know the real value of the diamond, thus making it susceptible to abuse. The diamond trading industry is also unregulated – brokers are not required to be registered with a certain government authority.
A BBC news report recently warned older people who are the targets of this new form of investment scam on diamond trading. About 250 reports were received last year by the City of London Police.
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.
This week brought fantastic news for victims of telephone fraud as regulator PhonepayPlus confronted huge offender RS Premium with a whopping great fine and a ban on operating premium rate numbers.
The scam, a relatively unoriginal ‘call-us-back-and-we’ll-keep-you-on-rather-pricy-hold’ manoeuvre, targeted househunters and jobseekers – indeed, the vulnerability of the victims was part of the reason that PhonepayPlus came down so hard upon the perpetrators. Adverts and emails containing details of non-existent vacancies or properties lured eager and unsuspecting individuals into calling these 070 numbers back and waiting patiently on premium-rate hold whilst their phone bills rocketed into hyperspace.
It’s hard to track down exactly which calls are part of a certain scam as so many different numbers are used by the ‘artists’ to carry out their schemes and help them blend into a haze of anonymity. However, there are plenty of you reporting remarkably similar-sounding scams on tellows, all with scores of 7 or above. Have a gander…
‘Amy Pearce’ has been tirelessly sending emails offering jobs at the fictitious ‘SB Millers’ and may ask you to call back on 07030808243. Hannahayleigh wasn’t going to be caught out in a hurry:
Received a message saying I’d got through some kind of recruitment screening process and offering me a job. Deleted it straight away as I haven’t been on the job market for several years! Googled the agency and surprise surprise, it seems to be a fake. These people are a waste of space.
User GiGi also had her wits about her when asked to call 07030808244 back:
I got an email from this person, recruiting me for her company. I called them against my better judgement and was kept waiting on the phone for at least 7 minutes. If nothing else, that’s simply rude and I also realised that I had to pay for every minute…In the end they didn’t have any jobs to offer. I examined the email more closely and discovered that it didn’t look really professional, like with a signature and everything.
…and ‘Scammer finder’ simply cuts to the chase with some stern words of warning:
DO NOT PHONE AND WARN YOUR MATES AND WHOEVER ELSE. YOU’LL GET RIPPED OFF!!!
Similar scams frequently pop up on tellows and seem to be an ongoing problem; see this example, 07053500874, reported by Jskr late in 2012:
Received email from Tony Render offering interview with the department manager, Edie Wilson and told to contact this number. Checked on line to find it is a cost scam resulting in large bills. Do not reply!
070 numbers have been in question for a long while, as their closeness in appearance to mobile numbers renders them prime fraud-fodder and they unfortunately seem to proliferate on Gumtree; see this warning about 07053528945 from user, er, ‘Warning’:
its a rent SCAM to get you to call premium numbers. you call a normal mobile no and he tells you to call his girlfriend, then says you got the number wrong, bla bla bla. SCAM
RS Premium were charged ₤120,000 for their misconduct and it seems that Ofcom may be reevaluating their decision re: 070 numbers.
Phone owners: 1, Scammers: 0. There is hope, boys and girls.
Unfortunately, the wonderfully useful website Gumtree does seem to attract the occasional scammer amongst the bona fide individuals and organisations that advertise there. Just keep your eyes open for 070 numbers and try not to give personal details away until you’ve established a reasonable level of trust. The website itself offers some solid advice about how to protect yourself against potential fraudsters.
Keep reporting any dodgy dealings on tellows and do your fellow users a favour!
Your tellows team
Dear friends of tellows,
as autumn settles in and leaves start to change their color, unfortunately, some things remain the same. Not a day passes by without users reporting unwanted nuisance calls on tellows. The most searched numbers this week include the following:
1. 01143072406 with 5 comments and 4717 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 02075363554 with 3 comments and 3514 search requests. tellows Score: 5
3. 01614867770 with 16 comments and 10225 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 01753441520 with 5 comments and 7394 search requests. tellows Score: 7
5. 01415676218 with 11 comments and 4543 search requests. tellows Score: 7
Rated by our users as rather untrustworthy with a tellows score of 7, our first number, 01143072406, has been a frequent guest on our top 5 list. Most of our users that reported the number have complained about unsolicited telemarketing calls by a well-known British energy and home services provider.
