Disturbed call recipients have been offered a new toy this month by electricity companies. A plug-in device that promises to save 40% of your energy bills for a not-so-small price starting at £99. The callers are alleged scammers, falsely claiming to be from energy suppliers or regulators, such as “British Gas.” Unfortunately, among the recipients, it is the elderly that are likely to be targeted as Moneyfacts.co.uk report.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has been informed recently of a supposed investment scam aiming at potential investors. The alleged victims are told that IKEA, the world recognised swedish company known for their modern architectural designs of both appliances and furnitures, are due to float shares on the stock market and therefore potential investors should purchase IPO shares (Initial Public Offering) before the floatation.
In response, actionfraud.police.uk and Ikea have themselves issued an article stating that this is false and there are no arrangements for Ikea to become publicly listed.
This described fraud comes under the umbrella of what is called ‘Boiler room Fraud.’ This is when you receive contact from someone offering investment opportunities which often leads the caller requesting a ‘seal the deal’ payment by requesting bank account details over the phone. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) report approximately 5000 people a year contact them on suspicion that they have been subjected to investment fraud. Unfortunately, around 10% would have already issued funds to the criminals. In addition, the FCA warns that out of these victims who would have transferred money to the criminals, the probability that they will be contacted in the future by the the same operation or have their details sold to other fraudsters would be increased.
We used www.financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com:
Floatation: Floating shares are shares of a public cooperation that are available for trading in the stock market
Initial Public Offering (IPO): The first price for which a company offers to sell stock in itself when it moves from private ownership to public trade.
We also acknowledge actionfraud.police.uk for their content published on the 13th of June: Beware of cold callers offering fraudulent sales of shares in IKEA.
The tellows magazine is now here for download!
Based on information compiled from the tellows website, its blog and from concerned authorities in the UK, the tellows magazine provides the most important things you need to know in order to avoid being scammed over the phone.
How useful is this magazine to me?
You could be the next target victim of phone fraud. Even if you are registered with TPS, it does not spare you from the threat. In fact, 57% of those TPS-registered numbers are not satisfied since they still receive an average of 7 unsolicited calls per month, based on the UK Consumers’ Association report.
Statistics from the tellows website also shows that Greater London receives the highest rate of unwanted calls, followed by the North West part and Yorkshire. This does not mean that other regions are not being targeted, rather, reports and complaints in tellows website are actually coming from all parts of the country.
That’s why it’s important for you to be aware of these scam methods and be proactive in guarding yourself and family against fraud.
tellows UK Top 10 scam methods
tellows has identified these top 10 scam methods based on the actual reports of users submitted to tellows website. These are: online payday loan scam, call back, job offer, fake telemarketer, spoofing, vishing, ppi, pc doctor scam, lottery and winning scam, pension liberation fraud.
One scheme would ask you to pay fees in advance so they can process your loan, PPI, pension, job and training application, or your winnings in a lottery or contest. Another kind would send out messages that sound like an emergency or would ring your phone incessantly just to make you call them back. While the last type would pretend to be calling from a valid number, or would use the name of a legit company and brand, as if offering their products and services.
The magazine also gives you an overview of the Data Protection Act and the three most important regulators and agencies involved in this area. Direct links on where you can send a complaint are provided, whether it is about an unwanted live telesales calls, automated marketing calls, silent or abandoned calls, or unwanted spam text message.
More on tellows
For an immediate, everyday protection, details about how the tellows website, its blog and smartphone app work can also be found in the magazine to solve your worries and doubts on unknown numbers.
Originating by all accounts in Latvia, Belarus and Afghanistan, the latest scam sending ripples across the phone network is a worldwide operation. The perpetrators send short, curiosity-provoking, incognito texts to individuals requesting that they call back any of an array of fee-charging +371 numbers. Continue reading
This week brought fantastic news for victims of telephone fraud as regulator PhonepayPlus confronted huge offender RS Premium with a whopping great fine and a ban on operating premium rate numbers.
