/ 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
Profile photo of Beryl
Member

Since I contacted BT on the ‘phone complaining about nuisance calls and a sudden unwarranted email address change I have received no more nuisance calls. BT reported that I may have been a victim of hacking and advised that I change my password with them and this seems to have worked. The email address was far more complicated however and took about 4 days to revert back to the original.

Member
Chris says:
24 February 2017

I had a call from Telephone Preference Management, Bristol. They claim to have been given my number by TPS (Telephone Preference Service) in order to sell me a device, recommended by TPS, to block sales calls. The call came from 01909 474856, which is a photography company in Nottinghamshire.

Member
Ian says:
4 March 2017

The call is a scam. Numerous such companies are doing this. The irony of what they are doing (making nuisance calls claiming to be able to stop nuisance calls) is lost on them.

TPS does not pass on details. TPS is free.

Member
Michael says:
6 March 2017

I also had a call from a lady claiming to be from Telephone Preference Management. According to her I was already registered with them. Was I still receiving nuisance calls? Yes. Well, they could do something about that. I needed to re-register. She read out details of name and address. At that point I observed that I had no recollection of giving my details to her company and that in any case I would have been in touch with British Telecom to arrange for their TPS. The call was immediately terminated…..

Member
Julie Brown says:
11 March 2017

CPS claim to be linked with TPS but do stuff TPS doesn’t

Member
Tony Brown says:
15 March 2017

Just had a call from someone claiming to be from TPS and informing me that I had a years subscription to them at a cost of £150 and they would use a credit card of mine. The last four numbers were correct but where they got them I do not know. The card is now history but it goes to show how careful we have to be.

Member
Terry Whiting says:
22 March 2017

Just dealt with a call claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service with a telephone number 01607418088 by a woman claiming to be Sarah Jones with an ID 0078. She asked if I still received nuisance calls. She knew my name, my full address including postcode. She then asked me to confirm that my credit card expired on a certain month and year. I told her that I never divulge any such information by telephone. She said that I should verify that her call was genuine by ringing TPS direct on 02036300351. AN OBVIOUS SCAM.
T W.

Member
Christine Connolly says:
23 March 2017

I had two very insistent calls from the same telephone number, it was a man. I hung up when he started talking about Direct Debit payments. These scams need stopping.

Member
susan aubrey says:
22 April 2017

I had a phone call from that same number yesterday, a Jane Smith, wanting my bank sort code and account number saying that she needed the account from which my direct debit for the phone line came from, she never got the info she wanted.

Member
Steve Suffolk says:
30 March 2017

I had a call from telephone preference management 01607418088 claiming they were the authorised uk call blockers..an obvious scam. They try to suck you in by offering their “services” for “free” and get quite angry when you ask a question back to them.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Its from India Steve , multiple complaints , nothing to do with TPS ,probably getting fed up with saying they are BT and getting a rude response from Brits , they think they can “outsmart ” us .

Member
Denise says:
3 April 2017

Just had a call from CPS they knew my name and full address said they got it from TPS she then went on to ask was I still getting nuscience calls and she needed my debit card detail to update as it was coming to its expire date and I qualified for life time use of CPS and TPS and it was government backed I asked where she got my card details from ( which I’m guessing she didn’t have ) as the TPS is free and I don’t give out details over the phone luckily I knew straight away it’s a scam but elderly people may not think this as she was quite convincing , in the end I said yes I am still getting nusciense calls and you are one of them funnily the phone went dead .

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

One thing is certain Denise I am sure they did well in their -Modern History of the British Government Departmental Policies ( 1970-2017 )–in their Indian education

Member
Celia says:
18 May 2017

I’ve just had 15 minutes on the phone after a cold call from CPS – a charming gentleman called Steve Hall, who strangely had a very Indian accent. They said I’d been registered by my telephone supplier as receiving unwanted calls. To activate the service, they asked me to confirm my debit card details, even though the phone bill is paid from my husband’s account. They asked for the expiry date and the first 12 numbers only of the card, and knew the first number. I was extremely cautious. I asked them to tell my the name of my telephone supplier – which they did (probably a likely guess as it is BT) Then, after giving me convincing address details of their company (37 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX) I hung up when they asked for all 7 security numbers on the back of the card rather than the usual 3 (which would cleverly supply the last 4 numbers of the card number). Having read all the above comments, can’t believe how close I came to being scammed. I should have trusted my instincts earlier and not wasted 15 minutes on the phone.

