Nuisance phone calls have reached epidemic proportions as most of us will testify.
According to the charity Citizens Advice, almost two-thirds of all British adults, that’s about 30 million, have received calls trying to persuade them to make a claim regarding the mis-selling of PPI, personal protection insurance. More than 50,000 people complain to the Nuisance Calls Advice Line every month and, as we know, many more of us receive them on landlines, as recorded messages or text messages on our mobiles.
Ofcom reports that 7 out of 10 people have received marketing calls over the past six months. Around 3,400 people complain to Ofcom every month because they are receiving silent calls. Live marketing calls often originate in India and, as many report, have the annoying habit of coming at meal times or, if you are on a mobile, during a meeting. The unscrupulous caller, or more accurately, their company, is after your personal details which they then sell on to claims management firms, keen to exploit the £9 million compensation fund that British banks made available after it was found that they had routinely sold PPI without their clients’ knowledge.
Silent calls can be particularly worrying because the phone owner answers but can hear nothing. They are actually calls made by computers in call centres automatically dialling thousands of phone numbers at the same time. If someone answers, the computer registers the fact and someone live may ring back at a later date. More than 50 percent of landline owners who have received silent calls told Ofcom that they get as many as five or more a month and find them annoying or, in several cases, distressing. They can be especially upsetting if you live alone.
How can you prevent nuisance calls?
Fortunately, there are solutions available. Whilst it has been possible to block certain numbers for some time, this hasn’t been any help in stopping calls from unknown numbers. It is also possible to block calls which come from abroad but that isn’t an option if you have family or friends who live overseas. A new gadget now on the market, Callblocker, is a small unit which plugs into your phone socket. You then plug your phone into it. It works by intercepting all your calls directly and playing a short message. The message explains that unsolicited calls are unwelcome and asks the caller to press the five key if they are a personal and invited caller.
This will be enough to put off all but the most determined cold callers. For added security, however, you can ask your friends and family to dial 4 or 6 rather than 5 which means that your phone will give a particular ring, telling you that the call is from someone close to you. These devices do not interfere with your internet or television connections. You can buy the device from http://www.callblocker.co.uk/
There are a number of other methods you can use to prevent these nuisance calls such as registering with www.silentguard.co.uk and www.tpsonline.org.uk.
Image attributed to: FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Stuart Miles