Residents in Crewkerne and in the neighbouring villages are advised to beware of spoof telephone calls, following reports of numerous such calls in the area. The fraudsters operating the calls from overseas, deliberately change the telephone number and/or the name relayed as the caller ID, to hide their true identity or to mimic the number of a real company or person in this country.

Three particular telephone numbers have been used by spoofing callers over the last couple of weeks. These are 01461 444001, 01461 444032 and 01354 836877. The 01461 is an area code for the Dumfries and Galloway areas in Gretna, Scotland and the 01354 is an area code for Chatteris in Cambridge. Unless you have friends, family or regularly communicate with businesses in these areas of the UK, the advice is not to answer these calls.

Recent spoof calls received by residents in Crewkerne and in Misterton, have been by fraudsters claiming to be from the Telephone Preference Service. A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “Spoofers (identity thieves) and other fraudsters often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, telephone or internet service providers and government departments, to get people to reveal their sensitive information. Do not give out your personal details and avoid answering the phone by saying your telephone number and name as a greeting. Also avoid including these details on your answerphone message or voicemail, just say hello.”

Anyone who has received a spoof call is advised to make a brief note of the call, with the date, time and number they were called from if possible and contact their telephone service provider to make a complaint. Wait at least five minutes after receiving a spoof call, before using your telephone, to ensure that you are not still talking to the fraudster. Ofcom is working with the international regulators, as well as the telecoms industry to find solutions to the problem.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which helps to develop internet standards, has created a group specifically to tackle this issue. Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology used to make internet calls, is often used in spoofing. To register with the Telephone Preference Service for free, telephone 0345 0700707. Other ways to stop receiving spoof or nuisance calls, which while annoying and inconvenient, can cause considerable distress and anxiety to more vulnerable consumers, is to consider going ex-directory or having a call blocking service activated on a landline telephone. Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime can be contacted on 0300 123 2040, to report any incidents where bank account details have been fraudulently obtained and money illegally withdrawn.


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