/ Money, Technology

Have you had nuisance calls promising to stop nuisance calls?

Phone cartoon

Yes, you did read that right! Believe it or not, there are a growing number of scammers calling you up promising to stop nuisance calls. Guess what? They do nothing of the sort…

06/08/2020 update

After a member of Which? staff recently received a similar scam call, we think it’s worth reminding everyone that we haven’t found any evidence of companies involved in direct marketing using registers other than the one supplied by TPS in the past.

Here’s our full guide to companies claming they can block nuisance calls.

If you receive a call from a company claiming it can be ‘more effective’, treat this as a red flag.

20/11/2015: Have you ever had a nuisance call promising to stop nuisance calls?

The Trading Standards Scams Team reports that both nationally and regionally they’ve seen a growing number of companies trying to shift dodgy ‘call blocking’ devices or sign people up to a ‘do not call’ list.

Both are often ineffective and in some cases have even led to additional unexpected charges.

And it’s certainly something you’ve noticed, with more than 300 comments on previous Conversations on TPS scams and 150 reports made using our nuisance call reporting tool.

It’s hard to fathom the nerve of these scammers calling you up unsolicited and out of the blue, promising to stop unsolicited and out of the blue calls. At the very least you have to admit their lack of self-awareness is astounding.

Don’t pay for free services

The Telephone Preference Service is a free service which allows you to opt out of receiving unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

Some companies have been attempting to masquerade as the TPS and charge money for signing up. Don’t. The TPS is – and always has been – a free service. Others may also offer bogus call blocked boxes and other spurious services.

Earlier this year a Bournemouth-based company trading as ‘Stop the Calls’ was marketing a call blocking device for phones, as well as a service that purported to remove people from a cold call database

But in a glorious and ironic twist an ICO investigation found that the company was marketing its services through aggressive cold calling. ‘Stop the Calls’ were promptly fined £50,000. The ICO now receives over 200 reports a month about ‘call blocking’ nuisance calls.

Swapping one nuisance for another?

Some companies claim they’ll make sure that all call centres know not to contact you. Some will even claim to be a more effective ‘alternative’ to the TPS.

Some companies also badmouth the TPS, claiming it’ll sell your data (it won’t) and that you can’t complain to it about the companies that call you (you can).

If you’re already registered with the TPS and are still disturbed by nuisance calls, then rather than paying to join another register, you could buy a physical call blocker.

Have you had a nuisance call about stopping your nuisance calls? Were you tempted to sign up to their services, or did you suspect it was a scam?


I do not like to cross-post as earlier today I posted the US site Consumerist ‘s article here on another thread on nuisance calls. The Consumerist posits that the telephone companies in the US are able to stop many nuisance calls would seem a very good start in exploring the technological solutions rather than signing yet another petition.

Canada apparently has been more successful than most in this matter.


……………. Primus — not the band behind Pork Soda (though that would be awesome) — is an independent Internet and phone provider for hundreds of thousands of folks in Canada. It’s also the company behind something called Telemarketing Guard, which Primus Canada has made available to its customers for free since 2007.
The Guard is a filter that aims to head off blacklisted numbers so that they never ring on your end. If a number has been identified by some users as a robocaller, but the verdict is still out, the number is greylisted, which has two facets. First, the caller is asked to press a number and say their name before the call is put through. If that happens, then the recording of the caller’s name is played for the recipient, who then can decide to answer the call, block the number, or have it go to voicemail.
Primus says the Guard has not just cut down on annoying calls to consumers who use it, but that offering the service has made good business sense for the company because nearly 9-in-10 Primus Canada customers have cited the Guard as the main reason to retain their service.”

As of this year the US has been able to benefit

This comment was removed at the request of the user

We had one such call and they are so unaware that the left a message on our Trucall device which we’ve had for quite a few years now. I think it has been a Which recommended device too. I just don’t answer any unknown or withheld numbers on my Mobile, if it’s important they’ll leave a message. If they don’t then it’s an internet search and added to the ever growing list of blocked numbers. There are some companies such as Carphone Warehouse which I now refuse to do business with due to their incessant calling.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Had my first cold call offering to stop cold calls. It was a recording so I was unable to tell the cold caller my response. I wonder why they don’t want to hear my response?

