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Phone companies agree to block scam calls from abroad

Published: 2 November 2021
Last updated: 16 March 2023

People in the UK will get more protection from scam calls after some of the country’s biggest telephone networks agreed to block phone calls made from abroad if they pretend to be from a UK number.

The move comes after Ofcom asked the networks to put in place technical measures to act on this type of activity. Calls originating from abroad but showing up as a UK number is a tactic commonly used by fraudsters to make scam calls.

This might encourage the recipient to believe a call is legitimate, and mean they are more likely to answer it. And this could leave them vulnerable to fraud, with scammers using these types of call to try to get hold of financial or personal information.

Our recent research showed almost 45 million people were targeted by scam calls and texts this summer.

Criminals have previously been able to use internet calling technology to make a phone call or text appear as though it is originating from a genuine number – this is known as number spoofing.

We expect the new measures to be rolled out by the phone networks as a priority. So far, at least two networks have introduced the system, and others are looking at how to implement it.

We've been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number.

We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Network and Communications Group Director

If you’re concerned about scam calls and texts, see our tips on how you can protect yourself.

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