Bad Stuff nuisance calls and messages scams

Overseas call centre scammer

The return of the scam call

Just had a scam call. It’s not often I’m home early enough and they typically ring at tea time. You can immediately tell what sort of call it’s going to be because they use cheapo crap telephone services over the internet.

So I happened to be in a playful mood and thought I’d chat to the lad/laddette. Instead of speaking I sang the words down the line and eventually broke into a very tuneful version of Hello Dolly. At that point the scammer ended the call without having even introduced himself.

No stamina. I might have been interested in signing up for his virus repair services or whatever it was he was using to try and extract cash.

I’d be quite interested in hearing from anyone who knows someone who’s actually fallen for such a scam call. You can change the names etc to protect the innocent/unwary.

Also the most innovative scams. You don’t hear of any new ones. Maybe they think why change a winning recipe? Or maybe they aren’t imaginative enough? Probably a bit of both.

One wonders whether they have an employment category in India (or where ever else these calls originate) called “scam call operative”. It would be near surgeon and secretary on the list. Perhaps “solicitor” is what they put down. Geddit? What proportion of census entries would have the scam call operative down as occupation.

Maybe people do NVQs in such profession. It’s bound to help at the job interview. You would also want to be able to quote how much cash you had successfully extracted from people. Bump it up even. I doubt it would be verifiable. It’s the scammer’s equivalent of lying about your salary on a job application, or making up a fake doctorate you’d bought on the internet (not paid for it hopefully – the scammer has pride in his or her capability to do such things).


Loads of scam call posts here btw.  It’s some of the most visited stuff on this blog.

Bad Stuff End User nuisance calls and messages

Nuisance Ministers on Nuisance Calls

Forgive me but I don’t hold the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in very high regard when it comes to technology issues. It’s a very personal thing, dating back to the Digital Economy Act, their blinkered approach and refusal to listen to anyone who wasn’t an ageing rock star (or paid by an ageing rock star).

Culture Secretary Maria Miller trumpeted something over the weekend that, according to the substantial press coverage at least, should reduce the current high volume of unwanted marketing and other nuisance calls.

I’m confident the plans announced will do very little to reduce the deluge I currently get.

Why? Because spammers have shown themselves time and time again to give not a toss about rules and regulations.

For example, I signed up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) years ago, and have recently re-added my numbers just in case. Little help it does.

To understand why one has to look at the economics.  TPS is a for-profit money making service run by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

The DMA charge to query its database – around £2,200 per annum, plus VAT. So from the start there is a disincentive for Joe Bloggs Marketing Co Ltd to use it. Better subcontract the calling overseas, with a paper requirement to check TPS and full deniability if their agents get busted calling my housebound, blind and painfully immobile 98-year-old grandmother an hour after she goes to bed of an evening.

The Solution

Is painfully simple. Put a legal requirement on on Telephone Service Providers (TSPs) via the forthcoming legislative overhaul of the Communications Bill to provide, free of charge, effective call blocking tools.

You see, TSPs like BT, Virgin Media, Sky and the rest actually make money from nuisance calls through so-called termination charges. They get paid for putting the nuisance call through to you, so there is little real incentive for anyone in the industry to tackle the problem.

Subscribers like you and I can pay, around £5 per month (£60 per year) for the privilege of having nuisance calls blocked at the exchange – but I see that as blackmail; I pay enough already to rent a phone line. My service provider is making money from the misery of a nation by accepting termination charges from marketeers who hound me 12 hours a day.

Now, if every telephone service provider was obliged through their operator’s license to provide a free and effective nuisance call blocking service then it would be a different story.

Exchange-level blocking is far more powerful than the little black boxes one can buy to filter calls before they hit your handset.

For example, if the call originates in the UK, even if the caller withholds their number, the exchange still knows the ID of the originating caller.

BT therefore, if you pay them for the privilege, provide a blocking service that allows users to dial a special code immediately after a “number withheld” call to block further calls from that number, without affecting calls from your local doctor’s surgery, who happens to withhold their number when calling me.

