Nuisance Calls and Scams

by Rudolf Faix Sunday, November 8, 2015 4:39 AM

PhoneWhile not all nuisance calls are scams or associated with fraud, many are. There are several types of scams or fraudulent calls you might receive on your phone. These include:

  • Caller ID Spoofing
    At this kind of call the caller changes the number from which he is calling you. Normally, if someone calls you the device captures and shows you the phone number of the caller. But, scammers try to fool you by changing the number that you see on your phone.

    Those that try to scam you often pretend to be a reputable company or perhaps a company or organization that you already trust, like your bank. They are doing this to steal your personal information and possibly try to gain access to your bank account or other financial accounts. Alternatively, they may be looking for personally identifiable information for stealing your identity.

    When such scammers are calling you, they may even say that they’re from your financial institution and that they need to collect or verify some of your information. They may claim this is part of a security check or that your personal information may have been compromised. Don’t give them any information over the phone. Your bank, brokerage firm or other financial institutions will not call you and ask you for about your personal information like your bank account number.

    Never rely on the caller ID alone to determine whether the person is really from the organisation he claims to be. If you suspect the person might be trying to defraud you or if you can’t verify that the person called you is from your bank/financial institution, hang up, notify your bank/financial institution or the police.

    Before you dial out to another number be sure that the previous call has been terminated. If you are unsure about this take another phone for your next dial out. If the scammer did not clear the line by hanging up, then there is a chance that when you attempt to make the next call and you end up by talking to the scammer again. For the case that they called you at your fixed line, they may even are able to play a ringtone to make it sound like you are making a dial while they are waiting patiently and silently on the other side. So make sure your line is clear when calling your financial institution to verify the call, that way, you do not accidentally reconnect with the fraudster or an accomplice. Use always phone numbers that have been provided to you by the companies you deal with and not a phone number told you over the phone.

  • Spam Texts
    Spam text messaging occurs when a company or organization sends you an unwanted text message alerting you about something or sending you an offer.

    In general, it’s illegal for anyone or any company to send you spam texts unless you’ve already asked them to send you text messages. If you’ve given to a business the permission to text you, however, that company can continue to send you texts for other services, but it must offer you the option to opt out.

  • Overt Abusive Calls
    When someone rings you at your fixed line and is abusive, whether it’s a stranger, a company you’re doing business with, or some other organization, you should immediately call your phone company and ask to speak with their nuisance or malicious calls team. Notify them of the problem, and they may offer you anonymous call blocking.

    At mobile phones are you normally able to setup anonymous call blocking and blocking of single phone numbers by yourself. Consult the instruction manual of your mobile phone for more information how to block phone numbers and anonymous calls.

    But, be aware that the service can also block legitimate calls you receive. For example, if you receive regular phone calls from family or friends out of the country, anonymous call blocking might block these calls. If you opt for the service, you will also have to coordinate with your friends or family to make sure important calls get through or you may have to ring them yourself.

  • Unsolicited Calls
    Calls you receive that you did not ask for and do not want

    Unsolicited calls are often marketing-related. A company or organization gets your phone number and starts calling you offering you products or services. Normally, a business must have your permission to ring you for an offer, but many businesses skirt these rules or find creative ways to get you to agree to have them ring you for offers.

    For example, if you sign up for, or purchase, anything online, you may be unknowingly agreeing to receive phone calls from solicitors.

    Sometimes, these calls are automated. So-called “robo-callers” or automated calling systems will ring you on a preset schedule. Sometimes, the solicitors are calling about donations to a charity. Other times, they are calling to sell you debt management services or legal services for personal injury claims. Still other times they are calling to sell you products over the phone.

    Marketing agencies and organizations making such calls must have your permission to call you, but if you’ve checked off any boxes online while filling out a form, or while making a purchase, or agreed to terms of service which allowed a business to sell your personal information, you may have already given permission accidentally.

    You may also get caught by something called “Automatic Number Identification” or ANI. These systems don’t get your permission explicitly, but rather implicitly. Once you dial out, it’s done. The organization captures your number and sells it to other companies who then call you.

    The best way to protect yourself is to not sign up for anything online, through the mail, and resist giving out your phone number unless you know who you’re giving it to and you can be assured that your information won’t be sold to anyone else.

