back to article UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

UK data privacy watchdogs raided Thursday a call centre allegedly linked to millions of nuisance calls. Officers from the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) and Trading Standards conducted the operation against a business in the Brighton area suspected of using automatic dialling technology to make four to six million …

  1. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Proper punishment

    String 'em up by the balls (or equivalent???).

    1. Christoph

      Re: Proper punishment

      Five years each working on a help desk - one of the ones where you are not allowed to disconnect a call regardless of what the caller says.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Proper punishment

      6 months in the pillory.

      Bring your own rotten fruit.

    3. Little Mouse

      Re: Proper punishment

      or alternatively - Just burn them. Burn them with fire.

      Then dance on the ashes singing Hallelujah.

      1. Cliff

        Re: Proper punishment

        There's a circle of hell waiting just for these fuckers, don't let them off with a 'stern talking to', they know full well what they're doing and deserve the absolutely fullest penalties allowable. Seize all the kit, seize all the profits, seize all the German cars in the car park.

        Then, and only then, snap a finger on each hand just to act as a reminder.

        1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

          Re: Proper punishment

          "Then, and only then, snap a finger on each hand just to act as a reminder." - so they'll have been injured, and they should be forced to have to phone each other about it 8 hours a day 7 days a week and try and offer each other compensation. If they don't comply, simply break more fingers.

      2. tony2heads
        Mushroom

        Re: Proper punishment

        Nuke the entire site from orbit--it's the only way to be sure

        It might take out Brighton as well, so where's the down side?

    4. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Proper punishment

      Nuke the entire site from orbit.It's the only way to be sure.

    5. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Proper punishment

      They don't have 'em

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Proper punishment

      Make them wear George Bush masks and drop them in ISIS territory.

    7. Gannettt

      Re: Proper punishment

      How about locking them in a room with a bed, a toilet and a telephone. The phone will ring at random times of the day and night, and the inmate receives an electric shock if he doesn't pick up the phone. And make sure the phone rings when he's eating or using the toilet. That should sort them out!

      1. enormous cow turd

        Re: Proper punishment

        Attach electrodes from the buzzer / bell of a telephone to their testicles and publish the number of that telephone to everyone who ever received a call from these worthless sh*ts. Nuking them is too fast and painless...

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Proper punishment

        http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/talibantelephone

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Proper punishment

      Make them call everyone they've called to apologise.

      1. PNGuinn
        Thumb Up

        Re: Proper punishment

        How about all those PLUS electrify the toilet seat and phone, but Pleeeese don't make the little ******* call anyone to apologise UNLESS they are forced to listen, without being able to ring off, to as much abuse as their victims care to administer. While hanging by the b***s

        I'd probably need at least 20 minuites to do the job properly, so it everyone is at least as charitable as me they should be hanging by the b***s for a reasonable time at least, Bonus if pressing 9 connects mains to set b***s. for a second or so.

  2. Doctor_Wibble

    Forget the fines

    As punishment, make the company responsible copy out the itemised phone bill 100 times and they have to supply their own paper and crayons.

  3. ravenviz

    raided Thursday a call centre

    The shadow of greed that is.

    /yoda

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Happy

      Re: raided Thursday a call centre

      The force is strong with them, hmmm raided on Thursday a call centre they did!

      1. GreggS

        Re: raided Thursday a call centre

        so was the cold call centre called Thursday cold called on a Thursday?

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Had a good one last night - a 'foreign national' scammer rang me at stupid-o-clock trying to sell a service to block all nuisance calls including those from abroad. The irony of the situation was lost on her ...

    ARGHHHHHH.

    Can't someone invent remote Tasers?

    "Hello"

    "... I'm not selling anything Meesta ... urr ...Ga... ", click, pfzzt, thump!

    "Thank you for calling. How very enjoyable. Please call again tomorrow." :-)

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Kickstarter project?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        I'd give 'em a kick for a starter...

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      It used to be possible

      It used to be possible to remote taser them 30+ years ago prior to the days of digital telephony. Unfortunately progress did with that idea.

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: It used to be possible

        How so? There was no DC path between telephones, even on the same exchange.

        You could blow a whistle down a phone for a same exchange call, but on a call between exchanges the amplitude of any signal was limited - even in analogue days.

