/ Technology

Have you been cold called by a TPS scam?

TPS scam cartoon

If nuisance calls make your life a misery you may be tempted to turn to one of the many commercial companies that promise to help. They make bold claims, but you should take these with a handful of salt…

Almost all of us have had our evenings interrupted by nuisance calls promising to reclaim our PPI or get us a better mobile phone deal. Signing up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is meant to stop unsolicited marketing calls, but it doesn’t always work. This is why we launched our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls & Texts campaign to tackle the problem.

The fact that almost all of us are bombarded with nuisance calls means it’s no surprise dozens of companies have sprung up claiming that they can stop these calls – for a fee.

Promises to tackle nuisance calls

Many of these companies ironically use cold calling to sell their services. Some of these are straightforward scams. Overseas companies call claiming to work for the TPS, or a similar-sounding organisation, and ask for personal information or credit card details. Never give these out – the TPS is a free service and will never ask for personal details.

Other companies cold call you selling call blockers that connect to your phone. These aren’t scams – blockers can be effective – but it’s often not clear who you’re speaking to or what you’re buying.

One Which? member told us that he was offered a call blocker from the official-sounding Telecom Protection Service for 50p a day. That works out at over £180/year. Meanwhile another member bought a blocker from a different company only to find out that it interfered with his phone line and broadband connection. Three months later he’s still waiting for his money back.

A number of companies, including CPR Global, Stop These Calls and the Telecom Preference Service (another name for the aforementioned Telecom Protection Service) also offer call-prevention services. They claim that for around £40 a year they can stop nuisance calls by circulating their own do-not-call lists. It sounds appealing, but the official TPS has told us that these companies make ‘exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of their service’, while Ofcom is investigating potentially misleading claims on one company’s website.

Exaggerated claims to stop cold calls

Our research confirms the TPS’s view – these companies do make exaggerated claims.

They boast about the effectiveness of their do-not-call lists, but the major UK marketing companies we spoke to only use the official TPS list. And while they promise to ‘eliminate’ overseas calls, we can’t see how that’s possible. Some companies also disparage the TPS, claiming that it’ll sell your data (it won’t) and that you can’t complain to it about the companies that call you (you can).

It’s true that the TPS is far from perfect and people registered with it still receive far too many nuisance calls. However, we fail to see how commercial organisations can be much more effective and don’t believe that it’s worth paying for their services.

Instead, if you’re already registered with the TPS and are still disturbed by nuisance calls, then rather than paying to join another register, we’d recommend spending the money on a physical call blocker. CPR Global actually offers one that received a favourable review from Which? members in a hands-on trial last year, as did a more sophisticated, and expensive, model from TrueCall. Alternatively, some new home phones offer a call blocking facility, and with prices starting for as little as £40, they can be great value.

We’re also working with the government and regulators to call time on nuisance calls and texts, which you can support by joining 110,000 others by signing our petition.

Have you been called by one of these companies? Did you part with money for their services? How have you found them?

Comments
Guest
Jackie says:
6 October 2017

have had three phone calls, in the last two days claiming to come from a phone nuisance prevention company telling me they are offering an up grade free of charge , and then ask for my bank card details , having stated that they have my card detail , when I refuse to give them details and they start saying its to prove who I am really||| , I hang up, the last one today , he rang back ,cant believe what part of I’m not interested they don’t understand , I am a 79 year old but still on the ball ,unfortunately there are many elderly people who are not , is there really nothing can be done to stop this

Guest
Cherimoya says:
6 October 2017

I received a call today from a woman claiming to be from ‘Telephone Preference Management’, telling me my service was ending soon and could she get my new card expiry date to renew. She knew my name, postal address and I believe she even had the last 4 digits of my card. I am signed up to TPS but as I know this is a free service I was pretty sure she was trying to scam me. I asked for her company postal address and telephone number, she gave me the postal address that others have received – 70 Marlborough/Margaret Street (her accent made it harder to hear) in West London, but she refused to give me a telephone number without me giving her my card expiry date first, which was absolutely not going to happen. Eventually she gave up and ended the call.

