Posts Tagged Scam

Who Spoofed the Sheriff? Audacious Phone Tricksters Use Spoof Technology to Impersonate Officers of the Law!

The most recent spate of phone scams in the United States is an ingenious one. Criminal callers are using ‘spoofing’ technology (which allows a caller to choose which number appears on your display when they call you) to make you believe they’re calling from your local sheriff’s office.

Generally, they’ll have laid their hands on some convincing personal details about you – a loan you recently took out, perhaps, or the name of someone in your family. They’ll inform you that there is a charge against you, which you can pay a fine to waive. They’ll also have done their research on the sheriff’s office in question and will often use accurate names and information to convince you of their authenticity. After all, the number on your display is definitely the sheriff’s number – why wouldn’t you believe them?!

This is a scam that is popping up all over the USA, counting victims in Pinellas County, FL, Pima County, AZ, Spokane County, WA and Macomb County, MI to name but a few. By playing on their victims’ emotions and convincing them that they’re bailing out a relative, for example, these tricksters have made people part with thousands of dollars.

User Jen tells us more about a call she received from 9164148678

A man calling himself Don Mack claiming to be an Investigator with the Kern County Arbitration Department calls to say they have sworn affidavits and will be filing charges in the morning to of theft and fraud. He throws around all of this legal mumbo Jumbo. Does not state at the beginning of the call that the call is being recorded but later when he’s telling you how favorable the judge will be (or presumably will not be) when he hears the tape of the conversation. He throws around some figures and slides in to the conversation that you can take care of it by paying fees of out of court costs of some amount. He expressed frustration with your inability to understand what he is saying when you ask questions and also advises you to get a lawyer. He claims that you’ve been “served” over the phone and that you’ve been on a warrant dialer list.

Edward B. had a similar experience with 8558506310:

They called my wife, claiming that they had an arrest warrant for me and told her I had until 5.30 pm to turn myself in or we had to pay $1.500. When she asked for what, they said for fraud but wouldn’t specify any further.

Similar scams involve scammers posing as local law enforcement agencies trying to get payment details from victims, supposedly to pay off a pay-day loan; in another case, a caller posed as a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration, telling the victim that he was under investigation for purchasing illegal substances. Often, these calls will actually be followed up by another call from the same guy, using a slightly different voice and name, claiming to be from an organisation with a higher authority and threatening you with further action.

Spoofing, with the intent to “defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value” is illegal under the Truth in Caller ID Act, which came into force in 2010.

Always remember that police will never ask you for payment over the phone. Hang up immediately and report the incident to the real state police if you believe that you have been called by one of these spoof callers. You can also register these incidents at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints.

Remember to share your experiences on tellows to help protect other users from these types of scams!

Be wary of suspicious callers and have a great week!

Your tellows team

, , , , ,

No Comments

Telephone Spam Numbers: The Most Annoying Callers of the Week

Dear friends of tellows,

another week has passed since our last update on the most wanted numbers. This week, all of the numbers that kept your phone lines busy were repeat offenders, ranging from nuisance calls to attempted telephone scams. Let’s have a look:

1. 234567890 with 4 comments and 1394 search requests. tellows Score: 8
2. 7607058888 with 3 comments and 1769 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. +17148680120 with 8 comments and 14600 search requests. tellows Score: 5

Our first number of the week, telephone number 234567890 is no stranger to the list. According to our users, the caller claims to be phoning from the computer or tech support department of his company to fix the computer of the person called, suggesting that it has been attacked by a virus. This scam method is hardly a new one and has been reported on numerous times on our blog. Julian35 warns our other users about the number:

A man with a heavy accent claimed to call from “Computer Support Department”. He wanted to fix my computer because he has a virus. I hung up then. Be careful with this number!

Our second number for today, number +17148680120 from Los Angeles, California, is an old acquaintance and in spite of receiving a neutral rating with a tellows score of 5, the nature of the calls as well as their authenticity are highly debated. While most users felt bothered by frequent calls from this number, other users reported the number as trustworthy service hotline of a well-known software cooperation. Contrary, user wallace commented:

my family all also got this number,why u call us!?

