Monthly Archives: July 2018

What is the TPS and does it actually work in the UK?

Tired of being bombarded with nuisance calls? The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the official opt-out register promoted as an effective tool to reduce unsolicited calls. Although, our community often complains about receiving nuisance calls despite having registered their number with the TPS.

Is the TPS really useful? Does it work? We have created this practical guide with all you need to know about it.

tps works or not?

What is the TPS?

First thing to know, the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a FREE service. The direct marketing industry runs and funds the service.

The TPS is the official UK register of domestic phone numbers whose users record their preference not to receive sales or marketing cold calls. Before making a cold call, organisations *MUST* check if the phone number of the receiver is TPS registered.

According to the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, it is *ILLEGAL* for such organisations to call TPS registered numbers for sales or marketing reasons, unless they have obtained your consent first. Organisations that must abide by this rule include: companies, voluntary organisations, charities and political parties.

The TPS is enforced by law and regulated by Ofcom, which is in charge of maintaining the opt-out register. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the organism responsible of taking enforcement actions towards companies that might break the law by calling people whose numbers are TPS registered, without their prior consent.

How useful is TPS against nuisance calls?

The TPS claims itself very effective to protect its users against nuisance calls. They assure that reputable companies are more than likely to follow the law and comply with the rule, which should reduce an important part of the nuisance.

Although, the TPS faces many critics as it mostly fails to block a great number of unwelcomed calls and scams. In fact, many companies appear to ignore the rules and often skip the mandatory check on the TPS register before making cold calls.

Additionally, the TPS does not cover many types of nuisance calls that abundantly plague UK users, such as any kind of nuisance messages, automated calls (robocalls), market research calls, silent calls, overseas calls and fraudulent calls. As a result, consumers yet receive an important number of unwanted calls, despite the legal restrictions.

The TPS does not protect you against unsolicited text messages either.

For more details about cold calling and the most commons scams in the UK, please read our guide about it.

But… does TPS actually work?

tps doesnt work as expected

For all reasons mentioned above, the TPS undoubtedly fails to screen users from all types of nuisance calls. However, it yet appears to reduce an important number of live sales cold calls. Research have found that TPS successfully cut out a third of unwanted calls, mainly blocking UK based organisations.

Being the only such register enforced by the UK law, the TPS also provides its users the ways to report abusive numbers to the authorities. Unfortunately, the procedure is complex and users’ complaints rarely lead to repressive legal actions. Tracking down companies acting illegally appears to be a difficult process, as many of them operate overseas. The authorities have recently claimed that they are working on adopting new measures to improve the repression of the fraudsters, in order to fight more effectively against nuisance calls.

To sum up, the TPS is an ambitious service that did not quite fulfil the public’s expectations. The TPS users still get plenty of nuisance calls and apart of unplugging your landline and throwing your mobile away, there is not much to do to avoid them completely. However, the TPS service is free of charge and has proved a relative effectiveness especially regarding live cold calls, which can be enough reasons for you to register for it.

How do I register for the TPS?

If you wish to register with the TPS, here are your options:

By phone

Call the registration line on 0345 070 0707. The price of the call es the same as per calling any other landline in the U.K., sometimes calls to these type of phone numbers are included in call packages.

To register your mobile phone, send a text message to 85095 with a message following this format “TPS your@email.com”. Sending a text to this phone number has no charge and its the option we recommend, once your petition has been processed you will receive a text message from this shortcode confirming you are subscribed to the TPS.

Online

The registration process takes a few minutes online on the TPS official website.

By post

You can alternatively register by writing a request to the following address:

Telephone Preference Service
DMA House, 70 Margaret Street,
London, W1W 8SS.

Beware of the TPS related scams!!!!

Our community has raised our attention on increasing scams involving the TPS. Fraudsters usually operate following the same pattern. According to our numerous reports, fake TPS agents claim that your TPS registration is expiring and will soon be terminated. They will then ask for your banking details in order to renew the service. Remember that the TPS is a FREE service! Once you are registered, you do not have to renew it and no one from the TPS will ever call you to ask money or personal information.

If you ever receive this type of calls, end the communication immediately. Please report the fraud to the Unknownphone.com team by filling a report for the phone number who called you on our website so we can warn the rest of the community.