  5. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

    Is this a mistake, because, if not, two things come to mind:

    1) Did nobody from their phone operating compay *notice* this?

    And:

    2) Based on those figures, they would call the entire population of the country in a fortnight at most.

    Now I know some people get multiple calls a day, but even so, it seems an astonishingly large figure.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      > 1) Did nobody from their phone operating compay *notice* this?

      VOIP

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      " Did nobody from their phone operating compay *notice* this?"

      As long as they were getting paid for each call why should they care? It's hardly in their favour to stop a cash cow as they were probably profiting from this almost as much as the charming people making the calls.

      The solution is clear, make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems. They can easily detect this sort of behaviour if it's maintained for more than a few days from a single location and on detection they should either pull the plug or involve the authorities in prosecuting the people involved.

      1. John Lilburne

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "The solution is clear, make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems."

        Hush your stupid mouth. Do you really want Mike Masnick yelling at you about breaking the internet? Forsooth this is a minor inconvenience the spam google ads must get through.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "The solution is clear, make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems."

        That - and statutory damages per call plus a right of private action in small claims court, making the advertiser and the company which hired them jointly and severally liable.

        It was THAT which killed the junk fax industry in the USA overnight and has been extended to breaches of do not call lists (US State prosecutors don't pussyfoot around on DNC breaches either).

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "The solution is clear, make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems."

        Solution:

        Principle: This is pollution and the polluter pays.

        Method: Choose a number, say 147{$currently_unused_digit}. If the recipient considers the call to be spam they hang up and dial that number. The telco credits their A/C by a small fee, say £2 and adds it to the caller's bill plus handling charges. If the call came from a different network they transfer charge the fee plus charges to that network instead who can then bill their customer adding on their own handling charges and so on up the line. If a telco can't work out who to charge: tough and they'll quickly change their business model or keep on paying.

        Issues: This would need compulsion from OFTEL: no problem, just make the telcos do it. It would need S/W development upfront which has to be paid for: no problem, the telcos do it and take the cost out of their handling charges. There's the possibility that recipients might mistakenly or deliberately try to charge a genuine call: this would need a bit of statistical work to weed out such errors.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

          "Choose a number, say 147{$currently_unused_digit}. If the recipient considers the call to be spam they hang up and dial that number. The telco credits their A/C by a small fee, say £2 and adds it to the caller's bill plus handling charges."

          Hmm - have you considered the unintended consequences?

          I could set up a business making spam calls. I could also rent a few hundred phone numbers delivered over SIP trunks to a cheap IP PBX. I run a script on one end dialling those numbers repeatedly and then another script on the PBX dialling your 'spam alert' number after each call.

          All I have to do then is collect my winnings from the receiving numbers and not pay the bill for the call making numbers and I've made a fortune. You've created a perfect fraud opportunity.

          I'm not sure what you mean about the telcos 'business models' though - telcos are obliged to pass on calls without prejudice. They can't pick and choose which calls are valid and which aren't - in much the same way that the Royal Mail doesn't open up envelopes to see if you're sending an illegal letter or spam mail to someone.

          In your model a UK telco gets fined because a fly-by-night VOIP provider in Bermuda has a customer making scam calls. It seems like you're punishing the wrong people.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "The solution is clear, make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems."

        You're asking telcos to systematically intervene and actually listen in to calls? That needs a change in the law and is not likely to be warmly received by people interested in privacy.

        You can't tell if it's abuse without listening in - for example, the services used by the elderly living at home where they are called maybe ten times a day and reminded to take medication and the like.

    3. spiny norman

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      On the basis some company like this phones my landline and my mobile, sometimes several times a week, I'm not that surprised.

      If the ICO could also raid the company that thinks I should claim for injuries in an accident, when I wasn't even in the car at the time, I would be very happy. Actually, they could also raid the insurance company that sold the data. Even better, I can tell them which one that is.

    4. Richard_L

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      If it's the same lot who keep pestering me on my mobile with an "unknown" incoming number, then yes, calling the entire population in less than a fortnight... then starting the process all over again asking the same question, does sound very plausible.

      It's usually about PPI, occasionallly aobut debt relief, and one was for solar panels, but the format's always the same. I've not claimed my free blah blah blah, so press 5 to speak to an adviser or press 9 if you don't want free money.