It’s a bit worrying that they seemed to have some of my card details already, and it’s very annoying that I can’t think of any way that it’s possible to identify and catch them, since they can just give out fake information anyway. Does anyone know how it can be stopped?

Guest
Andrew Alston says:
6 November 2017

Just had a very similar call from a woman claiming to be from an organisation with that exact name. Number was 02080029735.
“This is not a sales and marketing call”. “Oh yes it is!” I did not let her get as far as asking for details, but gave her a tirade of how she was breaking the law and asking whether her mother was proud of her for trying to scam people. She eventually hung up.
The details almost certainly came from the infamous data breach at TalkTalk. The bank details associated with my phone number have changed since the breach, so I am relatively safe on that front.

Guest
A Wathen says:
9 October 2017

I have avoided the calls to date but then spoke to someone today and had a similar experience from “Telephone Preference Management”. They were pushy and knew my postcode and when one of my bank cards expired (although one of them said in 2018 and one of the people said 2017 – so I sense they are luck guessing!) and wanted to “help” me to ensure that I don’t get any more nuisance calls and I should “update my security with them”. I’m not even sure that the people phoning me know that they are/aren’t legitimate as the lady put me on to her manager who was quite insistent that he was helping me. I said I wanted them to remove me from their call list but they said they could only do that once they had updated the security with me. A very frustrating circular conversation where I felt pressurised to give them details in order to get them off the phone. I said I was sorry but I didn’t trust them and couldn’t give them any information to try and end the call. If I had been less sure I think they could be quit intimidating even though they weren’t rude. They clearly have a lot of people working on this as it was very noisy in the background and the woman was shouting to be heard.

The number they called from was 004795070423, which of course, when I phoned back didn’t work.

Guest
Zakariya Butt says:
18 October 2017

Had a call from this company yesterday using this name. I told them I was not Interested it got so bad I put the phone down. He phoned me 3 times afterwards laughing at me. Just had another call from the same guy and he said ” are you sorry for yesterday? ” I again asked him to leave me alone and he threatened me saying he could find me and see me… I’ve never known anything like this. I’m now ringing my phone provider to change my number.

Tried ringing this number back and it’s a dead tone. HAD ENOUGH!!

Guest

We have been receiving a number of Recorded Message calls. The message claims to be from HMRC and advises that you get a solicitor to call their number (020 3129 3857) immediately. Failure to do so could result in serious penalties.
The Which? page for reporting such calls recommends using Action Fraud – but the questions there ask you have much you have lost, and do not accept “5 minutes” as an answer. If you have not lost cash, the questions do not really make sense.
The calls are nasty and threatening (although they end by wishing you a nice day).

Guest

Ian- this type of call is an “American export ” as they have been getting those types of calls for years . Unfortunately we don’t have the same government attention as the Americans have who employ high power Federal Services to catch them . Unlike this country saying “it cant be done ” doesn’t work” over there because they have the spy type facilities to catch the crooks , we just wont employ them nor block them because it could effect businesses in this country and overseas.

Guest
Anne says:
20 October 2017

Just had such a call a few minutes ago. They said the were the ‘Official Telephone Preference Service’ regulated by the Government. All good so far. He knew my Number and my Address and asked me to confirm that I paid by direct debit. That was all the information I was going to give them., He tried to tell me that the Visa Debit Card I paid with was due to expire and wanted me to confirm that I had Debit Card since last year. I said that was not relevant as TPS is free. HE said he knew that and he wouldn’t charge me. He just needed to confirm my Debit Card Details. I said I didn’t pay by Debit Card just direct through the bank. He then said he understood that but would need by CREDIT CARD number instead, any one would do, to ensure that the service would renew properly tomorrow. I am no fool so should have hung up, but I was curious at what he was trying to do. He started to get very forceful and said I must give him first the expiry dates for y Card. I said no – it wasn’t a chargeable service, but he was determined. SO I said no most emphatically not and that I would contact the TPS myself. He hung up. His number from 1471 is: 02080028725 and sounded Indian. I hope I have not been charged for receiving the call !

Guest

You haven’t been charged for receiving the call Anne.

