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People of Scotland, talk to us about nuisance calls!

nuisance calls

Scotland suffers the highest number of nuisance calls in the UK. That’s why we’ll be meeting the people of Glasgow and Aberdeen to hear their stories and share the best advice on avoiding this menace.

Nuisance calls are a blight for too many Scots. In research conducted last summer 29% of Scottish residents said they received 11 or more of these calls in a single month, compared to 17% in the rest of the UK. Overall, 83% of people in Scotland said they had received nuisance calls on their landline.

Our research has found that Scotland’s cities have the highest rates of this telephone irritant in the UK. We teamed up with call blocking provider trueCall and analysed over nine million phone calls made to their customers between January 2013 and September 2016. Glasgow came top of a table ranking 18 UK cities by percentage of nuisance calls trueCall users in those locations received. Edinburgh was second and Aberdeen fourth.

Tackling nuisance calls together

Since we launched our ‘Stop Nuisance Calls in Scotland’ campaign in December 2015, more than 25,000 Scots have joined our call for the Scottish Government to take action.

We’ve worked closely with the Scottish Government and industry to identify the causes and propose practical steps to tackle the problem. We successfully lobbied the Scottish Government to convene a commission involving regulators, industry and consumer groups to develop an action plan to rid households of the woe that is nuisance calls and texts.

As part of our commitment to this issue, we are leading a campaign to raise awareness amongst consumers of how to prevent and protect themselves from nuisance calls and scams.

Nuisance calls awareness week

Beginning on Monday 11 September, we’ll be at Glasgow Central Station with our ‘Big Phone’ and staff will be on-site all day handing out a new advice leaflet and providing practical advice. We’ll be following this up with another event in Aberdeen Station on Thursday 14 September, as well as briefing MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on the Wednesday afternoon.

We’ll also be working with Trading Standards Scotland to highlight the danger of scam phone calls and providing clear advice about how consumers can avoid being ripped-off by unscrupulous scammers.

So if you’re in Glasgow or Aberdeen on Monday 11 and Thursday 14 September respectively please stop by our events and have a chat.

How do you feel about the statistics around nuisance calls in Scotland? What more would you like to see the Scottish Government do about it?


Tell scammers:

You don’t have a computer.
You have just had a new boiler, windows, insulation.
You have never had an accident, tripped over a paving stone and don’t know anyone who has.
You have just switched phone/energy provider.
You don’t owe any money.
You are registered with TPS and know that it is free.
You rent your house.
You have never had PPI.
You don’t take part in market research.
Don’t admit to being the person they ask for.

Ignore recorded messages including the ‘important government announcements’ and NEVER press a number to be removed from their list as you could be ringing a premium-rate number.

Remember banks say they will never call you. If you get such a call, ring them back on another phone or make sure your phone is not still connected to a scammer before using it again. A dial tone could be a recording with the scammer still on the other end.

If they can’t sell it to you, there is not much point in keep ringing you as they want results.

Perhaps there’s a market for a pre-printed card which you simply read?

The giveaway (I find) is when I get a call and the first thing they ask is ‘How are you today?’, to which I immediately reply ‘What are you trying to sell me?’. No one who doesn’t know you will ring up and ask how you are as an opening conversational gambit.

I say ‘Why do you want to know?’ or ‘What’s that got to do with you?’

They really must hate getting folks like us when they ring up 🙂

I think you are right, Ian. I’m very good at going off-topic but they never seem to want to discuss scams and what Which? is trying to do about them. The Windows scammers are uninterested when I say that the only windows in my house are double-glazed, and usually hang-up.

This Convo is supposed to be about nuisance calls in Scotland. I spend a couple of weeks in Scotland each year and for me it has been an escape from nuisance calls. Maybe it has been because my visits are always around Christmas and the New Year.

Suggestions for a card prompt:

1. I’m glad you asked me that. I had a difficult birth and then things got worse. Continue describing a catalogue of rare diseases from which you’ve suffered until they hang up

2. Hi. We’re Amish and don’t have any electricity.

3. The person you called has been murdered. This is CID. (continue interrogation until they hang up)

Being serious for a moment, Alfa’s list formatted into a prompt card is possibly the best idea:

Hi; I’ve just given away our only computer, to make room for the new boiler which came with a package of double glazing and insulation to the highest standards, and our religion will not allow us to take part in surveys, watch TV, borrow money or buy insurance of any kind, so it’s fortunate that none of us has ever had an accident of any kind. Now, how can I help you?

In response to the ‘How are you today?’ opener I have tried to use the line “Well I’m not too good actually. I had an accident recently and have a number of sprains and bruises and am in considerable pain when I try to do things” [which was all true at the time] but not an iota of sympathy or compassion did I receive. They couldn’t get off the line fast enough, which achieved the objective I suppose.

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I suppose if I was trying to engage with people who suffer from frequent nuisance calls I wouldn’t do it at a central railway station where people are going to and from work; they miss any calls on their home phone. But it’s difficult to know where best to do it – outside a supermarket perhaps. Best not to ring people up, of course.

Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognise a caller display and a caller list on your phone calls from people on the list will appear as names If it is an unwanted call you answer cut them off immediately do not listen any more than you need to realise who is calling about what Do not let them talk at all End the unwanted call at once do not listen at all Put the phone down and leave them talking to nobody for a short time There are many ways to deal with unwanted calls do not be afraid to use them they are paying not you

Not necessarily the best advice. We had a call from an “unknown” number that we found was the A&E unit at a hospital trying to contact a family member. We get many “valid” phone calls from new numbers. As you are not in physical contact with the caller, if you answer the call and don’t like it, terminate it. Easier than dealing with strangers knocking on your door. We occasionally get the “I’ve been bad boy and been to prison but I’m going straight now. Please can you buy something………” tale.

I would not want to hang up on any caller until I have established that it is a nuisance call. Not everyone leaves messages. My name is in the phone book to help those who want to get in touch.

Yes make sure what sort of call it is but don’t listen carefully the all way through as some people do unwanted call ? don’t be scared to cut them off But I do things my way don’t just do as I do decide for yourself that is what I do

Had a new one a couple of days ago from a “Scottish” phone number with an Indian accent.

I had a call from the “washing machine department”. The mind boggles what that was about as she cut the call when I didn’t go along with her patter.

On looking up the phone number, one suggestion was that they were trying to get voice identification. If true, slightly worrying when banks are now doing voice id.

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The voice ID theft is a worrying trend. But then, if some elderly woman with little or no resemblance to Gloria Honeyducks can gain access to more than £100,00 of her savings why should we think voice ID is any less secure?