      Much as I want to shout at them, the connection always ends whether I press 5 or 9.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        There is some outfit here in Canada that calls from a spoofed phone number (that often belongs to someone) telling me I won something press 1 to get scammed.

        1. hello, I'd like a large with double peperoni. This isn't Pizza Pizza? I want to order a Pizza...

        or my friends favorite

        1. Congratulations, you have won a crappy job working for a crook. You now have permission to kick your boss in the balls as hard as you want for free.

      2. Gannettt

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "Press 5 if you want to us to mark this number as active in our database, or press 9 if you want to us to mark this number as active in our database"

        FTFY

      3. Gerry 3
        Stop

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        By pressing a button you're confirming that...

        1. Your number is a working voice line, not a fax machine, burglar alarm etc.

        2. You understand English.

        3. You listen to the whole message.

        4. You do as you are instructed.

        5. You were at home at the time they called.

        Result: Your number will be added to the Verified Suckers List and you'll get far more nuisance calls...

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        "Much as I want to shout at them, the connection always ends whether I press 5 or 9."

        Yes, but they call back a few days later without caller ID blocked. At that point you can tease more data out of them and pass the information to the ICO.

        How do you think they got enough data to act?

        1. launcap Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

          > Yes, but they call back a few days later without caller ID blocked.

          Tried that. Just ended up getting a whole set of different robocalls that started "dear subscriber".. About 15/day at one point.

          I'm not naturally a stabby person but those calls got me the closest I've been for a while.

          1. Vic

            Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

            I'm not naturally a stabby person

            Awesome. I'm pinching that :-)

            Vic.

      5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        Scam popularity based on emails to a tarpit email bucket.

        1. PPI

        2. Debt relief

        3. Solar

        4. Pullman, F1 and Rally experience excursions

        5. Cold calling and forced selling courses

        6. Fleet vehicle tracking

        7. Up to about 1-2 months ago - eye laser surgery

        8. Insurance for 55+ year olds

        One of my older email addresses ended up in a british scammer database which operates an extremely professional SPAM racket. They register one shot domains for each mailshot and _DIFFERENT_ domains for the corresponding websites, etc so the mails never get high enough score on a spamchecker. I ended up abandoning that address and directing all the mail for it directly to razor, pyzor and a few other spam databases. I still keep a copy to keep abreast of the current scams. Just in case someone somewhere else provides me with an "opportunity" on one of these so I can take their head off straight away without even listening.

    5. Richard Jones 1
      Mushroom

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      About half the calls made would meet busy tone or not get answered. Some might go to idle numbers with no working connection. Many would get terminated ASAP; they were almost certainly VOIP calls and many might be dropped by the outfit making them. Unless the network receiving the call attempts find something odd about the calls why would they spend money looking for trouble.

      By the way, who says the network did not help with the bust?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

        I had three from apparently the same company yesterday morning with native English speakers and Withheld numbers. They were called "Renewable Energy". The third caller was miffed that I had already been phoned - but he was only concerned about whether "had there been an outcome". To which I said "Yes - I am getting very angry".

        1. Corinne

          Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

          I had similar once, 3 calls in a day about PPIs. My response was "yes, the outcome has been that I've already reported your company as this number is TPI registered". They did try to tell me that TPI registration only lasts 3 months then you have to renew it, which I told them was a load of male cattle waste and did they want to discuss this in court. Didn't get ANY unsolicited calls on that number for weeks after...

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

            I have had someone spin the TPI doesn't count line years ago, in fact they then told me that BT had given them the numbers.

            I told BT this, must say BT's legal dept wasn't amused and works far faster than the rest of the company.

    6. Phil Endecott

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      > Did nobody from their phone operating compay *notice* this?

      I once tracked down a company operating a telephony gateway service that was being used for spam calls and sent them a complaint. Their response was "you probably made a mistake, and even if it did come via us, they are probably using an opt-in list."

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

      "1) Did nobody from their phone operating company *notice* this?"

      Of course they did, and rubbed their hands together gleefully,

      Most of these were coming with CLI of 0843 724 - which traces back to a provider specialising in making it impossible to call back.

