/ Money, Technology

Have you had nuisance calls promising to stop nuisance calls?

Phone cartoon

Yes, you did read that right! Believe it or not, there are a growing number of scammers calling you up promising to stop nuisance calls. Guess what? They do nothing of the sort…

06/08/2020 update

After a member of Which? staff recently received a similar scam call, we think it’s worth reminding everyone that we haven’t found any evidence of companies involved in direct marketing using registers other than the one supplied by TPS in the past.

Here’s our full guide to companies claming they can block nuisance calls.

If you receive a call from a company claiming it can be ‘more effective’, treat this as a red flag.

20/11/2015: Have you ever had a nuisance call promising to stop nuisance calls?

The Trading Standards Scams Team reports that both nationally and regionally they’ve seen a growing number of companies trying to shift dodgy ‘call blocking’ devices or sign people up to a ‘do not call’ list.

Both are often ineffective and in some cases have even led to additional unexpected charges.

And it’s certainly something you’ve noticed, with more than 300 comments on previous Conversations on TPS scams and 150 reports made using our nuisance call reporting tool.

It’s hard to fathom the nerve of these scammers calling you up unsolicited and out of the blue, promising to stop unsolicited and out of the blue calls. At the very least you have to admit their lack of self-awareness is astounding.

Don’t pay for free services

The Telephone Preference Service is a free service which allows you to opt out of receiving unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

Some companies have been attempting to masquerade as the TPS and charge money for signing up. Don’t. The TPS is – and always has been – a free service. Others may also offer bogus call blocked boxes and other spurious services.

Earlier this year a Bournemouth-based company trading as ‘Stop the Calls’ was marketing a call blocking device for phones, as well as a service that purported to remove people from a cold call database

But in a glorious and ironic twist an ICO investigation found that the company was marketing its services through aggressive cold calling. ‘Stop the Calls’ were promptly fined £50,000. The ICO now receives over 200 reports a month about ‘call blocking’ nuisance calls.

Swapping one nuisance for another?

Some companies claim they’ll make sure that all call centres know not to contact you. Some will even claim to be a more effective ‘alternative’ to the TPS.

Some companies also badmouth the TPS, claiming it’ll sell your data (it won’t) and that you can’t complain to it about the companies that call you (you can).

If you’re already registered with the TPS and are still disturbed by nuisance calls, then rather than paying to join another register, you could buy a physical call blocker.

Have you had a nuisance call about stopping your nuisance calls? Were you tempted to sign up to their services, or did you suspect it was a scam?

J. Benson says:
8 August 2020

In your para. 20/11/2015: Have you ever had a ……? you have this:
Both are often ineffective and in some cases have even lead to additional unexpected charges.
What you were trying to write was:
Both are often ineffective and in some cases have even led to additional unexpected charges.
Explanation: the past tense of lead (rhymes with bleed) is led (rhymes with bed);
the word spelled lead (naming the metal Pb) rhymes with bed, and is in the same
pronunciation group as dead, head, read (past tense of read [pronounced reed])
Accuracy & precision in the use of any language is the only way to avoid both misunderstanding & contempt.

Roger Harris says:
8 August 2020

Quite right, pedant!

Bit of an over-reaction there; this guy is trying to help us and I wonder if his article hasn’t touched a raw nerve? Maybe try for a job proof-reading? Oh, and please excuse the vernacular and/or spelling!

William Baynton says:
8 August 2020

If a caller doesn’t answer immediately, it’s almost certain that it’s either a cold call, or a scam, so I don’t hesitate to put the phone down straight away. If the call was legitimate they will ring back.

I have Caller Display from BT so if a name doesn’t come up on the phone, I answer, but don’t say anything. In most cases I just hear a click after a few seconds. I go onto a couple of websites, including Should I Answer, to check if the number has been reported as a scam, and then report it as a Silent Scam Call. I use the BT Call Protect Service to block the number.

Richard Buchanan says:
8 August 2020

Our Provider is Talk Talk, and they have a free call blocking service, that when someone calls you,they have to identify themselves,and you have the option of accepting the call, or not. Since we have had it installed we have stopped having the “we are calling from microsoft (usually in Indonesia) telling us there is something wrong with the computer, that and the one about “we believe you have had a car accident”have all stopped BLISS very good free service and easy to set up.If a friend phones you,they only have to identify once and next time they call , the call comes straight through. Great service, I think BT have a similar service. Great no more idiots trying to con you….

