Why don’t Telco’s stop junk phone calls?

I have just spent a few minutes stringing along some weasel in India who had called me to let me know that their “servers had reported a problem with my computer“. He told me that my computer is infected with viruses, and that “I will help you get rid of them“. How kind!

My computer doesn't have a 'Windows' key!

My computer doesn’t have a ‘Windows’ key!

He asked me if I was at my computer, which I was, and he asked me to press the Windows key. Being obtuse, I told him that I cannot see a Windows key, but I have a Ctrl key, an Alt key and a Cmd key – but these clearly did not meet his requirements. He then told me to use the mouse to click on the round button in the bottom left hand corner. I told him “I don’t have a round button in the bottom left hand corner, but I do have a picture of an Apple in the top left hand corner.

He then hung up. How rude!

I know that it was a waste of my time, but more importantly it was a waste of his time too – hoping that he would spend less time trying to convince somebody more gullible to part with their cash.

Now, while I find these parasites a real pain in the arse, what are our telephone companies doing about it?

I’ll tell you – absolutely nothing!  Okay, we have the Telephone Preference Service which operates a rather Edwardian gentleman’s agreement between itself and those organisations who wish to be regulated – “I say you chaps, this isn’t exactly cricket now, is it?” – but does absolutely nothing to counteract these scumbags. Despite registering with the TPS, I still get recorded telephone calls from companies calling about computer viruses, surveys, payment protection compensation and the like.

Our computers are protected by firewalls, virus guards and spam checkers.  Why can’t our telco’s do much the same?  Surely, in these digital times, it can’t be too difficult to block the calls originating from these criminals and the other nuisances?  Come on BT and Virgin Media, are you just turning a blind eye to all of this whilst accepting the charges to connect the call?  Ofcom – do something.

Is it corporate profit at the expense of customer convenience?

What do you think?

UPDATE: I’ve just found that there are a number of organisations who should have a finger in this particular pie:

  • Ofcom – Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.
  • ico – The Information Commissioner’s Office
  • TPS – Telephone Preference Service
  • PhonepayPlus – the Premium Rate Regulator
  • Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud reporting centre

Their responsibilities seem to be fairly well delineated, but I’d wager that there are a number of situations which fall between the joins; I can almost see the civil servants pointing at each other. Would it not make sense to combine the telephone elements from the ico, the TPS and PhonepayPlus under Ofcom, and give the organisation some sharp teeth and a big stick?

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