Beware of calls from scammers pretending to be the Telephone Preference Service warns Highland Council Trading Standards
Highland Council Trading Standards wish to warn consumers not to fall for a new telephone call scam in which fraudsters pretend to be calling from the Telephone Preference Service (or TPS).
The TPS is the official central opt out register on which consumers can record their preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. The service is free and registration is easy. Once a consumer registers, it is the legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) not to make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS register unless they have the prior consent of the consumer.
Recent reports vary on exactly which tactics are being used by the scammers involved and it is entirely possible that a number of different groups are attempting similar phone scams. Therefore, Highland Council Trading Standards want consumers to be on their guard if they receive a call from someone purporting to be from the Telephone Preference Service or any similar sounding organisation offering a call blocking service.
Some tactics being used on unsuspecting potential scam victims include:
- Someone purporting to be from the TPS who wants to confirm the individuals TPS subscription.TPS would never call an individual regarding registration details.
- Fraudsters may ask consumers to confirm bank account details and inform the consumer that this is a ‘one-off’ payment to set up their TPS registration. Victims instead see monthly debits taken off form their bank account which they have not authorised.
- The consumer may be asked for their credit or debit card details in order to process a payment for the TPS registration.
- Scammers may offer and ‘enhanced’ subscription where for a fee consumers can also ‘block’ unwanted international telephone calls as well.
David MacKenzie, Trading Standards Manager said: “We are concerned that this type of scam may catch out vulnerable consumers who are taken in by the scam caller and end up paying for a service which is provided free by the TPS”.
He added: “Consumers may also unwittingly pass on personal details including their bank account details to fraudsters who either run up new debts in the consumers name or empty a victims bank account. We would urge all consumers to be on their guard and if they do fall victim of a fraud to contact their bank immediately.”
Consumers who wish to register with the TPS can do so by contacting the Telephone Preference Service by telephone on 0345 070 0707 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers can also find further information on how to protect themselves and their loved one from unwanted calls and/or text messages by going to the TPS website at: www.tpsonline.org.uk
Likewise scammers may also ask for personal information such as a date of birth; National Insurance Number etc. Such information could be used as part of an identity theft scam and so consumers should refuse to give out such information and end the telephone call immediately.
Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Concerned consumers can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who offer a free and confidential consumer advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit their website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/consumer/ (external link) to report