Member
WilliamB says:
3 April 2017

An almost unintelligible foreign-sounding woman, claimed–when at last I had laboriously discovered whom she claimed to represent–that it was “Calls Prevention Service”. From where, I asked “of UK” was the reply. Further enquiry elicited the reply that they run a call-blocking service.. “What would it cost me?” I asked. She rang off… BT 1471 said “we do not have the caller’s number”, which usually means its from abroad. No doubt further nuisance calls from alleged nuisance-call-blockers will follow

Member
Millie says:
3 April 2017

Had a call (on our works number!) from 01607 418000, claimed to be from the Telephone Preference Management Service and knew details about an old house of ours. Hung up before I had chance to check out whether they were kosher or not, which speaks for itself really. Scam I reckon looking at the above comments.

Member
Lin says:
7 April 2017

I had a call from a foreign accented man claiming to be from Telephone Preference Management, the same as one of the previous contributors – he asked me to confirm that I pay my phone bill by Direct Debit which alerted me that this may be a scam. I did not reply to his question but asked him to put it all in writing, which of course he couldn’t do so I terminated the call. He also got angry when I questioned him about his company name, etc. Seems that this company needs seriously investigating.

Member
Roland says:
13 April 2017

I have received at least one call a day for several weeks from the so-called “Telephone Prevention Service”, with callers identifying themselves with English-type first names, but with fairly pronounced South Asian accents. I tell them I know they are scammers and put the phone down, but they keep coming back every day. 1471 reports the caller number as 00 39 335 663 4768. The country code is Italy but probably being rerouted. I’m really tired of this and gradually escalating the level of the language I use when telling them to get lost, but it makes no difference. Any suggestions?

Member
Richard says:
17 April 2017

Ive just had a call from CPS again asking for confirmation of CC details and saying they can stop nuisance calls.

Member
Lesley says:
21 April 2017

Just been telephoned today by a company which professes to be ‘Telephone Preference Management’, asking me to confirm my name and post code…..albeit a very out of date post code…….which I didn’t correct. She then asked if I was getting nuisance calls – yes, lots in recent weeks (probably from them trying to create the right response to this call). She then wanted confirmation of payment of my telephone bill by DD (irrelevant to whom) and the expiration date of my visa card. She told me to check the latter but I just answered, “no, no that’s right. ” This bothered her and her comprehension of the English language was poor so, without explanation, she put a man on. All very unprofessional and obviously a scam, but I decided to wait until a charge for the service was mentioned………at which point I laughed and told them they wouldn’t get anything out of me.
Strong Asian accents with English names. Felt tempted to answer with the odd Hindi word I know, but then they might have been calling (poor line, suspect a mobile) from Bangalore.

Member
John Nicholson says:
1 May 2017

Thanks for doing this. It’s saved me the trouble.

Member
Helen says:
4 May 2017

Exactly the same here – I told her I didn’t have my purse with me to check my CC and that was I was not prepared to share this information as the service is free, and she said to take my time to find it as it was just to double check and confirm my identity! I said not likely and she got very cross with me. Thankfully no option for a man to come on as I hung up, otherwise I might not have been responsible for what I said next.

