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Ofcom to tackle international spam callers who exploit number spoofing

Ofcom has announced plans to crack down on spam callers who exploit number spoofing to avoid detection. 

A ‘spoofed’ number on a call display could be a random series of numbers, something that number of a real person or company. The number will have nothing to do with the real caller, making it virtually impossible to trace the source of the call. 

Ofcom and the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) have the power to hand down heavy fines to telemarketing companies who break the rules on cold calling. But the regulators hands are tied if a company uses a spoofed number to make nuisance calls. 

Ofcom to tackle international spam callers who exploit number spoofing
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Read our guide to spam and nuisance calls and how to avoid themCalls made with spoofed numbers account for a significant proportion of nuisance calls in English-speaking countries, according to Ofcom. In a bid to crack down on number spoofing, Ofcom will work with regulators from the US and Canada, pooling knowledge and resources. 

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “International cooperation is vital in finding effective remedies to the problem of number spoofing. We are thoroughly committed to this joint effort and are determined to put a stop to this harmful practice and take action against those responsible.” 

Earlier this year Ofcom reported a spike in the number of spam calls, many of them PPI-based, that UK customers were receiving. 

While fines applied to legitimate companies are an effective deterrent, it’s proven harder to bring fraudulent companies to justice. It’s hoped that by asking companies like BT for more information on CLI (Caller Line Identification) data it’ll be easier to track companies making use of spoofing. 

Recently BT revealed plans to roll out international caller ID, which ought to make dodging marketing calls much easier. 

Image: sonnenbrand/Flickr

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