By the way, what I said above about spammers ignoring rules and regulations, a rule prevents a marketing company calling you withholding their number. Yet this goes on day in, day out.

So a legal obligation on all telephone service providers to provide free blocking tools like the one I described from BT. We’ll all use it if it’s free, and marketeers will have to find a new way to inflict their pain.

After all the current Government, as per the DCMS, is a big fan of free blocking (switched on by default) when it comes to web pornography and the like.

But Miller and Co at the DCMS are probably too busy slapping themselves on the back for the positive press over the weekend to listen to my advice. After all, a DCMS minister openly ignored my advice after inviting me to give it face to face.

James Firth

End User fun stuff nuisance calls and messages ofcom online safety Regs social networking


I’m not a lawyer. This is something of which I am proud. Nor am I a chartered accountant, this is something of which I am equally proud.

People that are in Regulatory Affairs (telecoms or otherwise) often individually present a real Heinz 57 of backgrounds, abilities and skills. As far as I am aware, no-one leaves school thinking “I want to be in Regulation!”. You sort of fall into it, from a carrier in the faculties of law, economics, accounting or the commercial arena – and have to be able to hold your own, at a high level, in all of them. In all cases, you need a desire and drive to get under the skin of the regulator and former incumbents alike; those that know me know I revel in this sort of protagonism.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I have an academic background in Finance and Management and a professional background in commercial affairs and compliance, hence my ultimate arrival in Regulatory Affairs. 18 year old Pete Farmer would’ve laughed if anyone suggested this is where I would end up.

So, this isn’t legal advice. It isn’t to be relied upon. It’s to be taken on an “as-is” basis as a way of stimulating debate and discussion around a subject of which I am as passionate about as annoying the Office of Communications; food.

Believe it or not, in my spare time I run a foodie

End User nuisance calls and messages piracy

How to complain about nuisance calls and messages

pirate flagThe blog is getting a lot of visits to posts about nuisance calls and messages. There are clearly a lot of pests out there.

If you suffer from this you can report incidents to the Information Commissioner’s Office at this site here.

Feel free to leave a comment with any progress or otherwise.

Particularly active numbers are 08000641087 (post here) and 01616626518 (post here)

End User nuisance calls and messages piracy

08452865284 nuisance call

Just in an ITSPA council meeting and rejected a call from 08452865284. This was a bit of a result as a quick google shows people complaining about answering a call from that number and getting a recorded message.

You may have noticed me posting more stuff like this. I’m going to do it every time I get a spam call for a while as a record for how much I get. Otherwise we have no data on the subject. Lets see how it goes.

End User nuisance calls and messages

08000641087 – another number to stick in your block list

pirate_flag_thumbAnother scam number for you to stick in your block list is 08000641087.

My 16 year old son had a missed call from these guys 08000641087 and rang my mobile thinking it might have been my office number.

A search reveals that this number comes from LBM Direct Marketing Ltd, a legit organisation that allegedly does telemarketing for O2 and Vodafone amongst others. They may be legit but it doesn’t mean we have to like them. There is a lot out there about this organisation if you Google it or the number.

In the direct mail world I’m sure that legislation was introduced years ago saying that only people who had opted in to receive direct mail could be bombarded with it. It’s about time they introduced a similar system for telephone numbers to replace the TPS.

The returns on cold calling are very low anyway and you wonder why people bother. The job is soul destroying and I doubt that people can stick it for very long. An inbound sales strategy is far more successful. Get people to want to call you and then it is easy.

Btw I know I said to block the number but in reality this is impractical. There are probably thousands of such numbers in use and cold calling organisations can easily change them.

Wonder what this blog is about?

Post on where to complain about nuisance calls and messages here.

Footnote 21/2/2014 since this post was written it has had 9,853 visitors. That’s a lot of people being pestered.

LDM Marketing up to more antics here.

More scam number info here.

Business nuisance calls and messages Regs

ICO Annual Report and nuisance calls from 08432890049

ICOThe Information Commissioners Office has 355 staff. Hadn’t realised it was such a big outfit. When you think about it with the world moving online and with so much information about us being kept in so many places the ICO has a huge brief. Also the ICO website has been changed from .gov to .org to emphasise its independence.

