Tag Archives: tellows

HMRC works with telecoms to stop fraudsters

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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.


Data provide by HMRC
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New update from our Android app

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Dear tellows users,

Today we would like to talk about the new features of our Android app!

Since 2014, the year we launched it, our app has grown: we have moved to over 450,000 downloads, more than 6,400 evaluations and 200,000 subscribers. Every day we work hard to improve it and your advice and feedbacks have been fundamental.

Functionality at a glance

  • Immediately identify who is calling you:

We have improved Caller ID, so that the spam numbers are immediately detected through the tellows app; the tellows score will be always shown on the screen of our mobile phone and, in addition to the rating, you will also be able to find out the name of the caller, the type of call and from which location it phones. You will have all the information you need, so you can decide whether or not to answer calls!

  • Find any number and info on callers:

With over 180.000 reviews per day, you can find out who is bothering you in no time. Thanks to your reports, our database is constantly updated and over time it has become a big world family. New countries and new languages ​​are available in the application, no scammers or call centers around the globe will have a chance!

  • Evaluate and comment on phone numbers:

Commenting and evaluating is now easier and more immediate, in order that you can help us in our mission against telephone scams; just connect to your account and enter in the tellows world from all devices in a simple and free way. It is not required to leave a comment anymore when rating a number which makes it faster to evaluate unknown numbers. Your negative rated numbers are also on your personalized blacklist and can be blocked with premium.

  • Call barring and Blacklist customized with Premium:

In the Premium version, all dangerous numbers rated by you, are saved on your phone and can be blocked even in offline mode. All is possible thanks to the black list stored and updated locally and also use it without any advertising.

We could not be more proud of our product, but without your support and the trust that you give us every day, we would not have made the giant steps we have taken so far: you, our community tellows, are the beating heart of our app!

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Meeting your significant other online? – Romance Scam

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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:


*Information from ACCC, FTC, Action Fraud, RCMP and Netsafe.

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.
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Does it matter to you? International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF)

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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.
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Finally, it is out: Our new magazine!

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Dear tellows friends,

Our magazine can already register 150,000 downloads, so we are pleased to announce today that our 2nd edition is now available! For those of you who do not know yet, what the tellows magazine is: Based on the many years of experience, we have created our own magazine with all the important information you need to protect yourself against unwanted calls and alleged fraud.
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Masters of Dis-Gas? – scam callers masquerading as UK energy providers!

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The scam under discussion this week is a convincing one – so convincing, in fact, that they almost had us fooled. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

The caller claims to be from British Gas, calling for an array of reasons – paying your overdue bill, arranging a maintenance visit, etc. etc – and from more than one number. The area code indicates that the calls are coming from Leeds.

The most common calls are supposedly from the ‘Arrears Department’ at British Gas, wanting you to pay up. One user tells us it’s Capita, a debt collection company in Leeds, phoning on behalf of British Gas. However, some of you have smelt a rat. Here’s a comment about 01132989890:

When I answered, it was a recorded message: press any number for an important message about my bill. I didn’t press anything and it went on to say that my gas meter reading was due within the next week. British Gas email me about meter readings and this is about a month too early! Be wary!

And a comment about 01132989000:

Have had more than 10 calls from this number about non-payment of my latest bill… mighty strange as i have never given them my mobile number and left British Gas several years ago.

People who have never even been with British Gas also seem to receive calls from this number. Indeed, one user living in a remote village where British Gas is not actually available was contacted.

The sleuthier among you have attempted to call the number back, only to find that lo and behold, the number is not recognised.

This is where it gets confusing. Whilst some of you have also cleverly given British Gas a ring directly to ask what’s going on, some of you report being told that this number belongs to an offshore service of theirs, whilst others were told that it isn’t! What to believe?

We tried searching on this handy page:
http://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/contactus-personal-details/did-we-call-you.html
The search service did not seem to recognise 01132989000 or 01132989890 as belonging to British Gas, which is suspicious in itself. Some of your experiences with this caller further indicate that this is a number to be wary of: one call started with the caller asking to speak to the ‘laptop owner’ and a receptionist from a doctor’s surgery also reports being hounded by this number on the surgery line.

We’re dubious about this one. If you get a call from this number, or any other unrecognised number claiming to be British Gas, we strongly advise using the link above, or contacting British Gas directly. Under no circumstances should you give your bank details out unless you are absolutely certain of a caller’s identity!

Keep your wits about you and have a great week!

Your tellows team

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When a Stranger Calls: The Top 5 Most Annoying Numbers of the Week

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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

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Unsolicited Telephone Calls: The Top 5 Nuisance Callers of the Week

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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

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Weekly Update on the Top 5 Nuisance Callers

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Dear friends of tellows,

it has been another week filled with telephone spam calls. As always, we present to you the top 5 most wanted numbers of the past five days. This week the list is dominated by telephone numbers used for telemarketing purposes, but see for yourself:

1. 01143072406 with 5 comments and 4556 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 01782747000 with 4 comments and 2613 search requests. tellows Score: 5
3. 01415676218 with 11 comments and 4428 search requests. tellows Score: 7
4. 01133902114 with 4 comments and 3430 search requests. tellows Score: 7
5. 01383620466 with 8 comments and 1921 search requests. tellows Score: 8

The first number this week, 01143072406, is calling from Sheffield and, with a tellows score of 7, is rated as rather untrustworthy by our users. Reporting the calls as telemarketing, user Brian offered further information on the caller:

A woman asked about ‘Free Cavity wall insulation’, allegedly from British Gas. Just did not seem right. We’re with TPS, and now I’m annoyed. She was not aggressive, or pushy, but I do not want random people ringing me at home.

Similarly, the second place on this week’s list, number 01782747000 has been used for telemarketing calls – this time to bath-related tools and features. Some users, however, question the authenticity of the caller: user Delboy, for instance, wrote:

Can’t see how 01782747000 can be a legitimate company selling bath lifts, because if you phone it they try and sell you legal representation services. I think the previous poster is confused between care-knight and bath-knight. I’m sure batch-knight are a very reliable company, but care-knight are definitely the company behind these cold calls on 01782747000.

Ranking on third place, number 01415676218 is reported for telemarketing and silent calls. Dave commented:

This number rings mobile every night regardless of day. Have not answered it as suspect it is a telesales or something. Never leaves a message

Our fourth number this week, 01133902114, is calling from Leeds and has been reported as a telemarketer. Even though some users question the legitimacy of the calls, others have allocated the number to a well-known UK internet service provider.

Last but not least, number 01383620466 has been keeping the telephone lines of our users busy as well. User Pamela sums up the problem with the number in four words:

Silent calls, constant calling

If you have any further details on this or any other number, don’t hesistate to share them with the tellows community and help others to avoid telephone scams and spams. – It will be very much appreciated. Other than that, have a nice weekend free of telephone scams and spam!

Your tellows team

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How to stop nuisance calls – the elderly as perfect victims

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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.

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