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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

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Fake job offers, donations that never reach their destination and the rather popular PayPal scam. The latest in scams!

Dear friends of tellows,

If you think that scammers aren’t clever, or creative, this article may surprise you. Successful frauds are not that common and it’s quite difficult even to invent one, much less make it work. Today, we will present you with three new techniques that we have come across this week, based on a good deal of patience, exploitation of basic human emotions and of course, a degree of resourcefulness.

The first number 2032863985 from Connecticut, USA is a great example. To pull off this particular scam, the fraudsters had to buy a domain and make a plausible webpage, obtain a convincing phone number, research classy-looking addresses, stay in constant contact with their clients and rake in the cash in a way which wouldn’t arouse suspicion – at least not right away. This was a carefully planned and executed ploy, not your standard “Give me your credit card details!”

It goes something like this:

Your receive an email from Wilfred Adams (this name was a favourite of theirs) from Ghana Gold Corporation with a job offer, which seems to fit you perfectly and also happens to pay pretty nicely. (It’s always an email, never a call or a letter). Although you may initially have some doubts, they’ll provide you with ample information on their projects, give you access to their webpage (http://ghgoldcorp.com/projects.html) and provide their contact information.
However, the catch will inevitably become visible when formalities are discussed; the job is, after all, in Ghana and there will be a fair few administrative points to consider.

when you come to the “formalities” of the job offer they start asking for money, like for the courier services, medical clearances and custo clearances and so on. They never really answer your questions and the offer comes out of the blue, without any calls. You would believe that a big company like that doesn’t make you pay for something like courier services but this is the first hint.

The further along it goes, the more you’ll notice that things don’t quite add up. As you start to find out more about the job, the company and their projects, you’ll begin to smell a rat.

a few things don’t really add up:
– the area code is wrong
– when you look up the domain information about the site you’ll find a different registered address=> so the address given in the mail is wrong or just doesn’t make sense
– but even the newfound information is wrong if you go deeper:their phone number isn’t even theirs
– the mail in the domain informations is known to be used by frauds
=> it sounds more and more like scam: someone bought a domain and phone number to hide the real objective….to many red flags here that i would believe this job offer, there isn’t even a business like Ghana Gold Corporation in NY!!!

The second number 4107056172 from Beltsville – USA is from Outreach Calling call center. It is a lawful enterprise but its methods are somewhat interesting. This call center calls on behalf of several charitable organizations, such as MD State Fraternal Order Of Police or children’s hunger funds. People can donate money to, say, the families of fallen officers. Whilst this all seems very commendable, what brought this issue to our attention was how the donations are managed. One user reported some interesting facts:

I know about this company because let’s say I had a friend (^^) and this friend kinda worked for a similar company. This callcenter calls people and collects money for different causes, depending for what organization it currently works. It can be something like “for families of fallen police officers” or the like. They cant accept donations under 10$ because only 1-15% of it will be actually donated and the rest goes to the owner or let’s say for paycheks, for maintaining the building and so on. To remove the number is also quiet difficult because a regular call rep can’t do that. He will just remove you from the list of that specific organization but they’ll continue to call you to donate for different organizations. I heard you’ll have to aks specifically for a verifier to remove your number permanently but this step is avoided as much as possible. It’s not like the don’t donate anything but like I said, the majority of the money isn’t used for what the people who donated think it is. It’s sad but well….this friend of mine doesn’t work there anymore but it was an experience…..

This is not to say that donations should not be made but those who would like to donate may wish to ask how much of the donated money actually goes to the charitable organization. If you have any problems or you can’t get hold of the information you want, then it’s always possible to donate to the preferred organization directly.

And finally our third number 8324081079 from Texas, Houston area, USA, which is a PayPal scam. This method is getting quite popular the world over. Why? Because it’s easy to do and citing PayPal can create a trustworthy-looking facade. Spotting the scam is easy if you look out for the following…

These are the hints for the scam:
– First you wouldn’t send a text message but use the services on the responsible site. But by sending you text like that you’ll give them your mail address.
– They usually ask for information which you already published on Cycle Trader or another site.
– Then it always comes to problems with the payment and for whatever reason, they always can pay with PayPal only. Maybe they’ll invent some story…

Getting your email address and paying by PayPal are the vital elements needed to make this scam work. Usually the process goes like this:

1. They send you a text message asking you to send them a mail so that they can get your mail address
2. Then they will say that they’ll pay with PayPal and they will give you extra money for the shipping or something else, afterall your bike or whatever they want, has to be delivered to them
3. Then you receive a PayPal deposit notice email where you can read the money has been transferred
4. Finally, now that you have the money, you transfer via wire or pre-paid card the ‘extra’ money for the shipping to the one who’s supposed to pick up the bike or whatever
=> Then you realize that no money has been transferred to your PayPal account. The end!

