Archive for category knowledge
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.
Most of us now are glued to our mobile phones. Kids can be playing in the other room but by golly our phones are always within arms length or even closer. Have you ever asked yourself how you ended up with missed calls on your phone? Surely, you would have it heard it ring. And then we sight this phone number we’ve never seen before. Once upon a time we would just simply hit the call back button but we live in different times now, a time where we need to move with caution and implicate security measures with almost everything we do. We have another reason why.
The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission are one of the go-to people if you wish to issue a complaint regarding nuisance phone callers. Their website will generally ask the all the appropriate questions in regards to your call. However, if you would like to use another body to lodge your complaint or if you’re complaining directly to the caller themselves (if you have got their contact information.) then in preparation, here we have below what you might want to jot down as the call is happening, or while the details are in your mind. Being a good and accurate historian is essential in building a case in any complaint situation.
1. The phone number where you received the phone call
2. The date and time of the call
3. Whether or not you are on the National Do Not Call list
4. Did the caller advertise goods or services?
5. Was previous consent given from persons in your household to call this phone number?
6. Have you made any previous inquiries or applications with the individual or company, such as requesting information from their website?
7. Whether or not you or other persons in in the household have requested the cessation of these phone 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.
- 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.
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.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: scammers really do know no scruples. The scheme we’re looking at this week preys on senior citizens.
Often living at home alone, Grandma & Gramps may feel isolated or vulnerable; so when a scammer comes calling from ‘Senior Safety Alert’ with an offer of an unbelievably cheap in-house alarm system for break-ins or medical emergencies, they will probably jump at the chance.
Ironic, considering that sieges on their security are exactly what they’re trying to protect themselves against.
The call starts with a recording offering the deal: a system worth hundreds of dollars, fitted for you, on a $30 per month contract. The potential ‘scammee’ will then need to press a number to indicate their interest and will be transferred to a ‘customer advisor’, who will take their credit card numbers and personal information and scam them for all their worth.
You, faithful tellows users, seem to be on the ball enough to show these fraudsters what you’re made of. It helps that they don’t seem to have the facility to filter their target market.
User ‘vanity-affair’ got a call from 2126775122, claiming to be ‘Medical Alert Systems for Seniors’ (which might be bona fide but is suspiciously one of the names famously used by bogus callers).
I’m not a senior but the calls are still annoying. I’m not interested in buying something over the phone.
Meanwhile, ‘grandma’ is having none of it: with a dismissive flick of what I imagine to be an immaculate perm, she terms the call she got from 5412003592 as
the classic medical alert scam.
Things to look out for…
The caller will identify him or herself as an employee of a company to the effect of Senior Safe Alert, Medical Alert Systems, etc. etc. There are, of course, legitimate companies that offer these systems but they will NOT, repeat NOT, ask you for your social security number, credit card details, outline of your genetic makeup, etc. etc. during a sales call! Other warning signs include a refusal to disclose any details about the company (e.g. address) or an unwillingness to provide any authentification documents.
As always, take care of yourselves! And don’t forget to er… raise the alarm, if you get one of these calls.
Keep reporting your number experiences on tellows and have an excellent week!
Your tellows team
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