Statement: Good practice guide to help prevent misuse of sub-allocated and assigned numbers

Published: 23 February 2022
Consultation closes: 20 April 2022
Status: Closed (statement published)

Statement published 15 November 2022

Protecting consumers from harm is a priority for Ofcom and we are concerned about the problem of scams facilitated by calls and texts.

A common tactic is for scammers to contact people using a call, often claiming to be from legitimate organisations to trick their victim into providing personal details or making a payment. Using a valid telephone phone number adds to the legitimacy of the scam.

Ofcom is responsible for the administration of the UK's phone numbers. Phone numbers are allocated by Ofcom to telecoms providers, who can then transfer the numbers to other businesses or individuals. We have rules in place that set out the responsibilities on those transferring and using numbers. However, we identified inconsistencies and gaps in current practices, particularly in the checks providers carry out on customers requesting numbers and their response when alerted to the use of those numbers for scams.

In February 2022, we consulted on a proposed good practice guide, setting out the steps we expect providers to take to help prevent valid telephone numbers being misused, including to facilitate scams. This statement sets out our decisions in relation to the good practice guide, and includes a copy of the full guide.

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