Posts Tagged Scam

Warning “US Federal Grants Administration” awards fake grants

Just imagine you receive a phone call one afternoon from THE US Federal Grants Administration and you think to yourself, what could they possibly want with me? You receive the news of a lifetime – you have been awarded a grant to initiate any project or further your education of your choosing, all at a total value of $8000.00!*

Does it sound too good to be true? The latest scam to sweep across America is the Government Grant scam and unfortunately my friends, this one hasn’t landed anyone thousands of dollars richer. What usually happens to the contrary, is that the caller claims himself to be a representative of the US Federal Grants Administration and attempts to lure the recipient to believe that they have qualified for a government grant. In order to retrieve this “free money,” the caller firstly requires the person’s bank account number or a small figured deposit.

We have some beneficial information with what you might hear, see and expect, to help easily recognize this Government Grant Scam and useful tips for proceeding with the phone call.

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8554116569: Confusion about Obamacare led to more Scams and Nuisance Calls

Based on reports from consumers and federal agencies, the Better Business Bureau identified Obamacare as the most used scam method for 2013.

The complexity behind the newly approved Affordable Care Act brought a lot of confusion among Americans, which in turn, opened a lot of doors to scammers and fraudsters as a way to fool citizens into sharing their personal information, and stealing their money.

Scammers would:

  • Claim that they are connected with federal government
  • Inform the target victim that he needs a new insurance card for the Obamacare
  • Ask for personal information like bank account number, credit card number, social security, medicare ID
  • Charge fees as high as $100 to help people understand the new policies
  • Target older people, or those above 65 years old, by falsely claiming that they need to buy a supplemental coverage

tellows also received reports related to this matter.

Liz on the number 8554116569:

I don’t know how to place this number, but I just received a call from it and a pre-recorded message said that they were from America’s Next Generation and then they went on to talk about Obamacare. I don’t know exactly what their agenda is, but I didn’t wait to figure it out. After a minute or so I hung up because whatever they were trying to sell me (literally or metaphorically) I wasn’t going to buy!

Lois on the same number said:

Recently received a call from this number. It was a political call, although I’m not quite sure what kind of political movement or group they belong to. An automated message identified the caller as America’s Next Generarion (even though I never heard of the group nor am I aware of what I ever did to “deserve” these kind of calls). They just kept talking about Obama care.

BBB provided the following tips and advice on protecting yourself from con artists:

  • Never pay upfront fees. If someone asks for money to help you shop for insurance, it’s a sure sign they’re not legitimate. Real navigators provide information about the ACA for free.
  • Hang up the phone. Don’t press any buttons or return any voicemails, period.
  • Never click any links provided in e-mails. Even if it appears to be a legitimate link from a trustworthy source, type in the URL yourself.
  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming to represent the government. Government agencies typically communicate only by mail.
  • Don’t provide personal information such as your Social Security or bank account numbers. If you do give out such information, immediately inform your banks and credit card providers.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Phone numbers and organization names can be faked.
  • Go to www.healthcare.gov. It’s the official shopping place for qualified health plans.
  • Report scams or suspicious activity. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
  • If you think your identity’s been stolen, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT.

Source:

www.bbb.org

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Our weekly top 3: Fake Debt Collectors Threatening Victims with Lawsuits & Arrests

You received a call at 9 in the evening. It sounded official. Caller said he’s working with the power of an attorney and is affiliated with a credit bureau. He went on to saying that you are committing a crime by not paying the debt and threatened you with lawsuits and arrests.

Now he starts to harass you and calls even at work, giving complete information about you and your family!

Yes, it’s just a bluff. These scammers don’t have any power over you. You are just one of the many targets, just like our fellow tellows users below who also experienced the same thing.

But before we give you our top 3, here are some tips on how you can protect yourself against debt collection scams:

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Our weekly Top 3 plus more info on where to Report a Scam

Before we give you our Most Annoying Numbers for the week, here’s a list of institutions that can help you deal with a scam:

1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has consumer advisories on international and text message scams.

2. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information on phone scams and spam.

3. The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

4. All major U.S. wireless companies can help you with their spam blocking technologies.

And so this week for our top 3, we have a Spanish autodialer with 11 comments and 2085 search requests; we have a spammer looking for k.smith because her debit card has been locked, and lastly, we have our resident caller telling you to claim your Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise prize. Remember guys, don’t fall for it!

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Make your smartphone even Smarter with the tellows Android app!

Receiving a lot of unwanted calls lately? Seems like your DNC isn’t working? Well, we finally have the solution for you!

You can now download the tellows Android app for caller identification. It’s a sure way to a peaceful life! The app will tell you real-time if the call is trustworthy or not. This will save you time since you don’t need to check the number in the internet. On the first ring of your phone, the tellows Score will automatically appear in order to help you decide whether to answer the phone or cancel it – 7 to 9 being the most untrustworthy numbers. Caller identification has never been this easy!

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Don’t be a victim! Our Top 3 scam clichés for the week

I remember this Hollywood film Compliance, I couldn’t sleep after watching it. It’s about this prank caller who phoned the manager of a fast food chain and introduced himself as a police officer. He asked the manager to strip search one of her female employees because she allegedly stole something. The manager believed it and followed everything the caller asked her to do. The scam call ended up as a sexual harassment case. This film is based on a true story and apparently, there were over 70 similar incidents that already occurred in 30 U.S. States.

