Tag Archives: tellows.com

The Tellows Top 3: Calls Making You Cranky This Week!

This week’s batch all want your card details if the truth be told. Fight back by quite simply not giving them up. Here are some sneaky new adversaries on the scene to look out for…

A new entrant to the IRS scam arena (someone stop these guys already!) is 5303802641. Highly active within the last week, they’ve got a tellows score of 7 (possibly due to one misunderstanding of the scoring system – remember, 1 means TRUSTWORTHY!) and have no respect for public holidays!

Dan’s got his detective hat on…

This dumb scammer calls me on Thanksgiving day pretending to be an IRS lawyer claiming that I have an ‘Tax deficiency’ issue. What kind of idiot will believe an IRS lawyer works on Thanksgiving day and will call his ‘client’??

Very true. People calling you out of the blue about a ‘legal issue’ is more often than not quite fishy!

On the other end of the credibility spectrum is the gentleman (note the irony) calling from 3362286986. This is a guy who ostensibly really takes offence to non-credit-card-owners; he really flies off the handle if you don’t give him the answer he’s looking for. We’re not sure if he’s working ‘freelance’ or is part of a larger agency but he intersperses his survey questions with other, rather inappropriate enquiries.

Darron indignantly tell us about his experience…

I finally picked up from this number and some guy wouldn’t tell me who or where he was calling from. then I asked to be taken off his calling list and was then called several names and asked to give him a kiss. he said are you drunk? he really irritated me do not listen to him!!!!!

Cold-call flirting is a new one on us but this is exactly what this guy is doing… Albeit ineptly. And angrily.

Check out the link above for a few more entertaining stories.

With a tellows score of 8, 8608227440 is offering ‘better credit card rates’ and has absolutely no explanation of how it’s doing so.

Luckily, Aurora recognised the call for what it was…

The caller talked about better interest for my credit card and wanted to have my credit card number…I left her waiting until she hung up. As if anybody would fall for that kind of scam

…well someone must be if they’re still doing it! If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it weekly, DON’T give your card details out willy-nilly!

Keep your heads up, block those numbers and report them on tellows and we’ll be back with more nerve-grating numbers next week!

Take care,
Your tellows team

All Systems on Alert for the Medical Alert Scam!

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

Tellows’ Top 3: The Week’s Gear-Grinders

Howdy friends of tellows!

We have a mixed bag of callers for you this week; from the serious to just plain outlandish, our ‘wanted’ list always has contenders jostling for that Most Annoying award.

First up is a scam that’s becoming increasingly popular across the United States: the ‘you got served!’ call. Calling from LA on 2132609423, this fella’s not got the scam down to a fine art just yet…

User hal_t recounts:

some guy has called me literally EVERY. DAY. for the last two weeks telling me he’s bringing round legal papers and I’m getting ‘served’. not been served yet bro…

There unfortunately are more tenacious tricksters out there, who have successfully convinced US citizens that there is a warrant for their arrest out that they can buy their way out of for a couple of thousand dollars. Now, not only is it not possible to get ‘served’ over the phone, it is highly suspect that somebody would ask you to pay your way out of it without showing you any kind of documentation. Don’t let the fear surprise you out of your senses.

Second on the list, 9164698829, tries a similar tack, though much more aggressively. According to our heatmap, the perpetrators are based in Sacramento, CA, and try to accuse you, under a variety of aliases, of owing huge debts.

flynn099, who received a call from a ‘George Belowski’, was having none of it…

THREATENED US WITH A YEAR LONG PRISON SENTENCE FOR BANK ISSUES??? REAL HEAVY INDIAN ACCENT, TOLD US HE WAS FILING THE CLAIM IN AN HOUR!!!! MY FINANCES ARE TOTALLY CLEAR, THIS IS A MASSIVE SCAM!

Like flynn, you too should always be suspicious of an unprompted and unjustified phonecalls about your finances.
Last but not least is prankster and presumably Pitt-fan 8137936945, calling from Clearwater, FL. Witty user ‘monkeyingaround’ could fortunately see the funny side of the call, which cross-referenced more popular culture than your average chain-yanking caller…

‘Tyler Durden’ called me then proceeded to reference 12 Monkeys. Points for originality but stop pranking me!!!

Well, it takes all sorts folks…

Have a great week and stay cellphone-savvy!

Your tellows team

Transatlantic Team To Wage War on Serial Spoofers

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

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

Telephone Spam Numbers: The Most Annoying Callers of the Week

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

Another Week, Another Spam List: The Top 3 Most Wanted Numbers

Dear friends of tellows,

as the work week comes to an end, we provide you an update on the most wanted telephone numbers of the past five days. This time, we have a newcomer and two rather well-known nuisance callers – one of which is making calls around the globe. But let’s have a closer look:

1. 4029524444 with 2 comments and 1280 search requests. tellows Score: 7
2. 5707068800 with 2 comments and 979 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 3023573644 with 12 comments and 9105 search requests. tellows Score: 6

Calling from Omaha, Nebraska, our number one this week, 4029524444, is a newcomer to the list. With a tellows score of 7, our users consider the telephone number to be rather untrustworthy and have reported of frequent silent calls. User Conny commented:

They called at about 5:43 pm and then immediately disconnected the call when I answered it. They then called again at 5:44 pm – basically less than a minute later and the same thing repeated. So I figure they aren’t actually trying to have an actual conversation and it isn’t a very trustworthy number so I blocked the number.

