back to article PPI pushers now need consent to cold-call you

Brits will have to opt in to receive cold calls selling personal injury claims or payment protection insurance under new UK government rules. The powers, which came into force on 8 September, will require payment protection insurance (PPI) pushers to check that the person has consented to being contacted. This is in contrast …

  1. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Pesonal liability, long time coming but..

    What's the odds that the first iffy company director that the ICO pokes a fine at will be a poor dupe living off state benefits who didn't even realize they had a company directorship?

    These companies are set up with the sole purpose of making cash quickly and vanishing before any brown stuff hit the door. The ICO would need to do detailed investigations to find out who is actually taking the money and that would soon hit a jurisdiction brick wall with offshore holding companies.

    Legitimately operating companies will almost never get to the point of directors being fined.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Pesonal liability, long time coming but..

      There was a proposal a few weeks ago to make directors liable for pensions in the event of liquidating a company. That needs to be extended to fines.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Pesonal liability, long time coming but..

      "What's the odds that the first iffy company director that the ICO pokes a fine at will be a poor dupe living off state benefits who didn't even realize they had a company directorship?"

      It's not an aspect of company law I had reason to look into but I'd guess the penalties for setting someone up like that are pretty substantial. Apart from anything else it's probably going to be an offence under plain old fraud legislation and the trendy new money laundering stuff as well.

    3. Uberior

      Re: Pesonal liability, long time coming but..

      How about every single company director, LLP Partner, Charity Trustee and ICO registrant in the UK has to attend an annual 3-hour "Digital Britain" training event managed jointly between Companies House and the ICO?

      Formal ID taken at the event to verify...

      Hefty fines to Individuals for not attending and risk of winding up of companies too.

      Not only might it help remind senior figures of their responsibilities, but it might help "tidy up" the Companies House list of Directors. After all, you couldn't become a Director or Partner if you hadn't attended the course.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If anyone

    actually thinks that this will make a shit of difference, then they are deluding themselves.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: If anyone

      Yeah, fully agree, especially when most of the calls originate offshore (even if they do spoof a local number).

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: If anyone

        this reflects the same problems with the FCC and the 'do not call list' in the USA. My numbers have been on that list since it began. I still get occasional robocalls [which are illegal in their own right] in addition to what appear to be actual humans cold-calling me for what they believe to be a legit reason...

        I do have one 'confirmed kill' though: a solar company in Orange County. I got the Better Business Bureau involved, and 2 months later an apology e-mail from them (via the BBB). They were caught, they knew it, I could've pressed it further (and their e-mail expressed minor regret and a lot of finger-pointing at their advertising/marketing firm) and unfortunately most of the calls nowadays are robocalls and only have a "press 1 to speak with an operator" and no other identifying information...

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: If anyone

          upvoted!... just in case you think I only ever disagree with you!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: If anyone

          "I do have one 'confirmed kill' though: a solar company in Orange County. I got the Better Business Bureau involved"

          The apology letter was them being thankful they'd dodged a $1500 bullet of small claims action under TCPA and the PACER record to go with it.

          ($500 violation, tripled by being wilful as you're on a DNC list - and notifying the FCC would put them in the firing line for $11,500 PER CALL fines - the TCPA dumps the liability jointly and severally on the caller AND the hiring company.)

          BBB's are a uniquely american thing and they have little to no traction on a wilfully rogue player.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: If anyone

        "Yeah, fully agree, especially when most of the calls originate offshore (even if they do spoof a local number)."

        Worse, they tend to spoof valid and assigned local numbers. At least one I checked on belonged to a Manchester dentist who was wondering why they were getting hate calls.

        However when it comes to PPI and injury claims, the money traces back onshore.

