These types of calls could be from people trying to sell you something you don’t want or need, i.e. ‘cold calling’; or those where you pick up the phone and there is nobody there, i.e. ‘silent calls’; or those that are trying to defraud you, i.e. ‘telephone scams’.  Unfortunately it is very difficult to stop all these calls but there are a few things you can do to at least ensure you don’t receive so many or that you don’t get fooled into parting with personal information such as bank details.


Preventing Telephone Cold Calling


Telephone Preference Service: This is a central opt out register where individuals can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls and includes automatic answering message and 'live' calls. It is free to register and takes about 28 days after registering for all to be stopped. To register visit or call their automated registration number: 0845 070 0707. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS.


‘Stop calling’: If you are receiving unwanted sales or marketing calls from companies you can ask the marketer to stop calling; request that they take your name and number off their calling list and don't call you again. By law in the UK companies must comply with your request.


Telephone Provider Services:

Investigate whether your telephone service provider offers the following; although please be aware there may be a charge for these options.

  • Caller Display whereby you can see the telephone number that’s calling before you pick up the phone;
  • Anonymous Call Reject which blocks calls from withheld numbers;
  • Choose to Refuse where you can select the numbers to block.


Alternatives to the Telephone Preference Service:

There are also other companies besides the Telephone Preference Service which claim to be able to stop most unwanted calls but these usually have a cost to register with them.  If you decide to go down this route it is worth investigating the companies that offer this service to see who offers what you need at the best price.


Try not to get into a conversation with cold callers and do not give out any information regarding your circumstances.  Do not be tempted or pressured into anything over the telephone; if they are a reputable company they should be happy to allow you to make further enquiries and get back to them.  If you are not interested just say no thank you and put the phone down.





Preventing ‘Silent’ Telephone Calls:


Silent Call-gard: If you are getting silent calls, which are usually generated by automatic dialing equipment in call centers, you can register for free with this service. It will help reduce the number of ‘silent calls’ you receive but you will need to renew your registration every 12 months.


Complain to Ofcom: If the calls continue complain to Ofcom as follows:

  • See if you can get the number after the call by dialing 1471.
  • If it is a withheld number take note of the time and date of the call and contact your telephone provider's nuisance call department, e.g., BT's Nuisance Call Advice Line on 0800 661 44.
  • Complain to Ofcom online. They are unable to respond to individual complaints but the information provided may lead to an investigation into a particular company.


Telephone Scams


This type of scam usually involves someone calling you, fooling you into thinking they are telephoning from a trusted source and convincing you to reveal personal details in order that they can then access your bank account and obtain money fraudulently.  This is known as ‘vishing’. 


Another type of telephone scam is where someone phones you regarding problems on your computer that they say they can help fix.  They usually say they are Microsoft Windows technicians but are just trying to access your computer for their own purposes which will probably be fraudulent.


Advice to prevent this happening to you:

  • Please remember most legitimate companies, particularly financial institutions will not approach their customers with an unsolicited phone call.
  • If you receive an unsolicited phone call from what appears to be a legitimate company asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers.
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call back on a genuine phone number for the organisation.
  • If the call is promising you something such as a prize remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!


If you think you have been a victim of fraud:

  • If debit or credit cards, online banking or cheques are involved, your first step should be to contact your bank or credit card company.
  • For any type of fraud you should also contact Action Fraud. You can report a fraud via their online fraud reporting tool, or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.