/ Home & Energy

Scam watch: have you been cold called by a boiler scam?

Boiler

Be warned, cold calls flogging new boilers are on the rise. But as John suspected these are likely to be a scam.

John told us: ‘I’ve received cold calls from a range of numbers. The calls consist only of a recorded male voice telling me about new boiler regulations in Europe. It says that every household in my local area must install a new A-rated boiler by the end of 2016.

‘I am confident that existing non-A-rated domestic boilers will continue to be legitimate until they reach the end of their economically serviceable lives – and that these calls are a potential scam. I shudder to think what sales pitch some naive consumer might receive if they were to press the relevant button to follow up the call.’

Our advice on suspicious calls

Unfortunately, it appears there’s been an increase in cold callers trying to convince people they need a new boiler since the introduction of the Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive in September 2015.

As part of this directive, boilers and other electrical products must meet new minimum energy efficiency requirements in order to be sold in Europe.

However, existing products aren’t affected by these regulations, so we’d imagine you’re correct to assume this is a ploy to trick you out of money. You should report these calls to the police, trading standards and Action Fraud. Don’t forget that you can also report the call to us too.

Never buy anything as a result of unsolicited contact. However, if a sale is agreed over the phone, then the Consumer Contracts Regulations apply and you have 14 days to cancel penalty-free.

Have you been nuisance called about an A-rated boiler?

[UPDATE 17 MARCH 2016] – A Scottish boiler replacement company has been fined £180,000 for making millions of automated nuisance calls. Glasgow-based FEP Heatcare Ltd made 2,692,217 unwanted automated calls between April and July 2015.

And despite being warned to stop making illegal calls by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), FEP started to do so again by bombarding people with recorded messages. The ICO traced these calls to FEP Heatcare even though the calls didn’t identify a caller.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘The ICO is right to hit companies with hefty fines for bombarding people with nuisance calls, especially when they fail to listen to previous warnings.’

Comments
Member

Its a damming indictment of how low this society has fallen in its commercial exploitation of the poor in society that most adverts try to make people feel guilty if they dont spend money they have saved for old-age when times are hard and that every emotional trick is played by showing relatives who should benefit but in actual fact the beneficiaries are those rip-off companies -CEO and shareholders,– at a time of removing benefits from the poor . All ideals- all high principles – all fair play -all decency – removed down to the LCD of increase the wealth of millionaires , pets are treated better. Its disgusting , no morals are left , no sympathy for those that have not ,Georgian workhouses are next as Georgian values are back again , the Reformers failed , merry Xmas ! Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! – the goose is getting fat —for some.

Member
M. T. Offiler says:
25 November 2016

The other day, I had 5 calls telling me that since I was not connected to the gas main, I was entitled to a free HE boiler. I was asked to press 2 on my keypad to speak to an “advisor”. The caller’s number was “Withheld” and I strongly suspected a scam, so I deleted the message. As a matter of principle, I never press the key that such callers give.

Member

I take it was “Gas India ” calling , we have BT India- MIcrosoft India already , High Efficiency Vindaloo and Madras boilers , for those with a less “hearty ” need for a supply we have Korma boilers with a good bit less heat. Kidding aside –you did the right thing not pressing “2” M.T. Offiler .

Member
J hon Hamilton says:
25 November 2016

I have had up to 4 to 5 calls a day from a company or companies offering a new boiler for people on benefits this has got to stop modern technology can do this as customers we should demand that our phone providers do so at no extra charge cold calling should be stopped’.

Member

You are on ,like others , a Marketing LIst J hon Hamilton , they just ignore the TPS , there are even cold calling call-blocking companies selling overpriced and under ability call-blockers to stop ALL types of scamming/harassing calls. The ONLY communications you deal with in boilers for the poor are DIRECT information from your local council and for that get onto your local council /regional website and see the APPROVED list of companies.

Member
Janet Few says:
13 February 2017

After the 7th one of these today (and numerous over the last few months) I finally succumbed and against my better judgement ‘pressed 9 to opt out’. Ten minutes later another identical call. I have tried logging the numbers but none of the actually exist if you try to call them back. I did start reporting them but lost the will – they come from a different number each time. And yes, I am on TPS.

Member
Tobydog says:
15 February 2017

I am getting the same calls, one day I had five identical calls in a period of two hours. I started reporting them but they are using different random numbers each time. I no longer answer any number I do not know but this is like being under siege in my own home. Surely somebody can do something about these, they are far worst than the ‘something wrong with my computer’ calls, at least you can swear at them!

Member
Janette says:
10 November 2017

I’m having exactly the same experience. The real caller id is masked by a fake number. I’ve complained repeatedly to no avail.

Member
Rosemary Burkhill says:
26 November 2016

I came back from holiday and my and my messaging server was full of the boiler messages, on one date there were 5. I did not reply

Member

I wonder how many can distinguish between a boiler scam and a boiler room scam.

