Despite the long-standing ability for users to register with the Telephone Preference Service and be taken off marketing call lists, nuisance calls and texts are still a reality of life for most of us.
Whilst registering can help, it takes time for records to be updated and if you are a business, the service has to be regularly renewed. It also does not cover text messages.
So, registering with the TPS aside, what can you do about what Ofcom calls an “irritating and annoying interruption to our daily lives”?
To assist, they’ve put together some pointers on how to reduce the number you get, and what you can do if they are causing you problems.
The first point is the most important – be careful who you give your personal data to. People can only ring you if they have your number – but unfortunately you can’t guarantee that companies you give your number to for one reason, such as a contact for a sale, won’t go bust, get bought out, or sell on their records to other companies at some point. So take care of your information– and that goes for online activity and face-to-face discussions as well.
Where a company requires you to leave contact details, for example for a delivery, make sure you tick the marketing opt-out box to ensure they can’t cold call you with offers. The opt-in boxes are sometimes ticked by default, and often in the small print, so careful reading of everything you sign will help you in the long run.
When you receive a nuisance call, one option is to let the call go to answer phone, in the hope the person calling will get fed up and take you off their list. But if you do answer, you should ask them directly to remove you from their database.
Nuisance calls aren’t always just trying to sell you things, sometimes they’re out to scam you – so never give out personal details, especially relating to your bank or credit cards, unless you’re certain of who you are talking to.
Unfortunately, the problem isn’t restricted to voice calls, as spam texts can also be annoying. If you know the number the text came from, replying with STOP should get you taken off the list.
To report a spam text from a sender you don’t know to your network provider, forward it to 7726 free of charge.
Complaining to the Information Commissioner’s Office also helps take action against the worst offenders as this independent authority was set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.