Tag Archives: scam

No More Nuisance Calls: The False Promises of Scammers

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.

Source:
Chester Chronicle

The Top 5 Most Wanted Spammers and Scammers

Dear friends of tellows,

with September just beginning, a lot of you have had busy telephone lines and rather than receiving pleasant calls from friends or family, a lot of you were bothered yet again dubious phone calls. The following numbers are the 5 worst offenders of the first week of September:

1. 01234567890 with 3 comments and 2768 search requests. tellows Score: 6
2. 08000641087 with 9 comments and 9519 search requests. tellows Score: 6
3. 08448471424 with 3 comments and 4294 search requests. tellows Score: 4
4. 01914326538 with 3 comments and 2422 search requests. tellows Score: 6
5. 01592642600 with 3 comments and 2963 search requests. tellows Score: 8

The most wanted of the week, number 01234567890 from Bedford, has made monthly appearances on the list since August and always ranked on first place. According to the overall consensus of our users, this number is used for a scam to gain access to the recipient’s computer by claiming it has been infected by a virus.

An even more notorious “guest” on our list, the number 08000641087 has been occupying the second place almost continously for the past two months. Calling frequently without leaving a message, the identity of the caller has remained a mystery to our users. However, some have shared their theories who might be behind the persistent calls:

This number called 5 times but leave any message; surely it is up to something bad. I dont how it had number but I have two theories. Either from ITV after submitting an answer to a competition or moneysupermarket.com after buying insurance, the only two companies I have recently given my number.

Our third place this week, telephone number 08448471424, has been first reported two years ago. With an overall tellows score of 4 and ratings ranging from 1 (reliable) to 8 (not trustworthy), the trustworthiness of the number has been the subject of some discussion. User mandeee stated:

This is the o2 collections department for overdue accounts. It’s an automated service, though, and will harass you for up to 24 hours AFTER you pay the bill. Trustworthy, but a nuisance, too.

A complete newbie to the list, number 01914326538 ranks on our fourth place and in spite of a score of 6, most users seem to consider it untrustworthy. Whereas some suspected a debt collection company behind the calls, user Concerned commented:

The above number called twice today, I did not recognise it nor did I answer it. I did, however call them back, the receiver was picked up for about 1-2 seconds then hung up with no communication. I was not impressed or appeased by this response so have been left suspicious of their intentions

Ranking on our fifth and final place this week, the telephone number 01592642600 is another newcomer to the list even though it has been active for quite a while and with a tellows score of 8, is not exactly deemed trustworthy. While some have marked the calls originating from Kirkcaldy as aggressive advertising, other users suggested that the number was used for investigations regarding tax fraud.

If you have further information on this or any other number that appears to be making dubious phone calls, you are more than welcome to contribute to our tellows community and exchange details about telephone numbers and callers with other users. Other than that, have a nice and hopefully peaceful weekend.

Your tellows team

PPI Nuisance Calls: An Ongoing and Prevalent Problem in the UK

As demonstrated by numerous comments on tellows worldwide, nuisance calls have become a frequent and extensive problem around the globe. For an increasing number of users from the UK, PPI calls pose a particularly persistent and common issue and have been an often discussed topic on our tellows blog. The fact that – not without reason – most consumers have grown increasingly suspicious of telephone calls by unknown numbers is illustrated by comments such as those of Fifalde, who wrote about the number 01494590777:

This number tried calling my mobile several times yesterday – I don’t answer any numbers that I don’t recognise or have stored in my phone so I left it – no voicemail left which is a dead giveaway that its either PPI or something else. I just added it to my reject list. Hope this helps

PPI Calls as Cost Trap and Disturbance of Everyday Life
According to a new survey conducted by Citizens Advice, two thirds of British adults have received messages related to claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) – 98% of which were unsolicited and without permission. More than half also said they were contacted more than 10 times within the past year often considered a disturbance of everyday life for the recipients: whereas nearly a quarter received calls during dinner with family, 14% were interrupted at work.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizen Advice, noted that those who fall victim to a PPI claims scam suffer twice the damage – once with the bank and a second time when the claims firm doesn’t provide the full compensation the victim deserves. Reporting number 02086148283 as PPI claims scam, user SiM warned about possible costs as well:

PPI company that cons you into signing up with them and then takes 30% of whatever they find for you, as payment. They also use a computer dialer that calls numbers and then hangs up on you if an operator is not available to talk at you

Furthermore, Guy stressed that nuisance calls “are often a sign that the service on offer is not very good or is actually a scam” and demands a ban for financial services firms from cold-calling to help consumers detect untrustworthy companies and scams.