Member

The first scams the less well off in society –the second scams well off shareholders, while both illegal I know which one I would call- dirty -lowdown thieving $&”666-** !!

Member

Not everyone with stocks and shares is well-off. Many people bought them at a time when yields from other savings and investments were on the decline, thinking the stock market would be more buoyant. Their income is often a pittance, some of the companies have liquidated or gone into administration leaving the shareholders with nothing, and capital values have gone down rather than appreciated so they would make a loss if they sold them. The problem is that the boiler-room scammers prey on people who are desperate to restore the value of their life savings and earn some interest on which to supplement their meagre pensions. Any scam, whoever it targets, is reprehensible. I would say that lures based on money pip a new boiler every time.

Member
Pam Thompson says:
24 May 2017

if someone has surplus money that they can afford to gamble on stock and shares, they are indeed “well off”.

Member

Many people invest their money to provide growth or an income – whether directly, through ISA’s perhaps, or indirectly through their pension fund forexample. Just the same as having “surplus” money in a savings account, but potentially doing a lot more good by funding industry and commerce. Or investing surplus money in a house.

Properly researched and invested funds are not a gamble in the reckless sense – long term they perform better than interest. However, those who ignore common sense and chase unrealistic gains, don’t do their research and don’t understand what they are getting into, are reckless.

Member
JanVScam says:
12 December 2016

Had 2 of these automated boiler calls in 2 days, “if on benefits, if no gas supply, press 2 now for free boiler”. Obviously I did nothing of the sort but waited patiently till the end for an OPT out option, which never came. I’ve logged the time of the call so if phone rings again on day 3 I will not even answer. BUT I did 1471 after the 2nd call and it came up with was 01437 63883 – which looks like a UK number and the voice sounds like UK, but clearly is NOT, so do not be fooled. The telephone companies and other authorities are NOT doing enough to protect us. If these calls continue how are you supposed to stop them with no opt out?

Member
Martin Hutchinson says:
16 December 2016

Been getting calls on landline and mobile ( about 8 a day) mentioning benefit and boilers. If you don’t answer it , it goes to voicemail and leaves message to press 2 for advisor. All come from different numbers usually 10 figure numbers that can’t be blocked.

Member

They can be blocked Martin , what type of call-blockers have you on your landline and what is the make/model of your mobile ? Android are well known for their bad protection from hackers etc . iPhones are a lot better .

Member
miranda says:
22 December 2016

I decided to “press 2” and speak to someone, the number coming up 0162835754 which being a digit short doesn’exist. I spoke to a guy with a Geordie accent who said the reason I was being called was because someone in the household is on benefits , which they are NOT. upon which he hung up! Yet another scam aimed at the vulnerable

Member

MIranda- by pressing that return call button you are now on their trade list of “live ” customers ,expect an avalanche of harassing calls , NEVER press ANY return numbers , no matter what lies they put forward for doing so.

Member

And never click ‘unsubscribe’ on an email unless perhaps you have been a customer of a company or asked to receive information.

Member
Mary Austin says:
4 January 2017

I have received 6 calls in the last couple of days about gas boilers – they seem to know we don’t have a gas boiler but not that there is no gas in our village! Once I waited and on invitation pressed 9 for no further calls but have probably just confirmed for them that the line is live. Each call comes from a different number which looks like a British phone We are registered with telephone preference. The recorded voice says it is an urgent call for those on benefits.

Member
Castle says:
4 January 2017

The Telephone Preference Service only covers live, (i.e human) marketing phone calls, not automated recordings. Automated/Recorded voice calls fall under regulation 19 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 and the caller must have your permission to call you; good luck making a complaint though!

Member

We get 4 or 5 recorded calls a day with the offer of a free replacement boiler. Each one is from a different telephone number but the numbers don’t exist as I’ve tried calling them back. I’ve reported them all to the ICO but because these are fictitious numbers that can’t be traced I suspect they will be unable to take any action.

Member
Sue Burnand says:
9 January 2017

We are being called approximately four times a day with a recorded message about a free boiler. We know it’s a scam, but the number changes with every call, so blacklisting the number on our phone doesn’t work.

Member

Sue ,it depends on the call-blocker , you should be able to block all “0” type calls.

Member
Jessica West says:
17 January 2017

Yep seen all above , now my phone is left on silent and I am thinking of just having a mobile . It is so annoying that BT can’t trace and block ..

Member

Oh yes they could Jessica they just dont have the legislation to do it (officially ) . When I say that the India scammers can be traced and websites can trace callers because of things like VoIP I am “shot down in flames “- no they cant “impossible ” , funny the US Federal Dept has been tracking down the SAME type of calls since at least -2012. They set up their own scam to catch the scammers and it WORKED , got the IT companies behind the scammers and forced them to be shut down /taken to court and YES I have downloaded the US webpage detailing it. So the US government are acting in a re-active manner to US citizens complaints – and good old Britain -? – live with it .