Although our third place, number 7607058888 has had an entry on this list before, little is known about the calls that originate from Escondido, California. Tellows users have complained about receiving calls from the number at unsociable hours and were unable to call back. After answering the phone, user Danni was asked to provide personal details but was given little information in return:

I got a call a couple of days ago, the caller insisted i give him my email, then he hung up when i started asking questions.

If you do receive a call from an unknown number, don’t offer any personal information – especially if you don’t know who is calling and you can’t be sure if the call is legitimate or not. Moreover, don’t hesitate to report dubious or untrustworthy numbers on tellows to warn others about possible spam and scam calls.

Your tellows team

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

The Devil in Disguise of Microsoft: Tech Support Scammers Strike Again

For many, the computer has become an important device to manage matters of everyday life. With useful features such as email, social networking sites, online banking and shopping, there is barely any aspect of life that you can’t organize with the help of your computer in one way or the other. As discussed on our tellows blog – both US and UK – in the past, that turns the computer into an appealing target to scammers.

The number of telephone scams aimed at receiving access to computers has been increasing as a growing number of comments such as those of tellows user Sonya, who wrote about the number 7804094786, demonstrate:

This man with a heavy accent called here, saying that he was from “Microsoft”, that my computer had sent them a error message of some sort and that he was now calling to fix the problem. This was literally a day after I had bought a new computer that was still in the process of being set up, but I figured I played along for a little while longer, just to see where they were going with this. He then said to press start and type in CMD into the search and click enter. […] Long story short: It’s a scam – so beware!

How the Scammers Operate
In most instances, the scammer posed as a representative of Microsoft or Windows Microsoft, claiming that the computer of the person called has been infected with malware causing the operating browser or computer to sent a critical error message to the supposed tech support of the corporation. The goal, to gain access to the computer and subsequently other sensitive personal information about its owner or users, is achieved by instructing the target to change current computer settings or to download rogue security software to leave the computer vulnerable.

In some cases, they also attempt to charge a fee for supposedly fixing your computer: user Mr. Swanson reported about the number 8008008200:

Total scam! The caller said he was calling from “Microsoft” and that it had come to their attention that my computer had been infected with a dangerous virus. Of course, they had the solution for my “problem” and, yes, while it might cost nearly $300, it would be a good investment and apparently really the only way to save my computer. I figured I humored them long enough, said they should go to hell and hung up. So if you’re not in the mood for playing with some scammers, don’t pick up!

Reported Scam Numbers
Several users reported other numbers connected to the scam on tellows, including the following numbers:

Detecting the Scam
In some cases, if your computer has been infected by malware and you are a customer of Microsoft, you may receive a call from a legitimate representatives of Microsoft. However, actual employees of the corporation are able to verify you as a customer and will not charge you to fix your computer over the phone.

Moreover, you should keep the following things in mind when dealing with calls that seem suspect:

  • don’t provide any information regarding yourself, your computer or your credit or bank account on the telephone (unless you can be 100% sure that you are talking to a legitimate representative of the company in question and you are a customer)
  • don’t follow any instructions that change computer settings, especially if you don’t know how it will affect your computer
  • don’t provide a third party access your computer on the telephone
  • don’t download software that you have no knowledge of, especially if you are charged for it

An ongoing issue for the company, Microsoft is well aware of the problem and has provided an information page on phone scams related to the corporation.

Reacting to the Scam
If you have already given away information and think you might be a victim of scammers, change the password on your computer as well as for other user accounts they may try to access such as email account, bank or credit card account. Run a trustworthy and reliable scan program on your computer – Microsoft recommends the Microsoft Safety Scanner.

Furthermore, don’t forget to report the scam: if you are aware of a number that is used for this type of scam, you can alert the Federal Trade Commission in the US. In order to warn others, you are encouraged to share the information you have on our tellows community as well.

