In these days we have to pay more attention to the victims of phone frauds, which includes the vulnerable seniors. Last week an elderly robocall victim committed suicide after phone scammers have stolen her life-savings.
If you still remember, the US government is doing something to stop the skyrocketing robocalls, there are bills in Congress waiting to be voted next month. In the US, we receive billions of robocalls per month, and monthly money loss amount to 128M last year. Of course, it is promising if the bill passes in the summer, however, we should also pay attention to the latest information about phone scam in the mean time!
According to First Orion, also sited by Federal Communications Commission report,almost half of the calls received in the US will be a spam in 2019. According to a caller ID and blocking company in the US, it stated that there were 26.3 billion robocalls made in 2018. All these figures point to a skyrocketed trends of spam calls and especially for robocalls, that bothering almost half of the residents in the US. We have all received spam calls more or less before, but what are these Robocalls and how do they get so popular?
What are Robocalls?
Dear friends of tellows,
Hi there! The first month of January already passed and tellows hope you had a wonderful beginning of the year. We thank you for choosing tellows as your resources of phone scam protection, as in January we received over 100K page views and we joyfully invite you to stick with us through 2019. This time we will go through the January top 3 searched numbers in the tellows U.S website, and also share some of its details for your information, such as the type of callers and the name of companies.
The first mostly searched number is +1400491098.
It has a tellows score of 6, which is a mildly trust worthy rating, yet the search request cumulatively numbered over 10k.
The second frequently searched number is +442038076172.
Our tellows community reported that the number belongs to a company called CFD Global, which its country code revealed it is a British phone number. With a tellows score 8 and also a nature to be a telemarketer.
The third one is 8002927508.
Our users suggested that it is a debt collection company named Synchrony Financial or CareCredit and its cumulatively search requests over 20k. It has a tellows score 6 and most of the users have opinion that once they paid the loan the call stopped.
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.
Two consecutive incidents happened recently in Massachusetts subjecting two mothers under terrifying situations allegedly involving their kids.
Theresa, a mother from Revere, received a call in the middle of a snow storm in December. The caller said his cousin has the pistol to her daughter’s head and that they would kill her if she will not cooperate and follow their instructions. “He said, ‘Listen to me carefully, I have your daughter.’ He knew everything about her,” says a Revere mom named Theresa. The caller was asking for $1,000.
Similar incident happened to Laura while she was at work Monday last week in Lynnfield. She received a call informing her that her 14-year old son damaged his car in an accident and that he would be shot unless she transfers $2,000.
In both situations, the scam artists knew about the victims’ family details, like names, the kids’ school, outfit and physical apperance of the “alleged” kidnapped son and daughter.
You received a call at 9 in the evening. It sounded official. Caller said he’s working with the power of an attorney and is affiliated with a credit bureau. He went on to saying that you are committing a crime by not paying the debt and threatened you with lawsuits and arrests.
Now he starts to harass you and calls even at work, giving complete information about you and your family!
Yes, it’s just a bluff. These scammers don’t have any power over you. You are just one of the many targets, just like our fellow tellows users below who also experienced the same thing.
But before we give you our top 3, here are some tips on how you can protect yourself against debt collection scams:
Before we give you our Most Annoying Numbers for the week, here’s a list of institutions that can help you deal with a scam:
1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has consumer advisories on international and text message scams.
2. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information on phone scams and spam.
3. The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
4. All major U.S. wireless companies can help you with their spam blocking technologies.
And so this week for our top 3, we have a Spanish autodialer with 11 comments and 2085 search requests; we have a spammer looking for k.smith because her debit card has been locked, and lastly, we have our resident caller telling you to claim your Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise prize. Remember guys, don’t fall for it!
Receiving a lot of unwanted calls lately? Seems like your DNC isn’t working? Well, we finally have the solution for you!
You can now download the tellows Android app for caller identification. It’s a sure way to a peaceful life! The app will tell you real-time if the call is trustworthy or not. This will save you time since you don’t need to check the number in the internet. On the first ring of your phone, the tellows Score will automatically appear in order to help you decide whether to answer the phone or cancel it – 7 to 9 being the most untrustworthy numbers. Caller identification has never been this easy!
I remember this Hollywood film Compliance, I couldn’t sleep after watching it. It’s about this prank caller who phoned the manager of a fast food chain and introduced himself as a police officer. He asked the manager to strip search one of her female employees because she allegedly stole something. The manager believed it and followed everything the caller asked her to do. The scam call ended up as a sexual harassment case. This film is based on a true story and apparently, there were over 70 similar incidents that already occurred in 30 U.S. States.
After seeing this movie, you will never again talk to strangers! Yes, we’ve heard that from our mothers when we were kids, but still, this comes in handy every time we face the dangerous world out there.
Based on true accounts of our tellows users, our top three for the week go like this: 1) caller tells you they found your lost debit card and then will ask you to confirm the number to them, the next thing you knew, they’re already using your debit card number for different transactions; 2) scam call pretending to be a representative of Nova Scotia informing you that you just won a free cruise but they first need your bank account details to make sure that they are talking to the right person; 3) another Caribbean spam caller, this time from Montserrat.