Nuisance phone calls: How to handle and prevent cold callers

Many of us have rushed to answer the phone, only to find it’s an annoying sales call or the line is silent.

Nuisance phone calls are often the starting point for scams, and even if you don’t end up losing any money, they can still be a pain to deal with.

Consumer group Which? recently found that cold calling firms are pressuring people into taking out cover for appliances which they do not even own in some cases.

Firms may also be claiming to offer cover for eventualities including blocked drains, or loyalty schemes – and people can end up with money regularly dripping out of their bank account via direct debits.

If you have any doubts about who is calling you, don’t worry about simply putting the phone down. Don’t engage with the caller and let them charm or pressure you into handing over your personal information, or agree to something.

Here are some tips from Which? to help prevent nuisance calls happening in the first place…1. Report it

If you are receiving nuisance calls or unwanted texts from a company or a number, there are a range of organisations you can complain to. These include the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), your phone operator, Ofcom, and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

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2. Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The TPS is free to use and is a register which records your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

3. Talk to your phone company

If you’re still receiving harassing or unsolicited phone calls, you can talk to your phone company to report the phone number. Many providers offer products, services and advice – much of which is free – to block unwanted calls or reduce nuisance calls.

4. Don’t consent to be contacted

If someone is registered with the TPS, third parties are not allowed to call, but some companies may still try.

Third party marketing is when your details are sold on to numerous other companies for marketing purposes. Look out for tick boxes that request consent for your details to be passed on to third parties.

5. Use tech to block calls

Phone companies offer a number of services that can help block unwanted nuisance calls. Some of these services are free but for some, monthly charges can apply, and may vary depending on what package you are signed up to.

Don’t forget to report any possible scams quickly

In addition to Which?’s tips to stop calls happening in the first place, if you do think you may have fallen victim to a cold calling scam, make sure you tell your bank immediately, as it may be able to help you recover the funds and give you other forms of support. Also make sure you report it to Action Fraud.

The ICO has said information it receives about scam calls helps it to track down offenders and stop them making further calls.

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