Similarly, the second number 5707068800 is rated as dubious with a tellows score of 8. Some users suspect a scam behind the frequent calls from the number, such as tellows user Lea who reported:

A man on the other end of the line asked for a guy named Eugen Jacobs. I dont know someone with this name and i have had this phone number for many years! So im wuite sure that this is a scam!

Ranking on our final place, the number 3023573644 has been an “old acquaintance” to our top 3, making its first appearance on the list in June 2012. Users from all over the world ranging from the Netherlands to Pakistan have complained about unwanted calls that seem to originate from Delaware. User man wrote about the unsolicited calls:

Even I received call from this number twice on 27.04.2012, when I called back on this number, it went straight to a pre-recorded message from a female voice asking for an authorization code. I am from India

If you have information about this or any other number that seems to be used for spam or scam calls, don’t hesitate to share it with our tellows community. Take care and have a nice weekend!

Your tellows team

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.

Top 3 Most Annoying Phone Numbers of the Week

Dear friends of tellows,

in contrast with September announcing the beginning of fall and with that another change of season, there are some things that seem to never change: nuisance callers and telephone scammers have been as busy as ever the past week and as usual, we like to share with you the top 3 worst offenders:

1. +17148680120 with 8 comments and 13259 search requests. tellows Score: 5
2. 68547111 with 2 comments and 624 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 2142831316 with 2 comments and 1395 search requests. tellows Score: 9

Our first number of the week is +17148680120, and has been active around the globe with comments on tellows Indonesia and Belgium as well. While most users are wary of the calls as they appear to be made frequently and without any identification of the caller, our user Bert indicated something else:

its a service number of the microsoft corperation

Ranking on this week’s second place, number 68547111 is a newcomer. Similarly to the first number, the identity of the caller is uncertain, with some users warning that it might be a cost trap as they were charged for the incoming call. User Geegee voiced concern about the trustworthiness of the number, as he has been receiving silent calls:

This number called me and leave voice mail, but there is no voice and after several minutes there is a scary male husking voice, I deleted the voice msg

Last, but not least, number 2142831316 has been the number with the third most search requests this week. Again, the caller prefers to stay unknown and with a tellows score of 9 (untrustworthy) has been preceived as harassment by most of our users. User Will Nelson, who suspects a telemarketer behind the calls, has found a way to handle the frequent calls:

I let my fax machine answer such calls I don’t know who they are.. But I would like these calls to stop..

If you have been receiving calls by numbers who make cold calls, spam calls or appears to be used by scammers, check our tellows website to share your information with the community and exchange experiences with other users. In the hope that you have a spam- and scam-free time, we wish you a great and relaxing weekend!

Your tellows team

The Most Annoying Callers of the Week

Dear friends of tellows,

another week has passed since our last update on the most wanted numbers on tellows and as usual, nuisance callers have been rather busy. With numbers receiving scores from 9 to 6, this week there is not one number in our top 3 that is not somewhat of an annoyance to our users. But let’s see for yourself:

1. 2149695489 with 2 comments and 528 search requests. tellows Score: 9
2. 9722178347 with 2 comments and 1316 search requests. tellows Score: 8
3. 2562617792 with 2 comments and 1271 search requests. tellows Score: 6

Ranking on this week’s first place, the number 2149695489 from Dallas received a tellows score of 9 and is thus deemed to be completely untrustworthy. The number has been active for years and it’s mostly the caller’s odd behaviour that raised the suspicion of our users. Donna, for instance, reported:

creepy guy said i had a sexy voice. first two calls from operator asking if I’ll accept the call..last 4 came from this creepy guy called himself frankie.

On our second place, the number 9722178347 has kept the phone line’s of our users busy. Calling from De Soto, this is another number that has been active for several years and at a tellows score of 8, does not seem trustworthy. User Hector commented:

972-221-8347 is Metro News Service. I am constantly getting calls with no message from them. I did find the information below as to how to contact them. HOWEVER…EVEN BETTER…I called 972-227-6170 connected to EXTENSION 202 which is the THE VP OF MARKETING (Eric Southward) AND GOT HIS CELL PHONE NUMBER! PLEASE CALL HIM AND TELL HIM YOU WANT OFF OF THEIR TELEMARKETING LIST!

And finally, our last number for this week – 2562617792 – seems to be calling from Huntsville, Alabama and has been on this list before. While some suspect a debt collection company behind these calls based on their experiences with the number, others have been left clueless regarding the purpose of the frequent calls. User lafowl76934 complained:

[…] This number calls more than once a day and will never leave me a message…Have no clue who it is

If you do have any information on this or any other number that seems to make suspicious or dubious calls, don’t hesitate to share it with our tellows community and caution other people against untrustworthy numbers and scammers. Other than that, have a nice and hopefully peaceful weekend without any spam or scam calls!

Your tellows team