      Of course Ofcom haven't whapped the company providing the numbers and the scam will continue.

      In the meantime, evidence tying Tetrus Telecommunications into the Yahoo mail breach of a few years back remains studiously ignored by the ICO.

  6. DJV Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The ICO finally grew a pair - about fucking time!

    See title.

    1. Havin_it
      Devil

      Re: The ICO finally grew a pair - about fucking time!

      Jumping the gun a bit there, old stick. We've all heard this tough talk from the ICO before, but it's all vapour. I'll reserve my judgment on their, um, plurality until someone's copped a fine or sanction that actually hurts them compared to the amount they're raking in. Not holding my breath :(

  7. Chris Harrison
    Thumb Down

    Seriously?

    "The ICO will evaluate what action is necessary in order to compel the organisation to comply with the rules regarding recorded telephone calls"

    What's the point when the scum who run these organizations don't give a shit what the rules are?

    Publish the names, addresses and phone numbers of the people responsible along with a nice clear photo, that would be a start.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously?

      "Options on the table include levying a fine or imposing an enforcement notice"

      £2000 fine and 10 minutes on the naughty step for you.

      OK, now you can go back to making thousands a day doing it again

      regards

      ICO

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously?

        "£2000 fine and 10 minutes on the naughty step for you."

        Broadly speaking yes. In the case of the ICO, the powers are limited to a max of £500k, and that's small change if you can run a scummy outbound call centre for a couple of years in flagrant breach of the rules.

        Even if the people behind this pay up (and I doubt they will, hiding behind limited liability companies, or pleading bankruptcy whilst driving a new Bentley, just like that cunt Andrew Crossley) they'll merely start again from scratch.

        1. teebie

          Re: Seriously?

          Upvoted for the reminder that Andrew Crossley is a cunt.

  8. Alastair Dodd 1

    Name & Shame

    Owners, Telecoms provider (inc SIP portal) and Customers.

    ALL GUILTY.

  9. TonyJ Silver badge

    I'm shocked

    Not by the numbers or anything but that the ICO actually _did_ something.

    But I'm sure it'll be paltry now and business as usual within weeks.

  10. Crisp

    Why didn't you publish the company's name and address?

    I need to know for um... research purposes.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully it will kill calls from ...

    (thanks to Windows Phone call & SMS filter)

    01619390228

    12102490540

    01269849592

    01293063108

    01196723345

    That's this year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully it will kill calls from ...

      And you think those numbers are not spoofed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And you think those numbers are not spoofed?

        Of course they are. But they can be blocked (unlike "unknown").

        The most recent one (0161) I had on Monday. Since then, it's tried *10* times,

        I've mentioned before, my idea of some sort of "call centre swap shop" (I'm sure there's an app waiting to be written).

        When you get a nuisance call, you press the "jettison" button. The call is transferred to a system which marries it with another random "jettisoned" call.

        Let the bastards annoy each other.

        1. nijam

          Re: And you think those numbers are not spoofed?

          > When you get a nuisance call, you press the "jettison" button. The call is transferred to a system which marries it with another random "jettisoned" call.

          Better yet, to a premium-rate number set up for the purpose ... one that never hangs up.

  12. Lee D Silver badge

    "Hello. Is that X? How are you today?" - Tell me who the hell you are and why you're calling, then we'll discuss my health (P.S. All genuine callers ring and when I answer they say "Hi, I'm X (from Y). I'm just calling today about Z." - even my friends (without the company name, and a little less formally, obviously)).

    "I'm not selling anything". Then why say it? Because the only people who ever say it ARE selling something. And if you lie like that - within the first few seconds of a phone call - guess who I'm NEVER going to buy from in a million years.

    "A minute of your time" - Nope.

    "Survey" - Nope.

    Discussing the weather, the football, a guess at a nationality from an accent, etc. - Nope. I don't even consider those topics of conversation with my friends, let alone banal sales pitches.

    Do it to me at work and see yourself on not just the phone blacklist but the purchasing one too.

    Suitable punishment for these people: You have to publish your HOME PHONE and MOBILE numbers to me, and I can call you any time of the day or night and you are court-obliged to personally answer the phone every time and stay on the line until I say you can hang up. Even if it's several dozen times a night.