In some cases, when the scam victim starts to have their doubts, they will become more insistent and between steps 3 and 4 they may start to send more messages to reassure you and encourage you to pay. They may say something along the lines of:” I already paid my part. All that’s left is for you to finish your part of the deal” or “PayPal already gave you all the information. The notice they send me…..”. Watch your step here and do not answer to this kind of message.

All of these techniques are designed to make you part with your money and in the most inconspicuous way. Second-guessing is highly recommended and if there is even the slightest hint of scam, take precautionary measures and do your research.

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Debts, threats and a promise of 2 Million$. The recent techniques of phone scammers

This week we are going to discuss the aggressive techniques frauds use on you. These scammers aren’t scared to threaten you and even mention that you can contact your attorney. With these methods the threat sounds even more convincing.
The basic idea is as follows: they leave you a message on your phone saying, that there is a restraining order, investigation, previous conviction or something else on you and if you or your attorney don’t answer the call in the next 4 hours, they’ll begin to take the next steps, like contacting your employer and delivering the papers. If you actually try to call them back, it doesn’t work for a few hours. Then, when you get through, no further information is given beside that you have a debt to pay. No proof will be served either.
Important and fear inducing names can be used too, like HSBC ( Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Holdings) or IRS ( Internal Revenue Service) to apply even more pressure. But sometimes the frauds don’t really try that hard, for example, all of them take on the name ‘Johnson’ or they let someone do their work, who has a thick accent The most stupid mistake though, is to actually call someone from a complete different and far far away area code.

We picked out 3 numbers which seem to practice these techniques enthusiastically.

1. The first number 2162175984 from Cleveland has got the time limit of 4 hours and won’t give you any information or a debt verification.

2. The second number 7572146785 from Virginia just leaves an automated message, not making an effort to do it personally. In return they’re quiet stubborn and will harass you for a long time.

3. And the third number 5302385813 from Shasta Lake with the thick accent claimes to be from the IRS and threatens to freeze all your accounts and credit cards if you don’t cooperate.

One of the experiences with these numbers looked like this:

Clearly an illegal scam targeting some moronic collection agency, caller threatens to call your employer in 4 hours if you don’t call them back. When you actually do get someone, they have no clue about collection law. They refuse to give you any information, will not give you a debt verification letter, nor will they send any information to you. This is ILLEGAL!! Know your rights, call the Ohio Attorney General’s office, Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and the FCC, then call the Cleveland Police and file a complaint, have the District Attorney file a cease an desist order, and they will be arrested if they don’t stop. THEY ARE LIARS, DO NOT COOPERATE.

But all this stories aren’t as interesting as this one. Here the people aren’t actually pestered by calls but by e-mails. You get an email from someone called Mr. Benjamin Josh Gibson and also recieve his phone number 7167774105 . In this mail you read a heartbreaking and interesting story of a bank manager, who can’t find the owner of 4 Million$ and simply decides to take it for himself. He extends an invitation to you to assist him in his plan and everything will be devided 50:50. This is like a movie come true but the catch is, that at some point you’ll have to give him your bank account number to send the money from his bank and then it will be your money that is in danger if beeing transfered.

I got an email a few days ago from the guy I mentionen above and I think he tried to make me do some pretty illegal stuff cause he told me something about a man who left behind large sum of money, 4 Mill I think, in a fixed deposit account in his bank. Yes he says he works there. In his email he describes extensively how he tried to find that man but he never succeeded(should I feel pity for him now?….), well he kind of did, but then this rich Mr. Rime Vishnuramann already died . Now he came up with the idea to make me pose as his next of kin to get hold of the money. The government wouldn’t be able to do much good with it and we, as in me and that guy, actually could. It’s all “safe and beneficial.” and “not a matter of being greedy or having ugly morals”….
Yeeeeah riiiight of course it is!!! all would go well becaue his department would be responsible for everything and we will share 50:50.
I laughed for 5 minutes when I’ver read this! I mean how much more rediculous can this situation get??! I’m sure, I’m not the only one who got that messasge an I think there won’t be enogh Millions for all of us.
I’m terribly sorry Mr. Gibson but I’ll have to decline your kind offer. I Know how this works. In our next conversation I’ll have to give you my bank account number, so that you can transfer the money from your bank and miraculously all of my money there will vanish, just like you. That’s why I can only say it again: Thanks but No!!!