Guest
Simon says:
27 October 2017

Similar call to the others – Telephone Preference Management” on 02012149999. A man with a very strong accent and extremely pushy, talking over me. After five minutes I ascertained that he was providing a service to block international calls, which was for a one-off charge. As I am registered with TPS, I told him his call was a marketing call, that it was illegal, to take me off his lists, and asked for a website address which he would not give me. In the end I put the phone down on him.

Guest
Anne Houston says:
30 October 2017

I received a call today claiming to be from TPS, saying they just needed to confirm some details so that they could send out a piece of kit for my phone to ensure all my nuisance calls were blocked. They wanted me to confirm the expiry date of my bank card, they already had my name, address, postcode, landline number, etc. They also wanted me to give them my date of birth. They gave me a ‘helpline’ number I could call if I had any doubts – it was 08000885562 and the man gave his employee code as 5449 which he said was ‘very important to know if I had any complaints’. This number is answered as TPS as I did call it later out of curiosity but I didn’t call it from the same landline! By the time I hung up the original call they hadn’t directly asked for any money – in fact made a point of saying the service was free and they weren’t charging any money – but they also hadn’t got the info they wanted. The last thing he said is ‘you have a choice to give me the information I’ve asked for to confirm who you are or you will have to continue receiving nuisance calls.’ !!.

Guest

Anne -That telephone number is classed as DANGEROUS. In the end they want £90 from you . its a business number that only your ISP/telephone company can trace –and YES they can trace it .Its staffed by Asians and is HIGH in the SCAM ratings. This company CAN be traced in the UK that they can get away with this is beyond belief as they obviously think the public are MUGS !!

Guest
bishbut says:
31 October 2017

There are websites on Google and Bing which are there when you type the number in which will tell you some thing about the number usuall tells you to answer or not or if it is a dangerous number which should not be answered Try several of the websites they don’t all tell you everything

Guest
lynne sargeant says:
2 November 2017

I had a call today from this company ,as stated in previous comments he also pressed me to confirm the expirey date on my card, my card had had expired earlier this year (this information i did not give him ) . He then stressed i must confirm myself to him ,so could i give him my sort code, i of course refused. I then ended the call . Within a few minutes i recieved another call told him that i had just spoken to another “advisor” and hung up again !! Twenty minutes later answered another call from someone claiming to be a manager he kept telling me that i was covered under the Data protection and as a British Citizen i was entitled to my data being protected .I then asked if he was a British citizen he said of course and gave the address as Margaret Street in London , by now i was very angry told him i would not answer any questions and i would be grateful if they didn t call again . Something really needs to be done i`m pretty savvy but not all people are the same sadly .

Guest
bishbut says:
2 November 2017

Do not be afraid of ending any call once you realise what sort of call it is , do not listen just cut them off at once

Guest
jac. says:
2 November 2017

j

Just had a similar call saying my card had expired after telling me my name ( wrong) and my address …scary. He was going to put me on to his supervisor so I put the phone down. I have received 7 calls since that I haven’t answered. Each one comes up INTERNATIONAL 02380785060

Guest

Get a call-blocker Jac those types of calls saying International are the easiest to block.

Guest
Miss Humphries says:
2 November 2017

So Funny………Got a call from them yesterday wanted confirmation of bank details which I didn’t confirm, got another call today from different person. I managed to keep them on the phone for 40 minutes !!! Probably only cost them around £4 for the call but if more people do this their costs will increase…….
I gave them bogus details of a made up sort code & account number (Halifax ****** – ********) which they corrected for me then accepted it (Halifax ****** – ******** – exp: **/**)………good luck to them !
I was then put through to James in the validation team who told me that £21.99 had already been taken from my account and that I was now protected for the rest of my life………!
He gave me an email address which I asked him to spell out – enquiry@guranteedtelecom.co.uk BUT when I advised that guaranteed was not spelt correctly and if he could confirm again (4 times I got him to do this) he gave me the same details……..he didn’t understand what I was trying to point out !
I can’t wait to hear from them again as I plan to keep them on the phone for longer this time !!! PLEASE ALL JOIN IN…….use the same details as above & lets see if we can play with them instead x

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines
https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Philippa Lloyd says:
2 November 2017