    Suitable punishment for the telcos who DO NOT enforce proper CLI information on all lines - their own and the ones that come in to them - and/or offer a free CLI-based blocking service for all customers phone lines: The same, for every customers of theirs.

    The alternative? I just STOP using the phone as a phone and use Skype, WhatsApp etc. instead.

    1. launcap Silver badge
      Happy

      @Lee D

      >"Survey" - Nope.

      My line on that is "how much are you going to pay me for my data?" (after all - if they derive value from it it's only fair to recompense me for my time).

      That usually gets them to put the phone down quickly. Although one did try to argue that it's my duty to help them improve their service^W^W^Wmake them money..

    2. enormous cow turd

      Just announce to them that you are recording the call yourself and ask them to identify themselves fully, 9 times out of 10 they hang up at that point.

  13. Tanuki

    Name and shame the offenders!

    Why am I thinking "Time to attach the ringing-voltage-generator-of-enlightenment to the nipples of ignorance..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Name and shame the offenders!

      and provide an 0800 number funded by their ill gotton gains so we can shock the offenders.

  14. William Donelson
    Mushroom

    A valid use of nuclear weapons.

    Radiation poisoning for the lot of them.

    ALSO, they were selling this on BEHALF of paying clients. Put those CLIENTS in jail too.

  15. 90

    its horrible

    Couple of days ago I had receive call from 01618500288 and telling me that PPI claim

    I was shocked if they have all of my and if they do some thing........

  16. CrashM

    Easy Solution

    Phone ISPs should provide a reverse Turing Test (like a vocal CAPTCHA) on their customers lines so we can filter out these automated calls. It would probably work for a lot of non automated cold calls too.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And they will each write 5 million times a day

    "I will not make annoying telephone calls"

    on the blackboard.

  18. Joe Harrison

    What really annoys me

    When you are roaming outside the UK it actually costs money to answer one of these calls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What really annoys me

      "When you are roaming outside the UK it actually costs money to answer one of these calls."

      An EE customer had her phone switched to not answer while she was abroad. A load of cold calls went to her voicemail box. EE tried to charge her £86 for them - until the Daily Telegraph became involved. The EE small print covering the situation was contradictory - and in one part apparently said you weren't charged if you didn't answer or pick up the voicemail.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: What really annoys me

        One of many reasons that I disable voicemail on a mobile.

        Sorry, but you're on a phone, and you're ringing me, and I don't answer. If I know you, I will call you back when I see the missed call. If I don't know you, and it's in any way important, you will have other ways of contacting me.

        And if you're a friends who's changed number recently and don't get a call returned... send me a damn text, which I can read and delete at my leisure and which costs neither of us anything (P.S. if you genuinely still pay for texts, get WhatsApp and apply the same principle).

        Voicemail is very, very, very, very old hat unless it's an internal business line. And, you know what, I'm still not there to answer the phone so if it's anything vaguely important people will still contact me on other numbers, send me an email, etc. anyway. The day where the VOICEMAIL is the most important thing in the world to check constantly and first in a crisis is hopefully way, way behind us.

  19. phuzz Silver badge
    WTF?

    I understand calling me trying to sell PPI gubbins, but what's with the calls from blocked numbers, that ring me up, but are silent, and as soon as I make a sound, the call is terminated? That's just weird.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] but are silent, and as soon as I make a sound, the call is terminated?"

      Automatic diallers make the call. When someone answers they disconnect after a few seconds if there isn't an agent free to pick up the call. It's a pipeline system that should mean an agent picks up a new call immediately they finish the previous one.

      Help centres usually have big scoreboards showing statistics on how many calls are being handled and how many were aborted. That probably means the galley master line manager can dynamically adjust the numbers of zero-hour staff.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Cold-calling sellers will dial 110% of the numbers their staff can handle at any one time. This is so that there's ALWAYS a live call waiting to be dealt with no matter what. They will not waste a second of their call centre operatives time waiting for another number to dial up. Like overbooking on plane seats to ensure you always have a full plane.

      This results in silent calls when there are too many live calls and not enough operators taking them. And rather than leave you hanging, put you on hold, or put you through to someone, they will just cut you off after a time because that way they "spread out" the annoyance they cause with them so no one person complains about dozens of phone calls. Below a certain amount per day, this is actually still legal to do (as stupid as that is).

