/ Technology

Scam watch: nuisance callers pretending to be the TPS

Telephone with scamwatch email

After registering with the Telephone Preference Service, Chris had a call from a similar-sounding firm asking for his bank details to renew his subscription – but he soon realised he was close to falling for a scam…

Chris told us: After receiving around two-dozen cold sales calls a week, I signed up for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The number of calls dropped significantly. However, I recently received a call from a company with a very similar-sounding name, and a well-spoken woman said my cover had run out.

She said I could renew it for £69 for three years or £79 for lifetime cover, and all she needed was my bank details. I told her I never give out such information over the phone and she instantly rang off. I suspect this is a scam aimed at those who have registered with the TPS. The subtle alteration of the name is easily missed, and I was within an ace of falling for it.

Our advice for Chris

The TPS is a free service, and it won’t ever call to ask you for personal details. There are companies that claim to stop nuisance calls often, ironically, using cold-calls to sell their services. And some of these are scams.

While the TPS is far from perfect, and people registered with it still receive far too many nuisance calls, we don’t believe it’s worth paying another firm for these services.

The TPS is the only register that companies are legally obliged to check against before making sales calls.

If you’re already registered with the TPS and still find that you’re receiving nuisance calls, you could consider purchasing a call-blocker device. If you receive a scam call, alert Trading Standards.

Have you received a cold call from a company claiming to be the TPS or a similar service? How did you deal with the call and do you have any tips you can share?

John Blackford says:
24 May 2014

After registering with TPS, my wife was asleep on our settee one afternoon when the phone rang. They said that she had been receiving nuisance calls and had registered to stop receiving them, and they could prevent any future nuisance calls for the sum of £1.82, and because my wife was just awakening from sleep after a very active day she somehow was conned into giving her debit card details to these people – the Secure Telephone Service.
Two days later her bank account was debited with £74.99. When he rang them to complain about this she was told that she had agreed on the phone to this amount being debited, and it was equivalent to £1.82 a month for 42 months, the length of the contract, thus the aforementioned amount of £1.82, which is the only amount that she remembers being mentioned.
She asked for the service to be cancelled and the money to be refunded, as she is entitled to this, and was promised a full refund, which we are now awaiting, obviously refunds are not dealt with as quickly as debits are!


I also received a call giving the same information, after asking how much this service cost they asked me if I would like to proceed, I said No I will carry on dealing with the calls my self, she asked me what that was. I told her I have a whistle and use it when nessasary, normally my calls are cut short.

Patrick Ellis. says:
17 October 2014

What I good idea…. I think I will blow my hunting horn!!!


In his introduction, Joe wrote: “If you’re already registered with the TPS and still find that you’re receiving nuisance calls, you could consider purchasing a call-blocker device.”

It is not this simple, as many people have explained in other Conversations. Anyone considering buying one of these devices should explore these Conversations and find out about the drawbacks.



“you could consider purchasing a call-blocker device.” So you want people to spend money on trying to stop cold-callers?

I myself do not agree at all with spending money on call-blockers.


Has anyone considered that the TPS has a leak and that it is not just coincidence that members are contacted after registering by a similar sounding organisation?


I wonder if Chris did a 1471 to see what the callers number was. Although until the powers that be “sleeping on the job” wake up and clamp down on number spoofing I would expect any smart scammer to use the TPSs own number.


Caller ID spoofing and how it happens.

Rosie says:
9 June 2014

I know someone who had a similar call. The woman also said you debit card details begin with XXXX, the person checked and thought they must have her bank details , and got worried. The caller said they would call back. (victim said she had to do something first, but went and did some checking- found out the numbers on the card were the same for certain banks. So they were trying to catch people out into thinking they had already given the details before.) The caller did ring back I think they must have got an earfull and a big NO!