Archive for category General

Our Top 3 and more on the Swansea scam update

If you are one of those people affected by the £300,000 UK-wide mobile phone insurance scam, well here’s some good news: the men behind it have already confessed and admitted that they masterminded it. From October 2005 to April 2010, Christopher Surman, 47, Wayne Ghosh, 43, Andrew Patterson, 32, all from Swansea, and Omar Mapara, 33 from Yate, South Gloucestershire, conspired to cheat customers of mobile phone providers by selling insurance policies that were unauthorised by the Financial Services Authority and were invalid.

I hope it’s really a good news for you guys. Let’s continue to help our crime busters by reporting unjust and deceitful conducts.

And for our weekly top 3, these scammers really don’t learn their lessons. Tsk, tsk, i think they really want to go to jail?? They should never get away from this.

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A Call for Reform: Empower Regulators to Fine More Companies as Nuisance Callers

Three years since UK’s Information Communication Office has been given the power to impose a fine of up to £500,000, only two firms have been prosecuted so far. This is the situation despite the staggering increase in the number of complaints received between April and October last year, totalling to 100,000 – a far cry from the 30,000 reports in 2012.

One of these companies is First Financial, which was fined £175,000 after sending millions of spam texts to promote its website using unregistered sim cards.

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Parliament Acts on Worsening Nuisance Calls

Due to the increasing number of complaints regarding unwanted marketing messages and abandoned, silent phone calls, the UK Committee on Culture, Media and Sports has recently published its report on nuisance calls since it started its inquiry in July 2013.

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Weekly Top 3: New Year’s Resolution: Fight Spam Calls

Let’s welcome 2014 with our Weekly Top 3 – I guess this is a good way of starting the year to make sure that we can outwit, outsmart and outplay our enemies slash spam callers.

2014 is the year of the Horse, which according to Chinese culture, is a „symbol of speed and perseverance“ and people born in this year are – take note – „fabulous speakers who have a gift for getting through to other people“. Seems like this is the perfect recipe for the determined and creative spammers and scammers who pester us with everything illegal.

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It’s here! The brand new version of the tellows app for iPhone is finally available – and it’s on offer for the festive season!

Hello loyal tellows members!

Our online community continues to grow and thanks to your input, the number of caller profiles we have in our database is rising; the total now stands at over 75,000! With this breadth of information, recognising callers is getting that bit easier every day, meaning you can protect yourself more and more easily against telephone tricksters. Hundreds of thousands of people are harassed by spam callers every day – the tellows app gives you the info you need to avoid this kind of annoyance.

Christmas Special!

Unwanted call statistics skyrocket in the festive season, quite probably because the callers are hoping that purse strings will be tied a little more loosely in the Yuletide spirit. Tele-spammers are looking for goodwill and gullibility. Fight back with the app! From now until Christmas Day, we’re offering the tellows app for £0.69 (a 60% discount!) in the App Store. Think of it as a Christmas present, from us to you.

Buy Now for only £0.69
Avaiable on iTunes

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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

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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

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£ 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

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The New tellows iPhone App – The Answer to “Who’s calling?”


Dear tellows fellows,

it is done! Finally, the new tellows iPhone is avaiable for download on iTunes. Brand-new and technically up-to-date the app features a vast database of 10 000 comments on dubious rated numbers and 50 000 users per day on tellows.co.uk. Access tellows effortlessly through your iPhone.

Comment to Go – Search, Type, Send

Submitting queries for unknown phone numbers has never been easier. Just navigate to the query box, type in the number and hit the search button. Subsequently, you will reach the detail page of the wanted phone number. Not only does this page display the tellows Score but also hosts all existing comments on the number and offers, additionally, the possibility to rate the number and to post a comment yourself.

Who’s calling? – The End of Unpleasant Suprises

Due to the apps synchronization with the tellows database, the app will automatically identify the nature of the incoming call and display the imminent threat’s rating with a score of 7 to 9. Save valuable time and nerves by recognizing an unsolicited call at the first ring.

Harassment Protection – Individual Set Up to Your Liking

By activating the Harassment Protection, the app will be able to compare incoming calls with the tellows database and, therewith, divulge the trustworthiness of the phone number. Thanks to regular update your phone will always know the latest scam and spam phone numbers. Choose the score you would like to be warned about.

Features of the Version 1.8

  • categorization of incoming calls according to the tellwos score 7 – 9
  • post a comment
  • query unknown numbers
  • history of last calls
  • history of “Most Wanted” phone numbers
  • Buy Now for only £1.99
    Avaiable on iTunes

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    A few clicks from an in-app advert can lead to a £200 cost

    A wave of protests, triggered by the in-app advertising featuring in Talking Friends Cartoons encouraged parents to become more cautious about the iPhone apps their children use.

    Parenting groups actively warn parents to pay more attention towards the iPhone and iPad usage by their children, as this can result in large telephone bills, generated by children who were incentivised by the in-app advertisements.
    The app developers constantly have challenges to face: previously it were costly in-app purchases placed in the most common children’s apps and now – in-app adverts. The most recent “immoral” iPhone in-app advertisement encouraged children to sign up to a £208 (per year) subscription service.

    Well-known children’s cartoon, featuring Talking Tom Cat and Talking Lila the Fairy became the basis for the Talking Friends app, which then, respectively, motivated smart phones developers, like iPhone, iPad and Android to develop the Talking Friends Cartoon app for their electronic devices. It is a cost-free app, allowing users to expand their knowledge of the favourite characters, download cartoon’s wallpapers and, moreover, view short cartoons developed in co-operation with Disney. However, apart from that app users were exposed to the banner at the bottom of the screen, that, if linked, transferred them to a quiz, advertised by a firm called Yamoja, encouraging to participate in it and get a chance to win a 64GB iPad.

    To participate in the contest clients had to subscribe, paying a weekly fee of £4, for which in turn they got sent 4 weekly messages like “funtones, wallpapers, games, celeb news & more”.

    Stuart Dredge, famous for his remarks about Apps, posted a comment on such adverts in his Apps Playground blog: “What an advert that tries to sign you up to a £4-a-week mobile content subscription was doing inside this app is genuinely beyond me.”
    The application was cleared from the app, but a different expensive inbuilt app has been recently introduced by National Geographic.

    A lot of discussions appeared after the launch of Dino Land app in the middle of February 2013 since it offered the clients to purchase additional virtual “bones” for total sum of £69.99, which allowed rising the pace of the game. The offer seemed particularly alluring for children who could not wait to finish the game and were eager to accelerate this process.
    Dino add provides series of apps for children such as Playmobil Pirates, Coin Dozer and Racing Penguin that include inbuilt offers with costly extras. Websites for parents reveal the raising numbers of cases when parents received bills of £500 or even larger amounts because of their children buying add-ons offered in a game while playing, and suggest the parents disabling any acquisitions through the apps.

    CEO and co-founder of Mumsnet Justine Roberts said: “App-developers need to build in greater controls from the start – it’s shocking that a few click-throughs from an advert can lead to a £200 cost for unknowing parents, and it shows just how important it is to keep an eye on your child’s device settings.”

    Founder of website for parents Netmums Siobhan Freegard commented: “Few people mind a couple of targeted ads which are relevant to the app service, as they realise it’s the price to pay for the ‘free’ app. But bombarding children using free apps with expensive products and services they can unwittingly sign up to a couple of clicks is immoral.”

    Tellows highly recommend parents to pay more attention on apps your children are using to avoid such cases.

    Kind regards,
    Team Tellows

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