The scam, a relatively unoriginal ‘call-us-back-and-we’ll-keep-you-on-rather-pricy-hold’ manoeuvre, targeted househunters and jobseekers – indeed, the vulnerability of the victims was part of the reason that PhonepayPlus came down so hard upon the perpetrators. Adverts and emails containing details of non-existent vacancies or properties lured eager and unsuspecting individuals into calling these 070 numbers back and waiting patiently on premium-rate hold whilst their phone bills rocketed into hyperspace.
It’s hard to track down exactly which calls are part of a certain scam as so many different numbers are used by the ‘artists’ to carry out their schemes and help them blend into a haze of anonymity. However, there are plenty of you reporting remarkably similar-sounding scams on tellows, all with scores of 7 or above. Have a gander…
‘Amy Pearce’ has been tirelessly sending emails offering jobs at the fictitious ‘SB Millers’ and may ask you to call back on 07030808243. Hannahayleigh wasn’t going to be caught out in a hurry:
Received a message saying I’d got through some kind of recruitment screening process and offering me a job. Deleted it straight away as I haven’t been on the job market for several years! Googled the agency and surprise surprise, it seems to be a fake. These people are a waste of space.
User GiGi also had her wits about her when asked to call 07030808244 back:
I got an email from this person, recruiting me for her company. I called them against my better judgement and was kept waiting on the phone for at least 7 minutes. If nothing else, that’s simply rude and I also realised that I had to pay for every minute…In the end they didn’t have any jobs to offer. I examined the email more closely and discovered that it didn’t look really professional, like with a signature and everything.
…and ‘Scammer finder’ simply cuts to the chase with some stern words of warning:
DO NOT PHONE AND WARN YOUR MATES AND WHOEVER ELSE. YOU’LL GET RIPPED OFF!!!
Similar scams frequently pop up on tellows and seem to be an ongoing problem; see this example, 07053500874, reported by Jskr late in 2012:
Received email from Tony Render offering interview with the department manager, Edie Wilson and told to contact this number. Checked on line to find it is a cost scam resulting in large bills. Do not reply!
070 numbers have been in question for a long while, as their closeness in appearance to mobile numbers renders them prime fraud-fodder and they unfortunately seem to proliferate on Gumtree; see this warning about 07053528945 from user, er, ‘Warning’:
its a rent SCAM to get you to call premium numbers. you call a normal mobile no and he tells you to call his girlfriend, then says you got the number wrong, bla bla bla. SCAM
RS Premium were charged ₤120,000 for their misconduct and it seems that Ofcom may be reevaluating their decision re: 070 numbers.
Phone owners: 1, Scammers: 0. There is hope, boys and girls.
Unfortunately, the wonderfully useful website Gumtree does seem to attract the occasional scammer amongst the bona fide individuals and organisations that advertise there. Just keep your eyes open for 070 numbers and try not to give personal details away until you’ve established a reasonable level of trust. The website itself offers some solid advice about how to protect yourself against potential fraudsters.
Keep reporting any dodgy dealings on tellows and do your fellow users a favour!
Your tellows team
It’s a time of flux in the telemarketing world: laws are changing internationally and indeed, some countries are forging long-distance alliances to crack down on tele-tormenters. The UK government is currently considering following other countries’ lead and introducing radical consumer protection measures with regard to cold calling.
Since 2010, for example, German citizens have had to specifically opt in to receive marketing calls and telemarketing companies are now legally obliged to display their caller ID. Meanwhile in the US, October 16th saw revisions to the Federal Communication Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) come into force, forbidding telemarketers to solicit using autodiallers or prerecorded messages without the express written consent of the phone-owner. This ‘express written consent’ is, albeit, something of a misnomer, covering anything from
permission obtained via an email, Web site form, text message, telephone keypress, or voice recording.
