It has been a long time! tellows hopes you enjoyed the summer. This time we would like to present the latest statistics about phone scams from the past two months. As a reminder, a bill ‘TRACED ACT’ was passed in July and it aims to lower the number of robocalls. However, according to Forbes, robocalls are still prevailing and the number of robocalls in the second quarter this year was 38% higher than last year; the number of imposter phone scams was also 28% higher.
It is already mid July! tellows hopes that you have a good start of the summer. In the last article, tellows shared information about the Bill of ‘Traced Act’ being passed in the Senate. Although we are now getting more and more help in preventing spam calls, caller ID and call blocking apps continue to be important!
In the US, half of the phone calls people received are considered to be spam calls. According to FTC, in 2019, 78% of frauds are conducted by phone and the total reported loss is 83M USD. Till July this year, there are already 143K reports of phone frauds. However, compared to last year with a total loss of phone frauds estimated to be 442M USD, we can already see that the measures adopted are helpful and it is promising that one day we will no longer have to deal with spam calls!
Robocalls have been bothering us a long time and it has recently been becoming more and more unbearable. Last year the number of robocalls reached 26 billion – a 46% increase comparing to the estimated robocalls in 2017. A bill regarding to nuisance calls is passed by the US Senate with 97 to 1 vote in the later of May. The bill, named TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act, will lift the fine to $10,000 per robocall and extend the statute of limitations on robocalls from two to three years.
According to CNN politics, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed that
“There’s very little more annoying to New Yorkers than being woken up in the dead of night by automated calls trying to scam them out of their hard-earned money,”
“The TRACED Act is just what we need to hang up on these nonstop robocalls, and the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass it ASAP.”
Telecom companies are happy with the result. With this new regulation established, carriers will be able to implement robocall blocking technologies for customers automatically.
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?
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!
Greetings from tellows HQ!
The seasons may change but nuisance callers are still a nuisance. Here are our picks of the week.
The first batch of crooks in our line-up are calling from 3605391729 posing as Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), informing you that your card has been ‘limited’ (whatever that means). They don’t send you your whole card number via text, they just include the first four digits, which they are able to guess due to your neighbourhood, apparently. The plan then seems to be that you call back and confirm those all-important card details!
I got this text message: “WSECU NOTICE: Your CARD (first 4 digits of my debit card #) has been LlMITED. Please call 360-539-1729” ….. so I’m like, this must be genuine, they have my card details! but I spoke with WSECU and apparently they’re ripping off people by using standard debit card prefixes of certain areas. I guess you’re supposed to confirm your card details when you call them back. BE CAREFUL GUYS!!!
The next caller is not so ingenious – just infuriating. 5129553173 has been reported as harassment calls and is taking it to another level. We’ve heard of aggressive telemarketers but user kirkwork reports:
I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MANY TIMES THESE IDIOTS HAVE CALLED ME!! It’s like 20 times in 10 minutes! I swear I’m just going to bury my cell in my backyard!
Burying your cell may seem like a viable solution but we do suggest blocking them first.
Last up are these audacious payday loan sharks on 7146023772 hoping to snap up a couple of gullible fish.
They called me yesterday evening and told me that I´m was being sued for a 2011 Payday Loan. I can´t believe it. They have a lot of information about me (age, adress, name)
Susan N, meanwhile, was told that
APPARENTLY I could only settle this formal financial issue by purchasing a Green Dot card
Remember, with debt collectors, to wait for formal documentation. Keep calm and don’t forward any money until you are absolutely sure of their identity, particularly if they’re asking you for payment via unorthodox methods like Green Dot cards or obscure transfer companies.
That’s it for this week! Keep a sharp eye and have a super week!
Your tellows team
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
Congratulations! You’ve just won 1 Million Dollars!! or did you?? User Amber share her experience with our 1st number:
„They called me saying that I was selected to win $1 million dollars and at first it sounded reasonable but as the phone call progressed it was clear it was a scam. They wanted to know my bank and if I had a Visa Master Card. Then they tried to get me to buy magazines. I tried to decline and someone hung up on me. I called back to reassure I wasn’t going to recieve or end up paying for something I didn’t ask for and I was informed I wouldn’t. I should have just hung up I know, but I’m young and made a dumb mistake. Since this phone call, people have been calling my around the clock. „
The 2nd number is a confused telemarketer as user Giulio Moro points out
„Person calls and leaves message that they spoke to me last week about reducing my credit card payment interest when I never spoke to anyone there about anything. Fraud or incompetence? „
If you get a call from the 3rd number 18883263482 please contact the police, it seems to be a man with an indian accent claiming you owe money, he asks for your social security number and if resisted starts to curse and threaten, so if you see this number don’t even pick up.
That was our report for this week
And here we go again with last week’s 3 most annoying spam numbers:
Well, seems as if our campaign against the phone preacher was successful. There were no new reports on last week’s spam number 1. However, another candidate in the telemarketing scam business took its place. There were reports about the green card scam going on over this number. But obviously the aim of these calls turned out to be phishing.
User Patt wrote the following comment weeks ago already:
She (Amely Johnson) called me and told me I HAVE WON A GREEN CARD LOTTERY and I have to pay $500. She even asked my VISA or Master Card number.
Rank two goes to an automated dialer of a company situated in Port Angeles that is giving silent calls. So we can be curious with what kind of offers the number is going to amuse people all over the country.
And another phishing number on rank 3, which is not only calling but also texting in order to gain confidential personal information. User TH3 wrote a helpful comment:
Text sd Please contact 7574479265 BofA 435603XX Card Issue. I don’t have a BofA card. Sounds fishy to me
Thank you for providing us with the worst spam and scam numbers! Together, we are strong!
Your Tellows Team
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:
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