BT has announced plans to display the numbers of international callers.
As part of an upgrade to caller ID services, this will make it easier for customers spammed by annoying marketing companies that use international call centres.
The upgrade which is due to begin rolling out in December 2013 can be made available to all customers who have a landline phone service on the Openreach network.
Whoever supplies your home phone will have to include this in any offered caller ID service, so you won’t automatically benefit from this, just because you have an Openreach phone line in the house.
There is one slight snag with the new upgrade. If CLI (Calling Line Identity) information has not been provided by the caller and the number is withheld then calls will simply display as ‘International’ and you won’t be able to see the number. If there is no CLI available then an ‘Unavailable’ message would appear.
John Mitchinson, manager of the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) said that the upgrade will help many customers but the upgrade won’t be totally bulletproof. Mitchinson said:
“The change will not stop organisations from breaking UK legislation by ‘spoofing’ the numbers they display, but it will certainly help people to identify the calls from overseas that they do want to answer and possibly ignore those from numbers that they don’t recognise.”
Ofcom, the TPS and BT are working out ways in which spam calls that originate from overseas can be more easily traced. While some sources of spam are regrettably home grown, it’s harder for the likes of the TPS and Ofcom to fine companies using international numbers.
In the meantime there are phones available such as BT’s 6500, 7600 and 4000 phones which promise to automatically block the majority of nuisance calls. Companies like TrueCall and CPR offer products that can cut down on marketing calls.
The TPS offers a free service that puts your phone number on a list that telemarketing companies aren’t allowed to call. Companies that break the rules can be subjected to heavy fines.
Image: Dominiek ter Heide/Flickr