Threats, harassment and scams | The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
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Threats, harassment and scams

Providers have responsibilities to prevent their services being used to threaten, harass or scam consumers. When you tell a provider that you have received a life threatening or unwelcome phone call or message via their service, they must do certain things to assist you. They must also take care to prevent unauthorised SIM swaps, where someone takes control of your mobile phone service by getting your provider to cancel and replace your SIM card. We can help with your complaint about how a provider managed these issues.

Types of complaints about threats, harassment and scams

We deal with complaints about providers:

  • not following the correct process to respond when their service was used to contact you with a bomb threat, a threat of serious injury or kidnapping, a threat to public safety or an extortion demand
  • swapping SIMs without taking proper care.


What you should expect from your provider: the law and industry practice

Providers must run a trace if you receive a life threatening communication

If you receive a life threatening communication, your provider must tell you to contact the police. They must also run a trace to find the source of the communication, and report it to the police.

Providers must help you stop repeated unwelcome communications

If you receive repeated unwelcome communications, your provider must give you advice about how to stop them, for example, by arranging email blocking or joining the Do Not Call Register.

Providers should take proper care when swapping SIMs 

Providers should make reasonable attempts to identify anyone asking for a SIM swap. If you tell them about an unauthorised SIM swap, they should quickly cancel the replacement SIM.

How we've helped other customers

Consumer damaged a cable on their property and was being billed for the repair and the replacement of the cable.
Bill for the repair was paid, bill for the replacement was waived.
LineUp phone company pressured a consumer to transfer her services and continued with the process despite the consumer not agreeing.
The transfer was cancelled and the sales process and practices or LineUp was changed as a result of our systemic investigations.
This page was last updated on
30th Aug 2021