Cold calls and spam text messages that never seem to end can become a real annoyance. Sometimes you can be left wondering how some of these companies have managed to even get your telephone number in the first place.
What can you do to prevent these calls and texts happening?
Unfortunately there is no simple solution but there are some simple actions you can do to cut down on, and eventually eliminate, spam and cold calls from your mobile and land line.
Firstly beware when completing forms online or even postal forms via snail mail, if you tick the box giving permission for companies to contact, you this can open the door to a barrage of sales calls and marketing text messages.
Join the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It takes about a month to fully activate, but this should dramatically cut down on the number of sales and marketing calls you receive. If you continually get spam calls after this, firmly state to the (human) caller that you are on the TPS register, and legally they must take your telephone number off their system.
Some companies use random number generators to try and hit upon a real phone number with a ‘Congratulations you have won!’ type call. Calls like this can be harder to stop as they may originate from outside of the UK, if you record the number, you can place an official complaint with PhonepayPlus (PhonepayPlus is the organisation that regulates phone-paid services in the UK).
Block the number, most smartphones now allow you to block calls from nuisance numbers, and most landline providers should also have a package to do this. If you are unable to block calls from your mobile phone directory contact your mobile phone network and log a complaint for them to investigate. In extreme cases of non-stop harassment you can ask your mobile network to change your telephone number (charges may apply).
If you have the time and patience, try to keep the sales caller on the phone for as long as possible, most telesales people have targets to achieve by turning the tables on them and wasting their time you can make it less likely that they will call you in future.
Contact your land line provider and move your number to an ex directory listing Your details will not be included in the BT Phone Book and will not be available via BT 118500 Directory Enquiries.
As a last resort, pretend you don’t speak English. It can be very difficult to stop calls coming from call centres outside the UK. If they ask for you by name, simply state that they have the wrong number, and they will most likely not call again. If it’s just a generic sales call, pretend you don’t speak English, and they will probably strike your number off their list.
Marketing Text Messages
Don’t reply to spam text messages! Many spam text messages include a line of “Text STOP to ___ to stop these messages.” However, by texting back, you verify that your mobile number is valid and in use, so you will most likely end up recovering more spam messages in the long run.
As a short-term solution you can block the number, although spam texters will use many different numbers, so this only gives you a small degree of control.
Forward the texts to your mobile network provider. All UK mobile networks have a free spam report number to forward offending messages to. The network will then work to block that number.
Report spam texts to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can report numbers to the ICO through their website, which will work to target the company behind the number. It might take a while but you should eventually stop receiving them.
It can be an uphill struggle to stop receiving spam messages and calls, and it’s often simpler to prevent them reaching you in the first place rather than trying to find a cure. Make sure you only give your telephone number to companies that you trust.
Always uncheck boxes on forms that allow companies to pass your details on to affiliates and third parties. When online, be aware that many sites are now using tools that can record the details that you type into forms before you even click the ‘Submit’ button. This means that even if you abandon the form, they may still contact you via phone, text or email.
As part of Lister Communications business best practice we do not contact any businesses that are registered on the telephone preference service and regularly update our data to take into consideration any TPS updates. Any calls we do make are only made Monday to Friday during normal business hours and not on public holidays. We will remove any details from our system at our client’s first request to do so.
If you require any further information or as a Lister customer require help with a nuisance calling issue you can call us on 0800 652 4133 or you can get advice from your telephone provider directly.