Spam code callers, those phone calls where the person at the other end is trying to gather information, sell you something you don’t need or worse still, con you out of your hard-earned money, can be a pain at the best of times.
But for vulnerable people, these calls are more than a nuisance; they can be a genuine worry. If someone you know is being harassed or has the potential to fall victim to spam callers, they need to be protected. Following the tips below will help to keep nuisance calls to a minimum.
Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
You can register for free by calling 0845 070 0707, or through the TPS website. UK-based companies are prohibited from making unsolicited marketing or sales calls to numbers registered with the TPS. This is the case, even if the calls are being made from an overseas call centre. This won’t stop market research calls, calls from foreign-based companies or calls where you opted in to receive contact from companies, but it should reduce the number of unwanted calls.
Some companies get their calling lists from phone books. If you ask for your number to be ex-directory, companies will no longer be able to find your number in this way.
Bar unwanted calls
It is possible to block certain callers but you need to be careful that you are not barring genuine calls. Most unsolicited calls come from international or withheld numbers, so you could ask your phone provider to bar international or withheld numbers. However, this can be a tricky option because you could also inadvertently block family members or friends calling from a work phone where the number is automatically withheld.
Use a call blocking service
There are a number of companies which provide dedicated devices which plug directly into your landline, and allow you to screen the calls you receive. These can block numbers from certain groups (withheld numbers, international numbers, or numbers without caller ID), plus a limited number of specified numbers.
Employ somebody to do the work for you
Some companies and services such as www.callblocker.co.uk/ will work with you to stop routine nuisance calls from loan companies, PPI mis-selling salespeople and telesales companies.
Keep your name off call lists
Under data protection laws, companies are prohibited from calling you for marketing purposes if you’ve asked to be kept off their marketing lists, even if you’re one of their customers. This is usually done by checking ‘opt out’ boxes at the time of purchasing a product or service, and all ‘opt out/opt in’ boxes should be considered carefully when purchasing items. You also have the option to contact a company retrospectively and ask them to remove you from their calling lists. They are legally obliged to do this if you ask.
Callers who breach TPS should be reported. The TPS will contact offending companies and can pass complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Suspected scams should be reported to Action Fraud. Silent calls should be reported to Ofcom, the regulator responsible for telecoms, or to your phone provider.
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