They first rang me about a month ago – same experience as others – demanding the expiry date on my debit card. Told them I had not signed up for their service. Put phone down. A few seconds later got another call from same man asking why I was being so rude as they were trying to help me. Repeated them I had not signed up for their service and thought it was a scam. Caller in a rather superior tone told me I might have ‘forgotten’ I had signed up with them. Put phone down. A few hours later got another call from them – told caller I had looked up comments about their ‘service’ on internet – this time he put phone down!
This Tuesday got another call from them asking if I was still getting unwanted calls. I replied ‘Yes and you’re one of them.’ Told him I knew it was a scam and details were widely available on various websites. He said in a very sarcastic tone ‘You think you know everything…’ at this point I cut off call. Yesterday received call -usual format – silence followed by switching to what is obviously a call centre. A man said my name and laughed in an unpleasant way before ending call. I cannot prove it was from them, but am pretty sure it was. My worry is that they seem to be far more threatening and bullying than average ‘Windows Maintenance’ or more recently ‘BT Internet’ scammers who tend to ring off once they realise they’ve been rumbled.

Guest

Its because the British public are not falling for their scams in the numbers they want Phillppa .

Guest

They have definitely got more forceful and authentic sounding recently.

My ‘personal financial account manager’ has started calling me just to go through a few things on ‘my account’. The person talks so quickly you don’t really digest exactly what they are saying.

If you were not aware this was a scam, you could too easily be taken in and give them your details.

Guest

Another day another scam – today’s call from some other scammers was to tell me HMRC are taking me to court & to press 1 to speak to my case officer – needless to say hung up and reported the number!!

Guest
bishbut says:
3 November 2017

The only way hang up as soon as you realise it is a scam call Do not listen at all

Guest
Carole says:
11 December 2017

I’ve had a call like this HMRC supposedly & it left me shaking for a long time after I had put the phone down on them.

Guest
David Frankton says:
14 November 2017

14th November 2017 Over last two days have had same person claiming to be Albert Richard ringing me about barring international calls.
I told him that I was not interested and yet he continued to be insistent.
I told him to stop ringing me and warned him that I had had a tap put on my phone to trace the calls and if he rang me again I would be asking the police to prosecute. He did then hang upThe nuber comes up on my phone AS 01717107712 and he gave me 02036305457 to ring back on.

Guest

Also had a call from these scammers from another number 01717107712 wanting £21.99 to register me with TPS! I am already registered!!

Guest
Mick Fleming says:
22 November 2017

Telephone marketing has rung 18 times in the last two days said I was reporting them to trading standards he hung up they use 3 numbers 01275250660 and 01275250645 plus 012533286278, I have taken to looking at the number and just say hang on a moment put the phone down and just leave it for a couple of mins they hang up

Guest
Louise Harrison says:
27 November 2017

Several calls today from the “Telephone Preference Management Service” trying to make me believe that they will stop all my nuisance calls tomorrow. They would not accept my contention that they are themselves nuisance callers! The number they are ringing from today is 01275 250622. All with foreign accents and unable to pronounce my name or address properly (they were asking me to confirm these, but I did not).

Guest
sheila stephens says:
6 December 2017

I received calls from this number yesterday 01275 250622 and today the number being used is 01275 250699.
No one speaking when i answered just a click sound, i rang off. Only 1 call today so far at 13.47.
I will not be answering in future.

Guest
bishbut says:
7 December 2017

Clever girl it’s very wise not to answer a number you suspect to be used for a scam call but thousands still do !

Guest
J Robson says:
11 December 2017

I have been bombarded with the same calls for the past 3 days. starting as early as 9am and going on into the evening. Most of the time I don’t answer calls I am not expecting but it gets so bad that I had 3 calls in one hour while my husband was trying to sleep. I check the numbers when the phone stops ringing. once they caught me about 11am an Indian make voice form the telephone preference management service. checking my name and address (which he read out) then he wanted me to tell him y debit card details. No way was he getting that but I asked why he needed that (as I knew TPS was free and they didn’t have my details!). He said ‘it is to verify who you are. I slammed the phone down. I have reported the calls but I am stil getting them.

Guest
Carole says:
11 December 2017

Are the TPS scammers targeting women because most of the recent posts here are from women or is that we are more likely to post on this convo?

