Category: Scam Call

The 118 Call Redirection Scam

Disreputable 118 directories businesses have been buying up out of use phone numbers – they chose ones that are very similar to popular numbers e.g. one digit wrong from Marks and Spencer or numbers from well-known companies that have gone out of business  e.g. Toys R Us.

Why do they buy these numbers?

So they can put what is essentially an advert for themselves but cunningly made to look as if it is instructions from the out of business company.

e.g. you call a number you think is valid but get a recorded message telling you the number is no longer valid and you should call 118 …….  You call them and you will be talking to a directory service which then charges you for calling and asking for the right number and likely charges you for every minute you talk on that new number.

This can catch people out and they can end up with hefty bills that are unexpected. In some cases more than £50.

Power Tel that run the 118 023 service has been fined £200,000 by the Phone Paid Services Authority for this scam.

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London Police Sent to India

In India, there are large numbers of scam call centres. It is scamming on an industrial scale and a high proportion of their fraudulent calls are made to UK and US citizens.

The FBI are on the case tracking down these criminals and working with Indian authorities to stop them.

Now, the City of London Police are deploying officers to India to combat these scammer’s multi-million pound racket.

It seems that some Indian call centres run legitimate work during the day then turn to scam calls during the night.

The UK Police have formed a special team to work on global solutions to fraud and part of that is building a capability to take the fight to the criminals.

This sounds a good idea – to get ahead of the scammers and stop them where they live and work.  International crime can be harder to track and to block but maybe this approach will improve matters.

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Fake Accident Calls

The phone rings and a voice says she is Katie and she’s calling about the accident.

“Go on” I reply assuming this is a scam call.

Again she tells me she’s calling about the car accident.

“Which one” I reply thinking to confuse her as she clearly she has no knowledge of who I am or whether I have recently been in a car accident.

There are about 170,000 road accidents in Great Britain per year where someone is injured and the figure including all minor bumps etc. where no injury occurred must be significantly higher.

Even so, the chances of a scammer getting through to someone who has had an accident recently must be fairly low.

However, even for someone who does drive and has not been involved in an accident recently it is probably confusing when someone calls to talk with you about ‘the accident you were involved in’

What do the scammers want from these calls?

There are various possible motives for them

  1. Collecting names and contact details for people who have been in accidents, so as to sell that data to insurance companies, car repair businesses etc.
  2. Standard phishing scams i.e. they try to get as much personal information from you to sell to other spammers and scammers
  3. A more elaborate con where they pretend to be an insurance company willing to pay you for the accident (but if accepted then they need retainers, pre payments etc., before you can get the cash which of course doesn’t exist)

Do not be taken in by these callers. If someone calls to ask you about any event – then check if they know who you are and dates, locations etc. of the event. Once asked these questions they will likely put the phone down.

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Action Fraud Scam Calls

The scam typically goes like this:-

  1. The victim receives a cold-call from a fraudster claiming to work for Action Fraud.
  2. When the call is answered, an automated system asks the responder to “press 1 if they have made a report to Action Fraud.”
  3. When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.
  4. The victim is informed that their computer has been hacked and their bank account has been accessed without permission and money taken.
  5. The scammer may ask some simple questions to build trust e.g. are the lights on your router flashing? Do you have credit cards? Do you have more computers in the house?
  6. The scammer may ask the victim to run some programmes on their PC and use the results on screen to ‘prove’ that the computer has been compromised.
  7. The scammer asks for access to the computer and ask the victim to install remote control software to make it possible for the scammer to take control.
  8. Once they can control the computer the scammer can search for financial and personal information an if possible access the victim’s bank account.
  9. Victims discover later on that money has been stolen from their account or maybe days later that someone is spending on their credit card etc.

What Can You Do?

Even if the caller is knows details such as your name or address, don’t give out any personal or financial information during a cold call.

Don’t give a caller remote access to your computer, don’t go to a website they give you and don’t install software they recommend or supply.

Action Fraud does not use an automated machine to speak to victims of fraud, so if you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately.

If you think your bank or payment card details have been compromised, or if you believe you have been defrauded, contact your bank immediately.

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Car Accident Cold Callers

The Fightback Ninja says:-

I have been receiving car accident cold calls recently.

I haven’t had any accidents – Ninja’s never do.

So, my mobile number must have got onto a scammers call list, sadly.

Katie phoned me. Probably a fake name.

“My name is Katie and I’m calling about your recent car accident”.

It’s nice to talk with you Katie. So, which accident was that then Katie?

“The car accident”.

Yes. So, which one was that?

She obviously didn’t like my response and put the phone down.

Then there was Abbey.

“Hello. My name is Abbey and I’m calling from Sunshine Advisors. We’re calling about your recent car accident”

Right. Hello Abbey. Sunshine Advisors – that’s a good name.

“About your accident which was not your fault.”

That accident?

“If you give me the details of your car and when the accident happened we can start the recovery process to get you damages.”

Right. That sounds good.

She didn’t respond.

What accident are we talking about then Abbey?

She put the phone down. They recognise when you know it’s a scam and believe it’s better to move onto a new victim than play a dead hand.

If you have the time, it’s fun to play along and waste their time – make up answers. There’s no need to be truthful as they called you to lie to you.

  1. What do they want?
  2. Usually these are for fake insurance claims for something like whiplash which is very difficult to disprove. Sometimes they are just phishing for your personal details to sell on.

Whatever they want – do not tell them anything personal as you may regret it.

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