UK Mobile Providers: Scammers Exploit Trust, Beware of Deceptive Calls!

tellows Insights Report
Richard Grant
Richard Grant - Expert in Telecommunications and User Protection
Richard is responsible for tellows' Consumer Protection department and is responsible for investigating all matters relating to telephone fraud, with a particular focus on developments in the telecommunications sector. Last updated: Nov 2, 2023

In the UK, major mobile network providers like Vodafone, BT, and O2 have increasingly become targets for scammers who employ a range of deceptive tactics. These scammers often spoof legitimate phone numbers associated with these renowned companies, aiming to deceive clients and potential clients.

Categorizing Mobile Provider Calls

  1. Official Network Provider Numbers: Scammers misuse authentic contact numbers for mobile network providers. These numbers, though legitimate, are often exploited for fraudulent activities.
  2. Network Resellers: Customers who utilize services related to these network providers, such as broadband, TV, or affiliated credit card services, might receive calls from reseller companies or their call centers.
  3. Scammers Impersonating Mobile Providers: This category is the most concerning. Scammers impersonate network provider employees, targeting individuals, particularly older ones. Their objective is to extract personal information, conduct various scams, and exploit the trust associated with reputable telecom companies.
tellows phone providers

Let's take a look at the top 5 number rated positively and negatively for Vodafone, BT, and O2:

Official Network Provider Numbers

  • Vodafone Numbers with Positive Rating:
tellows users submitted to 2 different phone numbers a total of 2 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
03454136299 1 Affordable Mobiles This is Affordable Mobiles calling about a vodafone mobile phone deal. 1
07748600166 1 Vodafone not a Vodafone customer 5

  • BT Numbers with Positive Rating:

tellows users submitted to 5 different phone numbers a total of 114 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
08456021111 103 British Telecommunication (BT) Just had another audio text to my landline via this number. Someone I know clicked on my landline n 5
01246927815 3 BT BT digital switchover team, made us aware of lines due to go down and how to proceed 2
01279634666 5 Jay-Bee Telecom google will show that they are the franchised SME support company for BT Business in the Herts and E 5
01912498164 1 BT head office 2
00441522814400 2 BT call from BT about services i have with them. is also the number i use when calling about my account 5

  • O2 Numbers with Positive Rating:

tellows users submitted to 6 different phone numbers a total of 21 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
03448090202 3 O2 Customer Service 4
02081462118 2 unknown Claimed to be calling from O2. 6
03339001144 1 Metrofone It's Metrofone. They are trying sell me mobile phone contracts for O2. 3
02045868965 2 unknown Indian claiming to be calling from O2. Just another scammer. 5
02030958286 12 Octopus Energy Used call back facility during voicemail from O2 as message so garbled unable to dicipher...rang Oct 4

Network Resellers

In the UK, a dynamic market of mobile service resellers has emerged. These resellers, often referred to as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), utilize the infrastructure of major network providers like Vodafone, BT, and O2 to offer competitive mobile services. They cater to diverse customer segments, providing cost-effective plans and specialized services, contributing to increased competition and choice in the UK's mobile service landscape.

Generally, third-party contract sellers can be trusted. The major four networks - EE, Vodafone, Three, and O2 - exclusively partner with reputable retailers, ensuring their legitimacy.

However, that doesn't guarantee each seller will have good or the same level of support. While the network will be responsible for the network service (coverage, reception, etc) and the contract, the retailer will be responsible for the phone itself, including:

  • Upfront payment
  • Delivery
  • Returns
  • Condition
  • Warranty and repairs
  • Passing your details to the network

Therefore, you should do your due diligence and research before making a purchase. Check review sites, such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews, and look for what other customers have to say about the seller.

