How to block nuisance calls

Is there anything more annoying than getting unwanted calls and texts from companies trying to give you compensation for accidents you didn’t have or promoting a service you don’t want?

There’s a reason we call them nuisance calls, but how can you stop them from getting through? Use our step-by-step guide to cut them off for good. 

Is there anything more annoying than getting unwanted calls and texts from companies trying to give you compensation for accidents you didn’t have or promoting a service you don’t want?

There’s a reason we call them nuisance calls, but how can you stop them from getting through? Use our step-by-step guide to cut them off for good. 

Holly Cox
Digital expert
9
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 9 MAY 2022

What are nuisance calls?

Nuisance or spam calls are usually unsolicited marketing calls. These can take the form of cold calls where someone is trying to sell you something you don’t want, or they can be pre-recorded messages telling you that you’re due compensation for an accident that didn’t happen.
Other nuisance calls have no message at all, giving you just radio silence or cutting off the line before anyone speaks.

How to stop nuisance call on your landline

There are a number of steps you can take to try to reduce the number of nuisance calls you get to your landline.

1. Contact your phone provider

Talking to your phone provider is the best way to stop nuisance calls on a UK landline. Most providers offer products, services and advice to help you block nuisance calls – most of which are free.

Here are some ways the UK’s leading providers offer to stop nuisance calls.

  • BT - BT Call Protect is a free BT service that sends nuisance and unwanted calls to a junk voicemail. All you have to do is call 1572 from your home phone to set up and manage your blocked callers.

    If you’re a BT customer receiving nuisance calls that are suspicious or distressing, you can also call the BT Nuisance Calls Advice Line on 0800 661 441.

    Another BT solution is the Caller Display option, letting you see the number of the person who’s calling you. While this won’t stop unwanted calls coming through, it will give you the option not to pick up.

    BT sells also home phones with nuisance call blocking technology, helping customers block up to 100% of unwanted calls. This includes calls from international and withheld numbers.

  • Sky - The Sky Talk Shield screens every call that comes through to your home, filtering out automated calls and blocked numbers. The feature is free for all Sky Broadband and Sky Talk customers.

    If you’re a Sky customer but don’t have a Sky Talk Shield, you can still block calls with Last Caller Barring. Last Caller Barring is an optional extra, costing £3.35 per month. To use Last Caller Barring, simply dial 14258 then hit * twice from your Sky handset to block the last number that called.

    Activating the free Caller Display service is another handy way to avoid nuisance calls with Sky. For this feature to work, you’ll need a phone with a display screen, letting you see the number that’s called before you pick up.

    Caller Display is activated automatically with Sky Talk and Sky Mobile. 

  • TalkTalk - TalkTalk offers several optional privacy features to help their users block unwanted calls. You can add or remove these features in the ‘My Services’ section of your online TalkTalk account.

    CallSafe is TalkTalk’s free security feature, screening your calls for sales calls and scammers. If CallSafe is unsure who the caller is, it will ask them to record their name, then play it back to you so you can decide whether to pick up.

    Anonymous Caller Reject stops you getting calls from withheld numbers.

    Last Caller Barring lets you easily block the last number to call you. Simply dial 14258 on your TalkTalk handset and confirm that you want to block the number.

    TalkTalk’s Caller Display feature lets you see the caller’s number on your phone display screen, giving you the option not to answer the call.

    If a nuisance caller still manages to reach you, Check and Report lets you check the identity of the caller and report them to TalkTalk.

  • Virgin Media - All landline numbers set up by Virgin Media are automatically set to ex-directory. This means your number will not be published by phone directories, making it harder for companies to find your number without your consent. If you brought your number with you from your old provider, you may need to set this up yourself.

    Virgin Media’s Anonymous Caller Rejection is a free optional service that stops you getting calls from withheld numbers.

    Caller Display helps you identify who is calling you by showing the number on your handset display.

    You can subscribe to Anonymous Caller Rejection and Caller Display by calling Virgin Media on 150 from your Virgin Media phone and selecting option 4.

2. Use the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is the UK’s official ‘Do Not Call’ register. It works for both landline and mobile numbers, and lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls.

It’s against the law for companies to call numbers on the TPS register. If your number is registered with the TPS and you still receive unwanted calls, you can complain and the TPS will alert the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which has the power to penalise companies for making unsolicited calls.