    If you’re already on a list, call the Telephone Preference Service and ask to be opted out of receiving calls.

  • Abandoned or Silent Calls
    Calls that are silent (you see them as missed calls) or are disconnected when you answer

People Who Are Most At Risk For Nuisance Calls

The Elderly

While anyone can be the victim of a nuisance call, some groups of people are especially vulnerable. For example, the elderly and single parents may receive an unusually high number of nuisance calls relative to the general population.

In fact, it is estimated that while the average UK resident receives 7 nuisance calls a month, 40% of the phone calls that older and vulnerable residents of Scotland receive are nuisance  calls.

These statistics were discovered by Angus Council, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, three of the country’s trading standards authorities.

Additionally, the The Financial Ombudsman Service found that roughly 80% of individuals who were scammed out of their savings were over 55. About one in five was over 75.

About 38% of victims lost anywhere between £5,000 and £14,999, with 20% of victims losing between £20,000 and £49,999. Some unfortunate victims lost more than £100,000. The most at-risk areas include London and the South East.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to these nuisance calls. Malicious individuals or organisations often prey on them, attempting to get personal information or have the senior hand over his or her life savings.

Some firms try to entice elderly victims with prize winnings or send begging letters. Of course, there is no prize waiting for the victim.

Another scam promises the victim lottery winnings, usually from outside the state or country. And, the senior doesn’t even have to enter. In fact, these organisations contact victims, telling them that their name was drawn at random and they’ve won. Incredible! They didn’t even enter any contest.

The only stipulation is that the elderly victim pay some fee or administrative cost before the money is released. Elderly people tend to be inherently trusting, and so they hand over the cash, but never receive the prize winnings.

Yet another scam involves unlicensed financial advisors who attempt to sell seniors unregulated investments which may jeopardise their life savings. While the recent banning of commissions has eliminated many commission-driven fraudsters, the practice of cashing in a pension pot is still a problem for many.

Fortunately, up to 98% of these nuisance calls can be blocked using special call-blocking technology.

Single Parents

Single parents might also be a victim of nuisance calls, especially when there are children involved. An ex-partner may be jealous or feel that the relationship ended badly, and may call directly or put someone else up to ringing their spouse or ex-partner’s line repeatedly.

Vulnerable individuals need to report all fraudulent activity to the authorities, like Ofcom, immediately. If you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of a crime, call the local police.

Blocking Calls Using Apps

Truecaller is an app for iOS devices that helps you peek behind the curtain of a phone number to learn who’s really behind the call. Get enhanced call ID information, search for any number to see who it belongs to, and link directly to Yelp! and other social networks to find the identity of the organisation making the call.

This app makes blocking spam and scammers much easier.

As with iPhone, Truecaller for Android can help you block unwanted calls on your Droid. Install the app and use it as you would on iPhone.

Best Practices For Staying Safe

Of course, beyond the apps and settings on your phone, there are some best practices you can employ to avoid being scammed or bothered by unwanted calls:

Stop signing up for free offers

Free offers are almost never free. When you tick off a box that says you agree to the terms and conditions, read them. Often, part of those terms includes a provision that lets the company sell your personal information. If you agree to these terms, you may start receiving phone calls which you believe are unsolicited.
Unfortunately, because you’ve agreed to terms and conditions which allow for this, there is usually no recourse other than asking to be removed from the organisation’s call list.

Resist paid offers unless you know and trust the business

Think before you buy into another service, even if it’s a contract renewal. Mobile phone renewals, for example, could trigger an avalanche of follow-up calls, asking you to sign up for additional services or buy additional products from the carrier or a dealer.

These calls can turn into nuisance calls that you can’t easily stop because you’ve already done business with the company and agreed to receive calls from them.

When a business asks you for your contact information before, during, or after a sale, resist it. Most businesses want your number so that they can call you in the future with offers. Unless you want sales calls in the future from a company, just politely decline. If the business or organisation insists, remind them that you are already doing business with them. If they refuse business unless you hand over your contact information, it may be a good idea to do business with someone else.

Don’t agree to anything over the phone if you’re unsure about the caller

Sometimes, it’s difficult to say “no” to someone over the phone, especially if they’re nice and polite. However, if you do not know the individual, your best response usually is “no.”

