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Mobile phone users: new way to block nuisance calls

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
27/05/2016
Mobile phone users can send a text message to a new service to opt out of nuisance and unsolicited calls.

The ‘text-to-register’ service, launched by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Ofcom, the communications regulator, allows mobile phone users to add their number to a ‘do not call’ database.

By adding your number, it means it’s illegal for organisations to make marketing calls to you, unless they have your consent to do so.

To block the calls, you need to text ‘TPS’ and your email address to 78070. For most users, the text should be included as part of your bundle or free allowance.

However, some users may be charged a standard message rate by their operator, depending on your contract.

Once you’ve sent the text, you’ll receive a reply from TPS confirming your number’s been successfully registered.

You should notice the volume of nuisance calls reduced, but Ofcom said it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.

Unfortunately registering with the TPS doesn’t prevent spam text messages from coming through.

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said: “Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people.

“Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases.”

Other ways to protect against nuisance calls

As well as registering with the TPS, here are other ways you can tackle nuisance calls and messages:

  • Be careful who you give your contact details to, whether it’s online, on the phone, or in person.
  • Look carefully at any marketing ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ boxes. These boxes are often buried in the small print. If you don’t pay attention to them, you could find yourself inadvertently agreeing to be contacted by companies you don’t recognise.
  • If someone rings and asks for financial information over the phone, such as your account details or PIN, don’t provide it.
  • Talk to your phone provider to see what privacy services are available, and consider a call-blocker – though be aware, you may need to pay for these services.
  • If you receive a nuisance call or message, make a complaint. If the call is a live telesales call, an automated marketing message, or a spam text message, complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can report spam texts to your mobile network operator by simply forwarding the text to 7726 (it spells out spam). If you receive a silent or abandoned call, complain to Ofcom.

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