PPI Claims Scam Approach and Target
More than 90% of the participants of the latest Citizen Advice survey stated that they were contacted by telphone regarding PPI claims with 40% receiving automated messages on their landline whereas 35% were contacted via text message on their mobile phone. According to previous research of the organisation, nuisance calls were not restricted to claims management companies alone: cold calls accounted for 35% of complaints concerning financial services.

As with most scams, the main aim is to gain access to the victim’s money. In the case of this particular scam, the victim is often persuaded to pay fees in advance for fake loans and sometimes, a person’s bank details have been passed on to other companies. With at least half of 30,000 complaints between April 2012 and March 2013 related to PPI and other financial services, users like Nikki who commented on the number 01625665142, are not alone with their grievances:

Ppi credit agent, told not interested 5 times, still continue to ask if I have had any texts or voicemails when asked what’s it to do with them they get angry an then say well have you checked your credit file, when told one last time I’m not interested the woman said fine an hung up. Don’t waste time answering to them

Numbers Related to PPI Claims Calls
Among the most recently reported and commented on telephone numbers connected to PPI claims on tellows are the following numbers:

 

To stay on the safe side, don’t provide any personal or financial information about yourself (and especially your bank account) on the telephone. Also don’t forget that you have the right to end the conversation by simply putting down the phone – especially if the person on the other end of the line seems to have a dubious agenda. If you have any information on a phone number that might be untrustworthy – PPI related or not – don’t hesistate to report it on tellows.

Sources:
telegraph.co.uk

The Most Wanted Nuisance Callers of the Week

Dear friends of tellows,

with another busy week of nuisance calls behind us, we have a new list of the most wanted numbers to share with you.

1. 01704515444 with 7 comments and 3060 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 08000641087 with 9 comments and 9390 search requests. tellows Score: 6
3. 01614867770 with 15 comments and 9205 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 01143072000 with 15 comments and 7973 search requests. tellows Score: 7
5. 01616528220 with 6 comments and 2628 search requests. tellows Score: 7

Our first number, 01704515444, holds a tellows score of 7. With calls originating from Southport, a yet to be identified caller has phoned a lot of our users at sometimes even unsociable hours, asking for an unknown person. User Sally voiced concern regarding the intentions and possible costs of the calls:

This number called at 09.19 this morning. When I answered I could hear a ringing tone. A man answered and said that he was looking for Mr and Mrs Smith and apologised for ringing wrong number!? In light of ringing tone, wondering if I’ll be charged for the phone call!

Another unknown caller is phoning from our second number, 08000641087. Keeping people’s phone line’s busy with frequent calls at all hours, the number is rated untrustworthy by most of our users, especially since the caller leaves no messages.

Our third number of the week – 01614867770 – is highly disputed, with scores ranking from 1 (very trustworthy) to 9 (untrustworthy) constituting an overall tellows score of 7 – thus being considered as rather suspicious. However, Contact Centre Manager, apparently in representation of the possible caller, stated:

Action Assistance work in conjunction with numerous key household named Insurers and Insurance brokers and we provide a variety of services including niche insurance and motor management services. We are independent advisors and we are normally prompted to call when the Insurers believe that their clients may not have received all that they are entitled to following an accident.

Ranking on our fourth place this week, the number 01143072000 from Sheffield calls people even outside the country and across the pond, sometimes even trying to reach people in the US or Turkey. Operating similiarly to our number 2, the caller rings frequently but won’t leave a message. User Luke commented:

Based on the experiences of previous posters, this is a pest call. I have had several calls from this number every day since I arrived in the USA. I never answer unknown numbers, I google them instead. How do they know I am in the USA? Orange must have told them. Or maybe one of the USA carriers I’ve connected to? Not pleased.

Last but not least our fifth number, 01616528220, calls from Manchester and is deemed untrustworthy with a tellows score of 7. While the overall consensus of our users’ comments seems to agree with that notion, suggestions and suspicions regarding who might be calling and why seem to differ. User Fed Up wrote:

This is another company I believe to be cold calling for money management they area a nuisance with constant phone calls. It is time theses people were put out of business

One way to take on nuisance callers and dubious numbers is to report them on tellows and share your expierences with them. That way, other people can be warned against possible spam and scam calls and the various methods and strategies of scammers can be documented and exposed. So don’t hesitate to our tellows community and have a nice weekend.

Your tellows team

£ 7 Million in One Year with ‘Vishing’ Scams

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.