Member

I used to receive nuisance calls on my landline, often five or six a day, but now receive about one a week – which I can cope with. In contrast, I have had only two nuisance calls on my mobile in the last few years, ignoring obvious wrong numbers like drunks calling for a taxi. I am glad that Which? and others have put in effort to help address the problem but I may have helped myself by insisting on ‘no marketing’ whenever I have a phone conversation to a company. I have found that it is necessary to do this because renewing a contract can put you back on the marketing list.

It’s no problem making outgoing calls on a mobile but I want to receive calls on the landline because there are handsets round the house, whereas the mobile is often not to hand.

There may be no legislation that allows BT to take effective action, but it would be encouraging to know that the company is pushing to change this, to help Jessica and many others. I have a feeling that their customers would be very supportive.

Member
TonyF says:
18 May 2017

As all UK phone numbers begin with “0”, that’s going to be rather a severe filter.
Or did you mean something other than what you wrote, Duncan?

Member

Hello Tony , I dont want to go into detail about what BT is capable of in their digital exchanges for security reasons but I can assure you they can trace any number -IF – they want to and use “resources ” , put it this way nothing is hidden from your landline provider and cell-net provider and if you have worked in any of them and seen the details on computer screens you will know what I mean , those “in the know ” in BT know what I am talking about. But just think of GCHQ they use BT,s system for their own ends and,believe me , can trace anybody as can the NSA/CIA . Its down to resources being used for the public’s benefit or not.

Member
Mark says:
23 January 2017

Been receiving over 8 calls a day for the past week about ‘people on benefits can replace their boiler’ just this morning I have 4 all from different numbers with the same recorded message.

As one person commented above the number are only 10 digits and they will obviously be virtual numbers which are being used randomly. You would think the BT or other telecommunications companies should be able to track this back to the original company as they must of bought this numbers from somewhere.

Member

That the end problem Mark , as I mentioned on another post , we don’t have the FBI and US Federal Communications Authorities ,who when they get a US citizen complaint as you have get the telephone company /and /or their own “investigation technical dept” (if you know what I mean ) to not only trace the call ( no matter where ) but if they cant prosecute the overseas culprit then they find out what IT company is providing the “services ” to the scammer and take them to court and WIN ! Not only levying a big fine but forcing the company to comply with US regulations , as long as the company has offices in the USA of any sort they can force them out of business if they refuse to comply and most companies have bases in the US for business purposes as they bring in the US Tax Authorities as well– no slouches in the USA !

Member

It is indeed a sad fact that enforcement has been kicked out of the ground in the UK. I wonder if Americans get many scam calls from India.

Member
Pete Allerhand says:
27 January 2017

We get lots of bogus calls, probably about 10 per day. Just like everyone else, we’re totally p*ssed off. We even pay BT for the “privilege” of caller display so we tend to spot most of them as they arrive but it doesn’t provide much comfort. It’s tending towards OCD, like “twitching curtains” in a suburban street. Who’s going to call next…..?

But how do the scammers pay for their calls? Surely they are using somebody’s network and surely they must have to pay, even if they get a “volume discount”. So if they’re able to make a “profit” whilst paying for the incessant calls, how the f**k does it work? There can be no doubt that the big players in telecoms and their fawning politicians must know exactly how it works and who does it. So they must have some reason for allowing us lot (the subscribers) to put up with it. Must dash, the phone’s ringing….

Member

Your right Pete the “big players ” be they telecom or HMG know all about it but don’t tell the public , nothing strange there in British life as more and more its –“a need to know -for your eyes only James Bond type of public information. ” A lot of overseas scammers pay very little for their calls and the really good ones use hacking principles to pay zero a few pence/cents are taken from millions of accounts it all adds up . Then you have the India type “help desks” helping themselves , I don’t know how much detail I should say as it might encourage even more to take up the “hobby ” .

Member
Dawn Thomson says:
30 January 2017

I had 12 of these oil boiler calls on Friday, & 2 this morning so far & it’s only 9.38am…i’m so sick of them, i have to stop what i’m doing every 10-20 mins to go to the phone(as it might be urgent) , ive tried blocking(no use as it’s a different number every time) ive tried ignoring(doesn’t make any difference) i’ve spoke to BT & they advised me to sign the Which petition(Useless BT) i’m tempted to press 2 so that i can actually speak to one of these a******s & give them a piece of my mind, but am wary that i could be phoning India…. come on BT STOP THESE COLD CALLERS NOW!!!!!!!

Member

Dawn , as a BT customer are you using BT,s new FREE call-blocking service ?

