Unwanted Calls and Scam Advice
SMS Spam Advice
Spam is the term used to describe unsolicited or undesired electronic messages.
Examples include text messages claiming that recipients have won a cash prize. Another one is claiming that recipients have been awarded a sum of money related to a personal injury claim. We advise anyone receiving such an SMS to contact us via email@example.com. – please include your mobile number and approximate time at which you received the message.
For more information please contact Mobile Services on 882882.
Telephone Call Advice
Phishing / Scam Calls
In recent years there has been an observed increase in ‘phishing’ attacks via the telephone – designed to obtain personal information from the recipient.
One common example of this is customers receiving calls from individuals claiming to be from their bank. These people attempt to obtain personal details / passwords etc from the victim.
Do not be afraid to ask apparent ‘official’ organisations to prove their own identity to you. Do not divulge any information until you are satisfied of the true identity of the caller. If you cannot be sure best advice is to hang up the call and call your bank directly. Appropriate contact numbers can be found on your bank’s website. They will also be able to advise whether the previous caller was indeed from their organisation.
If it turns out that the call was indeed from a fraudulent source or you receive any calls which you believed to be involved with phishing or enticement fraud – please send us details of the call i.e. apparent origination (dial 1471 if no caller display), time of call, your own phone number and any details you have on the call content to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable us to investigate and share any relevant information with the Police – whilst also attempting to locate the true source of the scam.
E-mail Scam advice
A fairly basic but useful rule of thumb is: If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Fraudsters using e-mail as a method of luring potential targets is currently booming – and still on the rise. Below are some points on how to spot scams and avoid becoming a victim. Be aware that the fraudsters responsible are always looking for ways to convince the consumer of their validity, so keep your wits about you at all times.
- The individual claiming terminal illness – expressing desire to part with life savings as a final wish.
- Claims that you have won a prize in a lottery.
- Claims that you have been left sums of money – often via some fictional relative.
- Messages claiming to be from some kind of government official – with a desire to release funds in your favour.
- Secret agents threatening your life unless you part with cash.
- Messages claiming to be from a courier or delivery firm – suggesting they are holding something of value for you.
- Poor or unusual use of English.
- Odd use of capital letters.
- Requested reply address not matching the address from which the e-mail originated.
- Mail originating from generic source e.g. @live.com or @aol.com.
The near guaranteed theme running through these messages is that at some point you will be asked to part with money in order to release funds – this request may not come in the first ‘bait’ mail – but this is the eventual aim of the fraudster.
Tell –tale signs and e-mail characteristics
Requests for personal information in the form:-
- Full Name:
- Contact Phone Number:
Some, all or none of these characteristics may feature in any given e-mail scam – use them simply as a guide. Another way to authenticate potentially fraudulent messages is to enter part of the message into an internet search engine.
What do I do with an email scam?
The best advice is to never reply. Scam e-mails are sent out in bulk, the addresses having been purchased by the fraudsters or obtained via web crawling software, as soon as you reply your address will be moved onto a list of ‘authenticated’ addresses by the perpetrators.
As a result you will receive more and more scam e-mails, putting you at further risk, whilst it is also likely that your details will be sold on to other scammers.
Jersey is a community built on trust and compassion – which unfortunately are traits which can put you at risk online. If you receive an e-mail which you believe to be a scam simply delete it. If you really cannot be certain of a messages validity forward it to us at email@example.com and we will be able to advise.
Hotel and Guest House Fax Scam
A number of hotels and guest houses have reported receiving phone calls from individuals asking for the hotel or guest house’s brochure to be faxed. The caller refuses to accept email copies or hard copies of the brochure in the post.
The number that the caller gives begins 070 and when the hotel or guest houses faxes the brochure or information, it can take up to 10 minutes to complete the transmission. It is believed that the caller is slowing down the fax machine so that the call takes longer.
The fax number that is being given is not a premium rate number but what the industry defines as a ‘personal number’. These numbers are generally allocated to people who habitually move location e.g. sales representatives. However, there has recently been an increase in the misuse of this type of number.
Any business who rings in to enquire what can be done about these calls should be advised that:
- Unless they believe the calls to be absolutely genuine, the request for information should be ignored.
- The exact 070 number should be reported to Ofcom (the Office of Communications) on 0845 456 3000 who can investigate further.
Further information on personal numbering can be found on the Ofcom website.