Guest

Women are more likely to post on subjects like this if their feelings are hurt regardless of the opinion of the PC brigade, women are more emotional than men and feel badly affected by calls like this . Those in India aren’t stupid they have the ages and sex of those they call in front of them – old people and women predominate so you are right Carole . Women react quicker than men to a perceived injustice just ask any married men dodging pots+pans etc if a birthday or anniversary is forgotten . No amount of brainwashing is going to change that. Remember you are dealing with East Asian thinking .

Guest

I had the same call yesterday from telephone preference management service – he had my name, address, but incorrect post code, needless to say I did not correct him. He said TPS can now block international cold callers, just need to renew your service!! He was obviously NOT calling from West London, had incredibly strong Indian accent and insisted that I had set the TPS service up and not my husband! I said – give me your number, I’ll call you back tomorrow after I have spoken with my husband. He said he would call me and rang off!! no was – 01471340668, just had a call from 01471340662 this morning – but they did not speak and rang off after I said hello!!!

Guest
Karen Wood says:
14 December 2017

I am very fed up with this Telephone Preference Management Service scam. Nearly every day they call me and have been doing for months. I always ask for the supervisor and someone else comes on the line. When I just l keep repeating” you are a scam – take me off your list ” they eventually hang up but it is quite unnerving. Is there any way to get rid of them completely?

Guest

Can you add the number to your phone book so it comes up to ignore then just don’t answer them? I label them z-ignore to put them at the bottom of my directory.

Guest
|Jillian Cherry says:
15 December 2017

I too have had a gentleman ring me twice in two days about my telephone blocking service, saying I could “Upgrade for free”! had my name and address and then asked me to confirm when my bank card expired. Asked him repeatedly why he would need this if the so called upgrade was free! he explained it was necessary for their identity check! – very pushy chap with foreign accent, he wasn’t taking no for an answer so I eventually hung up – expect to get another phone call fairly soon!!!

Guest
Alice Amatt says:
27 December 2017

I have been persistently called by 01613540623 including twice on Boxing Day, who also claim to be from Telephone Preference Management. Unfortunately I did not check and assumed it was TPS with whom I am registered. After much argument I went on with the call and it is only at the end that it is revealed there will be a charge for the service which is one reason why they ask for card details at the beginning – lies from the start. I was more than angry and eventually they said they would cancel everything – I hope they have!
The contact number I was given (which did work) was 02036305457. I am normally extremely careful about cold calls so am angry with myself too and will keep a close eye on my bank account!

Guest

It is a worry that, despite all the publicity, people give out personal details over the phone. I had a similar call to say my telephone preference service was expiring. I said “no, it wasn’t” and the call ended.

Guest
Tom Berry says:
28 December 2017

I have had 8 calls from the Telephone Preference Management company over the last 2 days. First 6 ignored, but I answered the 7th to find out who was calling.got the same promise of an end to all nuisance, marketing, scam calls including those from overseas. I explained several times that I was not going to pay the £21.99 they were asking for, and asked for my number to be removed from their database. Just had call 8. Kept them on the line for 30 minutes listening to the same pitch. Was asked for bank account number and sort code, which I did not give. I asked for a 7 day free trial so I could test their service. Was told that they would not take the money from my account for 11 days. I insisted that I would not pay until I had had the chance to trial their service. I was transferred to a senior account manager who eventually agreed to give me a trial until Tuesday (2 Jan 2018) …..so no more unsolicited calls till they phone back?

Guest

Tom – If they call back, it is best not to answer the phone or to terminate the call immediately. They are attempting to scam you.

If you want cold call protection use TPS [see link in Malcolm’s post] and it will cost you nothing.

Guest
Keith Bulley says:
13 January 2018

Unfortunately, TPS protecton from cold calls does not work. I am registered with them but am receiving at least 2 calls every day from ‘Telephone Preference Management’ on 01143190627. Most of the calls are silent ones but, if you try to complain about these or the ones where someone is at the other end, the TPS website will not allow you: it abandons your complaint and tells you to complain to someone else. The whole complaints procedure is a shambles: there seem to be half a dozen different organisations, TPS, Trading Standards, Which, OfCom, City of London Police and they are all passing the buck to each other, often, frustratingly, after you have entered all the details on the screen and these are then lost. There needs to be a central point where complaints can be registered. I had thought this was what the Which? website was doing but I was wrong as, half way through data entry, if you answer on their webpage that you are registered with TPS, they siphon you off to the TPS website which will not allow you to register your complaint!