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
1 February 2017

Unfortunately Duncan, it seems that BT’s wonderful new Call Protect service can’t protect you against these boiler calls with their ever changing numbers. I signed up immediately, but still get the same volume of calls. BT say in their advertising that Call Protect will deal with the companies that keep varying their phone number, but unfortunately they’re lying, presumably because they want to sign up lots of new customers on long, unbreakable contracts. In some ways, BT are no better than the scammers!

Member

Andrew you can block whole categories of numbers so that would include numbers in blocks as they usually have the same start number -eg- 0 . How can they be scammers ? they are providing two versions of this service one free another with a small rental or integrated into Call-MInder. The paid for version allows you to control what is blocked more than standard .

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
1 February 2017

Hi Duncan, I’d love to be able to block the boiler scammers, and I see from your many interesting previous posts that you know a lot more about the subject than me, but forgive me if I’m confused. These people change their number every time, using different fake dialling codes including ironically my own, 01757. How do I block them using Call Protect, paid or otherwise, without blocking legitimate calls? The only difference between the seemingly random numbers they use and legitimate calls is that the scammers’ numbers are one digit shorter than you would expect.

Member

Hello Andrew you work in reverse , it is mostly 0 numbers in blocks that they use , you just block all 0 numbers and then allow all your friends. relatives and others by programming in their numbers . The scammers know full well that they are causing major problems for phone users by using 0 numbers and people are reluctant to block all those numbers starting with 0 . I will grant you BT along with several government departments should not only block all types that are not legitimate but also trace them and prosecute the callers or the IT companies they pay to allow this . The problem is businesses in this country use devious means as well to stop you tracing their origin , they used call centres but its cheaper to do it this way including “International ” calls which are really UK calls bounced out of the UK and re-entered to stop you locating them I found two companies doing this legitimately in the UK I had dealings with I had to tell them I had a call blocker so they couldn’t get through using those means eventually they rung me on legitimate numbers and I was able to locate them in the UK although originally it looked like one was International and one was a scammer.

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
1 February 2017

Thanks Duncan, some interesting points there. The problem I’ve got is that I regularly receive important calls from unknown numbers that are perfectly legitimate, and anyone who has two gormless daughters who allow their phones to run out of charge and ring up to book Dad’s Taxi Service from a friend’s phone will know where I’m coming from! I also have a Dentist wife who maybe on call. Therefore blocking all 0 numbers is really not an option. To the best of your knowledge are the numbers these boiler scammers use totally random, or do they have a limited amount, in which case I can obtain some relief by blocking every scam number that calls, up to the 100 limit allowed by BT’s Call Protect?

Member

I can see your problem Andrew, while the blocking range can be limited per scammer it depends how many individual scammers call you with their own range of scam numbers , From what I have seen in reports on BT,s website it works for a lot of people . The problem is it depends how gregarious your family is on the Web , nowadays there is no need to give out telephone numbers they can find them out by social media/ transactions on the web / even sales where your info is sold to third parties , and so the more friendly you are the more chance of getting multiple scammers . To give you an example , I am in contact with many organisations round the world as well as UK rights groups etc i started getting a lot of scam calls 2 years ago and was forced to buy a CPR Call-blocker due to the large number of people who knew my telephone number , so if its only a few scammers using number blocks okay but if your number is known to many , yes its possible the stored number data using BT,s service might not be enough as you would need to delete or its auto deleted when you input over the limit of held numbers . some people will be happy some might not but the basic service is free and the paid for version is a few ££ /month .

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
2 February 2017

Duncan, I’m very grateful for your input which has provided me with far more useful information than I’ve ever been able to extract from BT. In the final analysis however it appears that BT’s new Call Protect, with its much vaunted list of blacklisted numbers and ability to block 100 more of choice, is ineffective against the boiler scammers, complaints against whom form the nub of this thread. BT should therefore own up to this (or do something about it), before making claims about its efficacy which would encourage people to switch to BT in the hope of relief from this constant bombardment. In the delusive hope that BT monitor forums such as these, I’d love to read any comments they may wish to make. But Duncan, thanks again.

Member

Thanks Andrew , and you can take my word on this BT DOES monitor Which Convo.

Member

I have had automated recordings from 0128862268, 0129695733, 0193568867, 0193675758, 0199864984 so far all with the same message “oil, electric, lpg and gas. Press 2 to speak to an advisor or press 9 to be removed” I don’t press any buttons of course. All of the above numbers don’t appear to exist.

Member

I am now getting up to 10 of these calls a day. Always new phone numbers (1 number short) so, as discussed above, almost pointless ‘blocking’ them using Call Protect.
It amazes me that they keep it up when it’s so clear that we’re never going to be interested – surely it’s not great business to really annoy people that they want to sell things to.
I understand that using these spoof numbers is illegal and this boiler scam calling has apparently been going on a long time now. I would have thought that BT would want the company/ies doing this to be brought to book. As one of the IT giants surely it’s not beyond them to find out who is responsible for thes calls and then use the legal system.