Member
Steve Freckingham says:
21 April 2017

My mother has been scammed by the so called “Telephone Preference Service.” She is 89, partially sighted, has a very poor short term memory and forgets all the advice I and my sister have given her about phone calls from anyone other than family or friends. A Maidenhead company called Zoom Telecom had apparently taken £71.00 out of her account in February and also set up a direct debit over the phone. We cancelled the direct debit but the money had been taken as a card payment. I contacted Zoom Telecom on their expensive phone number and was eventually put through to an Asian woman who said she was with TPS. She told me that the £71.00 was a one off payment for a lifetime nuisance call blocking service which my mum had signed up for in September 2015. Of course my mum had no knowledge of this. In March she received a piece of black plastic junk purporting to be a call blocker which may as well have been moon rock as far as my mum was concerned. The instructions on a flimsy piece of paper were written in a totally indecipherable style of Chinese English. A google search revealed that the items could be bought wholesale from China or somewhere in Asia for about £6.50! I explained this to the TPS “employee” and demanded an immediate refund of the “stolen” £71.00″ No joy to date. A couple of weeks ago an Asian man rang and asked my mum for the end date of her debit card. I spoke to her bank’s fraud dept who fortunately found no dodgy transactions on her account. I rang Zoom again on their Technical Advice number which with an 02030 area code should be free and asked to be put through to TPS. Strangely I was and once again spoke to an Asian woman who sounded like the one I had spoken to before. She quickly found my mum’s details and told me that the finance section were processing her refund. I was not asked for any card details so I wondered how this was going to occur. I was confused. Was TPS really providing a genuine service? Had the recent dodgy call just been a coincidence? The answer to both questions is no. Yesterday the man rang again asking for more card information, telling my mum the service was up and running and that she now owed a further £82.00. Fortunately on this occasion my mum was not forthcoming and put the phone down. An hour later her bank’s fraud dept rang her to say they had blocked a suspicious transaction on her account. The bank have also cancelled her debit card. This will be the second time this has happened in the last four months as in December she gave her 16 digit debit card number to a Sky Box Insurance scammer. She hadn’t remembered that she already had a bona fide, although unnecessary policy of this type, in place. Why are Zoom Telecom an apparently genuine business broadband provider fronting these criminals and how the hell do you shake these scamming scumbags off??

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

I am really worried about your post Steve , are you saying your mother,s telephone is being diverted to a scammer ?? this is deadly serious and should be reported at once to the police . I have the number I think you mean and the address of the said telephone “service ” company “helping ” businesses with telecommunications , it seems to be an upfront company and I dont see any complaints about the number on the usual websites I use to check numbers out . Is your mum,s phone a landline or a smartphone/mobile ? If a smartphone I know they can be hacked but its very unusual for a landline to be hacked that would require the exchange equipment to be interfered with , so can you tell me what company your mum,s landline is with ? If BT then personally ,I have not come across this as BT are very good with security but not others. Dont leave this Steve its too serious.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

I personally believe Steve should investigate an Ordinary or Lasting Power of Attorney. Plenty of details here:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/looking-after-people/managing-affairs-for-someone-else/

Member
John Nicholson says:
1 May 2017

Had a call from Rob, an articulate man with a South Asian accent. He asked me if I received nuisance calls and of so what where they like? Just like this one I told him. He was irritated but pressed on. He agreed to give me his telephone number, 08712 700040, told me when asked he was from Telephone Preference Management in West London, TPM Ltd. I said I would call back if and when I had done my research, said goodbye, and have just done it. So no call to you Rob.

Member
Barry says:
3 May 2017

Received a Scam call from some one claiming to be from the “Telephone Preference Management” company. pretending to be the official TPS. The number they called from is 01202 535577. Beware!

Member
Ann Nicol says:
3 May 2017

I received a call today from 2 Indian sounding individuals saying they were from Telephone Preference Management Service. They were asking me to give them information from my credit cards. When I asked them why they said it was too verify the information they had.
I felt extremely uneasy with the questions & felt I was being scammed. I repeatedly questioned them about why they needed this information but she kept talking over me. I eventually just hung up.
Their telephone number was withheld. I don’t am feeling very uptight & anxious about it.

Member
Chris C says:
3 May 2017

This happened to me today and I thought they were legitimate because they knew so much of my personal information and card details. i gave some information to them and was told that I owed them £70+ which I had not agreed to. I phoned my bank straightaway and asked them to stop the payment and any others to this company. really worried that they are going to drain my bank account! Feel so stupid because I was very suspicious from the outset – but i was still duped!

