How To Avoid Unwanted Calls

Bombarded by unwanted calls from Personal Injury and PPI companies?

Most businesses today use mobile phones and unwanted calls are not only annoying and distracting but a waste of valuable time.

Customary advice is to just ignore all unrecognised numbers and change your number if it becomes intolerable, however this isn’t an option for many as a call from an unknown or withheld number could potentially be a new client and it can be time consuming and costly to update websites, business cards and headed paper should you make a change.

Help is now at hand as there is now a way to pretty much stop these calls dead in their tracks.

A new opt-out service was launched by Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service in May 2016. Mobile users can now sign up for free by texting “TPS” followed by their email address to 85095,  ensuring that their mobile number is added to the UK database, it is then illegal for companies to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls without the recipients permission and can incur severe penalties of up to £500,000 imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office for non compliance.

Although they cannot guarantee you will never receive an unwanted call again, as there will always be unscrupulous callers that ignore the “Do not call” database; however, a reduction in the number of nuisance calls should be seen within 28 days. Unfortunately callers based overseas are not bound by this regulation.

Reduce the number of unwanted calls on mobiles and landlines, texts, spam in your email box or on instant message apps and even post through your door.

  1. Add any numbers confirmed as spam to your block callers/reject list on your mobile phone.
  1. For landlines, register with the Telephone Preference Service by going on line at tpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0345 070 0707.
    Opt out services can only go so far in reducing the numbers of unwanted sales, marketing and charity fund raising calls, overseas call centres  and silent calls can usually be the most troublesome. Should this be an issue, you could consider a call blocker device. These attach to your phone and are used to block different types of calls. Some even screen your calls by asking the caller to give their name before the call is connected.
  1. When receiving a spam text, never click on any links or reply by texting STOP; any response confirms that your number is live and could be sold on. Read this Money Saving Expert article for more information.
  1. Be careful when online who you give your details to and always look for the “opt out” box, to avoid your details being used in future marketing and being sold on to other companies. Although not the most efficient scheme, you can register with the Mailing Preference Service on www.mpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0845 703 4599 (automated service).
  1. In an attempt to stop spam on instant message apps such as iMessage or WhatsApp, you should do so via the app. Often you can report spam directly under the message you have just received. Read this if you are an iMessage user or this article if you use WhatsApp.
  1. You can also opt out of the junk mail delivered through your door by the Royal Mail by emailing your name and address to optout@royalmail.com. Due to security reasons you will receive a form by post for completion and return. Royal Mail will then cease to deliver leaflets within 6 weeks.
  1. When entering competitions or surveys always use a specifically set up email account for purpose and protect your privacy with TrueCall38, a free service whereby you use the telephone number 0333 88 88 88 88, when dialled the caller receives the following message “TrueCall38 is handling my calls. I prefer not to be contacted by phone, so please contact me via my email address. Goodbye!”
  1. Use TrueCaller to search a number to see if it is a nuisance call, or download the app on your phone for it to report it to you automatically.

What does the future hold?

Which? Are urging the Government to take action on 15 recommendations out lined in an recent official task force chaired by them in relation to how personal data is used, the prevention of companies withholding their number and making senior executives personally accountable by law for their company’s nuisance calls.

For further information or to sign their petition please go to – www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-stop-nuisance-phone-calls

Data from the Information Commissioner’s Office shows between 1 January and 31st May 2016 they received a total of 58,107 complaints about nuisance calls and texts, with an estimated 2% of people reporting them to the regulator, the true figure is much higher.

For further information from ICO please go to – www.ico.org.uk/action-weve-taken/nuisance-calls-and-messages