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
8 February 2017

Duncan states in an earlier post that BT monitor these conversations, and I have no reason to doubt his expertise. What a terrible indictment on them that they appear to have nothing to say on the matter. Presumably Which monitor these conversations too? Does Which have on opinion on BT promoting Call Protect, and presumably gaining business on the back of it, when it is defenceless against this scourge that is affecting so many people?

Member
Neil Blake says:
8 February 2017

Blocking all 0 first digit callers is not an option. TPS is a joke. Perhaps we can launch a class action suit for damages against our landline supplier (BT) to whom we pay a monthly rental. If everyone invoices BT for time and costs against the landline rental because it is not fit for purpose, it will perhaps register.
Time to attack.

Member

Neil it may have escaped your attention but the basic version of -BT Call-Protect is—-free. It is a step in the right direction for a big company and they will lose revenue if the calls are blocked . BT are limited by government legislation in how much /or length they can go to in blocking facilities many business,s use the same methods of disguising their telephone numbers from the public.

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
8 February 2017

Duncan, I’ve already expressed my gratitude for the benefit of your expertise, and I maintain that position, but frankly, I’m fed up of being told what I can’t do. I’m with Neil, is there anything we CAN do, without blocking all ‘0’ numbers, which makes our landlines unfit for purpose? Do you think BT or Which will provide an input, or maintain their silence on this subject?

Member

Sorry if I upset you Andrew its never my intention to do that , I am usually straight to the point as I see life in Engineering terms which is reality . I have said many times on Which , sometimes to high criticism that BT is limited in what it can do by Government legislation as the engineering principles behind those harassing calls are actually used by businesses , my point being HMG wont let BT either by themselves or by you inputting a code use the British telephone network like a switchboard in a large business , even though it is capable of doing it , as well as that it would need the help of British security services – you know who I mean to trace the spammers and prosecute them as they do in America (FBI ) .Our country is not so open a society as the US thats a fact many like it that way and I have been “shot down in flames ” for suggesting otherwise , in answer to your question the ONLY way you will get positive results is if you lobby HMG then BT can be forced or allowed depending on your outlook to do what you want , so its in the British Publics hands through your MP etc . BT will not do it unilaterally it is still controlled by HMG . They also will not make a statement without Government Secretarial advice. Hope you don’t feel too bad about me as I know I plow a straight line and don’t see some side issues its just I care deeply for the general public otherwise I would not be here.

Member

Well, here’s a coincidence. Since I posted my class action suit suggestion, all my boiler scams, and apparently any other unsolicited stuff has ceased!
Thank you “Big Brother”!
Neil

Member

How its done in the USA -lesson -#1- US government names winners of contest to build best Robocall blocking system- FCC offered prize of $50,000 – three people won it -two of the winning proposals DETECT illegal robocallers and DISCONNECT them before the call gets through. Two winners BUILT systems that that INTERCEPT and FILTER out robocalls using a captcha style test -they were -Software developer (NY) Aaron Foss + computer engineer – Serdar Danis – Foss,s idea – Nomorerobo (trademark ) block ANY type of robocall- Landline- VoIP-Cellular without requiring the user to BUY any extra hardware . I have archived the whole text . And in this country- UH ! no it CANT be done ! . Disgraceful ! Are you reading this Andrew ?

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
9 February 2017

Reading with great interest Duncan. But on the assumption that HMG are hardly going to spring into action if little me starts lobbying them, it seems there is nothing that can be done. It might be different if an organisation as powerful as Which took an interest, either in the actual scamming calls, or BTs promotion of the ineffective Call Protect, but it seems that Which can’t be bothered. Given that since I signed up for Call Protect, 90% of nuisance calls have still got through (almost all of them boiler scammers), I will watch BT’s advertising with interest in future. Unless they have caveats pointing out the severe limitations of their wonderful new product, I’ll report them to Trading Standards, citing the Consumer Protection against Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. But I guess they won’t give a stuff either. Thanks again Duncan for some interesting posts. If anyone has any workable solutions, or finds a Consumer Rights group who are prepared to listen and act, please post.

Member

2 calls a day since start of 2017 –different numbers every time. Press 9 to opt out and it obviously doesn’t work so I tried 2 to speak to an “adviser” just a funny sound and cut off. Now logging every number.

Member

fed up with these calls
0142765465
0129998293
0173995466
0165953984

strangely got worse after using a couple of the car insurance comparison websites but that could be just coincidence

Member
FF1981 says:
14 February 2017

Also get called several times a day say if I have no gas supply to my property I am entitled to a free boiler, press 2 to speak to advisor and 9 to opt out. Always delete message or hang up and always a witheld number or number missing a digit. Which, I hope you’re monitoring all this and perhaps start to help us do something about it.