3. Register the silent or abandoned calls with OfCom

If you receive a nuisance call where the caller is silent or cuts off the call without saying anything, you can lodge a complaint with OfCom.

OfCom are the UK communications regulator, working with ICO to help tackle nuisance calls.

To complain about a silent or abandoned call, you’ll need to take a note of the time of the call, the company and the number. Use 1471 to find the last number that called you. You can then make a complaint using OfCom’s online form.

4. Report calls about insurance or accident claims to the ICO

It’s illegal for companies to call you about insurance claims unless you’ve told them they can.

If a company calls you about an insurance claim that you didn’t enquire about, you can report them directly to the ICO.

To file a complaint with ICO, you’ll need the date and time of the call, the number that called you and the name of the company (if a name was given).

How to stop nuisance calls on your mobile

Here are a few ways you can stop nuisance calls from getting through on your mobile.

Block callers in your smartphone settings

Whatever your type of phone, you should have the option to block numbers in your phone settings.

  • Stop nuisance calls on iPhone - To block a number on an iPhone running iOS 7 or later, simply find the number you want to block from your list of recent callers. Then hit the ‘I’ symbol and select ‘block this caller’. This number will no longer be able to reach you by call or text.

    To view, add and remove blocked numbers, go to your phone settings then click ‘phone’ and ‘blocked contacts’ to see a full list of blocked numbers.

  • Stop nuisance calls on Android - If you’re using an Android phone, you can block numbers in the call log. Just select the number you want to block, hit ‘more’ in the top right-hand corner and add the nuisance caller to your reject list.

    Numbers on your reject list will not be able to contact you via call or text.

Apps that block nuisance numbers

All these apps are available for download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Hiya

Hiya identifies and blocks more than 400 million nuisance calls every month using its growing database of spam numbers.

Hiya also checks incoming text messages for malware and viruses to help protect your handset and sensitive data.

CallBlocker

Run by Unknownphone.com, CallBlocker is a free app that identifies and automatically blocks suspicious numbers.

If a nuisance caller does get through, CallBlocker will help to identify the caller and report it, so other CallBlocker users will know not to pick up the call.

Users can also pay a subscription to access additional call blocking features.

Truecaller

Truecaller uses a community-generated spam list created by its more than 300 million users to help filter and block spam calls.

You can also use Truecaller to search for numbers that have been ringing your home phone, to see if they come up in the database.

The basic version of Truecaller is free to use, with a subscription available for more advanced features.

Frequently asked questions

Can I stop nuisance calls for free?

The best way to reduce nuisance calls for free is to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). They’ll add you to the list of numbers that don’t want to receive marketing calls. It’s illegal for salespeople in the UK or overseas to call numbers registered with the TPS.

Your phone provider may also offer free services to help stop nuisance callers getting through.

How do I block overseas nuisance calls?

Registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) will let you opt out of marketing calls from the UK and overseas. If you continue to get nuisance overseas calls, complain to TPS and they will alert the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which has the power to penalise companies for making unsolicited calls.

You may also be able to block overseas callers through your phone provider.

How do I report a scam call?

A scam call is more serious than a nuisance sales call. Scams involve people being tricked into giving money. If you think you’ve been targeted as part of a scam, report it to Action Fraud.

How do I stop nuisance calls from a charity?

Charities are only allowed to contact you if you’ve registered your number with them. If you’ve signed up to support a charity but don’t want to receive fundraising calls, you should be able to opt out by calling the charity directly.

If you receive fundraising calls from a charity you’ve not registered with, contact the Fundraising Preference Service. They’ll be able to contact the charity and get them to remove your details within 28 days.

How do I stop getting nuisance texts?

If you start receiving regular nuisance texts from a company, you should be able to stop them by replying ‘STOP’ to one of the messages. Only reply ‘STOP’ if the sender is from an identified number or if they tell you the company name in the text.

If you’re getting nuisance text messages from an unknown number, we advise you not to reply. Replying will let the sender know your number is active and you could receive more texts or calls in the future.

Another way to stop nuisance texts is to block the number using the settings in your mobile phone.

Compare now

Compare new mobile deals in seconds to see if you can save

Find deals
Find mobile phone deals and you could start saving Compare mobile deals now