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Update on Facebook Scammers: New Numbers

As we recently reported, scammers have taken to social networking sites. Seeing that more and more numbers appear to be connected to the scam committed on Facebook, we decided to give you an update on the latest telephone numbers:

  • 7145910019 from Santa Ana, Minnesota
  • 3052904905 from Miami, Florida
  • 3479604267 from New York
  • Operating under names very common in the US such as Amanda, Ashley, Jennifer, Jessica, Lisa and Nicole, the scammers attempt to get added to the contact list of Facebook members to then contact them with messages asking them to call or text to a certain number. The procedure is nearly always the same with only few details changed (such as the name and messages that ultimately lead to the request to be conacted by phone) – as demonstrated by comments such as those of tellows user Mr. Firth, who commented on the telephone number 4153668587 from San Francisco, California:

    Some girl called Lisa something contacted me on facebook – or rather sent me a friend request. I didn’t think much of it, so I added her. She then contacted me again saying that she liked my photo and that she now had to logg of but I should give her a call at this number. I’ve heard some similar story from a friend who also added someone unknown at Facebook and then tried him to get to call a certain number. I guess it’s an ongoing scam and people should beware of all Lisas, Ashleys and Jessicas who try to “befriend” them on fb.

    Using what seems to be countless name variations, accounts and phone numbers, some of our users have been contacted not only once but twice by scammers. User Robert, for instance, who had commented on a number related to the scam before, reported 9292234999 from Germany with the following statement:

    Unbelievable! This is yet another facebook scam! I just reported about one of those yesterday, a Jessica contacting me and this time it was a lisa. she asked me to call her at this address. I don’t know what that means with regards to the scammers since I figured they were a group of people – perhaps there is more than just this one group or they lost track of who they already contacted? It certainly isn’t more believable the second time around…

    So stay alert and be careful who you add to your contact list on Facebook or any other social networking site and don’t react prematuraley, especially on urgent requests by a complete stranger. If you have detected a scam, don’t hesitate to share your knowledge on tellows and help raise awareness against scammers.

    , , , , , , ,

    No Comments

    Top 3 Most Annoying Phone Numbers of the Week

    Dear friends of tellows,

    in contrast with September announcing the beginning of fall and with that another change of season, there are some things that seem to never change: nuisance callers and telephone scammers have been as busy as ever the past week and as usual, we like to share with you the top 3 worst offenders:

    1. +17148680120 with 8 comments and 13259 search requests. tellows Score: 5
    2. 68547111 with 2 comments and 624 search requests. tellows Score: 8
    3. 2142831316 with 2 comments and 1395 search requests. tellows Score: 9

    Our first number of the week is +17148680120, and has been active around the globe with comments on tellows Indonesia and Belgium as well. While most users are wary of the calls as they appear to be made frequently and without any identification of the caller, our user Bert indicated something else:

    its a service number of the microsoft corperation

    Ranking on this week’s second place, number 68547111 is a newcomer. Similarly to the first number, the identity of the caller is uncertain, with some users warning that it might be a cost trap as they were charged for the incoming call. User Geegee voiced concern about the trustworthiness of the number, as he has been receiving silent calls:

    This number called me and leave voice mail, but there is no voice and after several minutes there is a scary male husking voice, I deleted the voice msg

    Last, but not least, number 2142831316 has been the number with the third most search requests this week. Again, the caller prefers to stay unknown and with a tellows score of 9 (untrustworthy) has been preceived as harassment by most of our users. User Will Nelson, who suspects a telemarketer behind the calls, has found a way to handle the frequent calls:

    I let my fax machine answer such calls I don’t know who they are.. But I would like these calls to stop..

    If you have been receiving calls by numbers who make cold calls, spam calls or appears to be used by scammers, check our tellows website to share your information with the community and exchange experiences with other users. In the hope that you have a spam- and scam-free time, we wish you a great and relaxing weekend!