      It just means that the call centres break down their operations to many tinier call centres, such as the ones in the article, so they can get away with 10 companies making phone calls constantly and making a thousand silent calls each, rather than one making 10,000 silent calls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, the stats don't add up

        "Cold-calling sellers will dial 110% of the numbers their staff can handle at any one time."

        That may be the /principle/, but if the ratio of silent calls to calls met with an operator I receive is anything to go by, they must be dialling at least 900% of the numbers their staff can handle at any one time. Which generates a teeny tiny bit more 'efficiency' for the cold-calling-company, at the expense of MASSIVELY more annoyance for the recipients of their calls. Which again rubs in that they don't give a t055.

    3. Phil Endecott

      What you describe is "answering machine detection", AMD. They don't want to talk to you, they want to leave a message on your answering machine. So they wait for a bleep. If they detect a real human, they hang up.

  20. Mark Allen
    Devil

    Suitable Punishment

    All Owners, Directors, Managers of this company should have their home and mobile phone numbers published so we can phone them at stupid times of the day.

    In fact, I think this should be a standard. If you run a call centre, then you should have your personal details made public.

    1. MGJ

      Re: Suitable Punishment

      Beat me to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suitable Punishment

      in the same vein, if you manage a government department that has access to -and- manages to "lose" people's personal data, your own should be available for public inspection.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably

    why I haven't had any PPI calls today :)

  22. present_arms

    http://www.whocalls.me.uk/phone/01618500288

  23. Chris G Silver badge

    If they live in Brighton

    I know a couple of handy blokes who would be willing to call round and have a word in their shell like....

  24. Peter Prof Fox

    Easy to deal with if the will was there

    1 Telcos have a charging system and that must work internationally. I very much doubt that's hacked as easily as caller ID.

    2 Subscribers could have an abuse number that works like 1471. All you'd have to do is hammer 1??1 and the person paying for the call gets a black mark. It might say, 'Youre the 7000th person to report these scumbags, they are being charged £10 per call.)

    After 10 blackmarks the cost per connection is doubled. After 50 doubled again etc.

    As a refinement, after 1??1 press 1 for ghost caller, 2 for scam, 3 for won't stop calling, 4 personal harassment etc.

    1. Gerry 3
      Boffin

      Use 1477, Automatic Call Trace

      The code to report nuisance calls from withheld numbers is 1477, Automatic Call Trace. You can press Recall and use it during the offending call, or for up to 10 minutes afterwards.

      Unfortunately many telcos (e.g. Fuel Broadband) claim not to have heard of it and refuse to activate the service, so you may have to refer them to the relevant Ombudsman or whatever.

      If Ofcom and the ICO weren't both utterly and totally useless, they'd insist that 1477, Caller Display and Anonymous Call Reject were provided free of charge on all lines. They're all existing exchange facilities that cost the telcos nothing to implement. ACR should also offer an option to block incoming calls where the CLI is Unavailable.

      Similarly, the networks should block calls with invalid CLIs. It's interesting to note that when a call has an obviously spoofed CLI, 1471 does not offer the option to return the call. If the called party's exchange can recognise an invalid CLI, why does it not just block the call?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Use 1477, Automatic Call Trace

        "Unfortunately many telcos (e.g. Fuel Broadband) claim not to have heard of it and refuse to activate the service, so you may have to refer them to the relevant Ombudsman or whatever."

        It's more that the telco you mention chooses not to offer that service, or offers service over a platform that doesn't support it. You have a choice as a consumer which telco you use - if the one you use doesn't offer a service you want, move to another one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy to deal with if the will was there

      "1 Telcos have a charging system and that must work internationally. I very much doubt that's hacked as easily as caller ID."

      It works on a 'previous link in the chain' basis. International calls might have passed though multiple networks to get to you, you just bill the telco who gave it to you. You can't see any further back than that. A telco will have a number of interconnects to other telcos, they only have billing relationships with those telcos.

      For international calls, the former monopolies are now minnows. The large operators are people like Primus in London who operate a 'blind' exchange. The UK telco picking up a call bills Primus, Primus then bills the operator who delivered the call to their switch from overseas. The end telco can't see where the call came from, what networks it has traversed, or whether the CLI is likely to be right or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: Easy to deal with if the will was there

        So if they operate a 'blind' service they should be happy to get the fine, right?