Rogue Dialer Software
Unfortunately, the BT Privacy Online software is no longer available. However, there are some very reliable and effective alternatives that we strongly recommend.
The following software solutions offer users a free trial, but will need to be purchased if you wish to keep them.
(Please note: JT is not responsible for the content of external websites)
Both these applications work by strictly controlling the numbers that your computer is allowed to dial. If a dialler is installed without you adding the number to the allowed list, it will immediately hang up the connection preventing you from running up an expensive phone bill.
These programs are not a substitute for anti-virus, anti-Spyware, firewall or Windows Update, but they will add another layer of defense against unwelcome changes to your dial-up connection.
Incidents of premium rate number scams and hoaxes have increased significantly. Calls of this nature can often be an invitation to you to enter a prize draw or announcing that you have won a competition and that by dialling another number, customers can collect a prize. Customers are given a number to dial, which is invariably a premium rate number with a high associated cost to the customer.
There has been an increase recently in competition calls that offer a prize if you ring a certain number to give your details and collect the prize. The number that is given is invariably a premium rate number which has a high associated cost to the customer. Often these numbers begin with the dialling codes 090 or 091.
Customers should bear in mind that despite calling the number, there may not actually be a prize. These phone calls are purely to generate revenue by getting customers to call numbers with a high associated call charge.
Customers should use common sense, and if the offer of prizes or cash sounds too good to be true then it probably is, and the call should be ignored.
However, if customers do want to make the phone call to verify their winnings, they should always check the costs associated with dialling the number in question by calling our freephone number 0800 735 2500.
There are a number of ways that you can deal with premium rate calls to your phone.
Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
In the first instance, customers should register their telephone number with the TPS. The Telephone Preference Service (which is administered by the Direct Marketing Association) run a suppression scheme that makes telemarketing companies aware of numbers that need to be removed from their lists. This service cannot guarantee that you will never receive such calls again, but they should become less frequent. Registration forms are available by calling Freefone 0800 398 893, or visiting www.tpsonline.org.uk.
Premium Rate Services are regulated by ICSTIS (the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services). ICSTIS is the body responsible for regulating the content and promotion of premium rate services. It publishes a code of practice which provides guidelines on how these services must be provided.
ICSTIS investigates complaints and has the power to fine companies and bar access to their services. If you have premium rate charges appearing on your phone bill and wish to lodge a complaint about the company operating the premium rate service, you should report it to ICSTIS who may be able to help. ICSTIS can be contacted by telephone on 0800 500212 and they have a useful website atwww.icstis.org.uk.
Please note – ICSTIS has no control over international rate diallers.
Advanced Services Number Block
Customers can also use the Jersey Telecom Number Block service. This service is free and blocks calls from UK or other Channel Island callers who withhold their number, and should help to deter unsolicited phone calls.
However, customer should note that it is not technically possible for JT to prevent customers from receiving calls of this nature when they originate outside of the UK. This is because there are inconsistencies in the delivery of calling line identification across international boundaries which prevents Number Block from working on calls from outside the UK.
This service will present a problem for ex-directory friends who wish to telephone you but they can temporarily release their number each time they need to get through by using the Advanced Services Number Release. These are both free services, the instructions for which can be found in the Advanced Services section of the telephone directory.
Outgoing call barring
If you think that someone in your household is dialling premium or international rate numbers, you can control access by using our Outgoing Call Barring service. This is a chargeable service that allows you to control the types of calls made from your telephone, including barring any calls to Premium Rate Services. Information on Outgoing Call Barring is available from our shop at 18 Queen Street or by dialling 0800 735 2500.
How to deal with unwanted calls
Customers are reporting a considerable increase in unwanted calls to their landline or mobile phone. As well as calls from companies informing them that they have won a prize. Also calls from companies conducting cold-calling for sales and marketing purposes.
If you are receiving such calls, there is action that you can take to prevent it from reoccurring.
Ask them to stop
If you are receiving calls that you simply don’t want, you should first ask the caller to stop making them.
Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
If you don’t want unsolicited sales and telemarketing calls you can register free with the Telephone Preference Service. (Which is administered by the Direct Marketing Association). The register is available to telemarketing companies so that they can remove numbers from their lists. This service cannot guarantee that you will never receive such calls again, but they should become less frequent. Registration forms are available by calling Freefone 0800 398 893 or by visiting www.tpsonline.org.uk.