Helen says:
10 December 2015

I had a cold call a few months ago, saying it was the TPS and that I needed to register and pay them £30 over the phone. Having been a member of both the TPS and the MPS ( Mailing Preference Service) I knew there was no charge, so I played them at their own game and trtied to find out more information. I was passed to a “supervisor” once I refused to give a debit or credit card number, I argued with him that the TPS didn’t charge, and told him he was a scammer and that I was reporting him to the Police. I put the phone down, and looked at the number on my phone of the incoming call – yep they were stupid enough to leave the number. I contacted the Police who advised me to report it the the City of London Fraud Unit. I did so – and hopefully they have now been caught. Don’t give your card number to anyone unless you called them to pay for something!!!You have no idea who is on the phone, and many scammers make a lot of money by emptying peoples bank accounts.

mike says:
8 August 2020

No, as the number will be faked.

Kathy Harrison says:
23 February 2016

They tried with me today saying the were Telephone Preference Marketing – they had name and post code and asked if I paid my TPS with a credit/debit card expiring next year. To which I replied I don’t pay for this service and to leave me off their list.

I had a call from telephone preference marketing yesterday. I was daft enough to give them my card details, then realising I had made a mistake I said I didn’t want to go ahead. I had to speak to a supervisor who wouldn’t take no, he called me again by which time I had cancelled my bank card. They have rung me twice since and again this morning. I feel hasslled.

I had them call today saying they needed to renew my TPS service, they had my address and phone number so I thought this was legitimate until they mentioned my credit card and they got angry when I wouldn’t get my card and give my card details.

They were not too happy when i told them i thought they were crooks.

Please don’t be tempted after all the TPS is free and they will never ask for credit card details.

Sarah Thornley-Ellis says:
1 July 2016

My parents(in Cumbria) have just received calls from someone pretending to be from the TPS, again he had name and address of where he was calling and knew or guessed that they were registered with TPS he began by asking if they were still receiving nuisance calls, my mum confirmed that she was they discussed this, he asked if she paid by direct debit and when she said that wasn’t relevant as it was a free service he became aggressive, she put the phone down, he rang back twice and was not happy that I would not pass the phone to her and would not give me his name and number his parting shot was tell your mother I have just debited £50.00 from her card. This is no doubt a scam but very concerning for the vulnerable people who receive these calls.

alison says:
9 July 2016

These crooks phoned my neighbour, they had her name and address. They asked her to confirm her credit card number started with # 4 before asking for the full number. I advised she phoned ‘Action Fraud’ who were very helpful. Action Fraud should be informed about anyone asking for personal details such card numbers.

What I do not undertand is why the powers that be don’t or can’t disconnect the telephone number being used for these scams.

mike says:
8 August 2020

Because the powers that be allow them to use fake numbers, so as to please the national firms that want to appear local.

Ian says:
27 July 2016

I have received a number of scam phone calls over the years relating to a ‘Paid for TPS service’. It goes like this:
[Caller]: “Do you remember that, a while ago, you paid for us to set up a service to stop you getting unwanted phone calls?”
[Me]: “No”
[Comment I don’t remember because I know that I did not!]
[Caller]: “Not to worry, it was some time ago. The good news is that all the work has now been done, we have written to all the companies which may want to contact you and we are ready to enable the service. All that is left to do is to send you the documentation.”
[Comment: I don’t know how happy I would be if I thought I was really dealing with a company which took such a long time to act. However, considering the number of companies I have dealt with in the past, and then adding on all the remaining companies in the world who might want to call to me, I can imagine that it would take a week or two!]
[Caller]: “Obviously, for security purposes, we would not want to send this documentation to the wrong person, so, to verify that you are the person who placed the order – all I need you to do is confirm the card you used to make the payment.”
[Comment: He has my phone number – which is what he is supposed to have blocked – but just remember that this is a scam.]
[Caller]: “If you tell me the bank which issued your card, then I will tell you some of the digits of the card number, and then you tell me some – that way we can both be sure that we are talking to the right person.”
[Comment: The first few digits of the card number identify the issuing bank – so if I tell him the issuer, he will know the first few digits. He then wants me to tell him the ones he cannot guess.]

