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It’s here! The brand new version of the tellows app for iPhone is now available – even better value until Christmas!
Hello friends of tellows!
Our growing online community has meant a steady and significant increase in the quantity of phone numbers we have in our database; the total now stands at over 75,000. This wealth of data is making unknown numbers even easier to recognise, meaning you can stop phone fraudsters in their tracks! Daily, millions of people are hassled by spam calls – the tellows app can help you to effectively protect yourself against telepests.
Unwanted calls tend to take a sharp upturn in the run-up to Christmas, presumably because the callers are hoping that purse strings will be tied a little more loosely in the festive spirit. Tele-spammers are looking for an easier ride. Fight back with the app! From now until Christmas, we’re offering the tellows app for $0.99 (a 60% discount!) in the App Store. Think of it as a Christmas present, from us to you.
Compatibility: New Version
The app is synchronised with the tellows database, so that the app is able to recognise calls from numbers that are graded with a high untrustworthiness score (7-9) on the tellows website. This means that a questionable call will be detected and flagged up as soon as the phone rings. You can later search the number using the aptly named ‘Search Number’ box in the app’s navigation bar. This will take you straight to the number’s profile on tellows, where you can read comments that have already been posted and, of course, add your own.
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:
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.
The topic for this weeks blog entry arose when we came across the comment of rosee and other users on number 9712179508 stating things like this:
he said he was calling from windows and that my computer was beeing hacked and wanted me to follow the steps on my computer he was asking, of course I said no way and hung up
What we found there is much more than just some scattered instances of unsolicited phone calls, it leads us to a huge scamming business that bothers people not only in the US but in all English-speaking countries. We already reported on this scam method last year in our UK Blog. The calls we are talking about are mostly having the same goal. Callers, pretending to be working for e.g. Microsoft or Windows technical support, are giving aggressive warnings that your computer is infected with numerous malware, viruses and other infected files and malicious traffic. The only help is apparently the caller itself who can rightaway fix all problems on your PC and delete the infections, which he will show you, is very urgent and necessary.
What sounds like a nice support offer for inexperienced users is in fact highly developed deceptive business practice. Because the result will not be the removal of anyway non-existent dangerous malicious activity but much more the removal of the consumers money. While the consumers think that the support team will fix the allegedly detected problems they allow them to remotely access their computer and what is equally worse, charge tremendous sums of money for this “support” and additional software.
The obviously profitable random cold calls are being made by numerous companies, such as Pecon Software, Finmaestros LLC, Zeal IT Solutions or Virtual PC Solutions, mostly located in India. While this scamming has been going on for years now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year finally reported a huge crackdown on these telemarketing boiler room enterprises that where scamming consumers in large amounts. Nevertheless, as noticable in the worldwide Tellows community, the calls are still being made and as a matter of fact, the FTC is not as successful in hindering the scammers as they wished for, since US laws don’t apply to Indian companies adequately.
One of the solutions for however not becoming a victim of tech support scamming is obviously being leery of incoming calls. Microsoft itself offers some necessary hints. In addition, platforms like www.tellows.com provide their users with fruitful information about suspicious phone numbers. The huge database of untrustworthy callers on tellows makes it easier to decide which calls to take and which ones to ignore completely. The tellows community has been warning and informing consumers about fraudulent phone numbers in about 20 countries and has encouraged users worlwide to share information about criminal phone spam methods. We found some examples of numbers that most probably belong to the group of tech support scammers, such as:
As the list is not anywhere near complete, you are more than welcome to extend it by evaluating phone numbers and commenting on scammers on tellows!
Have a good week!
your tellows team
This week was a bit different than usually. The most annoying callers seem to have changed their strategies.
Let’s see what they did this week..
The number one spammer has been calling people more than 10 times a day, he’s also calling a newborn’s mother late at night, taking away valuable minutes from both of them.
The second however is creepy.. doing nothing but breathing is frightening one of our users.
The third is a typical telemarketer trying to take some of your money somehow.
i have been getting calls from this number for the last 2 day i got 22 calls in 2 days when you pick up there is nobody there then i hang up and i get anew number 201-477-1729 its nuts
Whereas newmommy said:
Getting calls all the time, also at night when my newborn should sleep… I call back and get a hang up. The calls are chewing up my minutes and my nerves!
Stay tuned for next week and have a nice spam free weekend hopefully!!
Essentially tellows percieves itself as a voice for the victims of spam and scam calls. Not only does tellows provide a platform where users can exchange their experience and knowledge but also tellows offers the opportunity to rate the telephone numbers in order to mark dubious numbers so their fraudulent ways will become obvious for everyone. A tellows score of 1 indicates a reliable number whereas a rating of 9 implies a most dubious number. The more negative comments, the higher the numbers rating.
If you have knowledge of a dangerous number we implore you to share it with your fellows who suffer the same unnerving calls. After all, it is knowledge that prevents the scammers’ and fraudsters’ success!
Your Tellows Team!
What’s the tellows Heatmap?
It shows the regions which are constantly called by the respective phone number.
Where does the information come from?
Thanks to your help and the number of your search requests we are able to create a daily heatmap of the locations suffering most heavily from spam and scam calls. On this map you can see the hotspots this number is focusing on. Moreover, you can make out if there are other people around you recieving the same unnerving calls.
Feel free to express your thoughts on our services. Submit suggestions and feedback via a comment.
Your Tellows Team!
Good News Everyone!
Another new feature has been implemented on tellows – statistics on search requests!
You’ll find this feature on the detail page of the respective number as soon as sufficient search requests have been placed. Just click on the button “Search requests for this phone number” to open a chart containing additional information on the number.The period under observation may be changed from one day to 3 month in order to provide an overview on the number’s activity.
As example serves the UK number 01613128082.
Its 1803 search requests contribute enough data to allow a valid statement regarding its acitvity. As we can see its activity is slightly receding.
If you have questions or suggestions regarding this feature then feel free to contact us.
Your Tellows Team!
Hello tellows friends!
You are interested in staying up to date? No problem! Check out our email feature. It provides news on unknown telephone numbers as soon as new information is available.
That’s how it works:
1. Go to the comment form of the respective number and check:
I’d like to be notified if there’s news regarding this number.
2. Enter your email address as well as the desired frequency of reception.
3. Submit comment.
From now on you’ll be notified once additional information on this number is available.
Have fun and take care!
Your Tellows Team!