  25. Terry 6 Silver badge

    get the paymasters

    Sod the call centres.

    It's the PPI companies and other filth who use them who need to be taken round the back and sorted out.

    (And some medical treatment for anyone who falls for this stinking bait! Who are these suckers who make the sh*t worthwhile?)

  26. kain preacher

    Punishment should be sleep deprivation. Put them in a cement room with 200watt lights always on and a inch of standing water. Every time they fall a sleep blast an air horn followed by a jolt from a stun belt. After a week they will of learned their lesson or gone insane.

  27. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Good news for a change

    I permanently disconnected my landline because of these calls (yes, I know there are other options but I don't particularly need a landline). The number of such calls I've been getting lately on my mobile has however risen ridiculously. I had a suspicion that the call centre was somewhere near Brighton because of the accent of the operators I have spoken to when vainly attempting to get removed from their call list or the name of their company. I noticed that I did not get any such calls today which is highly unusual, so hopefully they are out of business - will have to see for how long.

    Call centre staff usually wear a headset. I suggest taking the call and pressing "5" or whatever to get put through to a live operator. Start discussing a fictitious PPI or accident claim in a very quiet voice (so they turn up the volume if there is one), then hit them with a blast from a rape alarm or boat compressed air horn. It may be an idea to leave the office before doing so.

    1. swampdog

      Re: Good news for a change

      For those who might occasionally need a land-line..

      a) Crappy old binatone answering machine.

      b) God awful recording of (c) from a failing cassette tape(*).

      c) 58 seconds of Syd Barrett's Effervescing Elephant.

      d) Allow recording to fill up answering machine with crackly silence so no beep to leave message.

      (*) Don't want the buggers to be able to make out many words!

  28. jonathanb Silver badge

    Are there no prisons?

    Prison would be the perfect place for scum like this.

  29. Alan J. Wylie

    Nuisance Calls. Brighton. That rings a bell.

    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2010/04/sky-falls-in-on-jailed-satelli.html

  30. Gerry 3

    Make your number appear invalid to autodiallers !

    A little while ago I added a Special Information Tone to the start of my answering machine message.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/IC_SIT.ogg

    It tells automated dialling equipment that my number has been changed or disconnected, so they'll delete it from their list of numbers to pester.

    It may be coincidence, but following a holiday I've noticed a large reduction in nuisance calls in the last fortnight or so. I always used to receive four or five calls each weekday, but I've had over a week without any, which hasn't been the case for several years.

    So give it a try and see whether it works for you !

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More whimper than woof

    I'd imagine a dawn raid from the ICO must be nearly as intimidating as being turned over by the provisional wing of the Tellytubbies.

    Since the ICO won't follow through with anything more substantial than the good PR they think they've generated, the whole thing is bloody pointless anyway, and nothing is going to improve till the government conclude there's a serious number of lost votes in not banning the lot with massive fines per call made for transgression. We'll have colonised Mars before that comes to pass.

  32. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Ahh my compensation...

    Apparently I've been involved in an accident, not fault of my own, and I'm entitled to compensation.

    It must have been a serious one as I have no recollection of it, therefore I can only assume that I sustained a nasty head injury causing amnesia.

    That's got to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in compo.

    So, considering the seriousness of the incident, my amnesia - I really have no memory of anything to do with an accident, and my wish not to clutter up the courts with long drawn out cases, can you just send me a cheque for £50,000 and we'll call it done?

    Please pass this on to whoever is in charge of the organisation.

    Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

  33. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    I once amused myself in my office by feeding these survey scammers false information to see what they did with it. I'd frequently get phone calls after that asking for "Gary Hitler" or "Adolf Eichmann" or various other names I'd made up. In 2011 the trend was to use cheap indian call centres to make the outgoing "sales" calls - offering injury compensation, doing more "surveys" etc. (can't remember if PPI was a thing back then). If the call looked like an "outcome" was promising, they'd escalate it to a slightly less impossible-to-understand indian. If it looked like a "definite", they'd transfer you to a UK call centre staffed with people with vaguely understandable voices and official sounding job titles. The whole thing was probably very well organised and was probably linked to the nascent "your computer is sending out viruses, please pay as to repair it" industry,

    Anyway, I recorded one of these scam incoming calls, where they had already been fed rubbish data, and fed them some more. I still can't believe the sheer determination of the call centre staff, tempered only by their ignorance and stupidity. Here's the recording (with subtitles that I added): https://youtu.be/UakaSdXk8ZI

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give me a decent place to report such calls

    What I would want is a decent place to report such calls, a central entity with enough power to dig underneath the "number withheld" facility these criminals use to continue doing what they do. Yes, criminals.

    Unless it's easier to identify these people it's merely one mole down in a game of whack-a-mole.

    The pox on all of them.

  35. Bob Dunlop

    You need to tackle the root cause.

    Fine the originating telco five pounds for every unwanted call. Then see how quick they are to take a bit more care about the customers they sign up.

  36. Ed_UK

    Apparently...

    ...someone in my household was involved in an accident, within the past three years.

    Yes, I said, that's right, my granddad got his bell-end stuck in a washing machine door. The staff in the Curry's showroom were really helpful, though. Goodbye.

  37. Boris Winkle
    Thumb Up

    Superb

    Well, it seems to have worked. I have had a call every single day for the past three months at the same time on my work phone and mobile..

    And they have stopped.

    Get the F**K in!

  38. roger 8

    we believe you have been involved in an accident

    It appears the police have kicked your back doors in.

    You do not get any compensation

    do not pass go

    do not collect £200

    Go straight to jail.

    This message and your phone will self destruct in 5 seconds

    BOOM

    opps I lied it was 1 second

    Have a nice hands free day

  39. billse10

    "make the telcos financially responsible for sustained detectable abuse of their systems"

    (for example, for 'detectable sustained' cases, make them pay to the end subscriber the actual cost paid by the caller, giving the caller's full real/legal name and verified physical address - so they have to identify the caller, have to identify the subscriber, tell end customers the cheaper call rates others are getting, and do all of that at their own cost)

    Add to that, make the call centre's customers directly liable for the target's time - at the highest hourly rate anyone can think of (say, the rate a QC MP charges a government department), and just in case they get a bit iffy about not paying, before you can use any bulk calling service you have to put a massive amount in escrow - take that hourly rate, multiply it by number of calls to be made in a month, that sort of thing :-)

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For contrast - Maplin

    was on holiday recently and got a txt from Maplin about going to pick up a "click and collect" for some euro power adapters. Pointed out to them that (a) i'd already collected them, and was actually using one of them at the time as was travelling, and (b) just as a silly comment that i'd received that txt while roaming, think i said having charged phone using their power adapter, so could they please make sure I didn't get any more similar messages about that order?

    Was surprised - pleasantly - to get an email back confirming that they had removed me from the notifications list, and could I let them have an address please so that they could send me a 'thank you'; when I came back from travelling there was a £5 Maplin voucher waiting. As I said, pleasantly surprised :-)

  41. Oninoshiko

    Suggestions

    Can I donate a wall to put them against?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I pledge my vote in the upcoming election to any party (irrespective of how utterly bonkers they may be in other respects - OK Nigel, Ed?) that promises I'll never get another spam phone call again. That includes so called "legitimate market research", charities and political parties. TPS remains a farce. Fake CLI must be penalised as must CLI witheld.

  43. nick soph

    Calculating a fair fine

    Number of calls to people who didnt want them, times

    time in seconds it took them to answer the call and hang up and get back to what they were doing, times

    the average wage per second.

    The information gathered will supply more accurate info but;

    Working on 6 million calls a day, with just 1% of the calls being to people who didnt want them and 2 mins of their day wasted at £10 an hour, comes to £20,000 per day or about £5,000,000 a year.

    1. Daniel Hedley

      Re: Calculating a fair fine

      Which is why the ICO's fining powers are so inadequate. The new law working its tortuous way through the institutions of the EU looks like it will up that power to the greater of EUR200mil or 5% of global turnover. THAT should make these gits sit up and take notice.

  44. XDeputy
    Happy

    Could this possibly be the reason I have not suffered a single call for A WHOLE WEEK?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020