        More tellingly than all this other stuff, the thing which stopped cold calling almost dead in the USA's 1995 Telephone Consumer Protection Act was defining statutory per-call damages (to prevent what's happened here, where damages claims have been thrown out as unprovable) AND explicitly allowing a right of private action in small claims courts against the caller AND the company that hired them, with triple damages for wilful violations (caller-id spoofing/blocking, or calling anyone on a Do not call list)

        It's easy enough to fly under the ICO/Ofcom's radar or evade them when targetted, but the death of 1,000,000 papercuts is much harder to dodge.

        Naysayers have claimed this would paralyse the small claims system entirely - if that's really the case then the problem is so bad that SOCA should be looking into the scale of calls and telco collusion(*) as a matter of urgency.

        (*)Telcos make money from terminating these calls. It's not in their financial interest to block them(**)

        (**) Unless the call routing information is forged, which only tends to happen on the outright scam calls.

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: If anyone

      Unfortunately I think you are correct.

      If the number is withheld or spoofed then you have no chance of identifying them unless you play along long enough to get through to setting up paperwork with them and hence finding out the other party.

      The latest ones I have got on the mobile are recorded messages with gaps that are pretending to be a real person. It recognises phrases such as yes or no, and if you pretend that you want to talk to someone then you get put through to an Indian call centre who hang up when you ask why they are calling you...

      Number spoofing or hiding for these companies should be removed - the telcos must know who they or their agents are as they will be billing someone for the calls!

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: If anyone

        Your telco, the one you pay money to for their tip top service, has no intention of serving your interests before their own.

        Every "number unavailable" call you get generates revenue for your telco, and foolishly they believe that revenue stream outweighs doing right by their customers.

        I say foolishly because people are moving away from landlines, and not least because telco's are standing aside and allowing their customers to be bombarded with unwanted calls.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If anyone

        [...] unless you play along long enough to get through to setting up paperwork with them and hence finding out the other party."

        The finally identifiable company will then insist you opted in to them by responding. Catch 22.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If anyone

          [...] unless you play along long enough to get through to setting up paperwork with them and hence finding out the other party."

          The finally identifiable company will then insist you opted in to them by responding. Catch 22.

          Better than that. The scammers will claim that any response whatsoever to their approach - including just txting them back telling them to f**k off - counts as opting in, and the ICO has in the past been clueless enough to believe them.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: If anyone

            > the ICO has in the past been clueless enough to believe them.

            As I understand it, the ICO staff concerned got educated with a fairly hefty cluebat.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: If anyone

        "Number spoofing or hiding for these companies should be removed - the telcos must know who they or their agents are as they will be billing someone for the calls!"

        I'm all in favour of PAYG. Get a call, dial something like 1472 and get a fee for receiving the call credited to your telephone account. If the telco can't ensure they know the originator to transfer charge they carry the bill. OK, it needs safeguards so you can't get a fee from Auntie Mabel every time she calls. But as a general mechanism I think you'll find cold calling disappears almost immediately.

      4. Ommerson

        Re: If anyone

        Even though the calls original from abroad, the human on the other end of the line is usually somebody with a British or Scottish accent - quite likely a British citizen. They all know full well that what they are doing is illegal (and if they don't, they'll fairly quickly find out after a few calls). Let's working in a boiler-room illegal too.

        1. Alan Mackenzie

          With a "British or Scottish" accent

          With this sort of ignorant arrogance, who can wonder that around half of Scotland wants to revoke the Acts of Union.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If anyone

          I thought a 'British accent' was specifically that one they have in Hollywood films which sounds like Princess Diana trying to do an impression of Lorraine Chase.

      5. Gerry 3
        Unhappy

        The Magic Bullet is Not Enabled

        There is a straightforward way of identifying withheld and spoofed numbers, it's 1477 Automatic Call Trace. It stores the offending number at your local exchange for subsequent investigation and enforcement action. 1477 would be far easier than plodding through the ICOs website to report a nuisance call, and it's obviously the only way to identify withheld / spoofed numbers.

