Beware of calls from scammers pretending to be the TPS

Chris Torney / 21 June 2016 ( 14 February 2017 )

If you get a phone call from someone asking you for money to register with the TPS to block nuisance calls, it is probably a scam.

Homeowners are being warned not to fall for a new telephone call scam in which fraudsters pretend to be calling from the Telephone Preference Service.

The TPS is the organisation set up to help people stop getting annoying marketing calls from businesses such as personal injury claims firms.

But it has emerged that conmen are ringing homes claiming to represent the TPS, and asking for a credit card payment in order to block nuisance calls.

In fact, the TPS offers its service to private individuals free of charge - and have stated that they will not call a subscriber of the service to ask for personal details or payment to complete a registration. 

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How the phone scam works

Reports vary on exactly which tactics are used by the criminals involved – and it is entirely possible that a number of different groups are attempting similar phone scams.

Typically, however, homeowners receive a call on their home phone from someone who says they are from the Telephone Preference Service and are ringing to confirm the individual’s TPS subscription.

(The TPS distributes the numbers of people who have registered with it to marketing organisations so that companies know who to strike off their lists: it is possible that potential victims’ numbers are gleaned from this information.)

The fraudster will then ask for credit or debit card details in order to process payment for the TPS registration. 

These details can then be used by the criminals either to run up new debts or empty their victims’ bank accounts.

Read our tips for beating nuisance callers

What the Telephone Preference Service says about the scam

The TPS is aware of the phone scam and says it believes at least some of the criminals to be operating out of India.

According to the organisation: “If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service or a similar sounding organisation, asking for personal information or charging you for this service, our advice is to not pay or give them any personal details - it is most likely a scam.

“We are aware of a number of organisations that call from overseas, possibly India, claiming to be TPS or affiliated with TPS or BT. They ask for your credit card details to complete a registration to stop unwanted calls. They often claim that you previously gave your permission for this call. This is a scam. Never give out your credit card details over the phone.”

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How you can stay safe from the phone scammers

  • You should never give out financial details over the phone to someone who has cold called you - if you are asked to share your card details, politely but firmly end the conversation and hang up.
  • If you are worried about phone scams you could install an answerphone and simply ignore the phone when it rings - if it's important, the caller will leave a message, but scammers rarely will. 
  • Watch out if you receive a phone call from any of these companies, as the TPS says that some of these “affiliated” companies go by the following names:

    Alien Touch
    SAIS Corp Ltd
    Icon Global Services
    IG Services
    Biztek (or Bisdek) Telecomms
    Consumer Advice Bureau

    Bear in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.

For more information and to register for the TPS, visit the organisation’s website here.

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