Source:
theguardian.com

Weekly Update on the Top 5 Nuisance Callers

Dear friends of tellows,

as another week of nuisance calls is advancing, we have another list of the top 5 offenders. While some of the usual suspects have been reclaiming their place, we have also some new entries for you – some of which have been internationally active. Let’s have a look at this week’s most searched for numbers:

1. 01234567890 with 3 comments and 2607 search requests. tellows Score: 6
2. 08000641087 with 9 comments and 9216 search requests. tellows Score: 6
3. 01143072406 with 5 comments and 4363 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 02078909051 with 3 comments and 2003 search requests. tellows Score: 8
5. 02078909052 with 9 comments and 3637 search requests. tellows Score: 7

Ranking on the first place, American number 01234567890 from Bedford, Massachusetts first made an appearance on this list a month ago and has since continued to occupy people. According to some of your comments, the caller tries to gain information and access to your computer. User Shamim commented:

[…] I already knew it was a scam so i had a little fun asking them questions. Then i asked her if she even knew the name of my computer and she said “yes” so i asked, “what is the name then?” and she just hang up. Then when i tried calling the number, it apparently did not exist. I message for these silly fraudsters please learn the fact that the people of England are not stupid. We do realise that the World Wide Web would defnitely not have its company in City Airport and will not give someone as stupid as yourself its vacancies.

Calling from a freephone number, 08000641087 is our second number of this week’s entry and remains somewhat of a mystery in spite of the frequent search requests of our users. All that our users do know for certain is that the number appears to be rather suspicious, calling frequently but never leaving a message.

Our third number, 01143072406, is no stranger to our weekly top 5 as well. According to our users, the caller is claiming to be calling for British Gas and offers free insulations – raising suspicions among some of you. Commentator Sean, however, makes another suggestion:

they call on behalf of other companies, to get removed from their calling list email your name and phone number along with a compalint to, [email protected] also ask to be added to their do not call list.

With a score of 8, our fourth number, 02078909051, is deemed a rather untrustworthy number by most of you. While some were asked by the caller to participate in a survey, user guest had another expierence:

had over the last days many calls from them, they just don’t give up, they say they are calling on behalf of a consumer customer service, when I asked which one, they did not want to say and said that I would have to identify myself first. I told them if you don’t tell me for which service this allegedly is, I don’t tell you who I am.

Last, but not least is this week’s number 5: 02078909052. Calling every day of the week at unsociable hours, the calls are mostly considered nuisance and have even bothered users from Norway as well as the USA. Julia commented:

I was called at an unsociable hour (8pm), they wanted to know if I was happy with my bank. I said I wasn’t interested and hung up. I don’t know how they got my number as I am ex-directory. I was very annoyed at the time they chose to call.

Have a nice and nuisance call-free week (but if you don’t, please don’t hesitate to share any information on nuisance callers with our tellows community)!

Your tellows team

This Week’s Most Wanted

Dear friends of tellows,

it is time for our weekly update on the top 5 most wanted numbers on tellows. This week’s numbers cover a broad spectrum of unsolicited call methods including silent calls and cold calls as well as surveys and telemarketing. But have a look yourself:

1. 01415676218 with 11 comments and 4233 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 01616528220 with 6 comments and 2493 search requests. tellows Score: 7
3. 01133902114 with 3 comments and 3232 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 01383620466 with 7 comments and 1767 search requests. tellows Score: 7
5. 08453130337 with 14 comments and 6318 search requests. tellows Score: 6

This week’s number one, 01415676218, is persistently bothering people with what appears to be silent calls. User Samantha has offered a plan to put a stop to the unsolicited 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.

Our second number, 01616528220, is calling from Manchester and – with a tellows score of 7 – has been rated untrustworthy by most of our users. While some reported that the caller is asking for an unknown person by name, others have made the experience that the caller gives out false information. Rosalind commented:

Sophie rang said they had been INFORMED I had been refused a loan! This is completely UNTRUE but I am concerned – where did they get this information from? Immediately I questioned the source of the information she hung up.

Meanwhile, the level of trustworthiness of our third place, number 01133902114 is rather debated. All commentators seem to be sure, however, that the number from Leeds belongs to a digital communications company. With a score of 7, the number 01383620466 ranking on our fourth place, is yet another untrustworthy number. Whereas the caller left some of our users dubious messages on the answering machine, others have been complaining about silent calls. User D Williamson suggested:

Despite having complained to C R Smith – Gerard Eadie – these silent nuisance calls continue. A second report has been sent to OFCOM. Perhaps C R Smith should be handed a £90000 fine as was given to D M Designs recently.

