How to handle nuisance calls

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From PPI insurance claims to persistence salesman nuisance, unwanted calls can be incredibly frustrating. Read our advice to help handle and stop them both on your mobile and at home.

Most of us have had unwanted phone calls at one point, but for some people it can be a daily chore we have to deal with. There are some things you can do to take control and reduce the number of marketing, nuisance or automated calls that you get.

The first thing you should do if you’re receiving nuisance calls is to register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service. The TPS is an ‘opt out’ service that lets you put your number on an official register, stating that you don’t want unsolicited marketing or sales calls. Once you have been registered for over 28 days, it is illegal for telemarketers to call your number – and you should see the effects sooner. It’s very easy to register and is free to sign up – you just need an email address, your postcode and phone number.

If you’re still getting calls a month after you signed up for the Telephone Preference Service, you might need to do some more digging to stop the nuisance calls.

Firstly, if someone calls and you didn’t give them your number, tell them you are on the Telephone Preference Service and they are breaking the law, and ask them to remove you from their database. If you can see their number you can report it to the TPS.

Sometimes you will get unwanted marketing calls because you gave your phone number to an organisation in the past, or accidentally ticked a box on a form saying they (or their ‘partners’) could contact you. If this is the case, simply say that you do not want to receive any more phone calls, that they should remove you from their database and stop calling you. If you get calls from people claiming to be calling on behalf of your bank or building society, walk to your local branch and tell them you don’t want any more marketing calls from them. That way you can be sure the call is a nuisance call, and not because you long ago ticked a box on a form.

Automated marketing calls or ‘silent’ calls from call centres can be particularly annoying, as there isn’t a human being on the line for you to complain to. If you haven’t given your permission for these sorts of calls, you should complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Malicious calls, where a person calls and is deliberately rude, hurtful, obscene or threatening, can be especially upsetting. Whatever you do, try to stay calm, don’t engage in a conversation or argument with the caller, and replace the handset firmly but without slamming. If you have a phone with a caller ID on it and can see a number, mark it down.  You should always report malicious calls to the police.

Top tips

  • Don’t disclose any of your personal information to people you don’t know on the phone – like your name, phone number, address or birth date. If you can, just say ‘hello’ when you pick up the phone to minimise the risk of someone using your information against you.
  • Never give out passwords, account numbers or PIN codes over the phone. Banks and other organisations will never ask for them.
  • Whenever you fill in an application form – for instance for a competition, loan, bank account, holiday or insurance – make sure you read the small print, and don’t tick any boxes that gives them (or a third party) permission to contact you by phone.
  • Consider getting a phone with a Caller Display function so you can see who is calling you
  • Phone your telephone line provider and see if they have ways they can help you, for instance with a ‘refusal’ service for certain numbers, or an anonymous call reject function.
  • Consider making your landline ex-directory, so that local companies can’t look you up and cold call you

Are you plagued by nuisance calls or marketing salesman?

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Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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16th Jul 2016
Thanks for voting!
I had a car accident in February 2014. A very small one and it was my fault. No injuries and the claim was settled by my insurer quickly and without fuss.

Since then I have had call after call from various companies saying I am due a couple of thousand pounds for this accident. You cannot seem to get it through their brains, that not only did I CAUSE the accident, no-one was injured anyway!

Now my son is getting calls for the same thing. He does not even drive! They go away for a few weeks, but then are back again. How do you stop these annoying prats?
21st Jan 2016
Thanks for voting!
A sarcastic reply usually makes them hang up!
11th Nov 2015
Thanks for voting!
Hello Rachel,

Reading about nuisance calls, when a very good friend of mine receives these types of calls, he says to the caller I wont be a minute and leaves them hanging on the phone, after all they're the ones who are calling trying to sell him something or other,
and after ten minutes or so, if they are still on the line he says I wont be a minute, and again leaves them by now getting very frustrated, waiting for him to return ,
eventually the penny drops as these callers realise they have been duped,
by doing this he has reduced a number of calls
and it hasn't costs him a penny .
more annoying for them than him, as in-between making them wait, he does things like making a cup of tea, or coffee, or finishes off the ironing, or what ever,

being a pensioner he has all the time in the world, and for him it works,
29th Oct 2015
Thanks for voting!
On my mobile I just block the number, and I very seldom give out my land line number. Apart from my family, my doctor and dentist are the only one who have it. If anyone else asks for it I tell them I do not have one. I find companies are not so keen to ring my mobile as my nuisance calls are few and far between and texts arrive about one every few months.
29th Oct 2015
Thanks for voting!
There is also a problem with spam texts - the answer is to "forward" the spam message to Ofcom who will block the mobile number sending the text - simply forward (in the menu that appears when you hold your finger on the message) the message to "SPAM" - 7726 on the mobile keypad.You will get an acknowledgement text asking you to send the number that sent you the nuisance text - send this number and Ofcom blocks it - so no more texts to you from this mobile number or to anyone else.

I was getting at least 2-3 nuisance texts a day from a group of mobile numbers - the word must get out that you are sending these to Ofcom - I don't get any now. 🙂
29th Oct 2015
Thanks for voting!
I was so fed up with the amount of nuisance calls (usually at teatime) I bought a bt call blocker phone, best thing I have bought in ages.I now know that when the phone rings its usually friends or family on my list.Well worth the money for the peace it gives you.

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