Have you ever received annoying or suspicious texts or calls on your mobile phone? If so, you are not alone. According to a report by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, 47% of UK adults received a nuisance call in 2020, and 39% received an unwanted text message. Also, given the current improvement in modern email spam filtering technologies, we find that scammers are increasingly resorting to mobile phone sms texts and messaging apps to lure their victims. It is a trend that is likely to become more prevalent in the coming period as attackers pivot to easier vectors of phishing attacks, namely your mobile device and messaging apps which tend to have lesser security controls.
Fortunately, there is a way to report these unwanted communications and help stop them from happening again. It’s called the 7726 service, and it works with all UK mobile providers.
The 7726 service allows you to forward any spam or scam texts or calls to the number 7726, which spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad. This will alert your mobile provider to the nuisance number and help them to investigate and block it. To use the 7726 service, all you need to do is follow these steps:
- If you receive a spam or scam text message, forward it to 7726. You can do this by selecting the message, tapping the forward icon, and entering 7726 as the recipient. You will receive a confirmation text from your provider asking for the sender’s number. Reply with the number if you have it, or leave it blank if you don’t.
- If you receive a spam or scam phone call, hang up and dial 7726. You will hear a recorded message asking you to enter the nuisance number. Enter the number if you have it, or press # if you don’t. You will receive a confirmation text from your provider thanking you for your report.
You can watch accompanying videos to see how to use the 7726 service for your device.
Reporting spam or scam texts or calls to 7726 is not only helpful for your mobile provider, but also for the authorities who are trying to combat fraud and cybercrime. If you have been a victim of a scam, or you have been contacted by someone trying to scam you, you should also report it to Action Fraud, the reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can do this online at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, you should contact Police Scotland via 101.
Besides using the 7726 service and reporting scams, there are other ways to protect yourself from unwanted calls and messages. For example, you can:
- Register your number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which is a free service that helps stop unsolicited sales and marketing calls. You can register online at https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/ or by calling 0345 070 0707.