The last number for today, 08453130337, apparently calls people to conduct a survey. As several commentators mentioned the same company as their telephone provider, some suspect that there might be a connection between the unwanted calls and the provider. cQueen shared some other suspicions:

Number keeps calling me. havent answered it but have looked online adn seems to be a marketing company. VERY annoying

As always we like to remind you that if you have any information about dubious numbers please don’t hesitate to share them with our tellows community! Thanks to the knowledge our users have volunteered a lot of people were able to avoid scam and spam callers, so keep up the good work and have a nice, spam-free weekend!

Your tellows team

Top 5 Nuisance Callers of the Week

Dear friends of tellows,

these past few days have been rather busy for some of you. Having received unsolicited calls, our users have been frequently visiting tellows in search for the people responsible. While there might not always be an answer to that, we hereby provide you the top 5 most wanted numbers of the week:

1. 08003289393 with 1 comments and 3267 search requests. tellows Score: 2
2. 08000641087 with 9 comments and 8981 search requests. tellows Score: 6
3. 01143072406 with 5 comments and 4205 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 01782747000 with 4 comments and 2387 search requests. tellows Score: 5
5. 08451110202 with 6 comments and 2746 search requests. tellows Score: 6

A newcomer to our list, the number 08003289393 has been classified by users as trustworthy and unlikely to make nuisance calls. No such luck with the number placing second. For over a month now, the number 08000641087 is persistently ranking on the top spots of our top 5. Unable to return the call, most of our users are hesitant to pick up the phone. Just a few days ago, user EVE commented:

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.

Returning from obscurity, the number 01143072406 makes a comeback after dropping from the top 5 nearly a year ago. Apparently posing as staff member of British Gas, the caller offers free or low-priced services for car owners. User James expressed his suspicion:

They offered me free insulation and wanted to send an engineer over. It sounded like a scam! I’m sure it is!!

Our forth place, the number 01782747000 has been reported as telemarketer by most users and its trustworthiness is highly disputed, even though the majority is bothered by the calls advertising bath lifts. Decktod wrote:

Yet another unwanted call which I choose to answer – I have no need of their services so why do they pester me

Another telemarketing company seems to be calling from the number 08451110202, which marks the final number of today’s post. With just a few words, user James sums up the gist of most comments:

Rang and left no message yet another nuisance

As you can see, nuisance callers have been quite busy as well. If you experience any unwanted or suspicious calls by strange numbers, don’t hesitate to share your information on tellows and help others to avoid possible scam artists. Take care and have a good, spam-free week!

Your tellows team

The Top 5 Most Wanted Numbers

Dear tellows friends,

another week, another series of nuisance calls. The fact that summer is at its height and people would like to think about other things than a ringing telephone doesn’t defy constant telephone-spammers. We present to you the top 5 most searched for numbers of the past few days:

1. 01234567890 with 3 comments and 2372 search requests. tellows Score: 6
2. 08000641087 with 7 comments and 8745 search requests. tellows Score: 5
3. 01656838051 with 0 comments and 289 search requests. tellows Score: 5
4. 02078909052 with 7 comments and 3230 search requests. tellows Score: 7
5. 02077850257 with 1 comments and 1336 search requests. tellows Score: 5

Ranking on the first place is number 01234567890, which appears to be used for computer scams. User David explained in his comment how the caller tries to gain access to the user’s PC:

Caller spoke very broken English and gave a very English name (who was he kidding!!) Claimed to be from a tech company that had picked up indications that my computer was not operating properly. Wanted me to go to my PC and give him control to fix the problem. Clear scam so i told him to go away and get an honest job. Beware.

While the number 08000641087 that places second raised user’s suspicions with frequent calls, so far no one has any further details on the number. However, user Joe has some theories:

This number called 5 times but leave any message; surely it is up to something bad. I dont how it had number but I have two theories. Either from ITV after submitting an answer to a competition or moneysupermarket.com after buying insurance, the only two companies I have recently given my number.

In spite of rising interest in number 01656838051, users have yet to share any experiences with it. In contrast, our users offer differing information on number 02078909052. Several report that they have been receiving unwanted calls even with ex-directory numbers. Fed Up wrote:

This company makes nuisance calls purporting to act for various companies – including MY bank! They call at unsocial hours and on Sundays. They should be stopped!

Quite a few users were also occupied by place 5, number 02077850257. User Chris commented:

They say that they are payday uk. They asking me about my loan and want to sell me repayment options. I told them that I don’t want to buy anything and that asked them to remove my number from their system.

If you receive any nuisance calls these days, please don’t hesitate to share your knowledge on tellows! Many users have benefited from the comments of others and could save a lot of time and energy by simply looking up a suspicious number on our site. Take care and stay scam- and spam-free!

Your tellows team

How to stop nuisance calls – the elderly as perfect victims

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.

desperate man on the phone

Photo by Alon, flickr.com

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.