Guest
Guest

Just been contacted by the telephone preference management. I made the mistake of reacting on the phone, and now they are taking great pleasure in ringing me every five minutes to wind me up. Phoned my phone company but not a registered number so nothing they can do. Best advice, don’t react like me, just hang up. They are really persistent with no morals and time on their hands. Best advice, do not react and hang up. They get their kicks in winding us up!!

Guest

Li in yours and Tom,s case they are using the well know technique of brainwashing where constant unrelenting pressure is applied nigh+day 24/7. As Tom actually has a company involved the only way I see out of it is if you post the company name and address/etc then everybody will know who they are.

Guest
Julie says:
10 January 2018

I was called 10 times yesterday by 01143190621 when I finally answered she claimed to be from the Telephone Management Service and asked if I was the owner of the line I said BT owned my line I just rented it. She asked me if my name was Mrs Williams I replied no as it’s not my surname she asked my surname I gave her a false one, she then asked me to confirm my first name was Beryl I replied no as it isn’t my name she then asked my if my post code was ******* which I said no as it wasn’t my post code she then asked for my house number and postcode which I refused to give as if she was genuine she would have all of this information given the amount of times I have had to complain about scam and bothersome calls she asked if I had many calls like that and I said yes, you are one of those callers because you are phoning me with a massive scam because there is only one TPS she then became very abusive and started yelling at me. I was repeatedly asked where my phone number was obtained from as apart from BT the TPS and bank no one has this number so someone has sold it on illegally!!

Guest
Fiona W says:
10 January 2018

Yes, it is a relief to hear that I am not alone in being pestered by nuisance callers, despite being a member of TPS and having a call block on my line by my provider. Yesterday I had 10 missed calls from 0114 3190621, and when I finally answered it, an Asian voice told me he was calling from The Telephone Preference Management Service and he could stop all my nuisance calls for ever. I pointed out that his calls had been a nuisance, but there was no apology and he rudely went on about how he was offering an upgrade service, but he needed to verify who I was and he went on about my card expiring in 2018. I was suspicious from the start and alarm bells were ringing loudly now, so I hung up. I was cross that I had started talking with him at all! I thought I was pretty savvy, but it is easy to get sucked in!
My advice is to just hang up on these people – they are a waste of space!

Guest
Mervyn says:
16 January 2018

I’ve just received my 2nd call in two days from Telephone preference management saying they need my last 3numbers of my telephone direct number…once again I wouldn’t give it..told the man I’d be reporting them but like others say they talk over you..they won’t listen when I asked them to tell me how they got my number etc. The phone number is different to others 0114319062…hope I haven’t been charged for answering these people. Why can’t they be prosecuted.

Guest
Miko says:
16 January 2018

I have also just had a call from Telephone preference management on 01143190622 asking me to confirm my address and for the expiry date on my debit card to be able to continue with the telephone preference service. Luckily it made no sense that they would be asking for this information out of the blue and I told them that if they were supposed to be blocking nuisance calls they haven’t been doing a very good job so I wouldn’t be interested in their service! Who can we report them to?

Guest
Di Blackborough says:
17 January 2018

I have had two calls in the last two weeks from someone claiming to be from the TPS. They knew my name, and in the first call asked me whether I was still receiving any nuisance calls, and proceeded to tell me that I needed to re-register with the TPS because my registration has expired. I knew at this point that it was a scam call because personal TPS registrations don’t expire, so I told him to remove my details from their database and not to call again. I received another call today, from someone who was quite clearly Asian (from the accent), but who told me his name was Alex Jones. Told him I was busy and asked for his number and said I would call back when I had time, although I had no intention of doing so – I just wanted the number so that I could look it up and report it. The number is 0203 630 5457. You’ve guessed it – a scam.