Member

Arrrrgh been getting loads of these stupid calls over the last week to my mobile. More annoying as they keep leaving a half voicemail which I end up having to check and delete. Today I actually managed to answer and press 9 to opt out, but by the sounds of it that isn’t going to do much good!

Member
Trisha Adams says:
27 February 2017

Mine have been going on since early December and no relief from this even with the free BT call protect or a Callblocker. As previous posts have mentioned the numbers change each time and are a digit short (10) so there is no possible way of blocking these without affecting other calls that may be important. Unless something is done about this soon I am seriously considering cancelling my landline with BT, it is not fit for purpose, I am unable to switch my answer service on (it fills up within a few days with the nuisance calls), so therefore I am paying for a service that I cannot use! I find it unbelievable that BT are unable to stop these calls and it seems the calls are coming through via VOIP? Does it suit BT to ignore the problem which is getting worse, I can only assume they make good revenue from these calls and selling the enhanced package of the call protect? I would be interested to know if the paid service stops these calls as this would explain the reluctance to resolve the issue. I am TPS registered (irrelevant), I contacted the ICO who could offer no help (the lady I spoke to wasn’t very helpful or friendly) and suggested I email my local MP and BT suggested I use the new call protect service (useless). It seems the only way I can stop this is to no longer to have a landline (which other people I know affected by this are thinking the same). Surely there are enough people affected by this issue that someone can push BT to sort this problem out as I am sure they will lose more revenue by losing customers than allowing this to continue? Can anyone stop these boiler calls!!!!!!

Member
Andrew Sturmey says:
3 March 2017

Trisha, I agree with everything you say (see my previous posts above). Isn’t the silence of both BT and Which deafening? I wonder what needs to be said or done before they’re shamed into commenting?

Member
Linda says:
3 March 2017

For the last 3 weeks we have been receiving calls about free boilers in our are. Maybe 3 a day all from different numbers sometimes withheld sometimes international. Today 0194722788 rang. I pressed 2 and got through to a girl with an northern accent called Kelly. I asked why I was continually being called and she said that there were twenty companies using the same numbers I sais I was on the TP service and she said you will have to ring them all then won’t you and put the phone down.

Member
Maureen says:
12 March 2017

Frequently. I press 9 to be removed from their calling list – to no avail.
Sometimes an English female voice/ once a Scottish one.

Member

Press NOTHING Maureen you are only playing into their hands and it will mean you will be inundated with calls . Those callers have ZERO morals .

Member

I agree with Duncan.

BT charge 55p if you press whatever number it is to ring back, and you have no idea what pressing 9 might do, where it will go, and how much you might get charged.

Also please never be tempted to call them back.

Member

I’ve entered 60+ calls rec’d in last 3 months into a spreadsheet…and there have been lots more either deleted from answering machine prior to logging them or when machine became choked by sheer volume of calls (almost all re Windows and Boilers). It appears scammers have finally figured out that there’s no mains gas in my area as focus switched to oil / LPG boilers a few weeks back. I’m sending calls list to my MP to backup complaint letter but not holding out much hope of early resolution.
Has anyone any stats. re ‘break-even’ point for cold calls? For example if 1 in 10 were to take up their ‘offers’ the operation would be extremely profitable whereas 1 in 1 million would quickly result in their operations folding. If, via publicity, the public could be persuaded never to respond the ‘break-even’ point would be breached on the downside and problem would go away whereas relying on BT, ISP’s and the ISO to address the problem scammers will always be several steps ahead, not to mention the issue of International cold calls.

Member

Me too! We now leave our answerphone on all the time and only pick up if we want to speak to someone.
I am particularly concerned that if you don’t want to take up the offer, you should press “9”. I think this is very risky but I am sure there are plenty of people out there who could be duped into doing so. I thought there were new laws in place to stop this type of call.

Member

As posted upthread it’s strongly recommended ‘NEVER’ to respond to keypad options (or to answer call in the first place); to do so informs the scammers that the number called is ‘active’ and thus become a candidate for a ‘suckers list’ which would then increase volume of calls exponentially.
With regard to the new laws in place (including making directors of organisations making illegal calls personally liable which is due to happen shortly) the problem is that it takes the ICO months to assemble a case against the perpetrators by which time they could be long gone thus making assets for potential sequestration very hard, and expensive, to trace. The ICO has a big problem upfront in that virtually all the calls I’ve received in the past few months have been from a different number, often a digit short, with result that extra effort (and cooperation from likes of BT) is required to pinpoint the actual offenders. This factor, together with numerous calls originating outside of the UK, have led me to the conclusion that the only viable option to contain the problem is to educate Joe Public simply never to respond. Minimal response rates will kill the cold calls much more effectively than regulation.

