Category: Cold Calls

Dealing with telephone cold callers

The Two Stage BT Call Scam

We’ve all had the cold callers trying to make us believe they are from BT or Talk Talk or Virgin and wanting to help with problems on the line or about a supposedly unpaid bill or about hacking etc.  Total lies of course.

This latest scam takes things one stage further.

It starts with those usual callers – sometimes by a person and sometime automated calls.

e.g. “Hello, I’m calling from BT to warn you about suspicious activity on your Internet line”.

If you don’t fall for that scam, then you get a call from someone claiming to be from BT to try to sort out this problem of unwanted callers, for you. They may be able to quote your name and address or other confidential information to make you believe they are genuine.

Then the caller asks for proof of your identity – maybe your bank details  or birth date etc.

It’s a phishing scam – the scammer is trying  to get enough of your confidential information to be able to sell it to identity thieves.

Be wary of unexpected callers and if they claim to be from your supplier – make sure to verify that and do not trust that just because they know one fact about you, they must be genuine. Not true.

If you have any experiences with these kinds of callers – do let me know, by email.

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Stop Unwanted Robo Calls

Robocalls are the unwanted automated calls that you get, mostly from scammers and spammers but also sometimes from Marketing people and companies that don’t realise how annoying their pointless automated calls can be.

Mass cold calling was made easier by use of voice over IP, meaning the calls can be created on basic computers without the need for standard phone lines which cost money and can be tracked.

To some this is just a minor annoyance but to others it can be a lot more serious as they fall victim to scammers.

Robocalls are the No. 1 source of consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.

There are various APPS that claim to block automated calls.

Robocall Blockers

APP Cost Ratings (out of 5 stars)
Hiya:

Caller ID and Spam Blocker

$2.99/month or $14.99/year for Hiya Premium

 

App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 4.4

Nomorobo:

Robocall Blocking

$1.99/month App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 2.1

RoboKiller:

Spam Call Blocker

$2.99/month or $24.99/year for Android devices; $3.99/month or $29.99/year for iOS App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 3.6

YouMail:

Voicemail and Spam Block

Basic service is free; $5.99/month for YouMail Plus and $10.99/month for YouMail Professional App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 4.3

Call Control Home:

Device

$159.99 for call blocker device; smartphone app is free App Store rating (app): 4.5

Google Play Store rating (app): 4.4

It’s up to you which, if any, of these products meet your needs.

If you have had any fun at the expense of cold callers, spammers and the like – do let me know, by email.

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Nuisance Call Bosses Fined Up to £500,000

Estimates by telecoms regulator Ofcom show British consumers were bombarded with 3.9 billion nuisance phone calls and texts in 2018.

Company directors whose firms make unsolicited nuisance calls are now directly liable and could face fines of up to £500,000 under recent legislation from the Information Commissioner (ICO).

In the past some company directors had avoided company penalties for nuisance calls by going bankrupt and then starting a new firm under a different name. Once a company has been dissolved any penalties cannot be collectable.

Previously, it was only the businesses themselves that were liable for fines of up to £500,000 rather than individuals.

Andy Curry, of the nuisance call enforcement team at the ICO, said “It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”

Last year, the ICO issued 26 penalties totalling £3.28 million for breaches of electronic marketing laws relating to nuisance calls and spam text messages, along with 10 enforcement notices.

Minister for digital and creative industries Margot James said: “We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”

If you have any experiences with nuisance callers – do let me know, by email.

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Barclays Caller ID Service

Barclays has launched a new caller ID service to fight scams in mid phone call.

The new feature is on its app and website and it lets customers check whether callers claiming to be from the bank are genuine – while they are on the phone.

The caller identification service is designed to fight impersonation scams, where fraudsters pretend to be phoning from organisations such as banks to trick victims into transferring money or personal details.

Some scammers are even able to spoof numbers to make it look like they’re calling from a legitimate organisation – but this new feature will confirm whether an incoming call is from a genuine Barclays’ employee.

At the moment, the feature is only available to Barclays Premier customers – who must have £100,000 saved or invested with the bank, or pay in an annual salary of at least £75,000 – but Barclays says it will be rolled out to all customers “over the coming months”.

How Does Caller ID Work?

Eligible customers will be able to use the feature on the Barclays APP. It is also available in online banking when using a browser on your phone.

If you’re unsure if the call is from Barclays, it will check if you have the Barclays app or are registered for online banking.

If you are, Barclays will offer the verification service and send you a notification.

You then log in to either your Barclays app or online banking and open your notification. This confirms the caller’s name and asks if you’d like to continue with the call.

Barclays checks the response and you then complete the typical identification checks and the call continues as usual.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Cold Callers Selling Call Blockers

Elderly homeowners are being targeted by cold callers selling expensive gadgets that supposedly block cold callers.

Sometimes the scammers have no product and the whole thing is just a con to get the victim’s credit card details but there appear to be several companies actually selling products they claim can block cold callers.

But, they are contacting people registered on the Telephone Preference Service who should not be called so they are operating illegally. These companies sell expensive products that turn out to be cheap and ineffective – either stopping all calls or are incompatible with most people’s home phones or are too complicated for the end user to understand.

One such company was Telecom Protection Service which was stopped in 2017 after being found guilty of defrauding hundreds of people. Also, a company named  IT Protect Ltd was fined £400,000 for cold calling to sell call blockers more recently.

Other companies have since sprung up to continue this scam.

If you want a call blocking service, first try your phone provider as most have call blocking feature available and quite often these are free or at a modest charge.

If you do want or need a gadget to plug into your phone line for blocking callers then research what’s available and pick one that is recommended by experts and by its customers. Do not ever respond to cold callers trying to sell anything as it will never be value for money.

If you have any experiences with cold callers do let me know, by email.

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U.S. Breaks Indian Scam Call Centre

U.S. authorities have sentenced 21 people in connection with an India-based call centre scam that cost Americans hundreds of millions of dollars.

Defendants were given sentences of up to 20 years in prison, in what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call centre scam industry.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the sophisticated operation revolved around call centres in Ahmedabad, India, from where individuals called American citizens while posing as officials with Internal Revenue Services or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Victims were told that they owed the government money, and were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines and deportation if they didn’t pay up. Those who gave in to the scam were made to pay using wire transfers, direct bank deposits or iTunes and other gift cards.

Once payment was received, the scammers contacted a network of runners in the U.S. who would launder the payments.

The scammers set out to defraud older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through lies and threats. Because of this, all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail and bring a measure of justice to the victims, according to Attorney General Sessions.

The indictment also charged 32 Indian-based conspirators, who have yet to be arraigned.

The US authorities seem to be the only International player willing and able to take on the organised international fraudsters, root out these criminals and prosecute them.

Well done the U.S. Authorities and the Indian Police.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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