MORE than half of all unwanted calls to UK phone numbers are from fraudsters, new research has found.
Bogus calls relating to energy help schemes and other cost-of-living scams have surged in recent months, analysis by phone security firm Hiya shows.
There was a spike in fraudsters purporting to be from Amazon in the run up to Christmas, and high numbers of callers impersonating HM Revenue & Customs, banks and payment providers like Visa, it found.
Separate figures show nuisance callers have duped more than 100,000 victims into handing over a total of £1.8million in the past year, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is tasked with clamping down on the practice.
Its head of investigations, Andy Curry, urged anyone receiving unwanted calls to sign up to the Telephone Preference Service and report rogue firms.
Once your mobile and landline numbers are on this register, any firms that call without your permission are flouting the law.
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He said: “When customers flag callers for breaking these rules we can take action and issue fines.”
Sign up at tpsonline.org.uk, by phoning 0345 070 0707 or register your mobile by texting “TPS” and your email address to 85095.
Sadly, it won’t prevent calls from fraudsters who flout the rules.
You can also ask your phone provider to set up call blocking features.
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BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media all offer services to help filter out unwanted sales calls and block the numbers of known scammers.
For landlines, you can also buy handsets with built-in nuisance call blockers.
Mr Curry said: “These allow customers to input numbers into a list which includes family members and friends. Any numbers calling outside of this list will automatically get blocked.
“Others work by asking the caller to state their name before the call is put through to the receiver.”
You can buy a BT home phone with a call blocking function for £28 from Amazon.
It’s vital to help protect elderly or vulnerable relatives from scam callers.
Make sure they are registered with the TPS and help them set up call blocking.
Mr Curry added: “Make sure your family members know not to reveal their bank account details, PIN numbers or any other confidential information to nuisance callers.”
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