Do not give out your credit card numbers, don’t agree to switch utility providers, even if they promise you a lower tariff (always check with your provider first about your rates vs a competitors’). And, don’t assume a friendly inquiry or marketing survey is always innocent. Often, these calls are designed to trick you into buying something you don’t really want.

Do not use your real number

If you do have to sign up for a service, or you’re buying a product online, sign up for a Google number through Google Voice. This service lets you create a fictitious number which can be easily changed so you’re not giving out your real number. And, it’s easy to set up:

  • Go to the Google Voice website and sign in with your Google Account login information

  • Choose a Google Voice Account type

  • Select “I want a new number”
  • Enter a forwarding number and the type of phone you have. This is the phone that will ring when someone rings this new Google number. You can add more phones to this number later if you want

  • Take down the code presented to you and click “Call Me Now” to verify your forwarding phone

  • Enter the code you received previously into the box on the screen

  • Search for an available Google Voice Number. You may search by area code, post code, word or phrase

  • Select your number

That’s it. Your new number is now active. When you sign up for services, simply give organisations and businesses your Google number. When they ring it, it will forward the call to your real number.

If you start having problems with nuisance calls, simply get rid of the Google number and get another one. This effectively sets up a shield between you and the would-be nuisance caller.

Add your name to the 'do-not-call' list

The Telephone Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving calls from solicitors. While many individuals are familiar with this service for landlines, TPS will accept mobile phone numbers as well. It’s a good first line of defense.

It will not stop charity organisations, however, and some calls may get through if they are not considered telemarketing calls. These calls may still be considered nuisance calls. However, you should see a dramatic reduction in the number of them.

 

 

What To Do If You Got Scammed?

by Rudolf Faix Friday, November 6, 2015 12:41 AM

Mouse Trap - scammedAuthorities may not always be able to take action against scams, even if it seems like a scammer might have broken the law. Although it may be hard to recover any money that you have lost to a scam, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage and avoid becoming a target for a follow-up scam. The more quickly you act, as larger is your chance of reducing your losses. Report a scam. By reporting the scam to authorities, they may be able to warn other people about the scam and minimize the chances of the scam spreading further. You should also warn your friends and family of any scams that you come across.

If you have been tricked into signing a contract or buying a product or service

Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office and consider getting independent advice to examine your options: there may be a cooling-off period or you may be able to negotiate a refund.

If you think someone has gained access to your online account, telephone banking account or credit card details

Call your financial institution immediately so they can suspend your account and limit the amount of money you lose. Credit card companies may also be able to perform a "charge back" (reverse the transaction) if they believe that your credit card was billed fraudulently. Do not use contact details that appear in emails or on websites that you are suspicious of - they will probably be fake and lead you to a scammer. You can find legitimate contact details in the phone book, an account statement or on the back of your ATM card. 

If the scam relates to your health

Stop taking any pills or substances that you are not sure about. See a doctor or other qualified medical professional as soon as you can. Be sure to tell them about the treatment that the scammer sold (take along any substances, including their packaging). Also tell them if you have stopped any treatment that you were taking before the scam.

If you have sent money to someone that you think may be a scammer

If you sent your credit card details, follow the instructions in the section opposite.

If you sent money through an electronic funds transfer (over the Internet), contact your financial institution immediately. If they have not already processed the transfer, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent a cheque, contact your financial institution immediately. If the scammer hasn’t already cashed your cheque, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent money through a wire service (such as Western Union or Money Gram), contact the wire service immediately.

If you are very quick, they may be able to stop the transfer.

If you have been tricked by a door-to-door seller

You may be protected by laws that provide you with a "cooling-off" period, during which you can cancel an agreement or contract that you signed. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for advice about door-to-door sales laws.

If you have been scammed using your computer

If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus or other malicious software is still on your computer. Run a full system check using reliable security software.

If you do not have security software (such as virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a computer professional can help you choose what you need.

Scammers may have also gained access to your online passwords. Change these using a secure computer.

If the scam involves your mobile phone

Call your telephone provider and let them know what has happened.

 

Handy Hints to Protect Yourself against Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, November 5, 2015 3:46 PM

Protect yourselfProtect your identity

  • Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.

  • Destroy personal information: don’t just throw it out. You should cut up or shred old bills, statements or cards - for example, credit cards and ATM cards.