    Your tellows team

    , , , , , , , ,

    No Comments

    False Friends on Facebook: Beware of the Latest Social Network Scam

    With all those possibilities concerning both your personal and your professional life, who can afford to stay away from the social media? With the highest amount of active users, the social networking site Facebook has become an important part of the social life of more than a billion members world wide. What’s more, instead of limiting their online contact list to the people they actually met in real life, for many “Facebook friends” also include a number of strangers, thus offering scammers and fraudsters a chance to creep into peoples lives without ever having met or talked to them.

    How Scammers Use Facebook
    One of those scams has recently come to the attention of our tellows.com user who reported how they have been approached by strangers on the platform. Often using a rather common name like Amanda, Ashley, Jennifer, Jessica, Lisa or Nicole, the scammer contacts people on Facebook with a friend request, sometimes even sharing a mutual facebook “friend” as in the case of user Gary who wrote on the number 8722130108:

    This actually didn’t just happen to me but some friends of mine as well. A Jennifer/Lisa/Ashley/Amanda or what have you tries to befriend you, sending a friend request, then striking up a conversation only to quickly log off again, asking you to call “her” at number xy. This is not the only number they try to get you to call or text to, but it’s all I’ve got so far. I guess that really teaches you a lesson about “befriending” strangers on facebook.

    Once added, the person contacts again, often asking some random questions or engaging in a little small talk before ending the (mostly one-sided) conversation quickly with the excuse that they supposedly have to log off of facebook and stating that the other person should text or call at a certain number. A lot of different numbers that have been reported in the past few days shared a similar story. User Stan W., who reported the number 7185139068, put what most users thought into words:

    […] It seemed odd to me – who gives out their number to strangers like that? […] I just wonder what they are trying to accomplish by it?

    Why They Want You to Call
    Scammer could want you to call for various reasons:

  • to get your number
  • to verify your number (to be used or sold to call centers, telemarketers etc.)
  • to charge you for the call
  • to forward your call to another number
  • We agree with tellows-user Peter‘s recommendation, who commented on the number 7185139067:

    […]I don’t know how it works and what they have to gain from this, but do not under any circumstance respond to their requests!

    Numbers Associated with the Scam
    The following numbers have been reported in connection to the scam as well:

  • 3233582539 from Los Angeles, California
  • 4155240634 from San Francisco, California
  • 2534444459 from Tacoma, Washington
  • If you have been contacted by a stranger asking you to call an unknown number – especially without giving you a very good and plausible reason why, it is perhaps the most sensible thing not to react and to rather be safe than sorry. If you do suspect a scam or are already aware of a telephone number that is used for scams, do not hesitate to report it on tellows and warn others. Moreover, be careful who you add to your contact list on facebook or any other social networking site.

    , , , , , , ,

    3 Comments

    The Most Annoying Callers of the Week

    Dear friends of tellows,

    another week has passed since our last update on the most wanted numbers on tellows and as usual, nuisance callers have been rather busy. With numbers receiving scores from 9 to 6, this week there is not one number in our top 3 that is not somewhat of an annoyance to our users. But let’s see for yourself:

    1. 2149695489 with 2 comments and 528 search requests. tellows Score: 9
    2. 9722178347 with 2 comments and 1316 search requests. tellows Score: 8
    3. 2562617792 with 2 comments and 1271 search requests. tellows Score: 6

    Ranking on this week’s first place, the number 2149695489 from Dallas received a tellows score of 9 and is thus deemed to be completely untrustworthy. The number has been active for years and it’s mostly the caller’s odd behaviour that raised the suspicion of our users. Donna, for instance, reported:

    creepy guy said i had a sexy voice. first two calls from operator asking if I’ll accept the call..last 4 came from this creepy guy called himself frankie.