        Unfortunately, there's an unhealthily cosy relationship between Ofcom and those they are supposed to regulate, which means that maximising call revenue is considered far more important than eliminating nuisance calls.

        The result is that 1477 is never enabled by default, and you'll be extraordinarily lucky if anyone in your telco has ever heard of it. They'll doubtless insist that you mean 1471.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Magic Bullet is Not Enabled

          > There is a straightforward way of identifying withheld and spoofed numbers, it's 1477 Automatic Call Trace

          Presumably doesn't work on mobiles though :-(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If anyone

      If anyone actually thinks that this will make a shit of difference, then they are deluding themselves.

      These companies already break the rules by making cold calls to numbers listed in the TPS (I know, because mine is). So having a different set of rules which they will ignore isn't going to make any difference.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: If anyone

      This type of fraudulent phone call is a world wide problem. I doubt there is not anyone with a phone who does not get several of these a week if not a day. Invariably these calls are originating from somewhere offshore so legal proceedings against them are difficult at best if not impossible. But it seems you Brits have the same problem we have with our incompetent bureaucracy coupled with the limited total mental capacity of the legislature. Czar Thomas Reed (Speaker of the US House of Representatives) once observed that too many Congress critters subtract from the sum total of human knowledge whenever they open their mouths. It seems this is generally of all legislative bodies worldwide not just the Congress.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: If anyone

        This type of fraudulent phone call is a world wide problem. I doubt there is not anyone with a phone who does not get several of these a week if not a day.

        I don't I get about 2 a year and I can blacklist the numbers. A few years ago the rules in Germany were changed so that telcos letting the calls onto the German PoTS could be held liable for abuse. This is an extension of the polluter principle because it gives the telcos and incentive to clamp down on rogue parties no matter how the call is routed.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I currently have spammers — sorry ‘market research companies’ — phoning me to ask consent to send me ‘the latest white paper’.

    What are we going to get now? People coming to visit to ask for my phone number, to phone me to ask for my email address, just so trey can send me a PDF on how much money I’ll save by going serverless??

    BTW The Register do the (the phone before spam thing, not the personal visit thing)

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      How did El Reg get your number?

      How did The Register get your phone number?

      (Unless your real name is 07321 123321 or similar....;-))

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: How did El Reg get your number?

        They'll never get my number, it's 01234 567890

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: How did El Reg get your number?

          Mine is 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: How did El Reg get your number?

          Weird. That's my number too! That explains all those odd calls I've been getting asking me something like "Will God...?"

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: How did El Reg get your number?

            I just love it when someone else picks up the ball and runs with it!

    2. Vometia Munro

      Swap Shop

      I still have the number 01 811 8055 burned into my brain, and its various successors. Though of course Swap Shop's various successors weren't as good, nor as multi-coloured.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Swap Shop

        Kay’s for Catalogues! 388 11 22 OK!

        Or how about 35-35-000!

        If you are of a certain age and grew up in the UK you’ll remember these!

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Swap Shop

        I still have the number 01 811 8055

        Should have watched TISWAS instead!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if only we could get their TV ads banned as well.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Administration is frustrating

    If a certain kind of company is most likely to produce bad behavior, why does the administration not spend more attention to the people behind the application ?

    A company does not just fold, there's a director with a name and an address. Should that name show up again, an alert should show up. I don't know how the system works, but reading this article I'm under the impression that there's a group of miscreants who regularly fold a company to make another one further away. It's almost certainly more complicated than that, but how is it that all those computers we have these days cannot weed out the chaff and signal when a given name is once again applying to set up the same kind of company ?

    Surely there's a limit to the number of brothers, cousins and uncles that can be used as patsies ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Administration is frustrating

      The short answer is that almost no checks whatsoever are done when you set a company up - you fill out about 10 questions, send them 20 quid and a few hours later boom, fresh legal entity. You can be disqualified from being a company director, but only briefly for a first offence, and since you only need one person to set it up for you the assorted friends, relatives and the like can keep you going through a good few million nuisance calls.