Member

One other option I’d like to see explored is an obligation placed on telephone service providers and ISP’s to ‘spot check’ customers who are making (say) > 500 automated calls per day to ensure they are TPS-compliant and to deny further service to deliberate offenders. The worst offenders should be placed on a list for the Industry so that other service providers are aware of the risks of taking on their business. This action, of course, does not address issue of International callers but if it makes it harder to operate from the UK it has the effect of increasing scammers’ cost base.

Member
Castle says:
19 March 2017

TPS only applies to “live” marketing calls (i.e when a human calls you).

However, automated phone calls, (i.e recorded messages), cannot be legally made unless the person receiving the call has given their permission to the caller. Of course enforcing this law is an entirely different matter!

Member

Chris , BT has had the ability for a long time of removing service from a private customer who is paying for a residential telephone line and using it for a business (fraud ) I have seen BT cease their exchange line and ban them from BT .

Member

Duncan, any thoughts on how the increasing use of fake caller id’s (spoofed numbers) affects ability of ICO to trace identity of callers? I’ve reported 60+ calls to ICO in past few weeks, nearly all from different, almost certainly fake, numbers. It’s quite a lot of effort on my part and if ICO can’t trace caller readily it’s not good use of my time.
Also would it be readily feasible for telephone service providers (such as BT) to change caller id default settings so that the real (billing) number is displayed as opposed to ‘spoofed’ numbers? To do so would clearly require a Gov’t directive but if it’s possible I’ll put suggestion to my MP. As it stands, caller id is only partially effective, at least as far as I’m concerned given that a few months ago boiler scammers switched from constant block of numbers (0844…) to random numbers; as a result we now use caller id to check if caller is on our contact list…and if it isn’t we simply don’t answer.
I’ve sent MP spreadsheet listing the 60+ calls as it always helps to build a case for action by submitting logs of actual events; my covering letter explained why MP’s original suggestion to use BT’s ‘Call Protect’ had not addressed the problem as fake, truncated numbers render this function virtually ineffective.

Member

Chris the problem you have with the ICO is that its there to secure data transmission , although, funnily , it seems to apply to blocking info on businesses as apposed to charities etc. That is a problem as many businesses use spoofing themselves instead of call-centres to hide their country/ location from their customers ,some did not believe me but I actually proved it and posted it on Which where I had a bus drive into my car while it was parked at the side of the road . Both the bus company +a lawyers office ( I paid for legal assistance ) could not contact me due to my pretty good call-blocker , after emails and contacting them direct they both admitted they used “hidden ” telephone numbers as it cost less than a call-centre , one looked like it was bounced out of the UK and sent back as an “International call ” the other was spoofed . What I am getting at is the ICO will not be helping the general public in its attempts to locate the origins of spoofed telephone calls when applied to businesses . While they nobbled two well known charities get the latest info on the ICO at- : https://www.helenbrowngroup.com/uk-ico-wealth-screening/ Personally BT will never display the real billing address (unlike the US ) But your intuition is right the general public only get a fraction of the digital info that is available to ISP,s and we are severely limited in our control of our telephone system Just look at the POlice national Data Base (updated ) they can get any info on the general public any telephone number / your date of birth/NI number/ and a whole encyclopedia of info on you . Likewise the government(and its departments ) I don’t like saying this but the UK ranks very high on the list of most spied on countries with London as number one city in the world. Again personally , unless ,as you say ,there is a change in government legislation as applied to our countries public communications then , imho I wouldn’t waste my time sending those spoofed numbers to the ICO , now if you were an American citizen you would have several US Government Departments backing you up all the way including the FBI and many more –and they have achieved results.

Member

Duncan, appreciate the reply and it confirms what I expected namely that only a fraction of the ‘digital footprint’ of an incoming call is available to telephone subscribers. On this basis it’s actually not hard for ICO to trace true source of incoming calls based on date / time and number called even when complainant reports the fake number displayed. My call logging equipment has a limitation in this regard when caller id is ‘unavailable’ my system shows number of such calls received since last list clear-down but only date and time of the most recent call. As a result when I’m away I can only report the most recent of calls flagged (caller number) ‘Unavailable’.
Caller id in UK was very useful for the first few years after introduction but the many instances of fake numbers have severely compromised its functionality. Blocking numbers beginning with zero and ‘white listing’ known contacts is not really the answer as there are situations such as ‘borrowed’ mobile phone or very infrequent contacts by local tradesmen etc. where the blocking disrupts legitimate incoming calls. I’ve also been called by scammers using more sophisticated fake numbers made to appear as if they are coming from local exchanged…clearly with intent that local calls are more likely to be answered.
The real answer (apart from achieving very low ‘take-up’ rates) would be to implement the US process whereby overseas telephone service providers and ISP’s who tolerate abuse of their systems by scammers are liable for financial penalties, including sequestration, in the UK as far as their UK subsidiaries are concerned. For example if source was Vodafone India then UK authorities could go after Vodafone UK. Such a system would force major operators to clean up their act.