Member
Katy says:
9 May 2017

I just had a call from an Asian-sounding man who was very aggressive right from the start and said he was from Telephone Preference Management. He asked me if I was still getting nuisance calls and I said I still get a couple and he said he would activate my account. I said that I thought it was odd that it was not already activated as I was getting many less than I was. He started to get more aggressive and speaking faster and said something like it definitely was not activated and did I want him to activate it. As I was unsure what he had said I asked him to repeat himself – this set him completely off and he shouted at me that he was going to de-activate my account and I would then get thousands of nuisance calls. I was taken aback and just about to reply when he put the phone down on me! Wow.

Member
AA says:
9 May 2017

I have just had a phone call from an unknown number claiming to be TSP, stating that they had activated my account and would block my calls until I finish with my provider. They had out of date personal information; when asked where they got it from they said their marketing company. Following this they asked for my Visa Debit card expiration date to use as an identification number – at this point I ended the call.

Member
Peter Foley says:
11 May 2017

Had a call today from TPS ( in poor English ) who said their telephone number was from london as
0203 533 5123.
when I used the phone to get the number of last caller it said 0122 533 5123
assume this is part of the SCAM

Member
Colin Bell says:
12 May 2017

Just had a call today from TPM from an unavailable phone number stating that they were upgrading there records, they could give me my address and post code but they were looking for my debit card expiry date as a unique URN number for my account!!!! they then passed me to there senior supervisor who then asked if i pay my bills by visa direct debit and then asked for sort code and account number………luckily i finally woke up to realise what was going on and promptly told them where to go.

Be careful i normally am and almost got caught out by this SCAM

Member

Got a call from ‘Telephone Preference Management’ to ‘verify my details to activate nuisance call blocking.
He had my name, address and postcode (phone number obv as he called on that..) and wanted to confirm payment method , exp dates….. I said no….

Give me a number and I’ll call you back…. google led me here… beware.

They are targeting us, spread the word, never give any details out. But…..where and how did they get my details from ???? Some company is selling our private (out of date) information to these types of people…

Member
Abby B says:
29 May 2017

I too have just received phone call from ‘Telephone Preference Management’ claiming to be able to stop nuisance calls from abroad (which certainly seemed to bean attractive prospect as these seem to be more frequent recently) – the male caller (from Manilla apparently) claimed they were updating our, already listed on TPS, details and wanted to check my address and postcode – fortunately I was alerted when he gave me an old address/postcode – as he spoke I checked on line and could find no mention of TPM – when I quizzed him him he gave me a customer services number to call 020 3630 5457 and their address of 70 Margaret St, London W1W 8SS – I checked this as he spoke and could only find the Direct Marketing Association listed at this address. Needless to say I ended the call.

Member
Jane says:
29 May 2017

Just had such a call too- very insistent and kept saying no he wanted to confirm ‘code number’ on my card not any other details- again, apparently soon to expire card used for DD-clearly this was a scam but he was really quite plausible at the start- because we are indeed signed up with TPS and he had address and postcode, but when he started on about how we paid our phone bill it was clearly not right. I told him i never give any card details over the phone and asked for a number to call ( not that i would have believed this )- at that point he gave up.

Member
Eric says:
3 June 2017

I have been receiving calls claiming to be TPS. for the past 5 weeks informing me that they have updated their system and want to return the £45 I paid when I registered each time I said that it is a free service ,an, said that this was a scam on another day a lady rang again to return the said fee and could I confirm my bank details , she new my sorting code . I said I would not disclose my bank details another day a gent rang saying he was from the refund department at TPS.I asked ham to put a cheque in the post as he already had my address but he required my bank details I said it was a scam and to prove me wrong put the cheque in the post.
On the 30 May I received my bank statement there was a new DD. for £21-21 paid to Zoom Telecom. this is someone I did not know or had contacted I looked them up on google and got a phone number .I was advised
they had updated their system and this was a one of payment for life I asked where they had got my bank details and why this was not made known on TPS web site and why it was set up as a DD. .I still do not know what the connection is with the two .I rang my bank and put a block on the direct debit and to make arraignment to reclaim the money taken.