      Obviously it should be a bit harder to set up a company - a hundred quid fee and 48 hours delay would buy credit checks on the principals and discourage a few people from wasting the time. If there is no legal basis for what the company is doing though, as in the case of these operators, then the limitations of liability should be removed and directors and owners made jointly and severally liable for any fines.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Administration is frustrating

        The’s no checks to set up a company, but opening a bank account should in theory be more difficult.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Administration is frustrating

        > You can be disqualified from being a company director, but only briefly for a first offence, and since you only need one person to set it up for you the assorted friends, relatives and the like can keep you going through a good few million nuisance calls.

        Of course, should the law notice that the phoenix companies are being "fronted"(*), the orbital anvil delivery system tends to get locked and loaded.

        (*) Dodging a ban by fronting someone else as a director is a serious criminal offence in most countries, usually with jailtime attached for all parties. The UK prosecutes and jails a few people every year for this and tipping off Companies House about this is always worthwhile.

  6. Chronos Silver badge
    Flame

    Too late

    The whole PPI scam collapses next year anyway. They'll then move on to something else to continuously mither you with at mealtimes.

    Bastards. Thank $DEITY for Asterisk.

    1. JimC Silver badge

      Re: They'll then move on to something else

      late air flight compensation looks a likely candidate...

      1. micheal

        Re: They'll then move on to something else

        Already started

        Holiday Abroad sickness

        personal Injury (they even do it if the injury was caused by you being an arse)

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Too late

      They'll then move on to something else to continuously mither you with at mealtimes.

      Has your personal data been used in contravention of GDPR? You could be entitled to compensation, contact Sue, Grabbit & Runne solicitors today.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late

      "[...] something else to continuously mither you with at mealtimes."

      I don't get PPI ones any more. I still get "international/witheld" recorded message ones for "Green Deal" energy saving - and oven cleaning. The former are particularly annoying as I thought the ICO had caught the company behind that one recently. Also apparently UK based callers for double glazing and replacement CH boilers.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Too late

        It would be handy if they could extend this idea to people wanting you to switch phone/energy supplier.

  7. Chozo

    It's a start

    Now if they could just get the TV licensing people to stop the harassment and threatening letters.

    1. Jan 0

      Re: It's a start

      > get the TV licensing people to stop the harassment and threatening letters

      I've found that a few minutes spent filling in your details on their website will spare you from a boxful of nasty threatening letters.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: It's a start

        Give me your address - I want to accuse you of watching my videos without paying, and demand a fee.

        Don't worry, you can stop the letters simply by spending a few minutes filling in a form on my website.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: It's a start

        > I've found that a few minutes spent filling in your details on their website will spare you from a boxful of nasty threatening letters.

        Or not. I've been getting them for the best part of 20 years despite having a valid license the entire period.

  8. Lee D Silver badge

    You mean people answer phone calls from numbers they don't know?

    And during mealtimes etc.?

    There's a really simple solution staring you right in the face.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "There's a really simple solution staring you right in the face."

      Calls from "international" may be friends who don't use Skype. AFAIK there's no qualifying CLI data to differentiate them from cold callers.

      Calls from "withheld" can be the doctors' surgery or the local council. Both of which cite "personal privacy" as the reason to avoid a lasting record of who called.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        maybe....

        UK Organisations could apply for a common number, which would replace their real number in all outgoing calls, but significantly is UK centric, so legitimately withheld numbers would always have the number, let's say - 01234 123456.

        Any calls originating from non-member numbers or from outside the standard UK network trying to spoof this number, could easily be spotted and rerouted to a long winded recorded message, incurring the termination fees and thus contributing to the cost of maintaining the service.

        If would then be an easy task to block all withheld numbers, yet still be able to receive calls from genuine organisations.

        Calling the number back would give you a quick message informing you that this is a generic number used by officially registered organisations.