Yes, we had that free service for a while but it stopped genuine callers from leaving messages or us from hearing them, so we uninstalled it. Pity, maybe a bit more development and it would be wrth reinstalling.

The TalkTalk service doesn’t work properly if you have an ansaphone. I had to uninstall it as we were missing genuine calls from people with numbers we hadn’t logged as they couldn’t leave a message. Nice idea from TalkTalk though.

Car accident? Can I claim for loss of memory?

Unfortunately the TPS doesn’t work. We are getting more cold calls now than before when we registered with them.

KATY Barrett says:
8 August 2020

Same here

When you need a new landline phone, get a BT 4600 Premium Nuisance Call Blocker – hopefully they, or a similar phone, are still on sale. Can’t remember the cost but it was not very expensive and I am not charged anything more than the initial phone cost, and it also has an answer phone included.
The caller has to go through hoops before being connected, and I am asked if I will accept a call from (at that point the caller has to give his/her name). I can take the call, have it added to my list of trusted people so they get straight through next time, or refuse it and it will automatically be turned down if they try again.
It seems that the scam callers do not want to give their information as I have not had a single scam call in the year or so since I bought the phone. Friends etc when added as allowed callers in my phone book can always get straight through after the first time they call,
Must say at first it is a bit fiddly but once you get the hand of it it is a very useful phone to have!

Luckily since I changedd from BT to Sky we don’t have this problem anymore. With Sky talkshield you can put in numbers you wish to answer and anything else you get option to answer or block. Had got to the point where we were almost ready to disconnect phone at times with number of scams we used to get

Only problem with some call blockers is that you might get a call from a hospital or doctor who uses a withheld or private number displayed. This has caused us real issues in the past so now we always answer these but are either silent or say yes, and if its a scam just put the phone down.

Over a recent 2 day period I received 10 calls from people who said they were returning my missed call, These ‘returned’ calls were from people in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Norfolk and other counties closer to home. Of course, I had never made the initial calls but presume that a ‘scamming’ company had somehow used my number. I’m with Virgin Media and spent nearly half an hour waiting for my complaint to be answered and speaking with an agent who tried to be helpful but apparently without offering much hope. However, so far today I’ve not received any more ‘missed’ calls so perhaps the agent was successful.

How do we get rid of calls supposed to be from Amazon ? We had 5 yesterday. although we have B.T call blocker!

We have for some time now had a BT 4660 True call phone,and we never get any cold callers
anymore due to the phone giving the caller a message prior to the phone ringing through,
and even if a cold caller was brazen enough to let it ring through there is a blocking button
on the phone which can be pressed to cut them off.We see as many numbers on the phone
numbers of people that have tried to phone us but after they get the message they don’t
bother,hence no cold callers,well pleased.

Alan says:
8 August 2020

When I got a call asking about “cold callers”, my reply was “Well, there’s you for a start!” His reply was “How dare you!” and put his phone down.

Banno says:
9 August 2020

Why not just leave the answer phone on. If it’s important they’ll leave a message, if it’s a cold caller they’ll hang up.

AMS says:
9 August 2020

What appalls me Is that the more these deceitful calls are allowed to continue the more the idea of deceit in general becomes a norm n our society and therefore we can expect more. I am particularly incensed by scammers playing the Covid card – I can only class these people in the same category as black marketeers in the war.

Most scam calls these days are from cloned numbers so there’s no point blocking the number as they call from a different number next time. Banno has the right idea. If you don’t recognise the number, don’t pick up. Genuine callers will leave a message. It does concern me that the authorities don’t do more to prevent scams calls and fraud more generally. I believe fraud is now the most common crime but occupies just a tiny percentage of police resources.

Automated calls are the worst ! it is difficult to know if it’s a person at first, (if it’s a person I have a loud whistle by the phone which I blow really hard into – should deafen the person on the other side).
You realise its not a person when say things like “I’m on TPS you shouldn’t be ringing me” but they take no notice and carry on speaking.

Just had a call from South America, supposedly from my internet provider, earlier I had one from Spain and one from Mexico, I just cut them off with a loud goodbye, one call last week telling me I had internet problems was insistent that I turn on my pc, after I hung up on him, he called back several times, I stopped answering the phone after that

George H

David Matthews says:
10 August 2020

I have Sky Shield now. Previously I was getting 5 or 6 nuisance calls a day. Now none at all. It seems as soon as the caller is asked to state their name by Sky Shield they ring off. And of course automated calls get nowhere as they cannot answer the question.