OFCOM: Fraud Calls 0121-400 0097

Uwe Bergman made this Freedom of Information request to Office of Communications

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Office of Communications,

1. Please list the complaints and concerns received by OFCOM about VOIP telephone number 0121-400 0097. The number is in a series allocated to Numbergroup Network Ltd (who call themselves Numbergroup Billing Services Ltd).

2. When was OFCOM initially aware of the allegations that the CLI presentation number 0121-400 0097 has been falsified (or 'spoofed') ?

3. What can OFCOM effectively do to prevent or reduce the possibility of falsified CLI presentation numbers being used to make fraudulent or nuisance telephone calls to domestic households in England.

Yours faithfully,

Uwe Bergman.

Information Requests, Office of Communications

Dear Mr Bergman

Thank you for your request for information regarding fraudulent calls which we received on 5 August 2013.

Where we hold the information you have requested we will endeavour to answer your request in full and within 20 working days. If we are unable to provide the information requested, we will explain why.

If you have any queries then please email me at [Ofcom request email]. The reference number for this request is 1-240460092.

Yours sincerely

Eleanor Berg

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Ian left an annotation ()

I got one of these call just now. Is it actually illegal in the UK to spoof a CLI number? If not it clearly should be.

Information Requests, Office of Communications

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bergmann

Please find response attached.

Yours sincerely

Eleanor Berg

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Uwe Bergman left an annotation ()

Here is the plain text ........

> Dear Mr Bergman
>
> Freedom of Information: Right to know request
> Thank you for completing our web form on 5 August 2013.

****** I didn't. *****

> You submitted a request for information about complaints received by Ofcom regarding 0121 400 0097. We received your request on 5 August 2013 and have considered it under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’).

> I have answered your questions below.

> 1. Please list the complaints and concerns received by OFCOM about VOIP telephone number 0121-400 0097. The number is in a series allocated to Numbergroup Network Ltd (who call themselves Numbergroup Billing Services Ltd).

> We can neither confirm nor deny whether we hold the information you requested, as to provide such information would fall under the exemption in section 44 of the Act. Disclosure of whether we hold such information is prohibited under section 393(1) of the Communications Act 2003. Section 44 is an absolute exemption under the Act and does not require a public interest test.

> 2. When was OFCOM initially aware of the allegations that the CLI presentation number 0121-400 0097 has been falsified (or 'spoofed') ?

> We can neither confirm nor deny whether we hold the information you requested, as to provide such information would fall under the exemption in section 44 of the Act. Disclosure of whether we hold such information is prohibited under section 393(1) of the Communications Act 2003. Section 44 is an absolute exemption under the Act and does not require a public interest test.

> 3. What can OFCOM effectively do to prevent or reduce the possibility of falsified CLI presentation numbers being used to make fraudulent or nuisance telephone calls to domestic households in England.

> On 31 July 2013, the Information Commissioner’s Office and Ofcom published a Joint Action Plan on tackling nuisance calls and messages. Furthermore, it also listed the priority areas over the coming months including the tracing of nuisance calls. You can find out more information about this in the plan. A copy is on our website at: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2013/07/31/ico...
nuisance-calls/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nuisance-calls-nr.

> Yours sincerely
>
> Eleanor Berg

Dear Office of Communications,

I am writing to request an internal review of Office of Communications's handling of my FOI request 'OFCOM: Fraud Calls 0121-400 0097'.

OFCOM mentioned FOI Act 2000 s.44

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

44 Prohibitions on disclosure.

(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure (otherwise than under this Act) by the public authority holding it—

(a) is prohibited by or under any enactment,

(b) is incompatible with any EU obligation, or

(c) would constitute or be punishable as a contempt of court.

(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if the confirmation or denial that would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart from this Act) fall within any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1).

And

Communications Act 2003 s.393(1)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003...

393 General restrictions on disclosure of information

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, information with respect to a particular business which has been obtained in exercise of a power conferred by—

(a) this Act,

(b) the enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum (so far as not contained in this Act),

(c) the 1990 Act, or

(d) the 1996 Act,

is not, so long as that business continues to be carried on, to be disclosed without the consent of the person for the time being carrying on that business.

My request was NOT about the manner in which Numbergroup Network Ltd (who call themselves Numbergroup Billing Services Ltd) conduct their business. My request was about that business' concerns that one of their OFCOM allocated numbers being misused by third parties.

If you want me to pursue this all the way to the Court of Appeal via the Information Tribunals, keep acting stupidly and obstructively. Otherwise start behaving reasonably and sensibly. Remember you are paid by the public to SERVE the public not play silly games at the public's expense.

A full history of my FOI request is at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...

Kindly DO NOT send PDF files. Please refrain from wasting my time. Instead provide a simple PLAIN TEXT answer.

Yours faithfully,

Uwe Bergman
Definitely not impressed.

Jody left an annotation ()

http://www.numbergroup.com/calls-0121400...

Please see an update from Numbergroup.com

George McIver left an annotation ()

My wife and I were awoken this morning at 01.24 AM..we thought it was an emergency but it was supposedly a message via female voice machine from Barclays Bank whom I contacted this morning but to no avail.
I like your persistence...well done.
OFCOM are a lazy SHAM..they do nothing but sit on their fat buts and hide behind regulations set up to ensure those buts get 'fatter'.
Keep up the good work...maybe a national petition for a full inquiry into OFCOM would be welcomed...but it would need to be advertised across the whole of the UK.

georgemciver234@gmail.com

Dear Information Requests,

Please acknowledge receipt of my 20 August 2013 request for an internal review; a copy is available at

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o...