        1. Gerry 3
          Boffin

          Re: maybe....

          Ofcom has allocated numbers in the 08979 range for these calls, but the number is not intended to be released to the called party.

      2. Vometia Munro

        > "Calls from "withheld" can be the doctors' surgery or the local council. Both of which cite "personal privacy" as the reason to avoid a lasting record of who called."

        This one's becoming a bit of a gnarly problem. IME an increasing number of hospital departments have a departmental mobile due to an increasing number of patients not accepting callers who withhold their numbers; though we have had the occasional comment along the lines of "hurr, so that's why we couldn't get through, that happens all the time!"

        Maybe it would help if they simply asked patients if it was okay to call them and if not to, oh I dunno, do something revolutionary like email or text. Which they manage to do when it comes to the inevitable "how did we do?" but not when it comes to conveying useful information.

        1. DJV Silver badge
          Flame

          @Vometia Munro

          Yep, fully agree with you. Yesterday I received a call on my mobile from a "Private number". I picked it up ready to tell them to piss off to find it was about booking a genuine yearly hospital appointment. I gave them several minutes of chastisement regarding the fact that they were withholding their number (something that I did when they phoned up regarding last year's appointment). They had already tried my landline but, as I've set that one to completely ignore withheld numbers due to the constant crap I was receiving, they had no luck there. Apparently, they are going to do something about it "Real Soon Now" - yeah, right.

          1. Mongrel

            Re: @Vometia Munro

            " I picked it up ready to tell them to piss off to find it was about booking a genuine yearly hospital appointment. I gave them several minutes of chastisement regarding the fact that they were withholding their number (something that I did when they phoned up regarding last year's appointment)."

            Because berating the front line staff is the key to getting policy changed? Well done.

            I'm sure that shouting at the checkout staff at Sainsburys will me a cheaper grocery bill

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Vometia Munro

              I'm sure that shouting at the checkout staff at Sainsburys will me a cheaper grocery bill

              Funnily enough, it will. Next time you visit, a large security guard will recommend you shop at Lidl instead.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Vometia Munro

              I was taught a little trick by someone who knew what they were talking about (and frankly ought to be running their own religion by now).

              When complaining, tell the poor rep on the other end 'Please bear with me, this is absolutely not your fault. Your bosses, on the other hand, should be taken out and shot.'

            3. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

              Re: @Vometia Munro

              "Because berating the front line staff is the key to getting policy changed? Well done."

              That's why they're called 'front line staff'. Who else are you going to talk to? Unless you've got time to say 'Before you deal with my appointment, could you please put me through to the member of staff whose responsibilities include setting the outgoing CLI on your outbound phone calls?'. These organisations have no other person to talk to, other than the person who is on the 'front line'. Obviously you don't need to berate them, but you could try and get across how annoying it is.

              I've missed several appointments from the doctors because I won't take withheld calls. Tossers.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "IME an increasing number of hospital departments have a departmental mobile due to an increasing number of patients not accepting callers who withhold their numbers"

          It's a _legal requirement_ in the UK that outbound callers on a PABX be able to uncloak their numbers if caller-ID is suppressed by default. A lot of outfits don't comply, but complaints to Ofcom are worthwhile.

          For the most part all you need to do is tell the doctor surgery, etc to add 1470 before your number - and hope they add it to the phone number in the system.

        3. Ian Emery Silver badge

          National? I dont know

          But my local NHS Trust DOES have the capability to switch on CLI when making a call; remembering to do it is another matter entirely.

          IMHO, there is no excuse for not using CLI.

          Other the other hand, West Mercia Constabulary (hereafter referred to as "The Rozzers"), dont have a choice; all calls are stripped of CLI data.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Calls from "international" may be friends who don't use Skype. AFAIK there's no qualifying CLI data to differentiate them from cold callers.

        Calls from "withheld" can be the doctors' surgery or the local council.

