If you receive abusive or harassing calls or texts you should immediately contact the customer service department of your phone network company. They can help you block calls and texts or can start criminal investigations. If you or your family receive direct threats, however, you should contact the police – call 999 if the threats are real and immediate.
If you 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 and texts. This will help to block nuisance calls. It’s illegal for a company to call or text 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 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.
There are products to block some calls (like international calls or withheld numbers) but be careful as they may 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 – consumers.ofcom.org.uk – has information about the different services your phone provider may have to tackle nuisance calls, and Which? – which.co.uk – has reviewed a range of call blocking devices. Beware that many consumers have reported receiving calls from companies offering call blocking devices and services which are ineffective, poor value or non-existent.
Report a nuisance call or text
Registering with the Telephone Preference Service should stop you getting nuisance calls and texts, but if someone’s still bothering you 28 days after registering, then report them to the Telephone Preference Service.
You can also report nuisance calls or texts to help 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 – ico.org.uk. They can fine companies that break the law.
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 – actionfraud.police.uk.
If you need help with this or any other enquiry please contact Citizens Advice Surrey Heath. You can drop in to our offices in the portacabin behind the library on Knoll Rd in Camberley, call 03444 111 444, or e-mail/webchat via the Citizens Advice national service on www.citizensadvice.org.uk.