These numbers teach us a proper lesson on frauds and their techniques: never give your personal information to someone you don’t know, even if he promises you 2 Million$. Beeing careful is the prime rule concerning this kind of things and we hope that through this article, we could help you to be aware of what you have to be careful of.

The Tellows Team

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    The Tech Support Scammers and their dubious Cold-Calls

    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!

    Source: http://ftc.gov/opa/2012/10/pecon.shtm

    Have a good week!

    your tellows team

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    Telemarketing In The Name Of God

    Tellows is back again to bring you the latest news on a spam or even fraud method circulating in the US. Self-declared preachers are calling individuals who apparently are on their “prayers’ list”, claiming to know about the hardships they were going through and that they should join their so-called “prayer’s closet” to be saved. It might sound ridiculous in the first place, but not everybody is aware that this is an obvious rip-off attempt.

    We are talking namely about the following numbers:

    8003187853
    18003187853

    If you know about other numbers – report them here!

    The caller introduces himself as preacher or prophet or other religious leader. In some cases reported by users, one of these spammers’ name is “prophet Manasseh Jordan” of “Manasseh Jordan Ministry”. The calls have the following structure: first the caller says that God urged him to call you. He claims to know that the person on the other end was going through difficult times. In the end he wants the called person to press a key and give him detailed personal information.

    Here is a transcript of such a call:

    God urged me and spoke to me about praying for you, being a prayer partner,
    being someone that’s standing on the sidelines praying that every day your needs will be met.
    If you’re ready to join my prayer closet where I pray over thousands and you are the only one that’s missing.
    I want you to press 0 so you can transfer, so I can transfer this call to the Prayer Closet
    and so this way I can have your information so I can begin to start praying for you non-stop.
    If you’re really ready press 0 right now because I know that your miracle is right around the corner.
    Your struggle will be over. Press 0 now to be transferred to the Prayer Closet.

    View the video on source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaB1so4nJBc

    Phone calls of this kind have not only been reported to Tellows, but also to other blogs and websites dealing with this problem. However, the fake messiah seems to be operating only in the US so far.

    You do not have to be a genius to notice that this is a scam call. Still, here are some advices:

    * Never ever tell anybody your credit card details during a such a call, nor give any other personal information like your name or address.
    * Ask the caller where he/she got your number from.
    * Ask the caller for her/his name, job title, company and telephone number.
    * Write down the telephone number and report it to Tellows
    * Keep in mind that legitimate companies do contracts in a written way and never ask for personal details and financial matters on the phone

    Yours,

    Team Tellows

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    A Scam Method Walkthrough Mk I – You Better Know What You Are Dealing With: Nuisance Calls

    Nuisance Calls – The UK’s Approach

    In general, all forms of nuisance calls are unsolicited. Whereas telesales calls employ a vehement form of aggressive advertisment, silent calls are meant to identify valid phone numbers from a pool of randomly generated numbers. Furthermore, automated diallers are often used when the call centre is short on agents. To identitfy silent calls, call centres are required to display a Calling Line Identification number on your phone in order to allow you to aquire the caller’s phone number by dialling 1471. Once the number is obtianed, it is advised to forward this number to Ofcom (use Silent Calls Complaint Form). With sufficient complaints Ofcom will find it easier to counteract the dubious schemes of callcenters and other suspicoius companies. Additionally, it is recommended to contact your provider which might help to identify the caller as well. Moreover, your provider may offer a ‘anonymous call rejection’ (check if this service is charged) to prevent a vast bulk of unsolicited calls in the future.

    As far as telesales calls are concerned, a registration with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) bears the advantage of having the legal upper hand against call centres since the TPS makes unsolicited calls to you unlawful within the 28 days after you registration. Not only will the TPS will contact the company involved but also it will relay your complaint to the ICO which, in return, can enforce adequate regulations. If you experience unsolicited faxes you can register with the Facsimile Preference Service. Unfortunately, neither Ofcom nor the TPS have authority outside the UK’s borders. Hence, telesales calls from abroad cannot be stopped.

    Furthermore, if you think the call centre obtained your personal information illegally the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) gladly provides detailed guidelines on the protection of your privacy in electronic communications. Additionally, complaints about nuisance calls, spam fax and mail may be filed directly with ICO. In all these cases you should share as much information with Ofcom, your provider an tellows on the caller as you can. Yet

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