How to prevent fraud and nuisance texts and calls

  • 25 February 2021
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How to prevent fraud and nuisance texts and calls
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Nuisance calls and texts are to take you away from that Netflix episode, platform game or group chat. Recently, we’ve been made aware of several fraudulent calls and texts affecting iD customers, so it’s worth knowing how to report it and prevent it from happening again, should you be affected.

Whether it’s a bogus call about an ‘accident’ that you never had, a ‘smishing’ text claiming to be from someone they’re not, or even a legitimate company trying to sell you stuff you’re not interested in, there are a few things you can do to stop it. We’ll show you how.

 

What is ‘smishing’?

‘Smishing’ is essentially phishing via text message. These messages fraudulently claim to be from reputable organisations like network operators, energy companies or retailers, in order to get the recipient to give personal information like passwords or bank details. Unfortunately, it’s a common practice because on the whole, we tend to be less diligent with our texts than our emails.

If you receive a text that makes you suspicious, don’t tap on any links that are included. And if you’re certain that the message was sent to you fraudulently, always report it to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.

 

Here’s what you can do to prevent pesky communications on your phone:

 

Be careful what you’re ticking

When you sign up to anything online, look out for tick-boxes that say things like “I give permission for third parties to contact me by phone” or “I give you permission to contact me by phone”. Don’t tick them if you don’t want to be contacted!

The same thing goes for all kinds of communications, be they email or text. For example, some comparison sites make you enter your personal details when you look for an insurance quote, and it’s easy to end up finding yourself on a mailing list. Whenever you buy or subscribe to something online, always double-check about the type of communications you consent to.

Register with the Telephone Preference Service

The best way to prevent nuisance calls is to register your number with the Telephone Preference Service. Doing this adds your number to their database of phone numbers that opt out of sales and marketing calls. It’s illegal for companies to call numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service, so it should scare companies away and stop them bothering you.

You can register both mobile and landline numbers. However, it only prevents live sales and marketing calls, not pre-recorded messages, abandoned calls or market research.

You’ll need your phone number, postcode and an email address to sign up on the Telephone Preference Service website. You can also sign up from your mobile by texting ‘TPS’ and your email address to 85095. Or you can call them to register on 0345 070 0707.

It’s free to register with the Telephone Preference Service. If anyone asks you for money to sign up, it’s a scam - you should report it to the Consumer Service.

If you get sales calls after you’ve registered with the Telephone Preference Service, it may be because you gave the caller your number. Go ahead and tell the individual caller you don’t wish to be contacted again, and hopefully they should stop calling you. If they don’t, see ‘Report a nuisance call or text’ below.

You may still get calls from companies that don't follow the regulations. If you do find yourself getting these calls after you’ve signed up, report it to the ICO 



Block nuisance calls

You can block persistent calls from the same number on your phone. It varies between operating systems, but usually involves opening your call list and choosing the number you want to block (usually by pressing an info button next to the number - be careful not to call it). Then you should be shown an option to block that number.

Alternatively, some smartphones are clever enough to detect that the number coming through is a scam call and let you know as it happens, giving you the option to block the number right then and there.

What to do if you think it’s a scam call

Scams usually involve people being tricked into giving money. If you think a caller is trying to scam you, just like with smishing texts, report it to Actionfraud straight away.

 

Stop getting nuisance texts

If you’ve given your number to a company in the past, they may send you texts. You can usually tell them to stop sending you texts by replying ‘STOP’ to the text message. Only reply with ‘STOP’ if the sender tells you who they are in the text, or they’re identified in the sent-from number.
 

If you don’t recognise the sender of the nuisance text, or it’s from an unknown number, don’t reply. If you do, it lets the sender know your phone number is active and they might hassle you even more.

Registering with the Telephone Preference Service won’t stop you getting nuisance texts

When you do get a nuisance text, forward it to 7726 - this spells ‘SPAM’ on your phone keypad. Doing this reports the sender to iD Mobile and you won’t get charged for the text.

As we mentioned before, you can also report nuisance calls or texts to the Information Commissioner's Office online. They can take action against whoever made the call. You’ll need to know the number the nuisance called from, and the date and time they called. You should be able to find both in your call history.

Those are a few of the best things you can do to stop annoying calls and texts from coming through. Give them a go and see how you get on! Let us know in the comments below.


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