When logging in to the HMRC website, as part of the security system it rings my landline with an access code. After I had registered with Call Protect, these ringback calls ceased to work. It took me some time to realise that Call Protect was responsible - it routed them to my junk mail i.e. it had blocked the call.
The man I spoke to at HMRC said that they were having problems with the ringback system. Perhaps this is why!! There could be a lot of people affected.
When will BT change their algorithm so that such calls aren't blocked?
Other companies (e.g. banks) use ringback for security idnetification. Are they affected?
This also happened to an automated call from my bank (nationwide) to give me a balance alert.
It does seem like BT perhaps need to enable an option of reporting wrongly categorised junk. In the mean time perhaps it is possible to whitelist the numbers using the VIP list?
afaik, the VIP list isn't included in the basic free BT Call Protect. It may have been free in the past or might be free in future, but right now it's an extra cost feature.
Before activating BT Call Protect today (30March2017) my Gigaset phone showed CLIP "060886" and CNIP "Unavailable" for HMRC security callback calls.
After activating BT Call Protect with all default settings, CLIP/CNIP were reported as Unavailable/INTERNATIONAL.
After turning my personal Blacklist off, CLIP/CNIP again displayed as 060886/Unavailable. Strange that activation/deactivation of an empty personal blacklist should affect things.
In all of the above the security callback calls arrived OK at my phone.
Finally, after changing Call Protect's handling for unrecognised numbers from ALLOW (the default) to STOP, the security callbacks no longer arrived at my phone but were routed to junk voicemail. So whatever BT have done to tweak things recently still isn't perfect.
An update, 6 months later. Things have changed, but problems remain ...
My BT Call Protect settings are: Personal Blacklist ON, BT Blacklist ON, Withheld numbers STOP, Unrecognised numbers STOP, International numbers ALLOW.
When HMRC send their automated access code messages to my BT landline, three scenarios now appear to exist:
1. the call reaches my landline, and BT Call Protect lists the originating number as +03002003600
2. the call does not reach my landline, BT Call Protect lists the originating number as Unrecognised, and the call is routed to the 1572 junk voicemail box.
3. the call does not reach my landline, and BT Call Protect appears to be completely unaware of it. Black hole?
During a 90 minute period early this morning I tried 12 times to logon to the Government Gateway. I used 2 different userids and 3 different IP addresses (of which 2 were on the same landline as my broadband, and one was via a non-BT mobile operator). I tried every combination twice. My BT Call Protect settings remained the same throughout.
Of my 12 logon attempts: 4 were scenario 1 (i.e. call with access code message arrived OK), 6 were scenario 2 (call routed to junk voicemail), and 2 were scenario 3 (black hole). There was no obvious correlation between userid / IP address combinations and the different scenarios.
I can't think of a way to investigate the "black hole" scenario, so let's forget that.
For the calls known to BT Call Protect, I dug a bit deeper:
The webpage logic that displays these calls is https://www.bt.com/s/apps/appspstn/index.html#/recent-calls That webpage uses a getRecentCallsData service to retrieve details of the last 20 calls (of which the most-recent 5 or all 20 are displayed, depending on the situation). The getRecentCallsData service returns its data in XML format. Within that, the "phoneNumber" items are interesting:
- for scenario 1 (successful call), the phone number has the expected value:
- for scenario 2 (call routed to junk voicemail), the phoneNumber appears to be garbage (different garbage each time, but always with length 70). An example:
So where does that leave us? There are several possibilities:
- HMRC send out to landlines some access code messages with a valid originating phone number and others with garbage originating phone number with length 70 OR
- HMRC send out all such messages with a valid originating phone number, and some of these are corrupted en-route to BT OR
- Such messages arrive correctly at BT, but BT's logic sometimes fails to identify the originating phone number as valid and instead writes 70 bytes of garbage to the phoneNumber location in its database of calls OR
- a combination of these, or something else altogether.
Is it too much to ask for these 2 corporate giants to get together and sort this out once and for all. It shouldn't be up to us individuals to identify workarounds or to try to explain the situation to non-technical help desk personnel.