What are 020 numbers?

An 020 phone number is most likely one from the London area, as 020 is the area code for the region. This area code was introduced back in 2000, with new local numbers being activated after this change being in 0207 and 0208 formats. In 2005, 0203 numbers were introduced and more recently, in 2019, 0204 numbers were introduced.

Are 020 numbers free to call and text?

If you are with SMARTY, calling 020 numbers is free of charge as part of the unlimited minutes to UK landlines included in your plan. However, this is not guaranteed across all networks and phone tariffs. On landlines, calls to 020 numbers can cost up to 16p per minute and can cost from 3p to 65p per minute if you are calling from a mobile phone – so be sure to check what the rates are with your provider if you are unsure if it will cost you!

You can get a full breakdown of what is free and what is chargeable in a SMARTY plan with our premium, freephone and service numbers help article.

Why do 020 numbers keep ringing me?

As you can imagine, there are a lot of numbers registered in and around London – it is estimated that the 020 area code has capacity for approximately 100 million numbers!

Given many businesses are based in London, their numbers will begin with the 020 area code. Unfortunately, many fraudsters who are able to spoof 020 numbers take advantage of this to hide their identity and to imply the number is based in London, as some may perceive this to show greater prestige and therefore legitimacy.

How can I avoid 020 number scams?

Bear in mind that a call from an 020 number does not necessarily mean it is a scam – as mentioned, it may be a genuine caller from London, although it is always worth being vigilant if receiving a call from an unrecognised number. Generally, it may be safer to let the call end and see if the caller leaves a voicemail or tries to call again – a scam caller would likely just move on if they did not get an answer, whereas someone who is trying to call you genuinely may make a bit more effort to get in touch.

Search the number

If you receive a call from an unknown number, a quick search online can often give an indication of the call’s legitimacy, so consider this before answering or calling back. Sites like Who Called often show how many times other users have searched for the number and also may include comments from people who answered the call and can give an indication of what happened. Factors like high search volumes of the number, negative feedback from other users and calls from the number reportedly starting very recently (this can often be on the same day that you search) can be good indicators that a call is untrustworthy.

Verify company information if a caller claims to be from one

If a caller from an unknown number claims to be from a company, do not give away any personal information, especially if the caller is trying to pressure or hurry you in any way. Instead, it would be safer to end the call and check the company’s official website to find the number they have listed there. If the number there does not match the one that called you, it is unlikely the call was legitimate, but you can always try calling the number listed on the website and asking the company to verify whether or not it was them who tried to contact you if you want some extra piece of mind.

Check out our help article on dealing with malicious and nuisance calls and our Safer Internet Day blog post for more information and advice for keeping yourself and your family safe when it comes to using phones and accessing the internet.

SMARTY SIM only deals

As mentioned, with SMARTY, calls to 020 numbers cost nothing, due to the unlimited minutes included as standard in all of our great value plans. With superfast 5G, up to 12GB of EU roaming and no annual prices, there are plenty more reasons to love SMARTY! Why not try our award-winning simple, honest mobile for yourself?

Disclaimer: any external pages we have linked to in this blog (i.e. those outside of the SMARTY website) are not owned or managed by SMARTY in any way. Although we may include links for you to visit these pages more easily, we are not responsible for the content and information you may find on these.

  • SMARTY Team
  • March 28th, 2023