Our second place this week, the number 02075363554 has been reported by our users for unsolicited telemarketing calls as well. In spite of a neutral tellows score of 7, the majority felt bothered by the persistent calls from the number. User Jill reported:
Unsolicited have asked not to call previously
Calling from Manchester, our third number, 01614867770, has been ranking on our list for nearly a year and with a rating of 7 has been considered to be rather untrustworthy. Most of our users felt harassed by frequent calls regarding insurance issues. User Stirling32 commented:
As stated previously, calling on behalf of an insurance company to discuss an accident (very minor bump) had in 2012. Asked for personal details – including that of my family – before they’d continue with the call, which I refused until they confirmed some details to me. Of course, I was told that due to data protection, they wouldn’t divulge anything to me until I had to them!! […] Recommend ignoring unless you have five minutes to waste having a little fun with them….
The fourth place this week goes to number 01753441520, a new entry on our list and yet another number that earned a tellows score of 7 due to unwanted calls that our users perceived as harassment. Many of our users stated to have received calls in spite of being registered with TPS. User Johnny even wondered:
I’m registered with TPS and ex-directory as well. however, i still recieve unsolicited calls. what use is TPS if it doesn’t work.
Ranking on our final place is number 01415676218 with calls originating from Glasgow. According to the comments of our users, the number calls both on the land line as well as the mobile phone, all throughout the day and at unsociable hours without leaving a message. User Samantha decided to take action against the unwanted calls:
I started answering, they still call every day and I swear at them. I have put in a report to TPS, I advise everyone else to as well.
If you have received unsolicited or dubious calls or have any other information on a certain telephone number, do not hesitate to share it with our tellows community. Other than that, we hope you stay scam and nusicance call-free.
Your tellows team
Dear friends of tellows,
with another week coming to an end, we have another set of spam and scam numbers that have kept you and your phone lines busy throughout the past seven days. With a few new entries, this week’s list is composed of a mix of the usual suspects and newcomers. Let’s have a look:
1. 08000641087 with 9 comments and 9774 search requests. tellows Score: 6
2. 01143072000 with 15 comments and 8300 search requests. tellows Score: 7
3. 01482489200 with 4 comments and 1153 search requests. tellows Score: 8
4. 02392386688 with 3 comments and 1731 search requests. tellows Score: 6
5. 01625538490 with 8 comments and 6595 search requests. tellows Score: 8
Our first place this week, number 08000641087, is known to users on our Polish and German sites as well and has become a frequent guest on our list. Most of our users complained about having received several missed calls without any voicemessage left from the number. Additionally, user EVE reported that you can’t return the calls:
This number has rung my mother several times over the past few days,no ideas who its from because theres no message and you cant ring it back.
The second number today is 01143072000 calling from Sheffield. In spite of numerous comments and search requests on tellows, this week’s entry marks only its second appearance on our list. Even though the number with a tellows score of 7 is deemed rather untrustworthy by our users, its authenticity is highly debated. Whereas some reported a telephone provider behind the calls, others questioned the legitimacy of the calls due to the fact that they were also contacted abroad in the US and Turkey, for instance. User Buck commented:
The number called me.. No message left for me. Previous calls from same number that I won’t answer. Calls day and night. Good number search shows me where the call is made from, the location to the nearest 25 metres. Guess what, I am in Sheffield next week on business. Will be nice to meet the person won’t it.
Calling from Hull, the number 01482489200 ranks on our third place this week and is a newcomer to the list. Often allocated to a well-known telecommunications service provider in the UK, most have reported calls from the number as telemarketing and aggressive advertising. Additionally, most users questioned the authenticity of the calls like Petunia 70:
I said i didn’t know whether he was really from Talk Talk and asked his name. He asked for my name,address and birth-date. I said I would check with Talk Talk and ring him back.He rang off.
Another newcomer to our list, number four 02392386688 makes calls from Southhampton – the nature of which are rather disputed among users. While some regarded continuous calls from this number as nuisance, user L Scard rated the number as trustworthy, commenting:
got call from this number it was from spectrum housing group telling me when my job would be done,nothing horrible no sales talk just spectrum.
Finally, number 01625538490 from Macclesfield ranks as yet another newcomer on our fifth place this week. According to our users, the caller offers services to reclaim PPI for loans and credit cards. Most users have doubts regarding the legitimacy of the calls.
If you have recently received any calls from an unknown number that seem untrustworthy or dubious, do not hesitate to share your experiences on tellows.co.uk and help raise awareness about telephone spam and scam numbers. Have a nice weekend!
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.