Member

I like the sound of your final paragraph, Chris. I think that is the only realistic sanction. Whether the UK government would implement it [and it might contravene some EU regulation at the moment] is a stumbling block, but if enough pressure were placed on MP’s we might be able to move towards a solution since technical processes seem to have failed with curbing international calls.

Member

Duncan, an afterthought – maybe I’m missing something but why would a legitimate business such as a lawyers / insurers wish to disguise their phone number and / or country of origin for their calls? I fully appreciate that they might want incoming calls directed to another number but numbers can be setup for ‘outgoing calls only’ which overcomes this issue.

Member

Chris seen you asked one of those mentioned was the bus companies legal department (Stagecoach ) who was really located in Perth, they admitted it to me I have all the paperwork , the second was the Legal Assistance lawyers I was paying for who couldn’t contact me and wrote to me twice and I phoned them and told them they were using a spoofed number and they admitted it, guess where they were located ??? GLASGOW !!! redirect is used mostly now by the general public -its “old ” technology , even older are call-centres , no the latest cheapest means of coverup is bouncing the call outside the UK and re-enter as an “International call ” and the MOST popular is spoofing but you wont get businesses admitting it , but I did and I can prove it . I have it stored on my CPR Call-Blocker. I dont see why it would shock people its just modern business society communication technology.

Member

I’m pleased to report that the nuisance callers appear to have been defeated following installation of a call-blocker a few days ago. Unless ‘white-listed’ or able to state name and press required key (which robotic calls can’t) the house phones don’t ring and caller details are captured by the call-logging process. In order to have a smooth start without blocking genuine local callers I’ve used wild cards to white-list 4 exchanges from which our genuine callers mostly originate.
One of the larger tasks when moving to a call-blocker is to migrate the list of known contacts, hopefully without having to re-input them all manually. As the device instructions covered the basics and not the ‘import / export’ process I used a workaround to add a couple of entries manually, white-listing or black-listing them as appropriate and then exported the list; it was then a simple matter of using a spreadsheet to arrange my existing contacts in this same format and import resulting text file into the new call-blocker.
Duncan, despite having a couple of mobiles with the same numbers for some years there have been virtually no nuisance calls to these mobile and 99%+ of nuisance calls were routed to the landline. Any idea why this is the case (my theory is that it’s generally more expensive to call mobiles which is probably enough to destroy profitability of the scammers)?

Member
Wendy Craig says:
16 May 2017

Received a call from 01665 337 3478 at 10.14 this morning. English female voice in a recorded message informing me of the governments free boiler replacement scheme for people on benefits. Then says ‘To speak to a person to see if you qualify press 2. To opt out press 9.’
We have been receiving these calls 2 to 4 times per week for at lease 6 months.
We know the government does have such a scheme but would a government agency make blind cold calls?
The lady does NOT mention people on low income who could possible qualify, only people on benefits.
My gut feelings are: Surly a government agency would know names and addresses of ones on benefits, and ones who are not! Plus IF they were a legit government agency the caller would know that we are NOT on benefits, never have been, now retired ~ never likely to be.
So why waste money continually calling us, we may be retired but still got my full bag of marbles!

Member

Wendy BT informs me that number has been terminated . At present the law allows this type of call as long as it is legitimate , your right , of course HMG knows who are on benefit , so do a lot of other organisations , credit companies, police, you name it a click of a key is all it takes . By this number being terminated it looks like it was a shady company , I cant find anybody else complaining about this number and I go through very many who called me type websites. What it also shows that it was an easily traceable number going by the info I got from BT.

Member
DK says:
23 May 2017

The calls are still happening. We get them most days. They now come from 0164 756 72727.

Member
Celine Motte says:
30 May 2017

We are receiving at least one call a day from an untraceable number trying to tell us about Boiler replacement schemes. It starts with an automated call just like what Wendy Craig describes. We got fed up so actually pressed ‘2’ to get a call back and try to identify which company is calling us and report them.
We were called back twice but failed each time to get the company name, despite pretending to be interested. As soon as they start asking you questions, they realise you’re not on benefits or something else you say doesn’t interest them and they hang up on you. This is really, really annoying us now and I’d like to get to the bottom of it..

Member
Peter says:
21 June 2017

I dont believe for one minute that the Scottish company will actually pay any fine. They will retreat behind insolvency. Regulators lack the will to deal with this endless menace. Governments too hide behind the telecom companies. I suppose they think a call centre is another job in the stats. I receive almost daily calls on withheld numbers about boilers and benefits. Nothing has stopped them in 6 months. The regulators web page is useless as they do not accept complaints if there is no company identified and a phone number. I just don’t believe either that they cant stop these when they are sourced abroad. The telecoms community make money from them, and so won’t tackle them. I despair of our increasingly spivvy society. I am afraid the government is complicit.