Consumers are being warned to be on their guard for con artists masquerading as Telephone Preference Service staff.
Reports have been received of four companies using similar tactics – cold calling customers to sell them products they claim will stop cold callers.
The firms’ aim is to sign up customers to their service or sell them a device which they claim will block nuisance calls.
DS Mike Wood, from the economic crime unit, said: “Customers have been reporting that not only do the devices not work, but the firms have been using the payment details supplied to take far larger sums than they agreed to.
“The sellers often claim the service will cost a weekly or monthly fee, ranging from 50 pence per week to between £1.50 and £3 per month.
“Once they have the debit or credit card details, they take anywhere between £50 and £100 – claiming it is an upfront payment covering three years.
“The details have also been used to fraudulently take larger sums of money from vulnerable victims.”
He added there had also been reports from those looking to return faulty devices within the 14 day cooling off period, that they had simply been ignored and no money had been refunded.
A spokesman for the legitimate Telephone Preference Service said it too had been made aware of the scam.
He said: “We are aware of a number of organisations that call people claiming to be the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and try to charge consumers for registration.
“It is FREE to sign up to the TPS register. We will never contact you requesting payments or credit card details.
“Once an individual's telephone number is on the TPS, it will remain on it and there is no need to update your registration.”
If you suspect that you have been contacted by a fraudulent organisation, then you can contact Action Fraud to report your concerns.
If you have any information on these types of companies (phone number, web address), please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org