Nuisance and unsolicited calls and texts
Getting lots of unwanted calls and texts is annoying and can be worrying if you don't know where the calls are coming from.
Stopping calls and texts like these isn't easy but there are things you can do to reduce the number you may receive. When filling in forms, or buying products online or in person, be sure to opt out of receiving communications from the provider or any 3rd parties they may use. This usually means ticking a box somewhere on the form to opt out of these types of calls and messages.
You can also register your number on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This is a free service and should reduce calls from companies, unless you have requested them to call or text you. This is the only service of this type.
Register your mobile number for free by texting TPS and your email address to 85095.
You should get less unsolicited calls after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days to be fully effective.
If you've previously registered on the Telephone Preference Service and are still receiving calls after 28 days, raise a complaint with them. You should also send an email to email@example.com with the following details:
- your mobile number
- the number calling you (if available)
- information about the type of call
- the date and time of the calls.
We'll check through everything and let the regulator know the details.
If you've signed up to speak to an organisation, but you no longer wish to receive calls or texts, you can ask them to remove your details from their records. This should stop further calls.
If the calls are coming from a particular number, you can sometimes block further calls in your phone settings. We're unable to block calls for you. However if we see lots of spam calls from certain number ranges, we can block them. You can help us do this by reporting spam callers by texting CALL to 7726 and we'll respond by asking for the number calling you. If we've got enough information we'll report them to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
If you get a missed call from a number you don’t know (especially an 0845/0843/09 or international* number), you should think twice before calling them back. You’ll be charged for the call, and if they really need to contact you, they’ll leave a message or try again.
*Calls from unknown international numbers are often part of a scam, sometimes known as Wangiri (one ring) and is where the fraudster leaves a missed call on your phone, intentionally not giving you a chance to answer it. If you call it back, you could incur high costs. You should report Wangiri calls to firstname.lastname@example.org including details of your mobile number, the number calling you, and the time and date of the call(s).
It’s also really easy to accidentally dial a number from your phone when it’s in your pocket or bag, so we recommend you lock your phone with a pin to reduce the chance of this happening.
If you do decide to call the number back, make sure you end the call from your side. Sometimes the line will go silent and you might think the other person has hung up, when they haven’t. You’ll then continue to be charged for the call.
If you're receiving spam texts, you can forward these to our free spam reporting service (7726). If we've got enough information we'll report them to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who will take action against those sending the texts.
If the calls and texts have resulted in any fraudulent activity it may be appropriate to report the experience to Action Fraud.
For further industry advice, you can visit these sites:
Malicious calls and texts
We know that receiving malicious calls and texts can be extremely distressing. However it's important to remain calm and consider the following advice.
Malicious, abusive or threatening calls, whether from people you know or from strangers, are a criminal offence.
If the caller is making direct threats to you or your family and you believe those threats to be real and immediate, call 999 straightaway.
If you believe that the threats made are not immediate, then you should call your local police station on 101 from any landline or mobile.
In both instances, you'll need to provide the police with all the relevant information including:
- the numbers that have contacted you
- what was said or sent
- dates and times of calls and texts
- if you know the people doing this.
The police can then decide what course of action to take against the offender(s).
To stop the calls you may wish to change your mobile number – contact us and we'll help you with this.
We're not able to block calls for you. However, some phones can do this, so check your handbook.
If the phone numbers are being withheld, the police may advise you to contact us and we'll arrange to trace the calls. This information can then be sent to the police (and only the police) to assist your case. As well as speaking to our Malicious Calls team over the phone, you can also email email@example.com
You'll need to send us:
- your name and number
- a description of the calls or texts
- dates and times you received them.
We'll then be in touch as soon as we can.
Silent calls can often be mistaken for nuisance or malicious calls, but can sometimes be from large call centres. Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) before you consider changing your number or contacting the police.
If you need more advice, take a look at the Ofcom guide on how to deal with malicious calls:
If you're not sure about any techy terms, check out our jargon buster
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