/ Technology

Will BT’s blacklist stop nuisance calls before your phone rings?

Phones hanging

In the latest win for our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls campaign, BT is launching a free service to block nuisance calls before they even get to you.

BT’s new nuisance call blocking service is set to launch later this year, and follows similar commitments previously announced by TalkTalk.

BT blocks nuisance calls

The phone provider says it will harness ‘huge computer power’ to analyse and monitor calls to its 10 million customers, with any rogue numbers (generally those that make a huge volume of calls) being added to a ‘blacklist’. Incoming calls coming from these numbers will then be diverted to a junk voice box.

This blacklist will also be expanded if lots of BT’s customers identify unwanted numbers they want to divert.

BT estimates that this will block up to 25 million unwanted calls each and every week.

You’ll also be able to divert unwanted calls to your own personal ‘blacklist’, adding individual unwanted numbers and nominating whole categories of calls you want to avoid, such as international calls or withheld numbers. BT will then prevent these types of calls from reaching your home.

More action against nuisance calls

This is a big step in the right direction for millions of BT customers, but it’s not the end of nuisance calls.

Our campaign, which now has more than 300,000 supporters, has prompted lots of action from the Government, regulators and now technology companies, but there’s still more to do. We need to see more action taken by the industry and the Government to reduce the anxiety caused by unsolicited calls.

Are you happy to see BT bringing in a way to block nuisance calls even before the phone rings? Do you want other companies to follow suit?

Updated 17 January 2017: BT launches call blocking service

BT has launched its new ‘Call Protect’ service, which aims to block up to 30 million nuisance calls a week.

If you’re a BT customer you’ll be able to opt into the service for free. The service will divert nuisance calls before they even reach your home, unlike the call blocking devices you can buy separately.

Vickie Sheriff, our Director of Campaigns and Communications, said:

‘We have long campaigned for tougher action to tackle this problem and it’s encouraging to see new technology being rolled out as part of the solution.

‘Now it needs to deliver results for the millions of people harassed every day by nuisance calls, and we expect other companies to follow suit with their own solutions.’

If you’re with BT, would you opt in to its new nuisance call blocking service? Do you, like 100% of 3,800 voters, want other telecoms providers to follow suit?


Is Virgin Media going to copy BT’s example?

boiler scrappage,window scrappage ,PPI and silent calls

Until there are prosecutions and huge fines these call will continue, although I have noticed a lot less now.
Unfortunately they are coming in on mobiles now. Lets hope BT and EE will act on this now EE has been taken over

Margaret says:
11 February 2016

This is a help, but it certainly doesn’t stop these people from calling in the first place, even after requesting that they remove your number from their calling list, which is what’s really needed. I have a call blocking facility on my home phone, and use this to prevent the phone ringing on unwanted calls, which come regularly, despite being a member of the TPS.

If my phone can tell me that a caller is not leaving their number, which happens too frequently, then in electronic terms it is quite easy to block the call at source. Talk Talk are supposed to feature this facility but it DOESN’T WORK. I have written to them about it but their reply bore no relationship to my original query!
Well done Which for championing this cause!!

Wonderful news, although it must remain a muted victory until Talk Talk and all major BT rivals have followed suit with a blocking service that they must guarantee is every bit as rigorous as that proposed by BT. The other unanswered question – unless I’ve missed something – is: when will this apply to mobile phones, too? You can bet your bottom dollar that these are where nuisance callers will head next; and when they’ve been blocked on mobiles, they’ll turn full blast on SMS texts.

Unsolicited sales calls are not a harmless bit of fun that we can take or leave. My dying mother’s final weeks were made hell on earth by a deluge of them.

Meanwhile, there’s the Telephone Preference Register – even if it’s nowhere near as powerful and all-encompassing as it should be. But mention of it at least gets the nuisance caller to slam down his phone in your ear. How come Accident Helpline’s initial charm and politeness deserts them so quickly?

Sorry to disagree – BT is not the only show in town. Nuisance and robocalls and harrasing DCAs cause paranoia. In UK we need a publicly available Nuisance and robocallers database that can be downloaded to existing software e.g. Asterisk pbx etc. and automatically updated. We (the public) have already provided that information to the ICO.org.uk via the complaint system. ICO or ofcom should provide /keep and update a new database up to date and publish it. In USA the FCC already do this and a UK list would help to keep our blacklists relevant. Regards

Freda Cobb says:
12 February 2016

Hope talk talt blogs bogus call

|Penny says:
12 February 2016

Good BT are doing more to help their loyal customers. Taken long enough.

Janet Bennett says:
12 February 2016

Lets’s hope it is quicker than some of their broadband services!

What can be done to stop the overseas nuisance calls and will call blocking devices stop these calls? If a call is from an overseas company, how can an executive of this company be dealt with, i.e., fined or reprimanded? Not easy I fear.
What BT is doing is to their credit, but perhaps the Government should be looking into legislation to stop UK companies selling or passing on personal data (most of us buying on-line have to input personal information at a registration stage and this is quite obviously being passed on to marketing companies).

