We’ve all been bothered by nuisance calls – be it tedious telemarketers, tireless hard sells or unwanted surveys – and who can forget those persistent PPI claims in years past? Add a global pandemic to the mix however and more sinister scams, including fraudulent phone calls, have skyrocketed in the UK.
Whether it’s a fraudster trying to get us to click a supposed redelivery link or phishing messages claiming our Netflix subscription or TV licence is due for renewal, keeping one step ahead of scammers – on all fronts – is essential to avoid being duped. The BogusBuster website has lots of handy guidance on common phone scams to help keep you aware of all the latest ones circulating.
Unwanted calls and scams
Nuisance phone calls are always a menace, but scam calls more importantly put victims at risk of being defrauded – losing personal data and money. One particularly harmful scam, which has sadly created huge distress, sees the scammer masquerade as an employee at the target’s bank, convincing them to quickly transfer their funds to a ‘safe account’ – ironically in an alleged counterbid against being “scammed”.
Another, widespread fraud call, relies on the recipient receiving a supposedly automated call from HMRC, claiming that either their tax returns have been miscalculated OR that HMRC are filing a lawsuit – and to speak to a specialist “caseworker”.
Indeed, unfortunately with rudimentary phone scams now public knowledge, more sophisticated technology and aggressive techniques are being developed to dupe – and victimise – innocent consumers.
What can you do to block nuisance callers?
Where possible, our advice is to never answer mysterious calls from ‘unknown’ numbers. Most of us already have our contacts saved in our phone, which identifies them when they ring.
If a caller is not on your contact list therefore, we recommend avoiding it, since any important caller will likely leave a message or try again. However, if this is not possible, we’ve put together some handy tips to stop and block unwanted phone calls:
- Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). By registering with this service, you can ‘opt-out’ of receiving marketing calls. This can be done for a mobile phone and/or landline. This can take up to 28 days to be processed but you should see a reduction in calls before this. You can register by texting ‘TPS’ along with your email address to 85095 or visit the TPS website to register or find out more. It’s free to use the TPS service.
- Block the number. This is different depending on your phone. For a handy step-by-step guide to block a number on an Android phone or iPhone click here (Source: PC Mag UK).
- Use an app/blocking technology. There are a huge range of apps that offer free blocking technology. Whoscall, True Caller are free and Hiya offer a free and paid for premium service. These are just a few on offer so ensure you research the best for your needs.
How to report a suspicious phone call
- You can report nuisance calls to the regulator of communication services OFCOM or if you believe there has been a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
- Unwanted calls and spam texts can also be reported to 7726. This service is free of charge. The 7726 number is a tool (interesting fact – it spells SPAM on your phone) used by all UK operators to collate information and take action. Once you’ve reported the number/or text, you will get a confirmation back it has been received. If you are still having issues speak to your mobile phone network directly.
- For details on reporting a HMRC phone scam call check out their website here.
- To report a scam bank call or fraud check out our comprehensive list of UK banks.
Remember, if you do accept a phone call from an unknown source and are put on the spot and / or are unsure about whether it’s legitimate, don’t be afraid to hang up and verify its authenticity first. Research your caller independently by checking their details online – or, if it’s your bank or other official body, find a bank statement or other documentation and contact the number stated on these documents. If in doubt, get a second opinion from a friend or family member.
Bella loves nothing better to get her friends organised and essentially keeps everybody in line for Buster. Bella also curates the blog. She loves belly rubs and getting snug under a nice warm duvet.