Tag Archives: Method

Bill ‘TRACED Act’ passed by Senate to prevent Robocalls

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Robocalls have been bothering us a long time and it is becoming more and more unbearable in the recent time. 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.


Screenshot from TransNexus
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the NEW IRS Scam – Social Security Association Imposter Scam

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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!


Picture from FTC
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Cyber security, Personal information and Phone scams

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The number of phone scams has been soaring in the recent years and scammers have been taking advantages of technology to perform endless phone frauds. As stated by the Federal Communications Commission, half of the calls made in the US in 2019 will be spam calls. Revenue lost due to phone frauds in US peaked $83M in the first quarter of 2019, more then 140K reports received in 4 months according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Phone scam is the most common type of frauds referring to FTC and the median of reported fraud loss is $1000.

Robocalls are the most notorious spam calls nowadays. We have little control for this particular type of phone fraud, as it is generated by computers that dial high volume of random phone numbers in a short period of time. But what about other types of spam calls, like Wangiri scam, IRS scam, telemarketing calls, sweepstakes calls……? Why do these scammers call you and where is the leak? There is always something we can do to lower the chances of receiving spam calls! Lets start with protecting our personal information on the internet!

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News from the Caribbean – Grenada’s Haven for Sex Scam Callers

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It’s one of those late night calls that you were not able to pick up. You called back early in the morning thinking that it was an emergency. Unfortunately, you heard obscene moaning and realized it’s a scam. Then your phone bill arrives, and there goes an extra $100 charge.

Due to the huge amount of complaints received, police departments across Utah are warning people not to answer and not to call back numbers from the 473 area code. Apparently, some residents in the area who just picked up the phone and did not even return the call were getting a $19.95 charge on their phone bill.

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Pests of the Caribbean – The Tide of Grenadian Nuisance Calls

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For some the Caribbean Sea equals paradise, for others, the sole notion of the Grenadian area code 473 forebodes only waking nights and sleepless nightmares. A new phone-fiend has arisen on the small island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea and pesters unwitting people with dozens of silent calls a day.

Our fellow tellows users complain about an increasing number of automated calls from Grenada. Usually the calls are most numerous in the morning, yet afternoon calls and bellowing phones at night were reported as well. Yet no one actually ever talked to the caller. The tellows user thereby conclude that the callers agenda is primarily aimed at tricking people into calling back.

Danglt reported the number 4735209795:

Seems to be a ping call from grenada. Even without any fees for a service number the reaming fee will be high enough to cost you some dollars

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All Systems on Alert for the Medical Alert Scam!

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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

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Transatlantic Team To Wage War on Serial Spoofers

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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

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Telephone Spam Numbers: The Most Annoying Callers of the Week

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Dear friends of tellows,

another week has passed since our last update on the most wanted numbers. This week, all of the numbers that kept your phone lines busy were repeat offenders, ranging from nuisance calls to attempted telephone scams. Let’s have a look:

1. 234567890 with 4 comments and 1394 search requests. tellows Score: 8
2. 7607058888 with 3 comments and 1769 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. +17148680120 with 8 comments and 14600 search requests. tellows Score: 5

Our first number of the week, telephone number 234567890 is no stranger to the list. According to our users, the caller claims to be phoning from the computer or tech support department of his company to fix the computer of the person called, suggesting that it has been attacked by a virus. This scam method is hardly a new one and has been reported on numerous times on our blog. Julian35 warns our other users about the number:

A man with a heavy accent claimed to call from “Computer Support Department”. He wanted to fix my computer because he has a virus. I hung up then. Be careful with this number!

Our second number for today, number +17148680120 from Los Angeles, California, is an old acquaintance and in spite of receiving a neutral rating with a tellows score of 5, the nature of the calls as well as their authenticity are highly debated. While most users felt bothered by frequent calls from this number, other users reported the number as trustworthy service hotline of a well-known software cooperation. Contrary, user wallace commented:

my family all also got this number,why u call us!?

Although our third place, number 7607058888 has had an entry on this list before, little is known about the calls that originate from Escondido, California. Tellows users have complained about receiving calls from the number at unsociable hours and were unable to call back. After answering the phone, user Danni was asked to provide personal details but was given little information in return:

I got a call a couple of days ago, the caller insisted i give him my email, then he hung up when i started asking questions.

If you do receive a call from an unknown number, don’t offer any personal information – especially if you don’t know who is calling and you can’t be sure if the call is legitimate or not. Moreover, don’t hesitate to report dubious or untrustworthy numbers on tellows to warn others about possible spam and scam calls.

Your tellows team

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The Devil in Disguise of Microsoft: Tech Support Scammers Strike Again

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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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