Shutting down scammers

Does anyone know where one can complain to get entirely fraudulent phone numbers shut down? A friend of my wife’s, a genuine hero, the Russian dissident Mikhail Kukobaka, has been hit by a transparent scam letter telling him he has won the “BBC Lottery”, based in Harrogate. At least, it is transparently a scam to any native speaker of English — the BBC, apparently, uses a Spanish Yahoo email address involving the spelling “lottory” — but he wasn’t certain of this and asked for advice.

I don’t think any lasting harm has been done, but the letter also contains a couple of contact phone numbers. One is -a mobile- a VOIP and the other an 0870 number. These should be shut down, of course, but I can’t work out from the Ofcom website where to start. I suppose the other obvious step is the police cybercrime unit.

It is remarkable, though, that a man who survived 17 years in the Gulag, two years in Chicago, and now lives in Moscow as a pensioner, should be gullible about something merely because it comes in his email, in a foreign language.

UPDATE: I attempted to ring the Essex Police high tech crime unit. It is unavailable because of a switchboard malfunction. No one I spoke to had an email address. Nor is one listed on their web site.

UPDATE 2: I did eventually managed to check the numbers through ICSTIS. they are both operated by Magrathea Telecommunications, which provides invisible VOIP services, amongst other things, so that there is no obvious way of knowing where they will pop out. Next stop, to ring the company. But first, finish something else.

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4 Responses to Shutting down scammers

  1. The problem with trying to get such numbers shut down is that they just pop up somewhere else. Scammers are ingenious (not ingenious enough, I should note, I recently received an email containing an address in London with no street number and a post code that began BW1…. )

  2. acb says:

    this seems finally to have cracked the spam comments problem — though I may have spoken too soon. there will be a slight delay, and it won’t work without javascript. But I can’t help that!

  3. acb says:

    testing general antispam measures. Will this get forwarded?

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