Telephones: Fraud

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 24th July 2017.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to encourage Ofcom to use its existing power under Article 28(2) Universal Service Directive to intervene in cases of telephony fraud originating in the EU.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

We are committed to ensuring consumers are protected from harmful and fraudulent practices, and works closely with Ofcom to make sure necessary steps are taken to do so.

Ofcom shares concerns over telephony fraud and is keen to take appropriate action to combat fraud and misuse of electronic communications services and telephone numbers. Ofcom is working with telecoms providers to explore ways of reducing its occurrence and preventing perpetrators from benefitting from fraudulent activity. With reference to Ofcom’s powers to require providers to block access and withhold revenue in cases of fraud or misuse, which we have transposed into UK regulation from Article 28(2) of the Universal Service Directive, Ofcom recently consulted on and confirmed in a statement published on 28 June 2017 its approach to issuing directions requiring telecoms providers to block access and withhold revenue associated with fraud or misuse. It has used this power already to tackle nuisance calls and is looking further at its application.

The government provided funding to National Trading Standards in the last parliament to roll out call-blocking devices to the most vulnerable people in society to protect them against nuisance calls.

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