Posts Tagged tellows.com
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
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
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
Dear friends of tellows,
as the work week comes to an end, we provide you an update on the most wanted telephone numbers of the past five days. This time, we have a newcomer and two rather well-known nuisance callers – one of which is making calls around the globe. But let’s have a closer look:
1. 4029524444 with 2 comments and 1280 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 5707068800 with 2 comments and 979 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 3023573644 with 12 comments and 9105 search requests. tellows Score: 6
Calling from Omaha, Nebraska, our number one this week, 4029524444, is a newcomer to the list. With a tellows score of 7, our users consider the telephone number to be rather untrustworthy and have reported of frequent silent calls. User Conny commented:
They called at about 5:43 pm and then immediately disconnected the call when I answered it. They then called again at 5:44 pm – basically less than a minute later and the same thing repeated. So I figure they aren’t actually trying to have an actual conversation and it isn’t a very trustworthy number so I blocked the number.
Similarly, the second number 5707068800 is rated as dubious with a tellows score of 8. Some users suspect a scam behind the frequent calls from the number, such as tellows user Lea who reported:
A man on the other end of the line asked for a guy named Eugen Jacobs. I dont know someone with this name and i have had this phone number for many years! So im wuite sure that this is a scam!
Ranking on our final place, the number 3023573644 has been an “old acquaintance” to our top 3, making its first appearance on the list in June 2012. Users from all over the world ranging from the Netherlands to Pakistan have complained about unwanted calls that seem to originate from Delaware. User man wrote about the unsolicited calls:
Even I received call from this number twice on 27.04.2012, when I called back on this number, it went straight to a pre-recorded message from a female voice asking for an authorization code. I am from India
If you have information about this or any other number that seems to be used for spam or scam calls, don’t hesitate to share it with our tellows community. Take care and have a nice weekend!
Your tellows team
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:
- 9712179514 calling from Oregon (USA)
- 4163641111 calling from Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
- 6617480241 calling from California (USA)
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.
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
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
Dear friends of tellows,
it’s been another week and unfortunately, for some of you the telephone terror hasn’t stopped. This week, our top 3 most wanted numbers have been calling from across the country – one even garnering attention from across the pond. Let’s have a look:
1. 5164175935 with 2 comments and 858 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 6518293110 with 6 comments and 2397 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 7758296407 with 3 comments and 458 search requests. tellows Score: 7
Calling from Hempstead, New York, our first number of the week is 5164175935. Even though there is little information on the number, it has also been reported on the German tellows site. Meanwhile, user Kevin D posted on our US site:
Fax machine calling, incoming spam fax is a one-page order form for Yellow Holding LTD., 250 Mill St., Rochester NY 14614, some sort of online yellow pages. Form is designed to look like an invoice. No mention of money in the main body. Fine print at bottom states (where normally general legal disclosures are buried) that you are ordering a listing in a ‘new’ online yellow pages at www.yellow-pages-California.net that is not affiliated with any local phone company and which will not be delivered to telephone subscribers, for $1,099 per year, for two years, and which requires 3 months written notice to cancel otherwise it will continue to be renewed automatically for one year terms, billed to a credit card. Total scam.
Ranking on our second place, the number 6518293110 received a telling tellows score of 8 and has been reported as sweepstakes and lottery. Most of our commentators suspect a scam behind the calls as they have been asked to share personal information and/or to order a magazine subscription. User kaleka‘s comment sums up the general gist of most experiences with the calls from the number:
they called and told me I was entered in a sweepstakes for a Ipad with case and wanted more info. when I refused to give my bank name(information) they angrily hung up on my ear..Beware never give out any bank information not even the name of the bank
Making frequent calls at unsociable hours all day long, our third and final number, 7758296407, is from Reno, Nevada. So far, not much else is known about the number. User mizfixit commented:
Received a call from this number at 2:30 in the morning–did not leave a message–not sure who it belongs to–no answer when I called it back at 8:45am.
So if you do know more about this or any other number making unsolicited phone calls, don’t hesitate to share them with our community on tellows. Have a great and nuisance call-free weekend!
Your tellows team
Dear friends of tellows,
we have another update on the most wanted numbers on tellows. The following three numbers were the one most searched for the past few days:
1. 6302881777 with 2 comments and 922 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 3233319189 with 7 comments and 1075 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 4804212803 with 2 comments and 550 search requests. tellows Score: 7
Ranking on our first place, the number 6302881777 from Hindsdale received a tellows score of 7 and has been active for several years. While users complaint that the number calls at all hours, Erica shared:
That is the sales department from comcast! Only advertising!
Our second number, 3233319189 has been making calls from Los Angeles. According to our users, the caller tries to intimidate by making apparently false accusations and posing as debt collection company or as police. Moreover, in some cases the caller seemed to have personal information about the person being called. User Heather commented:
This number called me at work today. The guy said that I owed for an unpaid loan, which I know is bull..however, he has my bank card name, last four of my social, and my full name! I asked him why the BBB has never heard of them, and I was hung up on.
Calling from Phoenix, Arizona, our third place, number 4804212803 has been reported as scam. While one user voiced suspicions about a possible lottery scam, user lateriser3 has found a way of dealing with the persistent caller:
They keep on calling and will not take no for an answer so I just hangup and put them on my reject list.
To know what phone numbers to put on your reject list, you know the place to look for untrustworthy numbers and if you have any information on suspicious numbers don’t hesitate to contribute to tellows! Other than that, we hope you can enjoy a nice, scam- and spam-free weekend.
Your tellows team!
Dear tellows friends,
our latest update on the most searched for numbers on tellows includes some internationally active numbers as well as some of the usual suspects. So let’s have a look at the top 3 most wanted numbers of the week:
1. 234567890 with 4 comments and 1315 search requests. tellows Score: 8
2. 2562617792 with 2 comments and 1232 search requests. tellows Score: 6
3. +17148680120 with 7 comments and 10835 search requests. tellows Score: 5
Our first number, 234567890, has been active across the Atlantic: perpetuating calls both in the US as well as the UK, users of both tellows sites have reported the phone number as cost trap and marked it dubious with a tellows score of 8. User Chris Wells commented on tellows.co.uk:
I had a call from this number today claiming there was a problem with my e-mail. I demanded the caller’s name and address. He gave me the fictitious details that he was Alan Johns of 49 Levington Gardens, Battersea, LONDON. After telling him I would report him to the Met Police he hung up!
The second number, 2562617792, from Huntsville, Alabama seems to call our users frequently with unknown intentions. Suspecting scam calls, user Jererre wrote:
Got several calls from this number. They never left a message and the first times I answered there was no reply. Then, a lady called me from this number. As I asked her to stop these calls, she acted very nervous, said it was the first time and that I might owe money to someone… and hung up. I don not owe any money to anyone, this can´t be legitimate.
As for our final number from Los Angeles, the telephone number +17148680120 holds a tellows score of 5, thus being classified as “neutral”. However, most users seem to be confused at best about the frequent calls they have been receiving from the number. User Naiwan Abdel Aal‘s comment includes two of the most prevalent questions:
i want to know why you call me by this number? what do you want from me?
If you have any information on this or other numbers that seem suspicious or dubious, don’t hesitate to comment on tellows and share your knowledge with us. Take care and have a nice week!
Your tellows team