I know this because I’ve just come from the ICO’s Annual Review at Central Hall in Westminster. Being on the ICO’s Tech Reference Panel and all that!

A lot of meeting was just the presentation of statistics. Did you know that over the past year more than 225,000 people called the ICO’s helpline? Well you do now. There are some big growth areas such as SPAM calls and texts. It’s good to see that the ICO is starting to bare its teeth when it comes to this kind of stuff. We have seen the first two lots of fines (called civil monetary penalties for some reason) to the value of £225k imposed on pest cold callers. These people are just the lowest of the low.

I’ve started to report incidents of spam calls to my own phone – coincidentally got one this morning from 08432890049. I have duly reported it here. If all of us report it every time we get a spam call or text we can at least contribute towards nailing the ones in the UK. The overseas call centres are unfortunately beyond the reach of the ICO. I’ve just started to get rude with them.

You can look at the report yourself here. In line with the ICO’s new green policy the only hard copies available are the ones required to be kept by Parliament. Now there’s a very telling message in itself.

I will leave you with a fact that was related by Commissioner Christopher Graham. The ICO is currently looking at online privacy Ts & Cs. I got the impression that they are looking to try and come up with recommendations for a set of rules that would provide adequate privacy protection for people signing up for new products and services online and who just tick a box to accept conditions imposed. Did you know that if you added up every set of T’s and C’s you accept in this way it would take 77 days if you had to actually read it all? Well now you do 🙂

Engineer nuisance calls and messages ofcom voip

Nuisance calls

At last week’s ITSPA Council meeting we discussed nuisance calls. This post on on the subject was written by Pete Farmer, writing in a personal capacity. Pete is the Commercial and Regulatory Manager for Gamma  a wholesale supplier of telecoms services. Pete is a colleague on the ITSPA Council  and chairs their Regulatory Committee. His contact details can be found via his LinkedIn profile.

Nuisance Calls

No-one doubts for a second that silent or abandoned calls – the current focus of Ofcom’s attentions whereby predictive diallers make more calls than they have agents for- are a pain. It is even worse for a vulnerable person to receive a prank call at 3am let alone one where the content is potentially violent or sexual. These are often criminal acts that require decisive action from law enforcement.

What people don’t talk about so much though, is the effect such calls have on businesses. The economic harm as well as the effect on the staff can be commensurate with that suffered in a residential setting.

A business can of course be pseudo-domestic; by which I mean that a plumber, electrician or window cleaner procures their telephony services much as they would at home

End User nuisance calls and messages

missed call from 0161 662 6518

Accidentally left my phone on mute and noticed I had missed a call from  0161 662 6518. Hmm  I thought. Who do  I know that lives in Manchester. Might have been someone calling to discuss the Draft Comms Data Bill Report that I am in the middle of reading and digesting.

I googled the number and found that others had had the same missed call. Seems to come from some outfit styling themselves as “Claims Professionals”. Lowest of the low in my view. Glad I missed the call.

Wonder what this blog is about?

Details on whereto complain can be found here.

More info on dodgy phone number stuff here.


End User nuisance calls and messages

Telephone Preference Service

I’m getting a lot of traffic for the post on the Telephone Preference Service. It’s no surprise. If your house is anything like ours we get scam calls on a daily basis. Someone needs to do something about it.

We have varying strategies for dealing with the scammers in our house. These range from keeping them hanging on for 10 – 15 minutes to just swearing at them and telling them to “go away”.

I favour the latter but the choice is yours.

End User nuisance calls and messages Regs security

The Telephone Preference Service seems no longer to be effective

We used to get junk phone calls, I’m talking years ago now. Double glazing, that sort of thing. My favourite was from people trying to call “Service Washing Machines”. These weren’t trying to sell me anything. The company had misprinted an advertisment with our number instead of theirs so we would get their calls. It did get a bit tedious after a while though.

Once (and you might not like me for this) I was at home during the day showing a builder around to get a quote. The phone rang and I said “watch this”