How To... stop spam texts and cold calls

Bitterwallet - spamRecently, there's been an increase in spam texts and cold calls, thanks to apparent PPI claims and imaginary friends telling you about payday loans.

So, what's the best way to stop these nuisances? Of course, some of you will be already avoiding these things, but for those who aren't, here's a quick guide to having less mither in your life.

Insurance companies are notoriously awful when it comes to selling your details to other companies, so if you're taking a new policy out, never opt-in to third party marketing. They will probably use double negatives and the like, so be careful.

Also, if you're making a claim, be sure to tell your insurer you don’t want to be contacted by a CMC or legal firm.

You should also register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This will reduce the number of cold calls, but also, once you're registered with the TPS, any calls you do get can be complained out to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 0300 123 3000. The ICO can then fine companies, which is perfect revenge for you. Ofcom can also take action on silent calls, spam calls and the like. Check here for more details.

Most mobiles have a 'block number' or 'spam number' options in the settings. With Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile, you can also forward spam texts to 7726. If you're on Three, forward texts to 37726. Never respond to spam texts either. Even if you text 'STOP', all that does is tell the spammer that you're phone is active and that they can send as many texts as they like to you.

If you're a BT customer, you can go ex-directory or block any call that would appear as 'number withheld' or numbers from overseas (where many nuisance calls come from). More information on BT's call features here.


  • Charley
    Ex-directory doesn't work. TPS is pretty good. But companies, BBC, will still sell on your number if you register it online.
  • jo
    TPS will only block sales calls/telemarketers. So surveys, fake Microsoft Windows scammers etc will not be prevented using that. Best way I've found so far is program all your numbers into your phone and set a certain ringtone for them. Then youll know if its worth picking up as soon as it rings. If it doesnt ring with your chosen tone then its likely an unsolicited call. Talktalk also has a service for a few quid a month to block up to 10 numbers.
  • jaffacake
    The solution to this is simple - NEVER give out your mobile or landline number to a business. if they insist on a number - usually with a red star on their website sign up page - use one that doesn't exist. I added one to the last digit of my landline number, tested it, confirmed that the number is useless, and always provide that number to any company that insists. They have my email address, they made me type it in twice for goodness' sake!; that's my preferred method of communication.
  • Tim
    Yea none of this stuff works any more. They're scumbags. Within hours of having my new phone line connected to my new home I was getting calls. Realistically the only way you can try and avoid it is get cheap pay as u go burner phones. But then things like your insurance will insist on a landline number and then just sell it on. USwitch clearly gave my number out as I started getting energy related calls shortly after speaking to them. You could try blocking numbers but since many of them use these huge call centres of VOIP networks then it's again a waste of time. I can't block withheld numbers as any calls from work would be withheld and consequently blocked. OFCOM just need to start doing their job. This should all be illegal.
  • Dick
    You can always get back at them by asking them a question, leaving it five minutes getting on with what you are doing, then going back to the phone and saying "that sounds interesting, tell me more" and leaving it for another five minutes. Or just tell them you are lonely and need a chat, tell them your cat has just died and there is no-one to talk to. Or just ask stupid questions. Do your kitchens float? I think that there is going to be a biblical flood, like in the times of Noah. I need to know if the kitchen is water-tight and will float. Please, go and ask your supervisor if it floats, I need to know. How many cats can I fit in each cupboard? Can you go and check.
  • Daisy D.
    @ Dick Surely if you put too many cats in the cupboards, it won't float any more? FOR GOD'S SAKE MAN, THINK ABOUT IT.
  • ld
    BT Anonymous Call Rejection Anonymous Call Rejection lets you stop calls from people who have withheld their number. If a caller withholds their number so that you can't tell what number they called from, they won't be able to get through to you. They'll only get through if they reveal their number. There is a monthly charge of £4.50 for this Calling Feature. ie robbing bastards

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