Opt in or out of marketing information
Exercise caution when completing forms, surveys or registering for any new product or service. If a form asks you to opt in or out of being contacted by the company you are purchasing from, or from being contacted by the company offering related products and services, be sure to check exactly what you are being asked for.
Be aware that if you have given permission for a company to contact you, it is not illegal for your details to be sold. Similarly, if companies contact you because you have given permission to allow your details to be passed on, they are not doing anything wrong.
Customers should exercise extreme caution when giving out personal information and contact details over the phone. Your bank, or other similar organisations, will not contact you by phone to find out account or credit card information – they will already have these details.
If you receive a phone call from an individual or organisation you are not sure about, do not under any circumstances give your details to them. If these phone calls are persistent, the matter should be reported to the Police who can investigate it further.
Unfortunately, being ex-directory does not necessarily prevent you receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls.
Silent or Malicious Calls
Silent or malicious calls can be extremely distressing and cause considerable inconvenience to our customers. They may also be committing a criminal offence under Article 51 of the Telecommunications (Jersey) Law 2002 which states:
Any person who –
(a) sends, by means of a public telecommunication system, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(b) for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, sends by those means a message that he knows to be false or persistently makes use for that purpose of a public telecommunication system,
shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.
Many customers are not aware that nuisance calls can be against the law. Repeated and persistent calls should always be reported to the Police, but you can also can help to deter this type of calls by taking some simple precautions whenever you answer your phone.
You are in control
Your phone is there for your convenience only. Some nuisance callers may dial you at random, others may actually be known to you, but whichever group they fall in to, remember that you are in control.
The majority of nuisance callers gain their pleasure from getting an emotional response from the person they call. If you keep calm and show no emotion, they are cheated of that pleasure. This may discourage them from repeatedly phoning you.
Don’t answer with your number
When you answer the phone, simply say ‘hello’ rather than giving your name and number. Never volunteer information about yourself unless you are certain you know the caller. This may prevent a caller who dials numbers at random from remembering dialled numbers.
Make sure callers identify themselves first, and then choose whether or not to give away your name or number. In the same way, if you have a telephone answering machine, don’t record your name or number in your opening message, or say that you are out, on holiday or away on business – they should simply say that you can’t answer the phone right now.
If a caller asks ‘what number is this?’ reply by asking what number they wanted and then tell them whether they are right or wrong. Do not give your number voluntarily unless you know the caller. Advise other members of your household to do the same and to never answer any questions on the phone, no matter how innocent they seem, unless they know the caller.
Don’t feel obliged to talk to nuisance callers
If after following these general precautions you continue to receive nuisance calls. Try not saying anything when you next answer your phone. A genuine caller will speak first, a nuisance caller will probably hang up.
Bear in mind that some nuisance callers may want nothing more than a conversation. If you just put the handset calmly down beside the phone and ignore it for a few minutes before replacing it, the caller will be wasting their words on thin air.
Don’t give your details
If you are a woman, be careful of giving details of your sex or marital status in your telephone directory entry. Just use your initials instead of your first name(s).
You can screen your calls by using an answering machine. In this way you decide which calls to listen to and those that you won’t. If calls are abusive or obscene it may be necessary for you to keep the machine away from children who may otherwise listen to the messages. Answering machines can be purchased from our shop at 18 Queen Street.
We may be able to arrange for you to have a new telephone number and we also recommend that your new number is made ex-directory. You can then decide whom to give your number to. Remember, you should always take care not to let your number be too widely known.
It’s free to have your telephone number made ex-directory, but there are charges to change your telephone number. If you don’t mind which new number you have, the charge is £20.00. If you want a specific telephone number, then the charge is £49.99.
We can arrange to stop all incoming calls to your number, so that you can only use your phone to make outgoing calls. This should only be considered as a final resort as it will obviously cause you considerable inconvenience if you are unable to receive calls from people you actually want to, or need to talk to.
If nuisance calls become a persistent problem to you, you may decide to report the matter to the Police.
Under Article 51 of the Telecommunications (Jersey) Law 2002, the Police may ask JT to provide assistance in their investigation, and we may be able to trace the origin of calls made to your number.
In such cases, it would be helpful to the Police and the subsequent prosecution of the nuisance caller, if you keep a written record of the calls, noting date, time of day, whether the voice was a man’s or woman’s, what’s said and whether you heard any background noises etc.
You may need to be prepared to give evidence if the nuisance caller is eventually traced, charged and brought to court.