UK Mobile Providers: Scammers Exploit Trust, Beware of Deceptive Calls!
tellows Insights Report
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
- Official Network Provider Numbers: Scammers misuse authentic contact numbers for mobile network providers. These numbers, though legitimate, are often exploited for fraudulent activities.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
BT Numbers with Positive Rating:
|PhoneNumber||Ratings||Caller||Example||Score||08456021111||102||British Telecommunication (BT)||This number is owned and operated by BT Openreach and is used by most phone operators to relay audio||5||01279634666||5||Jay-Bee Telecom||is a franchise BT covering herts and essex area SME , 100% supported by BT and works directly for BT||5||01752777880||2||Coastel Communications||Official BT Local Business agent in Devon and Cornwall, genuinely calling on behalf of BT. https:||4||+441914290258||1||m Donnelly||This is bt was doing an application for their services then didn't complete it they called me it's b||2||07421245833||1||unknown||07421245833 - Called my mobile at 12.30 p.m. I don't know this person but the first 5 digits indi||3|
O2 Numbers with Positive Rating:
|PhoneNumber||Ratings||Caller||Example||Score||01213395902||2||fraudster||Called to discuss contract renewal||5||01925321439||2||3mobile||Wanted to look at my contract with O2 thought originally it was O2 as they do phone me alarm bells r||6||08001116121||3||o2 payments||O2 automated payment line if you have missed a payment.||4||02030565465||1||O2||O2 contacting me about upgrades||2||03448090202||3||O2 Customer Service||4|
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.
These reputable mobile phone reseller brands, including Affordable Mobiles (A1 Comms Ltd), Carphone Warehouse (Currys Retail Ltd), and Metrofone (KTM Online Limited), are well-established in the industry. They offer a wide range of mobile phone services and products to meet the diverse needs of customers.
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
- 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:
|PhoneNumber||Ratings||Caller||Example||Score||01709242673||19||Vodafone Scam||Called me today, said he is from Vodafone. Had my real name and date of birth. Wanted to take my car||8||01482293839||25||Vodafone (fake)||8||01743839997||3||Vodafone credit||SPAM call regarding phone contracts - chancers who should be blocked!||7||01789405056||22||Zinc Group||Getting continuous calls from this number. I answer the call every time and no one responds. I belie||7||07481346191||2||unknown||Said it was Vodafone wanting to reduce my bill||7|
Scam or Fraud Calls Claiming to be from BT:
|PhoneNumber||Ratings||Caller||Example||Score||08003357000||6||BT||Claim to be BT for an upgrade, the English person on the phone made me think it’s legit but it is %1||7||01915161648||3||BT Fibre (scam)||This caller says they from British Telecommunications, addressing an issue i reported, but i never r||7||01793596931||54||Apparently BT||scam. dont touch||8||01214235600||3||D2 Communications||Introduce themselves as BT which they are not they are a BT Local Business reseller actually D2 Comm||8||08000790875||39||BT (not confirmed)||Said he was with BT but quite clearly not as we have just taken out a new contract with BT? When I||7|
Scam or Fraud Calls Claiming to be from O2:
|PhoneNumber||Ratings||Caller||Example||Score||02922641676||7||O2 scam spam||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||02045996817||6||Telemarketer Scam (O2)||SCAMMER - They fake the number then say they're calling from O2 to give a 40% discount for being a g||7||01514532980||4||Pretending to Be O2||Pretending to be O2 on the phone - offering free upgrade to Samsung or Nokia. Do not give any person||8||01618841012||4||O2 Mobile Scam||Saying from o2 but couldn't confirm my account status.||8|
Tactics Employed by ScammersScammers employ a variety of tactics and scams when impersonating mobile providers:
- Impersonating Network Provider Employees: Scammers pretend to be employees of Vodafone, BT, O2, or similar providers, attempting to extract sensitive account information from unsuspecting victims.
- Unauthorized Charges and Account Issues: Scammers claim that unauthorized charges have been made or that account issues need immediate attention. This prompts victims to provide account information or call back, potentially revealing personal details.
- "Press 1" Scams: Automated voices or scammers prompt victims to press certain buttons on their phones. Such actions can lead to unintended consequences and security breaches.
- Fake Prizes and Offers: To lure victims, scammers promise fake prizes, discounts, or exclusive deals. These too-good-to-be-true offers are often used to rush individuals into making hasty decisions.
- SMS Phishing ("Smishing"): Text messages resembling official notifications are sent, claiming that recipients need to verify certain information. These messages usually contain malicious links.
Protecting Against Scam CallsTo 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 ProtectionTo protect against these deceptive calls, consumers can utilize tellows resources:
- Verify unknown numbers on tellows.co.uk 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.