Unwanted phone calls can be more than just a nuisance. It could leave you open to fraud if you fall for a pitch and purchase a product over the phone.
While many legitimate companies close sales over the phone, you can leave yourself open to fraud if you choose to conduct business with the wrong person. With an unsolicited call, you have no way of knowing whether the person on the other end is being truthful. This is why it's crucial that you never give out personal information such as your date of birth, password, or financial details to an unknown caller.
If an unknown person calls and asks you to confirm personal information, you should ask for the person's name and then call the company's number directly to ask for the person - only then should you consider giving your details.
What Do You Do When You're Bombarded With Unsolicited Calls?
The first step to reducing unsolicited calls, whether they come in at the same time every day or not, is to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This free service offered to UK residents will cut down the amount of direct sales and marketing calls to your phone. The service takes full effect approximately 30 days after you sign up.
If you continue to receive unwanted calls from telemarketers, you should inform the caller that you're a registered member with the TPS and ask politely to be removed from the organization's mailing list. Then, you should file a report with the TPS because calling a registered member is illegal.
In general, your registration with the TPS should stop companies from calling you - even those you previously gave permission to. However, you may need to contact companies you've previously allowed to request removal from their calling list.
Remember to check the box to opt out of the call list when you're purchasing a new product or service.
What Are Silent Calls?
The only thing more infuriating than dealing with an aggressive marketer over the phone is picking up the phone only to discover that there's no one there. This can happen several times a day at appointed hours.
These "silent calls" are the result of automated dialing systems used by some call centers. They're programmed to dial numbers on the company's list, but the silence occurs when there are no representatives available to take control of the call.
Putting An End To Silent Calls
Your registration with the TPS should reduce your volume of silent calls from sales companies, but you may still get calls from market research companies, debt collectors, and number scanning companies. These businesses fall outside the TPS's jurisdiction so you'll have to find another resource to eliminate the calls.
Silent call-guard is a free service that functions like the TPS in that it can help to reduce the amount of silent calls you receive. Registering for the service will ensure that your number is added to a database of callers that have opted out of receiving calls from automated dialing systems.
Keep in mind that the service is voluntary, so while it will reduce silent calls, there's no guarantee that it will eliminate the calls completely. Membership remains valid for 12 months so you'll need to renew your registration every year.
Check with your phone service provider because they may have an 'anonymous call rejection' service that you can include on your package. The cost of the service varies between £4 and £8 and it's definitely a something you'll want to consider.
Your phone provider should also be able to find out who is making the calls so you can take steps to stop them. If the problem persists, you should file a complaint via Ofcom's Contact Centre and they'll investigate the matter.
Automated messages are usually gimmicks used by questionable companies that promise to provide you details of a prize you've won, as long as you return the call to their premium rate number.
Don't bother calling because the only thing you'll get is an unwanted charge on your phone bill.
Contact the Information Commissioner's Office to file a complaint if the company continues to leave automated messages after you ask them to stop calling.