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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?

Sandra Harrison says:
10 December 2017

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


If you are using a call blocker that uses white list technology (you program in the numbers you want to get through and all other numbers are intercepted) then recently spoofed numbers will be blocked.


Great to hear your device is working so well Sandra


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.

Bill MacGregor says:
11 December 2017

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?

bishbut says:
12 December 2017

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 are call blocking apps for mobile phones available, this is something NTS Scams Team has not yet done research into so I can’t advise on which ones work best.

You can make a note of the number that calls you and report it to the ICO at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/nuisance-calls-and-messages/