        All of whom can at least respond to a call-screening answering machine with "Hi xxx, this is yyy from zzz, I'll call back in 5 minutes". No need to give away anything personal ("It's about your STD check") and you can either pick up during the message, or answer when they call back.

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          Doctors surgeries should not be allowed to withhold their CLI. It's 2018 for fucks sake!

      4. aks Bronze badge

        I've had legitimate calls from withheld numbers. I know they're legitimate because it's in response to an issue I'd raised and was expecting a call-back.

        Even my bank tried that and asked me for security details. I explain that I never give security details to anyone who calls me, only to people I've called. In most cases they fully understand this. I can only think of one example, where I had terminated a mobile phone contract. Their number was not withheld but was unrecognised by my phone's address book. The guy got very annoyed when I refused to give any security details. On looking up the number later, it was their outsourced "retention team".

      5. aks Bronze badge

        Invoking "personal privacy" is complete nonsense. They're an organisation, not an individual. The reason they withhold the number is that they don't want you to be able to call them and reach the correct department. Much better to leave you to call the main number and fight your way through layers of menus and verbiage.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Invoking "personal privacy" is complete nonsense. They're an organisation, not an individual.

          It's not for their protection, it's for ours. While most of us live on homes where we don't really have any embarrassing secrets, I'm sure there will be many where that isn't the case - and especially where the call is to a mobile where it could be a colleague that sees the call from a number the phone labels as (to pick an embarrassing example) the STD clinic.

          Our local NHS trust no uses a presentation number from a local town for all the appointment related calls - so someone could infer that you had some interaction with the NHS, but have no idea what part (or at least, no idea which part of the local trust which is most things except the GPs' surgeries).

          1. Saruman the White

            Our local NHS trust does not call (at least not to your mobile), they send a text message that clearly identifies them in the first sentence.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It says

              oxo on the side of busses but I wouldn't try making gravy with one.

              Just because it says its from the NHS, doesn't make it so!

        2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          @aks

          At our place we have a policy that people can either show their individual CLI or the switchboard's number on outbound calls. When people ask why can't they just withhold their CLI entirely, we ask: "What are you doing that you don't want the recipient of your call to know our organisation is calling them?"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @aks

            At our organisation, our number is withheld when we dial out....

            As might be imagined, when trying to talk to someone in a different organisation, sometimes the recipient understandably ignores calls from "unknown number", causing some real headaches when trying to get a part manufactured.

            Anon, because, er...

        3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          @aks - Personal Privacy

          Invoking "personal privacy" is complete nonsense. They're an organisation, not an individual

          Maybe you're thinking of the wrong end of the call. Maybe the person at the receiving end doesn't want anyone else to know that they're in contact with medical, law enforcement, etc?

          1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

            Re: @aks - Personal Privacy

            Then they can disable Caller Display on their phone. Either they want it, or they don't.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Invoking "personal privacy" is complete nonsense. They're an organisation, not an individual."

          It is your "personal privacy" they are attempting to protect. There are instances where someone does not want other people to know with whom they are communicating on sensitive matters.

        6. Olivier2553

          If so, it is easy, the call should come out with the public general number of the hospital.

          1. Korev Silver badge

            >If so, it is easy, the call should come out with the public general number of the hospital.

            Even that could be classed as sensitive. Where I used to live in the UK there was a separate "trust" for all the less glamorous specialities, eg STDs, mental health etc.*

            *I don't agree that these should be farmed off into another group BTW...

        7. Efer Brick

          Not their's you womble, the recipient's

      6. Lee D Silver badge

        International friends have any number of ways of contacting me. It can be as simple as "leave a message".

        Withheld calls? Sorry, blocked. They literally don't even ring. If you don't want to tell me who you are, I have no interest in talking to you. If you can block them officially or with the message "This number doesn't answer withheld calls"... problem solve. Guess what... if it's important, they still have to contact me anyway. Which means not withholding their number, or contacting me some other way.

