How to stop those nuisance calls
Everything you need to know about getting rid of unwanted calls
Unwanted calls are a pain and there’s no reason you should have to put up with them. But whether they’re annoying telesales calls, or something more serious, there are a few things you can do to avoid them completely. Some of these tips might seem a bit over the top, but we think it’s better to be cautious. If you feel like you’re getting abusive or threatening calls, it’s important to report them to the police straight away.
- Keep your personal info private – a lot of people are in the habit of answering the phone by saying their phone number. A nuisance number might've called you at random, so saying your number gives it to the caller. It seems obvious, but by answering the phone with just a 'hello', you're giving nothing away.
- Use an answerphone or answering service – it's an easy way to screen calls.
- Keep voicemail or answerphone messages short – don’t give too much info and never say you can’t take calls because you’re away from home.
- Change your Phone Book listing – only give away essential info in your listing. If it has anything else, like marital status or gender, it's best to delete it. To do this, get in touch with us.
- Use a screening feature like ‘call guardian’ or ‘caller display’ – if your phone’s got a display, you can use it to see who’s calling before deciding whether or not to answer. Some phones come with screening, which means you can find out who is calling before picking up.
- Set up anonymous call rejection – this will let you block withheld numbers. It's also called 'barring' calls. You can find out more about it in our call features guide.
Can I stop sales and marketing companies calling me?
Yes, you can. The best way to stop sales and marketing calls is to make it illegal for them to call you. All you need to do is register with the Telephone Preference Services (TPS). It was set up in the UK and makes it illegal for any telesales nuisance callers to contact you on a number you have put on the TPS list.
To stop sales and marketing calls, register with TPS now. If you're still getting nuisance calls after registering and have told the company to stop, it's best to complain to the Direct Marketing Association or the Information Commissioners Office.
What can I do to avoid scams or premium rate numbers?
Scammers are always coming up with new ways to get their hands on your info, so stay alert all the time. If you’re calling your bank, only ever use numbers from places you can trust, like on the back of your card or a bank statement. Keep in mind that your bank will never ask you to give them your account details or a full password over the phone. Also, remember calls to numbers starting with 090 can be expensive.
If your bills are showing calls to premium rate numbers you didn't make, check all of the kit connected to your telephone line. Something may be dialling premium rate numbers without you knowing.
If you've got a fax dial-up modem, disconnect it from your line and run a virus check on it. If you've got any security or fire alarm systems set up, contact the alarm company and check when the alarm system automatically calls them, as both of these might be causing the problem.
If you want to find out more about who provides a premium rate number, check the Phonepay Plus site. It won't always tell you the company, but you'll be able to see the operator.