Scammers Impersonating Mobile Providers

  • Scam or Fraud Calls Claiming to be from Vodafone:
tellows users submitted to 45 different phone numbers a total of 153 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
02071936059 4 Vodafone spoofed +442071936059 missed call. Thinking it's just spam. 8
01743839997 3 Vodafone credit SPAM call regarding phone contracts - chancers who should be blocked! 7
01275617470 5 Mobile provider scams Said they were from Vodafone about my account. Didn't sound like them, and they couldn't confirm my 8
01355640048 3 Vodafone spoofed Felt a lot like scammers posing as Vodafone representatives offered a discount on phone bills. 8
07481346191 2 unknown Said it was Vodafone wanting to reduce my bill 7

  • Scam or Fraud Calls Claiming to be from BT:
tellows users submitted to 59 different phone numbers a total of 227 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
01246927292 5 BT (scam) Making the false claim that BT will cut our phone line if we don't sign up for their new VoIP servic 9
08003357000 8 BT Keep getting these calls, claims to be BT but when challenged admits to ringing on behalf of BT. Doe 7
07549034170 7 BT (scam) Caller said they are from BT, but I havent got a BT account. 8
02045250963 3 BT (scam) The individual who contacted me claimed to be from BT, but I found it difficult to comprehend his no 8
01212696876 2 BT TV & Mobile (scam) Saying i have a faulty router, and I was hacked, but it's working fine. 8

  • Scam or Fraud Calls Claiming to be from O2:
tellows users submitted to 234 different phone numbers a total of 507 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
02039178018 12 o2 scam A foreign caller claimed I could receive a 40% discount on my O2 bill and requested codes from O2. B 8
07488874078 17 Mobile network scams Calling constantly. Originally claimed to be O2 but when I told them that I wasn't interested they s 8
02078716865 5 O2 scam call centre A foreign woman called claiming to represent O2, offering a 30% bill discount without providing proo 9
01617689012 4 O2 Mobile Scam Caller telling me they'll do a better deal on my O2 contract, could hardly understand what he was sa 8
02045996875 5 Pretending to be O2 Saying they are O2 customer service, and offering to help upgrade to a new plan. I am not using o2. 7

Protecting Against Scam Calls

To safeguard against scam calls from network providers like Vodafone, BT, and O2, consumers should:
  • Be aware that legitimate providers typically don't initiate unsolicited calls for sensitive information.
  • Avoid providing personal information or updating account details via email or text messages.
  • Refrain from pressing buttons or following instructions given by automated voices.
  • Not share account information with websites other than the official provider's site.
  • Avoid returning calls to suspicious numbers. Instead, contact the official customer support channels provided by your network provider.
  • If you receive a call from a dubious number, hang up and consider blocking the caller.
  • Review tips for recognizing and handling scam calls provided by the network providers and consider reporting such calls to relevant authorities.

Utilizing tellows for Protection

To protect against these deceptive calls, consumers can utilize tellows resources:
  • Verify unknown numbers on to assess the caller and the reason for the call.
  • Use tellows apps for iOS and Android to identify unknown calls as soon as they ring. These apps help you make informed decisions in real-time.

The increase in scam calls targeting UK mobile providers like Vodafone, BT, and O2 is a growing concern. Consumers must stay vigilant, follow best practices for protecting their personal information, and use resources like tellows to identify and report suspicious calls.

tellows Insights for Journalists

This extensive research has been diligently curated by the tellows Insights team, merging the valuable insights from exclusive tellows data with the acumen of our experts. Each day, tellows assesses an array of user-provided ratings, facilitating the creation of informative statistics and the identification of emerging scam patterns tied to prominent phone numbers. This approach empowers us to sift through active fraudsters and promptly pinpoint newly suspicious phone numbers. Leveraging the vast tellows database, our team is primed to craft in-depth studies. For inquiries or further information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team. All graphics and data are at your disposal for editorial purposes, provided due credit is given. As of the latest update on Nov 2, 2023, we have scrutinized these phone numbers, allotting them tellows scores on a scale of 1 (trustworthy) to 9 (suspicious). This scoring system offers a perspective on the level of risk linked to each phone number, with higher scores denoting more questionable callers. In this report, our focus is on numbers categorized as Vodafone, BT, and O2, taking into account the volume of reported phone numbers associated with these entities by tellows users.

*User interest for numbers assigned to Vodafone, BT, and O2

tellows Insights Report