Yesterday when I got in from work I got my second letter in as many months through from BT saying that my account was being closed as my landline was being transferred to another provider. This was the first I’d heard of this and it causes a cancellation charge so I called to complain; the first time I did this they said they couldn’t tell me anything about who the line had been transferred to. They did tell me that there was no equivalent of PAC or MAC for landlines and that the only thing stopping this happening is the two week delay in implementing.
This time BT felt able to tell me that the line had been transferred to Orange so I phoned Orange. Orange told me that the phone number had indeed been transferred to them in the name of someone else. They also said that they had no intention of attempting to carry out any authentication that lines being transferred to them are owned by the person they’re being transferred to – I explicitly asked them if anyone could just do this for any phone number and they confirmed that this is indeed the case.
BT claim they can’t block transfers for regulatory reasons; Orange claim this is possible and that I should just do that. I’ve asked Orange to put a note on the account (which was the best they claimed they could do) and complained to OFCOM (who won’t really talk to me without a formal escalation from the phone providers) but none of this really helps given the gaping security holes in the system. You really should need more information than just the phone number itself to transfer a number.
On the slightly bright side I still appear to have phone service; presumably currently paid for by whoever is initiating the transfers.