We also advise you to download Call Blocker, our call blocking app for mobile, which automatically blocks and identifies these type of calls!

Most common scam calls reported in the UK

Recently increasing, scam calls and messages are, on top of being a real annoyance, a concerning danger for your privacy. Thanks to the participation of our active community, we have created this guide to help you stay updated and safe against these threats.

For any of the cases described below, please follow our advise in order to deal with these calls and report your experience by reporting the call in our website to help other users like you.

Silent call scam

Have you ever run multiple times a day to your phone and fail to pick up on time because it only rang couple times? Or get a call that goes straight to silent when you pick up? Frustrating right?! You are probably a victim of what we call a Silent call scam.

This technique is designed to make you miss the calls systematically, inciting you to call back to an international or premium rate number, which is going to cost you a lot of money!

Silent Call scam

What should I do? Ignore it! Don’t pick up unknown numbers and let them go straight to voicemail. Genuine callers are likely to leave a message, scammers will not.

Car Accident Claims scam

“Have you recently been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault?” Sounds familiar?! You probably already have experienced the frustration of these harassing calls that are not making much sense, wrongly claiming that you had a car crash in the past few years.

Targeting the entire population, the scammers hope to randomly find persons who actually had a car crash, and fool them by pretending that they are eligible to a compensation. The target victims are urged to communicate their banking details to process the claim.

What should I do? Hung up immediately! Do not waste more of your time. If ever you had a recent accident, real insurance companies dealing with this kind of claims will NEVER cold call you this way.

Computer and telecommunications related scam

This type of scam has been particularly increasing recently. The caller will claim to be from your phone/internet provider or a Microsoft technician, and allege that your line or system is either having issues, being compromised, or infected by a virus.

The fake technician will ask for your information to create a problem that was not there before and offer you a repair that will obviously cost you a large amount of money. Sometimes we have detected these fake tech support scammers are taking the users to a fake website were they are asked to download an antivirus, which is actually a virus!

Phone hackers dont give any banking details

What should I do? Use your common sense! If you have no problems with your equipment and line, this call should already alarm you. In any case, your real provider will not ask your personal information over the phone. Be particularly vigilant when the caller has a foreign accent, as many scams of this kind have been reported to come from India.

Government organisations scam

Our community has recently massively reported such scams, particularly from callers pretended to be HMRC agents. A pre-recorded message will urge you to contact HMRC via a given number concerning legal actions carried out against you.

Calling back, the potential victims will be asked to communicate their banking details to settle a non-existent debt.

Unexpected phone bill

What should I do? Don’t panic! You probably already know that you are on top of your taxes bills. In this case, just ignore the message.

If you have a doubt, check the veracity of the call first by comparing the phone number to the official list provided by HMRC.

Lottery or prize scam

This scam usually consists in an automated call claiming that you won an important amount of money from entering a competition or winning a lottery, free supermarket vouchers or any kind of products.

Calling back the phone number given, the fraud can cost you money in different ways. The number given might be a Premium rate number charging you extra just for returning the call, and will often lead to a dead line. A scammer might also answer and ask your banking details to transfer the amount of money offered and sometimes, request a transfer fee.

Alternatively, you can receive text messages offering random gifts or money. A contact number will similarly be given, bringing the same issues previously described, or a link to a dangerous website that is likely to install a malware that will steal your private data, such as credit cards, passwords…

What should I do? Free money, really?! Such things are too good to be true. Ignore these calls and text messages that will end up costing you more money that they are supposed to bring.

HMRC scam

Other phishing calls and messages

The fraudsters can also call under the name of a genuine or a made-up company (bank, energy provider, random telemarketing company…) and pretend to call for general sales, financial advice or market research.

Stay vigilant! The final purpose of these calls is generally to steal personal information such as banking details. They sometimes already have some of your information, which does not mean that they are trustworthy.

What should I do? Hung up Immediately! NEVER say the word “Yes” as it could be recorded and used to authorise charging you on a bill.

Don’t forget to protect your mobile from the most dangerous phone numbers by downloading our CallBlocker app for Iphone and Android!