Tackling scam calls and texts
Ofcom is concerned about the problem of scams facilitated by calls and texts.
The use of scam calls and texts is now widespread, with our research finding that suspected scam attempts affect the vast majority of people in the UK. Victims of a scam can suffer significant financial and emotional harm, and scams can also impose costs on the wider economy.
This page sets out how we are responding to the problem of scam calls and texts.
This document explains the prevalence and changing nature of scams, their impact on consumers and how we are responding. It explains that:
- we aim to disrupt scams by making it harder for scammers to use communications services to reach consumers. We propose to strengthen our rules and guidance, while at the same time supporting providers to develop their own technical solutions to detect and prevent scam traffic.
- scams are increasingly complex, often involving different companies and sectors. So, a coordinated approach is vital to ensure more scam attempts are blocked or disrupted. We will collaborate and share information more widely, including with Government, regulators, law enforcement and consumer groups.
- given the pace at which scammers change their tactics, we understand that it will not be possible to stop all scams reaching consumers. We are working to help consumers avoid scams by raising awareness so consumers can more easily spot and report them.
A common tactic used by scammers is to ‘spoof’ telephone numbers to make them appear to be from a trusted person or organisation, such as a bank. We have published a statement which strengthens our rules and guidance for providers to identify and block calls with ‘spoofed’ numbers.
We have published a statement on a good practice guide which sets out the steps we expect providers to take to help prevent valid telephone numbers being misused, including to facilitate scams.
The Do Not Originate (DNO) list protects legitimate numbers that are most likely to be spoofed. It records telephone numbers used by organisations, such as banks and government agencies, to receive calls but never to make calls.
The DNO list is shared with telecoms providers, their intermediaries and interested parties like call blocking or filtering services, who can block outgoing calls from numbers on the list. It has been shown to be an effective tool in combating scam calls using spoofed numbers.
We have published some updated information about the DNO list and a guide for submitting numbers to the list (PDF, 201.7 KB).
We have published data from our scams survey that was carried out in August 2022. We have also published a series of charts highlighting some of the findings from the scams survey.
|15 November 2022|
|15 November 2022|
We have published a series of charts highlighting the findings from our scams survey carried out in September 2021. The data from this survey was published in October 2021.
|Ofcom Scams Survey 2021 (PDF, 1002.1 KB)||23 February 2022|
|Ofcom Scams Survey 2021: data tables (PDF, 21.2 MB)||20 October 2021|
You can also download the questionnaire (PDF, 414.4 KB) we used for this survey.
We've opened a consultation inviting stakeholders to provide their views on our initial thinking about how Calling Line Identification (CLI) authentication might work in the UK, and the extent to which actions providers are already taking are likely to address the problem of number spoofing.