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Do you need to silence nuisance calls?

nuisance calls

Call blocking devices are a recent development in the ongoing battle to stop nuisance calls. Frances Wilson from National Trading Standards explains how these devices are silencing nuisance calls in particular for people with dementia.

We’ve all experienced nuisance calls in some form or another, and many will have even received a scam call at some point. These calls can be very difficult to distinguish from legitimate calls and can potentially lead to people losing thousands of pounds.

While there are steps that can be taken to limit the number of unwanted calls, many still remain vulnerable to these calls. It is predicted that by 2025 there will be more than one million people living with dementia in the UK, and this group are particularly at risk to nuisance and scam calls.

Call blockers

The National Trading Standards Scam Team (NTS Scams Team) is providing free call blockers to people who are living with dementia and may be at risk of financial abuse or personal distress caused by nuisance and scam calls.

We’ve distributed the call blockers to people living with dementia via trading standards officers, and so far it’s been a great success. The units have blocked 99.5% of unwanted calls made to users and the feedback has been excellent, with many people saying they’re no longer worried by unwanted calls as they don’t receive them. One user said that the unit had been a ‘blessing’ to them.

We think it’s important to provide these units to people living with dementia as they have features that are particularly relevant to them, such as the option to only allow approved callers to ring the user and the ability to block outgoing numbers as well as incoming numbers.

Friends Against Scams

The Friends Against Scams campaign aims to educate people about scams and empower people to take a stand against scams. Anyone can become a Friend Against Scams by either attending a short awareness session in person or completing the online training.

Friends have come from a variety of backgrounds, from bank staff who have been able to protect their customers from scams, to neighbourhood watch groups that have shared their awareness to protect their communities.

If you are interested in getting a unit for yourself, a friend or family member they are available via the Friends Against Scams website.

This is a guest contribution from Frances Wilson from National Trading Standards. All views expressed here are Frances’s own and not necessarily also shared by Which?.

Are you still hassled by nuisance calls?

Do you know someone who is using one of these call blocker devices? How else do you think nuisance calls could be silenced?


There is a new worrying trend with nuisance callers, they seem to have got their hands on large blocks of unused phone numbers that they apparently call from. They have worked their way through a sparsely populated Scottish area, and are now spoofing a Welsh area.

I am often the first person to report them on a ‘who calls me’ type website.

Do call blockers stop freshly used spoofed numbers?

We have a call blocker device and have had attempted calls from the areas you talk about. Our device asks unknown callers to announce who they are. If they do not do so our phone does not even ring (they never do announce themselves). If they do say who they are we have several options, accept number once, always accept number, transfer to answerphone or reject call. This works really well for us and we haven’t had one nuisance call come through since we bought it

They haven’t “got their hands on” anything.

When they make a call, they have equipment that sends a fake caller ID number out. This number could be a valid number that belongs to someone else, a number in a valid area code but which isn’t actually in use, a number from a valid area code but with not enough digits to be a valid number, a number from a valid area code but with too many digits to be a valid number, a number from an area code that doesn’t actually exist or just a random string of digits.

They change this number each time they call rendering useless any call blockers that block solely using CLI data. The only call blockers that are effective are those that issue a verbal challenge to all unknown callers, with the called party’s phone ringing only after successful completion of the challenge.

Alan Mowle says:
6 August 2019

Excellent observations, well said. Thank you.

The Scottish Government is also funding the supply and installation of call blockers – these are for vulnerable folk (not just those with dementia) who receive lots of nuisance calls.

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I receive calls to my mobile every week from No claim No pay company: ‘You involved in an car accident…..’ .Is there any way to block it?

Hard to block but note the number and do not answer their calls if you do answer and you realise the sort of call it is cut them off do not listen at all If you listen it only encourages more calls

There is a version of trueCall that landline and mobile providers can install on the telephone network itself thereby giving all of their customers instant access to effective call-blocking technology.

So far, one landline provider (Sky Shield) has installed something that appears to work in much the same fashion as this, but mobile providers have yet to do so.

I use an answer machine which I have recorded saying I do not answer call centres so take me off your data base anybody else leave name & number I will ring you back. I have a call number service so I can see the number.

abt bloody time gov brought this out same should go like plusnet who is still ripping me off even after
it run out whn I was never told I even ask fr heavy compensation thy refuse i’m trying fine better one
one I cn truly trust without any excuses.hw many cn say this ?????

We have lots of calls,when we say hello they hang up.its been going on for a few years,we have no call blocking on our mobiles.Then later we have calls saying we have left our no,for them to discuss the accident we have had.sick of the lot of them.My wife is waiting to go in hospital so we have to answer the phones,Their numbers change regular.

I am fed up of cold callers , PPI ….TV maintenance £ 7.50 per month………..We are in your area selling Mattresses to improve back aches and pains…. washing machine breakdown cover…ect ect ect . I am sick to death about them , who ever made the decision to allow our personal details to be made public wants a kick up the a**e, i just hope they get as many phone calls on cold callers as i do , they deserve it !

We get 4 or more calls everyday phone rings many times know one comes on the line stops no message
nothing very annoying its be going on for couple of years now

M Hall says:
3 March 2020

I receive regular calls on my mobile, from a female speaking in a far eastern language, something like Chinese. There is music in the background playing, of all things, Happy Birthday! It is really annoying. Even though I don’t answer, the message is left.
What can
I do here?

I get them on my mobile, I got Happy Birthday last time and Xmas music before Xmas.

Do you hear a word that keeps being repeated that sounds like jee-an-jee-o? I typed it into google translator and it came back with jianjiao that translates to scream. 😱 Quite apt.