    On our second place, the number 9722178347 has kept the phone line’s of our users busy. Calling from De Soto, this is another number that has been active for several years and at a tellows score of 8, does not seem trustworthy. User Hector commented:

    972-221-8347 is Metro News Service. I am constantly getting calls with no message from them. I did find the information below as to how to contact them. HOWEVER…EVEN BETTER…I called 972-227-6170 connected to EXTENSION 202 which is the THE VP OF MARKETING (Eric Southward) AND GOT HIS CELL PHONE NUMBER! PLEASE CALL HIM AND TELL HIM YOU WANT OFF OF THEIR TELEMARKETING LIST!

    And finally, our last number for this week – 2562617792 – seems to be calling from Huntsville, Alabama and has been on this list before. While some suspect a debt collection company behind these calls based on their experiences with the number, others have been left clueless regarding the purpose of the frequent calls. User lafowl76934 complained:

    […] This number calls more than once a day and will never leave me a message…Have no clue who it is

    If you do have any information on this or any other number that seems to make suspicious or dubious calls, don’t hesitate to share it with our tellows community and caution other people against untrustworthy numbers and scammers. Other than that, have a nice and hopefully peaceful weekend without any spam or scam calls!

    Your tellows team

    , , , , , , , ,

    No Comments

    Senior Citizens Frequently Targeted by Con Artists

    Targeting senior citizens, one of the oldest and most frequently committed scams is still going strong. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advises all seniors to use caution when answering phone calls from unknown numbers, especially when the caller claims to be a relative asking for money.

    This particular scam method is a rather simple one: playing on grandparent’s heartstrings, the con artists call elderly people, posing as their grandchild and claiming to be in trouble that could be solved with a money donation by their supposed grandparent. Unfortunately, some of our users have already made some experiences with these scam methods. As user Harry commented on the number 4389894013:

    Unbelievable scam! My dear mother received a call last week from a young man who claimed to be her grandson. He said he got into “all kinds of trouble”, was arrested on vacation and now needs some money for a lawyer and bail. You can imagine how upset she was when she called us to check in. Fortunately, she hadn’t done anything yet and was just happy to hear that her grandson is well – but the nerve that some people have!

    Other recently reported numbers include:

  • 5145685650 from Pierreville, Canada
  • 4387653430 from Quebec in Canada
  • 8888912113 from an unknown location
  • Reasons for Targeting Seniors

    There are several reasons why seniors in particular are targeted by scammers. Generally speaking, most seniors tend to have excellent credit and often saved up extra money for emergencies. Additionally, they grew up in different times with a different mind set, tending to be well-mannered, trusting, giving and caring, and are thus more vulnerable to scams. Oftentimes, seniors fail to report these crimes for reasons of false pride – embarrassed by the thought of what relatives or others might think if they’d admit to being scammed. A lot of con artists also bank on a less detailed memory and forgetfulness that tends to increase with age. In some cases it might take a while before the victim realizes he or she has been duped which makes it even harder to track down the scammers and retrieve the money.

    With the number of elderly people continuously rising, senior citizens make up a large portion of the US population – more and more of which make use of advancing technology, becoming more accessible to con artists (regardless of their actual physical distance). Many scammers operate outside the US which raises even more difficulties to catch and stop them.

    Common Methods and Red Flags

    Over time, some scams have become even more elaborate with some, for instance, researching social media sites to obtain personal details about the grandchildren that they can use to gain people’s trust. Sometimes even a third person is involved, posing as a police officer or lawyer and supposedly validating the grandchild’s claim to need money. However, there are some patterns of behavior that should raise immediate suspicion. These red flags are:

    • the caller doesn’t identify by name or only after you already suggested it
    • the caller insists that his/her parents should not get involved
    • the caller urges you to wire money through Western Union or Moneygram (most commonly used by scammers in the US) or to immediately and secretly send money
    • the call originates from outside the US or overseas
    • the caller won’t and/or can’t answer questions your actual relative would know
    • the caller doesn’t sound like the person he/she is claiming to be but makes excuses for it (e.g. bad cold)

    How to Recognize Scam Calls

    In order to quickly identify scam calls, you should refrain from suggesting a person’s first name: for example, if someone says “It’s your grandson” ask for their actual name and if necessary for further information that only you the person in question would know. The following tips might also be helpful to avoid scams and money trips:

    • check in with your relatives (e.g. the grandchild concerned or his/her parents) to confirm the story with a phone number you know to be trustworthy
    • refuse to send money via wire transfer if you are uncertain who’s on the receiving end
    • make notes as to who requested money, when and to which location
    • if you do wire money, add a security question only the person you think will receive the money would know
    • if you have already wired money without security question and it hasn’t been picked up, call the wire transfer service to cancel

    Moreover, the FBI strongly advises to resist the pressure and refrain from hasty action. If you have been scammed it is important to report the crime immediately to law enforcement officials and to file a fraud report. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will regain your money but it will certainly make it easier for law enforcement agencies and the FBI to track down active con artists and prosecute them.

    You may also talk to your parents or grandparents about the dangers of unknown and/or possible scam callers. Furthermore, if scam numbers have been brought to your attention, don’t hesitate to share the information on tellows so that other people can benefit from your knowledge.

    , , , , , , , , , ,

    No Comments

    The US Top 3 Annoying Numbers

    1. 6518293110^from Minnesota – St. Paul with a tellows score of 8
    2. 2143965554 from Allen with a tellows score of 8
    3. 18883263482 with a tellows score of 9

    Congratulations! You’ve just won 1 Million Dollars!! or did you?? User Amber share her experience with our 1st number:

    „They called me saying that I was selected to win $1 million dollars and at first it sounded reasonable but as the phone call progressed it was clear it was a scam. They wanted to know my bank and if I had a Visa Master Card. Then they tried to get me to buy magazines. I tried to decline and someone hung up on me. I called back to reassure I wasn’t going to recieve or end up paying for something I didn’t ask for and I was informed I wouldn’t. I should have just hung up I know, but I’m young and made a dumb mistake. Since this phone call, people have been calling my around the clock. „

    The 2nd number is a confused telemarketer as user Giulio Moro points out

    „Person calls and leaves message that they spoke to me last week about reducing my credit card payment interest when I never spoke to anyone there about anything. Fraud or incompetence? „

    If you get a call from the 3rd number 18883263482 please contact the police, it seems to be a man with an indian accent claiming you owe money, he asks for your social security number and if resisted starts to curse and threaten, so if you see this number don’t even pick up.

    That was our report for this week

    Kind regards!
    Team Tellows

    , , , , , , , , ,

    No Comments

    Neverending Spam – The US Top 3 Spam Numbers

    Here are the most annoying spam numbers that have been harassing US citizens during the last week:

    1. 3604615083 from Port Angeles with a tellows score of 7
    2. 7574479265 from Norfolk with a tellows score of 8
    3. 07788209043 mobile phone number with a tellows score of 9

    Luckily, the phone preacher did not return so far and, of course, we hope that our work contributed to make an end to this nuisance.

    But there are other spammers and scammers only waiting for you to pick up the phone. Both numbers on rank 1 and 2 were one rank lower last week.

    There are no new reports on last week’s spam number 1. The only thing we can say for sure is that this is an automated dialer.

    We have got very useful comments on the scammer on rank 2. Everybody watch out, this is a number phishing for information!

    TH3 reported:

    Text sd Please contact 7574479265 BofA 435603XX Card Issue. I don’t have a BofA card. Sounds fishy to me.

    Mad in Dallas added:

    Scam trying to get Bank of America account information. New version of scam tried about 2 weeks ago.

    And finally mchoate had fun with this number:

    someone that is trying to get debit/credit card numbers. it is a scam. I called BOA. they took the information. when you call the number back it ask for you to put in your cc/dc. I had fun with it and just put in random numbers… about 50 times! Then I BLOCKED their text.

    Did the PPI scam wave already reach the US? So far, we have only heard of this happening in the UK. The 3rd most wanted spam number is offering clients to claim back money from their PP-insurance. Read more about this scam method on our UK blog.

    Kind regards!

    Team Tellows

    , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    No Comments