12 February 2019

The Oral Health Foundation is issuing advice for people calling its Dental Helpline service following an online telephone scam that tricks victims into being charged premium rates.

The scam features a series of bogus telephone numbers that forward people to another site. While connected, fraudsters are then able to hit callers with highly-inflated charges.

The dental helpline of the Oral Health Foundation no longer operates.

These additional and illicit charges have been collected by criminals and not passed onto the charity.

The Oral Health Foundation would like to make clear that its Dental Helpline previously could only be called on its local-rate Rugby telephone number.

All other telephone numbers claiming to be the Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline (including those beginning with 0845) are not genuine and could result in callers being faced with unsuspected charges.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, asks anybody looking to contact the Dental Helpline, to check the authenticity of the details beforehand.

Dr Carter says: “We are aware of a telephone scam in which a series of fake numbers, claiming to be the Dental Helpline, are taking money for unsuspecting callers.

“To clarify, our Dental Helpline was not a premium line.

“If you have been passed any other telephone number, we ask that you please discard it and share this information with us. 

“The welfare of those who reach out to our Dental Helpline is really important to us.  It is always best to check the validity of a helpline number before calling or signposting people towards it. This is especially true if it is about a person’s health.  In this case, their financial safety might be at risk too.”  

Last month, the Dental Helpline reached 400,000 enquiries.  The service is staffed by dental professionals and offers free advice about a range of dental health issues.