Reporting scam, nuisance and spoof numbers
Scam, nuisance and the rapidly growing number of spoof calls (spoofing) can be relentless. In fact, the increase in this type of activity has tarnished the hard work the communications industry has put into fighting the fraudsters and bad actors behind these campaigns.
Recently, spoofing has become one of the most regular forms of underhand call activity. It is where nuisance callers and criminals deliberately change the ‘Caller ID’ or ‘Calling Line Identity’ (CLI) on a user’s handset to show a familiar local number or mimic a well-known company or bank. Spoof calls are often linked to identity theft and financial fraud and can be incredibly convincing. This type of activity plays on human nature and our vulnerability to trust a familiar number or brand.
The industry is fully aware of the rapid increase of spoofing, and Ofcom, the government-approved regulator for the telecoms industry, offers some helpful information on protecting yourself here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/problems/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages/phone-spoof-scam.
Numbers can also be used for unsuspecting consumers to call into fraudulent or scam companies. Again, this activity is mainly used for financial fraud and almost impossible to identify if they are using a legitimate looking number or a respectable looking website.
Nuisance calls have existed for a long time. They’re simply unwanted calls and most commonly come in the form of a silent or marketing call. This unsolicited activity can cause frustration for the receiver and even dangerously increase stress levels if a constant barrage of calls.
To identify the origin of a suspicious number – you can use aql’s number look-up service here:
As a wholesale provider of communication services to the telecoms industry, aql’s customers are resellers who sell on numbers that we have provided to them. This means, if you are receiving scam or nuisance calls and the number is traced back to us, it may be one of our customers trying to contact you on behalf of a client of theirs.
If you’ve been targeted or fallen victim – to any of the above call activity and found the number is operated by aql; you can report it to us straight away here: https://aql.com/report-a-scam-or-nuisance-number/
We work closely with other communication providers, law enforcement and regulators to help stop scam, nuisance, spoof and fraudulent activity. Where necessary, we help in investigations for the purpose of further action.
If you are receiving unwanted calls and want to take steps to prevent them, here are some actions you can take:
1. Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for free
The TPS allows consumers to opt out of receiving any unsolicited telesales calls. You can register here: https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/
2. Ask to be added to the ‘Do Not Call List’
Ask the person calling you to add your number to their ‘Do Not Call List’. Once you have requested this, the company should no longer call you.
3. Be careful who you give your number to
When signing-up for anything online or physically, make sure you look carefully at the marketing ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ boxes. These can sometimes be difficult to identify but read sign-up forms carefully and make sure you tick the right box not to be contacted by telephone.
4. Block numbers
Block the number that is calling you via your mobile or look into other services that can block unknown and suspicious numbers.
For further information on ways to protect yourself visit Ofcom:
You can also report the suspicious number by:
- Complaining to Ofcom: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/complaints/complain-about-phones-or-internet-services/unwanted-calls-and-messages/silent-abandoned-scam-calls
- Report the number to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
- Contact your service provider – If you feel you have been contacted by a spoof number, contact your service provider straight away and make sure you note down the number. They will be able to investigate the number further for you.
- If you believe number is operated by aql, please report the number here: https://aql.com/report-a-scam-or-nuisance-number/
Be assured the communications industry is working together to help combat scam, nuisance and spoof calls and where possible always investigate and escalate any fraudulent activity. It is something that we all want to be stopped and by working together we can achieve this.