How to deal with nuisance calls

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Q. Over the past few months I have constantly been receiving calls from PPI companies or calls asking if I have been in an accident. Is there anything I can do to stop this?

A. There are some actions you can take to stop getting nuisance calls that you don’t want.

Nuisance calls can include:

cold calls trying to sell you something you don’t want or need, like double glazing

recorded or automated messages telling you you’re due compensation, perhaps for a mis-sold insurance policy such as PPI

Register with the Telephone Preference Service

The best way to stop nuisance calls is to register your number with the Telephone Preference Service - they’ll add you to their list of numbers that don’t want to receive sales and marketing calls.

It’s illegal for a company to call numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service, so registering should scare companies away and stop them bothering you.

It’s a free service and it’s easy to register. You’ll need your phone number, postcode and an email address to sign up on the Telephone Preference Service website.

You can also sign up from your mobile by texting ‘TPS’ and your email address to 85095.

If you get nuisance calls after you’ve registered with the Telephone Preference Service, it may be because you gave the caller your number and you don’t remember doing it. Tell the individual caller you don’t want to be contacted again, and they should stop calling you.

In future, you should check any forms that you fill in for tickboxes that say something like “I give permission for third parties to contact me by phone” or “I give you permission to contact me by phone”. Don’t tick the boxes if you don’t want to be contacted.

Block nuisance calls

There are products to block some calls (like international calls or withheld numbers) but be careful they don’t also block calls you want. Ask your phone provider if they have a service to block some numbers, or you can install a call blocking device on your phone yourself.

Ofcom has information about the different services your phone provider may have to tackle nuisance calls.

And Which? has reviewed a range of call blocking devices.

If you think it’s a scam call

Scams usually involve people being tricked into giving money. If you think a caller is trying to run a scam, you should report it to Actionfraud.

Stop getting nuisance texts

If you’ve given your number to a company in the past they may send you texts. You can tell them to stop sending you texts by replying ‘STOP’ to the text message. Only reply with ‘STOP’ if the sender tells you who they are in the text or they’re identified in the sent-from number.

If you don’t recognise the sender of a nuisance text or it’s from an unknown number, don’t reply. This will let the sender know you’re number is active and they may send you more texts or call you.

Report a nuisance call or text

Registering with the Telephone Preference Service will stop you getting nuisance calls, but if someone’s still bothering you 28 days after registering, then report them to the Telephone Preference Service.

Registering with the Telephone Preference Service won’t stop you getting nuisance texts. Forward the text to 7726 - this spells ‘SPAM’ on your phone keypad. This will report the sender to your mobile network company. You won’t be charged for forwarding a text to 7726.

Reporting nuisance calls or texts also helps regulators track down who’s making them. You’re under no obligation to do this, but it’s quick and easy, and it’ll help more people in the long run.

If you’re getting calls where no one’s there (called silent or abandoned calls), report them to Ofcom.

You can report any other type of nuisance call or text to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They can fine companies that break the law.

For further advice get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.co.uk or for further information go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk.nireland