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Ofcom Orders Crackdown on Fraudulent International Calls

Graham Turner

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ofcom scam calls
The regulator says that phone companies must automatically block fraudulent calls made through the internet – if they come from abroad but pretend to be UK numbers.

Communications regulator Ofcom will ensure millions of potential scam phone calls never reach their target as they oblige phone companies to block fraudulent calls made from overseas.

The British public has been plagued by an increase in targeted scams, with 44.6m people reporting nuisance calls and texts to Ofcom over the summer.

According to new research, around 82% – more than eight in 10 – said they had received a “suspicious message” either in a text, recorded message, or phone call to a landline or mobile.

The research also found that suspicious calls continue to be a threat for landline users, with older people particularly susceptible. Three in five (61%) people aged 75 and over reported receiving a potential scam call to their landline.

Under new rules, all =international calls found to be falsely using a UK number will be barred.


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Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director, said: “We’ve been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number.

“We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.”

Internet-based calling technology, also known as Voice Over Internet Protcol (VoIP), is used by millions of consumers globally – especially with the proliferation of apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams – to make phone calls free or reduced cost every year.

At present, landline customers can request to have nuisance calls blocked by registering on the Telephone Preference Service.

The free opt out service allows you to record your preference on the official register and not receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

Companies (including charities) who choose not to screen but subsequently call a number on the register can be fined up to £6,500 for each registered number they call.


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Graham Turner

Sub Editor

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