Nonetheless, it is a bold and effective motion in the fight against cold call harassment and the tough financial punitive measures ($500-$1500 penalties per call or text) are proving a strong deterrent.
The UK, meanwhile, is yet to see such a measure come into effect. With those who have signed up to the TPS (about 75% of UK landlines) often reporting receiving double the amount of sales calls received by those who aren’t, British phone owners are starting to lose faith in regulators’ capacity to keep ‘direct marketers’ in line.
User Jay the Kay, for example, says of 01904530013:
Called – very annoying as ring off when you answer – no idea how they got my (very private) number as only 4 people have it!!
‘Not happy’ is also somewhat irked about relentless and untimely calls from 01209219844:
Very annoying automated calls about pension, repeatedly calling at between 1am – 2am, leaving messages etc, cannot get it to stop, has broken my sleep so very grumpy
PhonePestReporter reported 01905744557 as ‘aggressive advertising’:
The PEST is: Domestic & General 🙁
They are a cold-calling pest phishing for new Loft Insulation contracts.
I have automated calls on a daily basis for 2 months now – 3 rings and they hang up – never leaving a message.
He (or she) goes on to voice the agonies of all those keen to see cold calling condemned to the past:
I wish the government would provide the regulators with some teeth to prosecute all these highly persistent phone pests making MULTIPLE nuisance calls. I changed my number relatively recently to avoid this, and I’m ex-directory and I’ve “opted out” so they should check before they call. I give my number out rarely to only be used by the individual companies I have to deal with. Therefore I know they have somehow acquired my number via some list processed illegally.
However, there is a ray of hope; the House of Lords are currently backing a bill which would see the UK go one step further than the USA and outlaw unsolicited calls and texts altogether. The Unsolicited Telephone Communications Bill has been provisionally passed and is to be submitted for a second reading. This strict set of regulations would mean that all telemarketers would have to gain the consent of their ‘marketees’ before calling; no mean feat when you consider the percentile of the population who’d voluntarily give the time of day to a PPI-pusher.
The regulation itself would be centralised and overseen by Ofcom, a gargantuan task necessitaing much closer surveillance than is currently, by all accounts, in effect. Moreover, such a drastic measure, as Lord Gardiner of Kimble notes, could be disastrous for the direct marketing industry. These are significant considerations which may regrettably cause the bill to stutter.
The APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on Nuisance Calls are nonetheless bravely pushing for change; be it a wholesale ban on unsolicited calls, or a much-needed enforcement of the current regulations, the winds of change may yet be whistling through the realms of coldcalling.
In the meantime, be sure to arm yourself by looking up unknown numbers on www.tellows.co.uk, reporting rogue or pest callers to the ICO or TPS and second-guessing any implausible claims an opportunist scam caller may make. Your phone line is your own! May others respect it.
Have a wonderful week!
Your tellows team
21st October 2013 brought good news for all phone-owners as British regulator Ofcom joined forces with international regulators in the UK, USA and Canada to crack down on ‘spoof’ callers.
Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be working with the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Canada’s Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). This new task force aims to share international resources and knowledge to tackle nuisance callers’ stranglehold over phonelines the world over.
Spoof calling, for those unfamiliar with the term, involves using a nifty bit of software to mask the number you’re actually calling from, in order to prevent the recipients of your calls being able to locate you, or call you back. This is of course, infuriating for those of us badgered incessantly by anonymous callers. What’s even more infuriating is that whilst some spoofers use gobbledegook numbers instead of their own, others have really taken the biscuit and tactically use well-known organisations’ digits to execute some quite remarkable conning manoeuvres.
Whilst spoofing has been happening for years, the people behind it are becoming ever more audacious. Regular spoofing will be something along the lines of what user Steven reports about number 01164465587:
SILENT CALL and if you try and call it back it is unrecognised. Looks like a scam or a spoof. The BT 1471 read this number correctly but it is duff.
