Ofcom calls on telecoms providers to block VoIP calls from abroad

Ofcom has confirmed that UK telecoms providers have agreed to automatically block almost all VoIP calls coming from abroad if they pretend to be from UK numbers.

The regulator said this morning that one telecoms provider has so far introduced this call blocking function. Others are exploring how they can introduce it, and Ofcom said it expects other providers to work on this “at pace”.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's networks and communications group director, explained, “Tackling this complex problem requires a coordinated effort from the police, Government, other regulators and industry. We’ve been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number. We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.”

The call blocking initiative relates to guidance published by NICC Standards, the UK telecoms technical standards organisation, and was done at Ofcom’s request.

The technical solution will block calls made from abroad if they show up as a UK number as this is a common tactic used by fraudsters, although there will be some exceptions such as mobile roaming.