We all hate nuisance calls. Whether it’s insurance companies asking if you’ve had an accident, or telemarketers inviting you to do a survey. Worst of all are calls from fraudsters looking to steal your information. Ofcom has reported that the overall numbers are dropping. But around 37% of mobile phone users are still receiving at least one nuisance call every month. And this number can vary greatly per season. Here’s a list of tips for how to stop the spam.
Please report any unwanted calls to 7726. You’ll then get a message to say we’ve received it. Reporting allows us and other mobile networks to block numbers which are causing distress. And it’s free.
Anyone can do this for both landline or mobile. Register through their website or text ‘TPS’ and your email address to 85095. It does take 28 days, but after then companies are only allowed to contact you if you’ve already given them permission. Hint – take care with those tick boxes as some will try to trick you into giving permission. This is free too.
One of the most popular free apps. You can get it on Android or iOS along with BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Nokia. TrueCaller will show you who’s calling, even if they’re not in your contacts list. It pulls info from its 200 million active users. This means you’ll get alerted if there’s a dodgy telemarketer or unwanted call coming through. And you can build your own blacklist and block calls. It does have ads but they’re not hugely intrusive. Plus, it also allows you to search for contacts with a name or number.
However, the data security aspect does raise concerns for some people. When you register, it asks your permission to access a large amount of personal data including your phonebook, VoIP and messaging services. They do this for all users, and it’s called crowdsourcing. TrueCaller says it has safety and privacy measures in place to stop contacts being searchable – unless you know them already. You can unlist yourself and they say your number will be deleted within 24 hours.
This is another free alternative to TrueCaller and can be used on Android and iOS. It’s also a useful Caller ID service that has a billion numbers and around 70 million downloads. One of the main advantages to TrueCaller is that it’ll work offline without a Wi-Fi or data connection. The app lets you block numbers by keyword as well as by prefix or international codes. And, although the data is community generated, there’s less being pulled from your phone. Plus, they claim that it’s ‘anonymous’, which is reassuring to hear. And it’s compatible with your social networks too.
Widely used by more than 3 million people, this option has no ads and is easy to use on both Android and iOS. Hiya has a free service and a Premium version. The free service can give you caller ID alerts to nuisance calls and blocking protection. You can even block by country or area code. While their business lookup is also free, the individual and reverse lookups are now part of its paid-for Hiya Premium service. You’ll also get automatic fraud and spam blocking rather than just detecting. Like TrueCaller, your calls are also analysed when you register, but the company says they don’t use any Personally Identifiable Information.
Fancy giving those spammers a taste of their own medicine? RoboKiller is an app that can block calls or spam callers with prerecorded Answer Bots. Get it on Android or iOS. There’s a free 7-day trial but it’s paid- for afterwards. Unlike the other apps though, you can get your revenge by choosing an answer bot or even creating your own. Mark your own contacts as safe and let the app do the rest. Keep a check on the summary of activity over the past 3 months on your home page. It’s also shown to reduce spam calls by around 90% in 30 days.
Some mobile phones have their own fraud recognition, which you can set up.
Samsung have teamed up with Hiya to create Smart Call for Samsung Galaxy phones. Turn this on through ‘Settings’ and ‘Caller ID and spam protection’. When you start to get warnings about suspected spam or scam calls, you can choose to block or report the number.
There are many different options on Android, so you might want to check out video tutorials online for your specific device.
You can also review your blocked calls through the Call Blocking menu.
With loads of possibilities out there, make sure you choose carefully and stay safe.
You may want to check out – What on earth is a smishing text?
And if you’d like to read more advice on safety and security, visit our Privacy and Safety hub.