Commenting on number 01618149908, user Dawn mentions another standard spoofing tactic: hiding a phone number with a bad reputation and using an as yet ‘clean’ one so you aren’t forewarned when the phone rings.
just so people know,,,,DRD ALSO CONTACT YOU USING THIS NUMBER ,,,,07734953850,, i have found out that this is a “SPOOF” number they are used by tele marketing to make them seem legitimate number calling you
If you’ve been called by 000-000-0000 (or another unlikely-looking number), it’s highly probable that the caller was using spoofing technology. Difficulty in tracking down spoofing culprits is increased thousandfold by the fact that the origin of the call is completely untraceable. Without an area code, there is generally no way of discerning where or who a call has come from. This means that internationally-placed spoof calls are becoming increasingly common: hence the transatlantic team-up.
The joint statement from the six organisations, published on the ICO’s website, avers that they
will work together to share information and target organizations responsible for spoofing.
The member organisations will pool resources, share information and work in collaboration with telecommunications industries in their respective countries to target and reprimand offending organisations. Guidelines on what constitutes ‘misuse’ of the spoofing technique are also being reconsidered, revised and made much clearer, with a view to introducing tougher punitive measures: monetary penalties of up to £500,000 are being considered for foul-players.
In the UK, US and Canada, all telemarketers are legally obliged to identify themselves, meaning that spoofing, and also number-concealment, are against the law. Always be on your guard with unknown callers and watch out for the warning signs: are they trying to weasel information out of you, personal or otherwise? If they claim to be calling on behalf of a service you use, ask yourself if this is how they normally contact you. Try to call back on the official company number if you’re in any doubt at all and never respond to threats or implausible claims.
Take care and have a great week!
Your tellows team
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:
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
In today’s world, everything you could ever want or need can be found, bought and paid for on the internet, making it a playground for fraudsters. They’ll be as creative as they want when it comes to coaxing people into parting with their money. No time for guilt or remorse when you’re a scammer!
Today, we’ll present you with two online tricksters who’ve been at large on the world wide web and made maximum use of its advantages.
The first number 0019518883614 belongs to a certain “Mr. Smith”(this isn’t the creative part) and it comes from California, USA. Apparently, Mr. Smith would like to buy a car and would prefer to do it in the UK, for whatever reason. He favours the advertising site Gumtree to reach his victims.
You have to be careful here. If you want to sell some things on GUMTREE then you also can be a potential victim to this plot. Usually it hits those who want to sell something big like a car.
This number will send you a text containing the following email addresses and wants you to reply. You can just as easily send messages in Gumtree but of course that doesn’t fit with the plan.
Writing back means that he has your email address and step one of this two-step scam is achieved. Step two is convincing you to pay with PayPal.
If you answer his text, you’ll get to hear a longwinded story involving in-laws and presents and being out of town… meaning that the payment has to be done via PayPal. At this point, anyone can see that something doesn’t add up. If you Google the number, you’ll see that it’s from the USA, so why get a car from the UK? Making a payment via PayPal in these situations is not recommended at all – there is a long history of cases like this where people have been tricked out of their money.
Being vigilant is always recommended whilst on the internet and this is especially true when buying and selling. Our second number 01612127403 is from Manchester, UK. In this case, cash is the goal once again but the tactics are different. In one scam, they offer marketing services but once you’ve paid up, you won’t hear a dickybird from them…
I got a call from a man claiming he represents Online Platform Management Consulting. We talked a little while and I agreed to pay for online marketing. I proceed with the payment and tried to contact the same number back but it was no longer active.
Another technique they use is posing as Google, threatening to remove an address from their listing. Though this technique isn’t really that smart, it’s still fairly creative.
What scammers want is money and personal information. We’re all inclined to believe it would be hard to get hold of these things on the internet but it can be all too easy! Don’t let your guard down and always think twice before disclosing sensitive or important information.
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.