After seeing this movie, you will never again talk to strangers! Yes, we’ve heard that from our mothers when we were kids, but still, this comes in handy every time we face the dangerous world out there.

Based on true accounts of our tellows users, our top three for the week go like this: 1) caller tells you they found your lost debit card and then will ask you to confirm the number to them, the next thing you knew, they’re already using your debit card number for different transactions; 2) scam call pretending to be a representative of Nova Scotia informing you that you just won a free cruise but they first need your bank account details to make sure that they are talking to the right person; 3) another Caribbean spam caller, this time from Montserrat.

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Caribbean Numbers Continue Phone Scam

tellows is once again receiving several comments regarding Carribean numbers, this time from Montserrat, with code number 664. The scam starts by calling anyone, usually during late hours, so one would think that it is an emergency and would then make a return call. Unfortunately, it is often just a recording generated by a computer system with the purpose of making the victim stay on hold for a longer time. Apparently, it is coming from a „pay-per-call“ line (similar to area code 900 numbers in the US) that charges high fees including international rates.

This scam has been going on since the 90’s and because it is not a US-based number, it is not under US regulations. It would be difficult for those people who were scammed to get assistance and ask for a credit or refund from its local phone carriers since for one, they did make the call, and second, it is already another foreign company in the Carribean that they should be dealing with.

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News from the Caribbean – Grenada’s Haven for Sex Scam Callers

It’s one of those late night calls that you were not able to pick up. You called back early in the morning thinking that it was an emergency. Unfortunately, you heard obscene moaning and realized it’s a scam. Then your phone bill arrives, and there goes an extra $100 charge.

Due to the huge amount of complaints received, police departments across Utah are warning people not to answer and not to call back numbers from the 473 area code. Apparently, some residents in the area who just picked up the phone and did not even return the call were getting a $19.95 charge on their phone bill.

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Pests of the Caribbean – The Tide of Grenadian Nuisance Calls

For some the Caribbean Sea equals paradise, for others, the sole notion of the Grenadian area code 473 forebodes only waking nights and sleepless nightmares. A new phone-fiend has arisen on the small island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea and pesters unwitting people with dozens of silent calls a day.

Our fellow tellows users complain about an increasing number of automated calls from Grenada. Usually the calls are most numerous in the morning, yet afternoon calls and bellowing phones at night were reported as well. Yet no one actually ever talked to the caller. The tellows user thereby conclude that the callers agenda is primarily aimed at tricking people into calling back.

Danglt reported the number 4735209795:

Seems to be a ping call from grenada. Even without any fees for a service number the reaming fee will be high enough to cost you some dollars

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Transatlantic Team To Wage War on Serial Spoofers

21st October 2013 brought good news for all phone-owners as the USA’s Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission joined forces with organisations in the UK and Canada to crack down on ‘spoof’ callers. This new task force aims to share international resources and knowledge to tackle nuisance callers’ stranglehold over phonelines the world over.

The Truth in Caller ID Act, passed by President Obama in December 2010, prohibits the masking of Caller ID with the intent to “defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value”. Working with Ofcom, the UK’s independent regulation and competition authority for communications industries, the UK-based Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Canadian Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the FTC and FCC have pledged to use their collective international jurisdiction act decisively and severely against the criminal act of spoofing.

Spoof calling, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, involves using some ingenious software to mask the number you’re actually calling from, preventing the recipients of your calls from locating you, or calling you back. This is naturally infurating for people plagued by anonymous calls. What’s even more infuriating is that whilst some spoofers use nonsense numbers instead of their own, others have gone the extra mile and strategically use the phone numbers of well-known organisations to execute some impressive scam manoeuvres. Let’s take a look at a couple.

Tellows users in the US reported this month that one band of tricksters have been using a phone number belonging to New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation (NYSTEC) to try and pose as telemarketers. User Gerald says about his call from 5186211390:

I got this call from “NYSTEC” but I figured out rather quickly that it was scam. Someone is “spoofing” their number cause NYSTEC doesn’t make any telemarketing calls or ask for donations. Nor would it ask personal information or even credit card information in that way.

NYSTEC soon cottoned onto the fact that their number was being used by a spoof caller and released a statement on their website.

More dramatically, last week’s ‘sheriff’ blog aptly illustrates how successful a daring fraudster can be. Numerous cases of sheriff-impersonation have been springing up all over the United States, convincing vulnerable citizens to, for example, bail out a relative or pay their way out of an arrest warrant.

A non-existent ‘Donald Mack’ from Kern County Sheriff’s department (9164148678) tried to tell user Jen that there was a warrant out for her arrest. The genuine sheriff’s department, when Jen called them back, confirmed that it’s not possible to be ‘served’ over the phone. Kudos to Jen for the cool-headed approach!

Fraudsters will even impersonate a string of different people, calling you back on different, faked numbers, working their way up a disciplinary hierarchy to try and scare you into paying up.

The numbers used by spoofers range from any old number, to the very frustrating 000-000-0000 number variants, to the phone numbers of prestigious organisations. Difficulty in tracking down the 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, published on the ICO’s website, avers that the six regulators

will work together to share information and target organizations responsible for spoofing.

The member organisations will pool resources, share information and work together 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 and clarified, with a view to introducing tougher punitive measures. And it’s not just the scam callers that are being targeted; silent and abandoned calls will be treated with equal severity.

For now though, until that distant day when spoofers and scammers have been silenced once and for all, remember to second-guess that unknown caller! Stay suspicious and have a great week.

Your tellows team

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