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 4 ratings.
PhoneNumber Ratings Caller Example Score
01482293034 3 Vodafone (Scam) 5
03454136299 1 Affordable Mobiles This is Affordable Mobiles calling about a vodafone mobile phone deal. 1

  • BT Numbers with Positive Rating:

tellows users submitted to 6 different phone numbers a total of 112 ratings.
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:

tellows users submitted to 7 different phone numbers a total of 14 ratings.
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

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 35 different phone numbers a total of 147 ratings.
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:
tellows users submitted to 37 different phone numbers a total of 159 ratings.
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:
tellows users submitted to 158 different phone numbers a total of 499 ratings.
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

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