Member
John says:
5 June 2017

Had the same kind of call (almost unintelligible) from Telephone Preference Management. She seemed to want to confuse me over whether she was from TPS or TPM. It didn’t work. I neither confirmed my address details, nor gave any further information, I said I’d look at the website (she had to ask someone sitting next to her if they had one!). She gave me a ‘freephone’ number of 0203 6305457. I thanked her and rang off.

Member
Trish says:
6 June 2017

I just had such a call – I was suspicious when I could clearly hear children playing in the background. The caller gave an 0800 number, claiming any calls would come directly through to him (it’s a number for another company) and then said that I shouldn’t worry because the service wouldn’t cost me any more, in fact my rate would be reduced this year – thus giving me the impression that I was already using the service and that they were improving what they offered and it would cost me less… I pointed out that the service is free and I never have, and never will pay anything for it, at which point he ended the call…

Member
Pauline says:
6 June 2017

Call received from ‘Alan’ from ‘Telephone Preference Management’ asking whether I was still receiving nuisance calls – said I’d heard of TPS and asked how did I know he was who he said he was – he hung up immediately – from 01225335123 when I dialled 1471

Member
Elaine Jones says:
7 June 2017

I had a phone call yesterday (withheld number) stating that they were tps service. Wanted to know if I still received nuisance calls. When I said yes, they proceeded to tell me that they would supply a call blocker free of charge they just need to check my card details against the one they had registered at my address to prove it was me. I ummed and arghed about this as I couldn’t understand why they needed my card details if it was free. I was passed onto the lady’s manager ( if you can believe that) who continued to insist that they just needed the card number to verify who I was and that no money would be taken from the account. Foolishly I gave in and gave them the details. He then proceeded to tell me very quickly that the call blocker would be sent and a lifetime registration fee of £79 would be taken. I told them under no circumstances were they to take any money. He said they wouldn’t but as it was it was already being processed someone would ring me at 11:00am today to get my authorisation to take the payment. Needless to say, no one called. I then asked my husband to check the credit card bill online and we found that the company Kall Blocker Hamilton had taken a payment of £83.43. We are now in contact with the credit card company to try and get the money back. I feel so stupid and humiliated that I was conned in such a way. Hiw is rhis not illegal?? Something needs to be done to stop these people.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Elaine -cant find any company called Kali blocker Hamilton- remove the “blocker ” and Kali Hamilton exists but has nothing to do with call-blocking more esoteric . There is one connected to LInkedin another in the USA etc etc . There is even a hackers website for using KALI Linux to SPOOF calls and shows you how to do it ,its in the USA they have a disclaimer “only use this for fun ” -yes sure ! I have downloaded the webpage in case anybody asks how to spoof , I will NOT be revealing how to do it in detail NOR the website. Your call was a made up company name Elaine Its people like you Elaine- , honest, sincere , that makes me very angry that this is still allowed to happen those SPIVS must be stopped , I would jail them and fine them and close down any business they own-pronto ! Dont feel any shame they are just dirty dogs who live at a very low level of life Dont let this be the way society is brought down in this country .

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Breaking news ! if nobody replies to it then I will believe everybody is on”gardening ;leave ” Amazon (USA) has been hacked and yes its on Amazon,s forum website as well as International news . It happened several days ago , posters advised to change passwords , check emails , as data has been seized by the hackers . Dont say I didn’t warn you ! Look out for many spoof emails.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Well, we knew OneLogin had been hacked in May, and it seems that they had Amazon as one of their customers. Hackers were able to use a stolen key to enter Amazon’s US operation and snaffle data from therein. Amazon and OneLogin routinely encrypt all their information but it seems as though the usual has happened: a customer of OneLogin was careless and allowed their critical information to get into the hands of thieves.

This is probably not actually a hack. A hack implies some sort of intelligence whereas this was opportunistic and rapacious. The effect, unfortunately, will be the same, however; money will be stolen and many will be upset and inconvenienced. Very like the BA outage the other week, when the wrong plug was pulled and reconnected too quickly without the proper procedures being followed .

Member
Elsey says:
20 June 2017

Just had a call fem telephone preference management. Are we being bothered by marketing calls? Yes you. Don’t call again.