Yours faithfully,

Uwe Bergman

Uwe Bergman left an annotation ()

Dear Mr McIver,

Thank you very much for your kind support over the OFCOM matter.

Public service is getting worse. Instead of people actually serving and assisting the public, those people work against the public's interests by introducing waffle and excuses for laziness and inactivity. The first reaction of FOI coordinators is increasingly "How can I avoid answering the question?".

National politicians are to blame for failing to give the public the RIGHT to make under-performing public employees accountable to the public who pay their salaries, pensions and perks. Public gravy-trains are not in the public's best interests.

Yours sincerely,

Uwe Bergman.

Information Requests, Office of Communications

Dear Mr Bergman
I can confirm your request for internal review is receiving our attention and we will be in touch with you shortly regarding this.
Kind regards
Julia

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Information Requests, Office of Communications

18 September 2013

[FOI #171660 email]

Internal review reference: 1-241378903
Original request reference: 1-240460092

Dear Mr Bergman

Freedom of Information: Right to know request Thank you for your request for an internal review of our decision regarding complaints about VOIP telephone number 0121-400 0097. We received your request for an internal review on 20 August 2013.
Your original request was as follows:

1. Please list the complaints and concerns received by OFCOM about VOIP telephone number 0121-400 0097.

2. When was OFCOM initially aware of the allegations that the CLI presentation number 0121-400 0097 has been falsified (or 'spoofed')?

3. What can OFCOM effectively do to prevent or reduce the possibility of falsified CLI presentation numbers being used to make fraudulent or nuisance telephone calls to domestic households in England.

I have assessed your request and the response that my colleague Eleanor Berg sent to you on 16 August 2013. I have looked closely at the information you have requested and whether Section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act') was correctly applied and whether neither confirming nor denying we hold the information was also correct.

Following my review I have concluded that Section 44 was incorrectly applied to your first question. As such I can confirm that we have searched for information about complaints about calls emanating from 0121-400 0097. As we received no such complaints this year prior to 15 June 2013, we have not searched in earlier years but please let us know if you wish us to do so.
As at the date of your first request, we had received four complaints about a single topic: silent calls.
However, for this review we have searched the period to the end of the week commencing 3 September 2013. The complaints and concerns we had received (including those prior to 5 August) related to two matters:

* 13 complaints concerned silent calls

* 2 complaints concerned an automated message inviting the called person to claim a refund said to be owed to them.

With regard to your second question, following my review, I have concluded that Section 44 was also incorrectly applied to the information you requested. As such, I can confirm that Ofcom first became aware of allegations that 0121-400 0097 had been 'spoofed' on receipt of your information request on 5 August 2013. You'll note that none of the complaints that we have received were about the number being spoofed.

With regard to the your last question, for the avoidance of doubt we do not consider that the question is covered by the Act, as it amounts to a request for Ofcom to express an opinion. However, we responded to it providing relevant information we hold, which we hope was helpful to you.
I hope you are content with my decision.

If you require any further information or would like to talk through any issues regarding the information you have requested then please do not hesitate to give me a ring. I will be more than happy to pass your details on to one of our experts in this area.

Please ensure that when using the provided information in any way, you comply with all relevant legislation. For example, the information provided may be protected by copyright under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended). If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice. For Ofcom's policy on copyright and related issues, please refer to http://www.ofcom.org.uk/disclaimer.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Pillinger-Cork

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF If you have any queries or would like to discuss this informally then please contact Information Requests (email: [Ofcom request email]). Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

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Uwe Bergman left an annotation ()

On Monday 5 August 2013, 11:55, from 0121-400 0097 we got a message beginning

"This is Natwest Bank. Its about your refund. ..."

That number was allocated by OFCOM to Numbergroup Network Ltd. Their details are

Numbergroup Billing Services Ltd
Unit 1, Ansty Court
31 Caroline Street
Birmingham
B3 1UQ

0800-310 1010

On the same day, an Asian male (sounded like a Pakistani Moslim) called Kabir (direct number 0121-400 0111) told me the CLI was spoofed and he had reported the spoofing to BT and to OFCOM.

OFCOM's answer clearly contradicts that Numbergroup claim. An online news article will be published about this annoying telephone pest.

Director and owner Jody Robert Rhodes (see his contribution above) has got some explaining to do including why his company mislead the public.

Uwe Bergman left an annotation ()

Following more junk calls from 01665-462 045, another OFCOM allocation to Numbergroup, an enquiry has been made to West Midlands Police.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n...

Mark Salter left an annotation ()

I've had a call today from 0123456789, a somewhat obvious spoof.

Rang my provider - who with a script lead call centre somewhere warm couldn't really help unless I had a crime reference number.

I suggested that this sort of scam is costing *them* money and as they are putting a spoofed number through that they are involved in fraud; I didn't convince them, but I will just for 'fun' try and get a crime reference number tomorrow (I doubt I will, but I will ask).

Somewhere has gained access to the the vast BT (or telecom provider) VOIP network and has the ability to spoof any number. OFCOM state they are unaware (hmmm), so I wonder if anyone other 'regulators' of the telecoms industry is interested.