Tag Archives: tellows

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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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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Students – more likely become victims of a scam

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Mobile phone fraud involves a variety of scams that either persuade you to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be non-existent or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by accident or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services. And each year millions of the UK consumers fall victim to mobile phone frauds.
There is one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam – students! Students are using their mobile phones almost 24 h a day and they are open to communication with the world. Those might be the reasons for the latest frauds in the UK, when students were victims.
Last fall college students have been left in thousands of pounds of debt after becoming involved in a mobile phone contract scam. A fraud has made young people sign up for numerous expensive mobile phone deals on the promise they will not be required to fulfil them. Young people from Preston College have taken out mobile phone contracts which they hand over to a fraudster, who promised to cancel the contracts. But instead he shipped them abroad to places like India and Pakistan leaving students facing bills for more than £2,000 each. Some of them were paid a fee for their work, while others were probably conned into the belief taking mobile phones would “improve their credit rating.” Police have today revealed frauds – criminals from Blackburn.
Very often scammed are especially international students. Tellows user m.wentzel reported number 02032398294 and his comment:

This is one of the numbers that pretends to be from the UKBA to fool international students in the UK and tell them there is something wrong with their imigration application. They have parts of your data (maybe name, zip-code etc.) and they try to get ALL of your information plus your credit card details. Do not give that information!

In 2012 BBC informed that in nine months viruses that steal cash have jumped from 29% of mobile malware to 62% . Mobile security firm Lookout said viruses were getting on to phones via booby-trapped apps and through adverts and webpages harbouring malware. Those viruses added charges to a user’s bill to cash in. Fraudsters inserted a virus called “NotCompatible”. Such a virus might be used to artificially inflate the popularity of an advert, a song on a music website to help generate a larger return for criminals.
Another example of scam adds has been reported by Tellows user London on number 07572597532:

Be careful people. This guy puts fakes adds on gumtree. But is a scam.
Trust me. This guy is a scammer.

People are being tricked into signing up, often by typing in their mobile number online, for services they actually don’t want. Messages are then sent out which can cost users up to £4.50 per text to receive. Unless people keep a close eye on their mobile phone bills those charges can add up very quickly. For example, twenty-four-year-old Beth Coundley from Chichester got caught out after receiving around five texts a month for five months. In total she was charged around £130 despite insisting she never signed up for any services.
And those are just few examples of this huge problem. To protect yourself it is better not to respond to unknown numbers, to reply to text messages from someone you don’t know, to reply to any text that claims you won money. We have to remember it is not possible to win money without entering a competition.
Taking into consideration the amount of phone frauds, the UK government is doing everything possible to protect their citizens. There are advices how to protect yourself and your money in the internet, also everybody who becomes victims can make a fraud information report on webpage of Tellows. Police and National Fraud Authority are working together to fight this fight. Unfortunately, the development of technologies guarantees the development of fraudsters’ imagination.

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Iphone App: No Access to Contacts

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Issue: You receive an error message saying that the tellows app does not have access to your contacts.

App Access Error

Solution: Open your local settings menu and click on “Data Protection”

Local Settings

Open the “Contacts” menu in “Privacy”.

Privacy

Enable tellows app access to contacts.

Menu 2

The app is now allowed to add the score lists to your contacts.

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iPhone App: Issues with the Import of Score Lists

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Issue: The tellwso pro caller recognition app is unable to add the tellows score lists (negatively rated) to your contacts.
In this case you probably use only Exchange-Accounts to synchronize your contacts and never enabled neither iCloud nor t your local iPhone contact list.

Background: The tellows app imports the score lists with negatively rated numbers and adds 3 new contacts by the name of “tellows Score X” (X equals the score of 7 – 9). There are known issues when importing the score lists using certain Exchange-Servers (i.e. Google) since they can attribute only a small amount of phone numbers to the contacts.

There are two ways to resolve this issue:

1.Solution
To successfully import the lists the local contacts list of your iPhone needs to be addressed manually (the tellows app does not have access to your contacts list). To achieve this, you have temporalily disable the Exchange-servers and add a “dummy” contact. The screens below offer further information on the procedure.

1. Edit Exchange-Server Settingstemporalily disable the Exchange-servers
2. Disable Contact Synchronization
3. Delete any contacts from the phone to avoid duplicate entries
4. Add new contact

5. Save contact – A name is sufficient

6. Enable contact synchronization of Exchange-servers and keep created contacts on the phone
7. The groups overview now shows the group "On my iPhone" in which the tellows score lists are saved

2.Solution
Apple’s iCloud service provides an additional way for the contact synchronization which also supports multiple numbers per contact. The activation of the iCloud synchronization solves the issue as well and, therewith, allows the tellows app to import negatively rated numbers.
The standard account for maintaining your contacts (create / edit / delete) stays untouched.

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App Support

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Hey there fellow tellows app user,

Below you will find an overview of known app errors and their solution.

As far as other errors are concerned, please, use the contact fom for further inqueries.

Iphone App F.A.Q:

→ I received an unsoliceted call, but from which number?
Did you receive a call the tellows score rated as dubious and you would like to know from which number the call originated? Just open the contacts list and click the numbers score. The number that called will be highlighted in blue.

→ the score lists are not imported properly:
Due to the use of Exchange servers or CarDAV-Accounts, the synchronization of contact information leads to an error message while importing the score lists.You will find a detailed workaround here.

→ App cannot access the contacts list:
Please make sure to approve of the app’s access to the contacts list in your settings on data protection! Find a detailed explanation on how to change you settings here.

→ Import of score list takes aeons:
Running in iOS 6 the score list’s import is known to last up to a minute. During the import the app freezes.

→ the use of additional contacts managers may result in delays updating the scorelists or other issues.

Known Issues:

  • Viber : Since the tellows Scorelists contain a vast amount of contacts, Viber’s contact synchronization may be delayed or aborted rendering “Viber” useless. If you’d like enjoy both apps, it is imperative to remove tellows scorelists before starting “Viber”. Update tge scorelists once you finished using “Viber”.

    If any other errors or questions occur, please use the contact form below:

    Your Email Address (mandatory)

    Your Name (mandatory)

    Which iOS version do you use?

    Which iPhone do you use?

    Welche tellows App verwenden Sie?

    Which tellows app version do you use? (in the app's number search you will find an "i" on the left top. After clicking on it the version will show at the bottom of the page)

    Do you use Exchange Server or CarDAV-Accounts to synchronize your contact details?

    Do you use iCloud to synchronize your contact details?

    Please describe the occurring error as detailed as possible. During which options (i.e. app start or synchronization) do errors occur? (i.e. App crashes, score lists are not imported, etc)

    To reduce spam, please solve:

    I have taken note of the privacy policy. I agree that the information may be used for answering the inquiry or for further inquiries. The request is sent to the server in encrypted form via https.

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