A call blocker that issues a verbal challenge to unknown callers gives genuine callers a chance to get through. Unwanted callers hang up and go away.

Surely the solution to this is to bar the offending foreign line(s) from connecting to the UK phone network(s). This would also be a better solution for UK based callers. Even with bt’s proposed solution, rogue callers only need to change their number. If they were refused service by Openreach and virgin media for e.g. one year from those premises it might help!

I am always annoyed by these calls BUT I have regular hospital appointments and the hospital always rings up to ensure that I am attending. However, they always use a withheld number. If I don’t answer the phone the next thing that happens is I receive a letter telling me my appointment has been cancelled! I therefore have to answer these calls.

I gather that BT will be making a charge for this service.

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Peter says:
12 February 2016

Slightly amusing but we receive SMS messages asking us to confirm and appointment. Sounds like a good idea. The text states that if you are unable to attend the appointment then please email (address) or phone (number). I sent an email then received a message stating that the email address was not monitored – i.e. a complete waste of time. Try ringing – another experience to ‘rant’ about !

I appreciate your comment but I’m not “ill”. I had to have several operations on my eyes, the first an emergency op which resulted in other operations all of which were important but not affecting my health as such. I would never name the hospital as my treatment was second to none.

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Howard says:
12 February 2016

As a next step, how about blocking email spam and scam at source? Dearly beloved TalkTalk can’t/won’t even switch off a very old unused email address that throws scam and spam at me by the hour, disrupting my work.
I have been asking them for six months now.

Peter says:
12 February 2016

This would really be great to get spam stopped at source. Some days I can get 40-50 emails all the same from the same source within minutes each with small attachment (DO NOT OPEN). So obviously spam and surely could be stopped at source. I have set up so many filters (100’s) to prevent all sorts of rubbish. Effective action would benefit almost everyone and reduce the worldwide trafficof unwanted material significantly.
I used to use a POP3 account with Outlook but when I switched (GODADDY) I was advised to use IMAP which appears to make effective spam filtering more difficult

I remember some years ago in Australia if you received a spam call you could press the star button on the keypad 3 times or something and calls from that destination would be permanently barred. Hope BT make it that easy here.

Howard says:
12 February 2016

I tried to comment, and got a message ‘you are posting too quickly, slow down’ Eh????

Hi Howard, that’s a little odd. We do have a system which will try and spot spam comments by identifying comments posted within a short space of time. Your comment could have triggered this system, although it shouldn’t have done. We’ll take a look into it, thanks for reporting

Howard, I have occasionaly had the same message, but I’ve ignored it and made the comment again. With long comments it is worthwhile keeping a copy – just Ctrl + A – will do; wise advice but I only remember it after a problem!

I’m not a PC user but surely Ctrl + A will select all the text on a page, not copy it.

I generally copy the text, refresh the page to find out if there are any new comments and then paste in my own contribution. If there is any problem with my internet connection or the site, I can just paste in the comment when everything is working normally.

About time BT did something for their customers. After all they have got the monopoly. Well done Which.

BT’s monopoly on the supply of landline telephone services ended many years ago… Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, Zen, etc.

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Provided the system works it will be great, I hope they also identify calls from fictitious numbers and stop them also, so many now are using numbers, with local codes, that makes you think it is a local call when it is not, so BT will you block these numbers also?

If they do, the real owner of that number will find they are unable to get through to anyone as their outgoing calls have been blocked in error.

I’ve had so many unsolicited calls lately that I’ve bought a Truecall system, I didn’t want to but it was making my life a misery. In the 4 days since I’ve had it I’ve received no spam calls at all but I see it has blocked 5 which is great, my friends and family are still calling with no problems. I can’t see the proposal by BT being so good, companies will get around it by having multiple numbers or international ones. I can’t block all international as I have family overseas but Truecall allows them to still get through by either stating their name or putting in a passcode that I can give them. BT’s proposal is better than nothing but it could be so much better.

I use TalkTalk, and if they have put anything in place, it does not work. On a daily basis, I currently receive exactly the same recorded message about PPI, each time from a different fake phone number. It is a different STD code, and always 1 digit short of a full number.

If I could find a way of suing these pests, I would. They start off with a lie: “our records show that you have had a loan; an accident; viruses etc” which must be a lie as we haven’t ever had any of those!
Sadly, though, a percentage must be getting results from a few gullible or alzheimer’s sufferers and these are the ones that should be protected from these scams. No honorable business would attempt to do this – so all telephone scams are dishonorable and should be fought with their own weapons.

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T Wall says:
12 February 2016

My phone company is Zen will they block calls
If only BT blocks calls the rest of us will have a lot more calls than we are having today

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