        For a) that's easily solved. For b) it's literally *their* problem, not mine.

        Do you think I live in a bubble and don't have those things? Most of the time such places don't even HAVE my number. The local council certainly don't. And if they're too dumb to set the CLI on their switchboard to the main council building number, etc., then I literally don't trust them with my data.

        What do you think they do for the old deaf people, those who are out all day and don't have an answering machine, those who don't speak English, those who don't own a phone at all? Life goes on just the same.

      7. EddieD

        I still use the old fashioned technique of letting my answer phone answer the phone, and then seeing if it's someone I want to talk to.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Calls from "international" may be friends who don't use Skype.

        If your friends use Skype, they are not your friends.

      9. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Last time I checked, international calls come up with the full CLI and not the word 'international' - I believe that only a few of the crappier phone service providers in the UK don't pass full CLI for international calls.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CLI is a waste of time

      Some, no actually quite a lot of phone companies charge extra for CLI on a landline

      Then there is number spoofing.

      I've had several calls and when I've checked the numbers, they are for 1) a Hospital, 2) A leading UK Charity and 3) the number that my Credit card company uses for you to call from overseas.

      Short of hanging the Directors of the scammers up by their short and curlies for a period of a year there is little we can do to stop it until the phone networks move away from SS7 signalling.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't make a bit of difference

    The scammers will just route their calls via a foreign country.

    I'd like them to stop

    - People from India named 'John' and with a heavy Mumbai accent from telling me that I have a problem with my Internet.

    - Calls using an American female voice saying that my IP address has been compromised...

    And

    - calls telling me about some Government scheme that would give me free double glazed windows.

    PPI and Accident claims calls are so 3-5 years ago.

    Posting as AC for pbvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't make a bit of difference

      WHAT obvious reason?

  10. Stratman

    Rather than attempt to fine the disposable cold calling outfit, make the company who hires them responsible for their actions. No more washing their hands of activities carried out in their name and at their behest.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "make the company who hires them responsible for their actions."

      THIS, in spades. Joint and several liability, per call statutory damages, multipliers for willful violations (as in, breaching the DNC lists) and the right of private action is the key to stopping the illegal calls.

      A company hiring a spammy marketer will shrug and move onto the next one if the spammer goes under. If the spammer's activities have a direct impact on the bottom line, they won't do it again.

  11. Jan 0

    There's a simple way to drastically reduce nuisance calls*.

    Don't plug a 'phone into your landline. Get legitimate companies to contact you by email. Ask all your friends to use your mobile number. You'll receive remarkably few nuisance calls or texts.

    *I do realise that this doesn't help the considerable minority that live in cellular wireless shadows.

  12. Tezfair
    Thumb Up

    0845

    i used to have an 0845 number that I would give out to any non friend / family member. i don't recall getting any junk calls. It was a number that didn't cost me anything, but equally didn't generate revenue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 0845

      I used to use 0870 numbers, more for the call handling than revenue generation as an incoming call could ring in several locations at the same time (manchester, midlands and lincolnshire)

    2. Gerry 3

      Re: 0845

      I have an 0701 702 Flextel number for this. Even more expensive !

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: 0845

      "i used to have an 0845 number that I would give out to any non friend / family member."

      I have a 070 number (£1.50/min) that I still have and use for the same purpose. It gets a few scam calls and it's quite easy to get them to stay on the line for 20+ minutes.

      I don't get any revenue, but the telco I get it from makes sure they collect.

  13. katrinab Silver badge
    Unhappy

    They've needed your consent to send emails and text messages since the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002, but that hasn't stopped them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hello, my name is being Keith and I am calling of you straight out of London excuse line quality because I have been noticing of a very bad virus on your PC/Injury on your back due to accident on road/win on lottery."

    "Fuck off."