  • Treat your personal details like you would treat money: don’t leave them lying around for others to take.

 

Money matters

  • Never send money to anyone that you don’t know and trust.

  • Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings.

  • "Jobs" asking you to simply use your own bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money-laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence.

  • Avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you do not know.

The face-to-face approach

  • If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification. You do not have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.

  • Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer.

  • Contact the Competition Bureau, provincial and territorial consumer affairs offices or the Better Business Bureau of your province or territory if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door.

 

Telephone business

  • If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company yourself.

  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

  • It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognize. Be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 1-900. These may be charged at a higher rate than other numbers and can be very expensive.

 

Email offers

  • Never reply to a spam email, even to unsubscribe - often, this just serves to "verify" your address to scammers. The best course of action is to delete any suspicious emails without opening them.

  • Turn off the "viewing pane" as just viewing the email may send a verification notice to the sender that yours is a valid email address.

  • Legitimate banks and financial institutions will never ask you for your account details in an email or ask you to click on a link in an email to access your account.

  • Never call a telephone number or trust other contact details that you see in a spam email.

 

Internet Business

  • Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept current. If you are unsure, seek the help of a computer professional.

  • If you want to access a website, use a bookmarked link to the website or type the address of the website into the browser yourself. Never follow a link in an email.

  • Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses very similar to legitimate websites.

  • Beware of websites offering "free" downloads (such as music, adult content, games and movies). Downloading these products may install harmful programs onto your computer without you knowing.

  • Avoid clicking on pop-up ads - this could lead to harmful programs being installed on your computer.

  • Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine.

  • Never send your personal, credit card or online banking details through an email.

  • Avoid using public computers (at libraries or Internet cafes) to do your Internet banking or online shopping.

 

Credit Card Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 9:15 AM

Credit Cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCardMastercard misrepresentation is a boundless term for robbery and extortion conferred utilizing or including an credit card, for example, a charge card or platinum card, as a fake wellspring of stores in an exchange. The reason may be to acquire products without paying, or to get unapproved stores from a record. Charge card extortion is additionally a subordinate to data fraud. During the previous couple of years, it saw a 21 percent expansion. On the other hand, Mastercard misrepresentation, that wrongdoing which the vast majority partner with ID robbery, diminished as a rate of all ID burglary grievances for the 6th year in succession.

In spite of the fact that rate of Visa misrepresentation is constrained to around 0.1% of all card exchanges, this has brought about enormous money related misfortunes as the false exchanges have been expansive worth exchanges. Out of 12 billion exchanges made yearly, pretty nearly 10 million - or one out of each 1200 exchanges - ended up being false. Additionally, 0.04% (4 out of each 10,000) of all month to month dynamic records were fake. Indeed, even with huge volume and quality increment in charge card exchanges from that point forward, these extents have finished what had been started or have diminished because of complex extortion discovery and anticipation frameworks. Today's misrepresentation identification frameworks are intended to keep one twelfth of one percent of all exchanges prepared which still deciphers into billions of dollars in misfortunes.

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud:

  • Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is a secure and reputable. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but provides some assurance.

  • Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure.

  • Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses.

  • Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.

  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.

  • Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working.

  • Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.

  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.

  • Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.

  • Check out other websites regarding this person/company.

  • Don’t judge a person or company by their website. Flashy websites can be set up quickly.

  • Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail.

  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.

  • If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.

  • Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card number.

  • Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately.

 

Non-Delivery of Merchandise

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 9:02 AM

FedEx (Federal Express) vanThe non-delivery scam occurs when the scammer places an item up for sale when there is actually no item at all. The item is subsequently never delivered to the buyer after they purchase the item.

Tips for Avoiding Non-Delivery of Merchandise:

  • Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.

  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.

  • Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working.

  • Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.

  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.

  • Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.

  • Check out other websites regarding this person/company.

  • Don’t judge a person or company by their website. Flashy websites can be set up quickly.

  • Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail.

  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.

  • Inquire about returns and warranties.

  • If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.

  • Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.

  • Consider using an escrow or alternate payment service.

 

Follow me

Tag cloud

AboutMe

I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

Disclaimer

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. By browsing or using content from this site you accept the full legal disclaimer of this website.


web page counter code