At this point in the call I refused to cooperate. On one occasion, the caller told me that if I did not give him the details, that would be tantamount to cancelling the policy and they would charge a cancellation fee, equal to the original fee, against my card. I told him that would be fine!

Jenny Irvine says:
14 September 2016

Was called today by “Jennifer “, strange …. same name as me purporting to be ringing on behalf of TPS to see if I was still getting nuisance calls, she new my address and phone no details . She also said my debit card was due to expire in December….. wrong, this made me suspicious so I told her I was going to end the call as I never discuss card details over the phone, although the line stayed live there was no response what so ever from her so I put the phone down.

I have just received a call from someone purporting to be from TPS asking if I still received nuisance calls. I confirmed that I did she then advised me that I all nuisance calls would now be completely blocked quoting my name, address and telephone no, She then stated I paid my line rental by credit/debit card with ending date …….. I refused to answer any further questions or give any further details at which she became quite aggressive. I hung up and checked the number of 1471 – call from source unable to transmit numbers. I thought all calls had to have a number now!

mike says:
8 August 2020

Not so, and the government actually allows anyone to fake numbers.

I was called today by someone claiming to be from TPS but was in fact the “Telephone Preference Management” company. Not the first time that they have called but I’d like to record a new number these scammers seem to be using which is: 01202 535577. BEWARE!

mike says:
8 August 2020

They can fake any number.

Deborah Swan says:
30 May 2017

Also had a call from Telephone Preference Management Service today. They already had my name, address, post code and year of expiry on my card, asked me to read out the 6 digit number on the left of the card (sort code) but I refused!

Louise Gallagher says:
15 July 2017

Have had several calls over the past fortnight asking to speak to the ‘Lady of the House’ or if my husband answered the home owner. They ring and ring at all hours of the day until they get a reply. They are phoning from a UK number. The first was 01335470045 and the most recent apparently a London number as advised by the caller himself 02036305457. They speak with Indian accents.
They are trying to sell Telephone Preference Services which I explained I was already registered with and should not be getting their calls. I have asked them to stop calling but this seems to be falling on deaf ears.
I have read some comments online about these people (UK Preference Services?) sorry I couldn’t write their name in full properly as they speak so quickly as I believe they don’t want you to have time to think properly.
People have made comment on them knowing their bank details.
I am very concerned about this company who can only be a bunch of scammers/crooks .
Can’t the Government do something about these people and if they can’t catch them (they are no doubt abroad) can’t they prosecute the telephone company who provides them with the UK telephone numbers they are using to hide behind?

Stephen Guest says:
23 November 2017

I am phoned several times a day by these people, always the same number 0203…..and don’t always answer, but did today. Exactly as everyone else says, they say they are the TPS and ask if I was still getting nuisance calls to which I replied yes. She wanted to know if I pay phone bill by direct debit and asked iif the expiry date on my debit card is such and such so she could verify that I was who she thought I was. Now I got even more suspicious than I was at the start of the call realising that none of this info is needed when you sign up forTPS. I just said that was the expiry date but she kept on asking and asked if I had the card in front of me, l just kept agreeing and eventually she said it couldn’t be that date and asked for the sort code on the card. This was enough for me so I ended the conversation with a few choice words and put the phone down.Five minutes later the phone rang again, same number,this time I didn’t give him much chance to talk after he mentioned being fromTPS. Something must be done about these scams that have being going on for too many years now, these scumbags must still being duping people into divulging card information no matter how many times people are warned.

So all these calls come through either with an unknown ID or else a fake one. Which? shoild be campaigning to ban fake phone numbers. That way, these fakers might be traceable. Without a real number, it is impossible to report them.

Forget the TPS, it is useless at preventing nuisance calls. This is all a non-story.

Just received a call from Bury St Edmunds about my BT Broadband account. How has the TPS service helped block that? How could I possibly report it, with a faked number?

If it is a live call, it is usually an Indian voice, with a Caucasian christian name, so I inform them that they are scammers and will forfeit one month of their life for each call, by Khali. They ring off.

Sorry, I have no idea what a Caucasian Christian name can be.

Richard, You are100% right, It’s usually an Indian voice, they are the Scammers.
Many times, I been receiving many calls from my mobile phone, by the time, I peak up
it cut up & when dialing the number displaced, It was always the wrong dialing number show.