    1. jumpyjoe

      That reminds me. We have a persistent male caller (sometimes 3 times a day) with a thick Indian accent pretending to be from BT. He normally informs me that somebody is using my router for phishing attacks and they (BT) are going to disconnect me today unless I blah blah blah...

      During the last call from him I asked him to stop gabbling as I couldn't understand what he was saying. After a while I interrupted him and told him he must be really stupid to keep calling, day after day, when it always ends with me hanging up. At that he became really angry, told me to "fuck off" and hung up.

      Surely I'm not the only one receiving these calls and BT must know that someone is using their name for nefarious means and being abusive to boot. But BT patently don't care.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driven to death by phone scammers

    One of the more depressing articles I've read regarding phone scammers/robocalls was this:

    https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/07/us/jamaica-lottery-scam-suicide/index.html

    That was until I read this article about Ajit Pai which was even more depressing:

    https://securitygladiators.com/robocalls-fcc/

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >I'd like them to stop

    >- People from India named 'John' and with a heavy Mumbai accent from telling me that I have a problem with my Internet.

    >- Calls using an American female voice saying that my IP address has been compromised...

    I f*cking love these calls !

    I spend my days sorting out broadband problems (yes I work for Openreach, stop booing at the back) and I love having fun with "John from BT"

    "We have seen a problem with your Internet, we are going to disconnect you"

    To which I usually reply for a few minutes as a confused nonagenarian then start asking if the problem is with the DSLAM or with the copper line or is it a PPPOE issue ?

    Sadly all I usually get after that is a click as the call is terminated :(

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just ask them what are they wearing

    Then, long slow breaths...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long have you kept them on the line?

    I normally go through the robocallers of the accident that wasn't your fault until i speak to a real person then describe at length the accident i had in a hotel, the one where i tripped over a loose cable and hit my head on the nightstand...... when i was climbing off their mother. Its normally good for a 5-10 minute call that they have to pay for.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: How long have you kept them on the line?

      The robocallers cost them nothing.

      The call costs them pence.

      About the only thing they're paying for is the person to listen to it, likely way below minimum wage in a foreign country somewhere.

      And yet they wasted how much of your time, and what's your normal hourly rate?

  19. adam payne Silver badge

    The powers, which came into force on 8 September, will require payment protection insurance (PPI) pushers to check that the person has consented to being contacted.

    These businesses ignore the current regulations so i'm quite sure they'll ignore the new ones as well.

  20. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    chain of command

    The problem is that the PPI (and other) companies pay other companies for leads. These companies pay other companies to do cold calling. These companies are based in India and not under TPS regulations. So who does the ICO need to fine? Does the buck stop at the PPI company, who (unlikely but possible) might not know how the leads are being brought in?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: chain of command

      That's probably the only way of stopping it. It's a bit like flyposting

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: chain of command

      "Does the buck stop at the PPI company, who (unlikely but possible) might not know how the leads are being brought in?"

      IIRC the ICO has gone after a bunch of PPI companies who were buying leads from the spammers.

      *Checks* Yup. Section 21 of the PECR has language which can catch the hirer ("Instigate or make calls") as well as the caller and the ICO has gone after the hirers on a few occasions.

  21. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    "Brits will have to opt in to receive cold calls"

    God dammit , where do i sign , I do not want to lose my ppi calls!

  22. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The tweetbot has no sense of humour.

    Twitter recently blocked my account for making a PPI claims joke.

    I got it unlocked again, but now they have my mobile number, which is always bad news.

  23. Bavaria Blu
    Go

    find the caller

    How hard can it be to find the caller?

    You could go along with the patter and give a false name & address. The caller has your phone number already. Set up an email address too to give them too. Then get them to email over the paperwork for the PPI claim - presumably it has a UK postal address to send it to? Otherwise if it is all over email the thing you are signing would have to have the company name on it?

    Otherwise what inforamtion do they have to process a PPI claim on your behalf?

    If they are UK based you could visit their offices and ask for some help with your claim.

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