TalkTalk Help

How do I manage nuisance calls?

Whether you have become the victim of constant marketing phone campaigns or the target of a malicious caller, our nuisance call guide can help. Choose a topic from the list below:

 

Unwanted sales and marketing calls

Sales and marketing calls are made with a view of promoting and selling you a product or service and there are three common types that people receive:

Live sales calls are your typical sales or marketing calls made by a call centre operator with a view to selling or promoting a product or service. You are likely to receive these from companies you regularly deal with, like your bank, but they can also be cold calls from companies you haven’t dealt with before.

While companies are allowed to make these calls, they must stop if you ask them to. Marketing or sales calls should always be courteous and you should never feel pressured or threatened. You also shouldn’t be receiving excessive numbers of calls over short periods of time.

Recorded messages are when calls are not made by an operator and instead you simply hear a recorded message. These aren’t usually made by the company or the service advertised, but rather by an organisation who will then sell on the information gathered to companies offering the service in question. You should not be receiving recorded messages without giving prior permission.

Silent or abandoned calls are where the phone rings but when you pick up you hear nothing on the other end. These come from call centres as well, but are where the call centre uses an automatic dialler to make calls. Once the call gets through to you, it’s supposed to connect to an operator. However, there’s not always an operator available, so the receiver is simply left with a dead line.

 

How can I prevent these?

There are a number of services and solutions available that can help you cut down on the number of cold calls you receive:

Telephone preference service (TPS): this is the most effective way to opt out of cold-calls, since it’s is prohibited by law for organisations to make unsolicited cold-calls of any kind to numbers on this list and signing up is free. 

Find out more.

If you are still receiving calls after signing up to the TPS, then you can complain to the Direct Marketing Commission

If you are receiving unwanted recorded messages you can report these to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Ex-directory: making your phone number ex-directory means it won’t be available in the phone book or directory inquiries, making it harder for marketing companies to find in the first place.

It’s easy to make your number ex-directory with TalkTalk and you can do it from My Account

Find out more.

Read the small print online: some online companies and social media sites can pass your contact details onto third party marketing companies when you sign up with them. Make sure you read the small print on anything you agree to and opt out of having your contact details passed on.

There are also TalkTalk Boosts that can help you avoid nuisance calls:

  • Last caller barring: this allows you to block calls from the last number that called you. Find out more.
  • Anonymous caller reject: if your nuisance calls are coming from an unknown number, anonymous caller reject will prevent them from calling again. Find out more.

Where can I get more advice?

For more advice on unwanted sales and marketing calls, visit the Ofcom website:

What else can I do?

Which? the consumer support group, are currently running a campaign to push for the government and regulators to do more to tackle the issue of nuisance calls. We’re happy to support the campaign and we encourage our customers to do the same.

You can find lots of other information on their page too. Including top tips for avoiding nuisance calls and the rights you have in place to protect you.

Find out more.

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Scam calls and premium rate numbers

Every year countless people are targeted by telephone scammers, who try to talk them into buying services they do not need. Scams take many different forms, so you should always remain aware, even when you have made the call. You should be especially wary whenever you’re asked for information like your personal banking details.

Avoiding scams

Here is some advice that can help you avoid scams:

  • Bank details: if you have received a call and been asked for your bank details, this is likely to be a scam. If you are ever unsure, hang up and call the company back on their official number. If you are an existing TalkTalk customer and we call you - remember we will never ask you to give us your bank account details, unless we have your specific permission. If you need to supply account details to us in order to set up or change up a direct debit instruction, you can do this through your My Account or call us on the number displayed on your bill.
  • Dialing correct numbers: when calling TalkTalk or any other company, ensure you get the number from a trusted source - such as the official website or your latest bill or statement. If you get a call that feels suspicious, hang up and call back on the official number. You should always ensure the fraudster has hung up before you dial as sometimes they keep the line open to try to trick you. If you are in any doubt you should phone a friend or a trusted number first to make sure it goes through correctly.
  • Premium rate numbers: any messages asking you to make expensive phone calls – premium rate numbers start with 090 – especially when it comes to ‘prizes’ or ‘offers’, are most likely a scam.
  • Persuasive sellers: anyone that’s rushing you into a service or product and wants to take your bank details could quite easily be scamming you. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured or bullied
  • Use privacy features: TalkTalk is the only provider who offers all its privacy features completely free to help you manage unwanted callers. You can reject anonymous calls or block the last caller who rang you. Activate these free via My Account.  
  • Scam technical support: more scammers are calling people trying to gain remote access to their computer so they can gain access to personal information. You should not be asked to pay for viruses to be cleared from your computer or to fix any issues over the phone. If you are, don’t give them any details and hang up. Unless we have your explicit permission in advance to do so, we will never call you and ask you to download software onto your PC or take over your computer in order to fix a problem.
Important notice

If you are an existing TalkTalk customer and we call you - remember we will never ask you to give us your bank account details. If you need to supply account details to us in order to set up or change up a direct debit instruction, you can do this through your My Account or call us on the number displayed on your bill. If in any doubt hang up, report their number to us or call us on 0870 444 1820 and tell us about the call. 

Advice on scams

There’s plenty of help and advice on scams available on the internet. Scams are also a criminal offence, so if you think you’ve been a victim you should contact the police.

Here are some trusted sources who can offer professional help and advice:

Scams

Ofcom

Common scams

Citizens advice bureau:

Report fraud & internet crime

Police: Action fraud


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Reporting nuisance calls and scam calls

Report a nuisance caller: we take scam and nuisance calls very seriously and offer our customers the opportunity to Report unwanted calls. If you feel you have been receiving excessive numbers of calls from a single number, you can send us the details using our online form. These could be aggressive and persistent marketing calls, persistent silent or abandoned calls or calls you think could be scams. To do this:

  1. Visit our Homesafe: Report Unwanted Calls online form
  2. Enter the number of the nuisance caller
  3. Enter your My Account username and password, your TalkTalk account number or the last 4 digits of your payment method and click Submit

When we receive your request we will start investigating, looking to block them across our entire phone network, if we can find evidence of misconduct. This means no calls can be made from the blocked number to anyone who is on the TalkTalk network.

Because blocks are made at network level, we are required to check each case against a strict set of criteria before we can block a number. For instance, there needs to have been an excessively high frequency of calls over a short period of time. We will also look for other tell-tale signs of abuse, like the originator attempting to hide their identity.

While we can block some marketing and sales companies, subject to our criteria, we cannot block private numbers from our network. We also won’t block banks, loans or debt collection companies.

We will always try to provide you with more information after you have reported a number, even if we are unable to block it. Our Homesafe team will update you after completing the investigation and provide you with more information if necessary.

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Malicious Calls

Malicious calls are calls that contain obscene suggestions, abusive language or even personal threats. If you have been receiving malicious calls, we recommend the following:

  • Stay calm and avoid talking to the caller: it’s likely they will feed on your reaction so you should avoid slamming the phone down. Instead, put the phone on the side and walk away for a few moments before hanging up.
  • Don’t give away any personal information:  it’s best to avoid answering the phone with your name and number. If you have children, you should tell them this too.
  • Don’t disclose too much in answerphone messages: make sure you avoid giving away unnecessary information or letting them know you’re not in. Simply say you cannot get to the phone.

Avoiding malicious calls

There are also a number of call features that can help you with malicious calls. These include:

 

 

Caller display: this will allow you to see the caller’s number before picking up, allowing you to avoid calls from specific numbers or allowing you to report the number. Find out more.

 

 

 

Last caller barring: this service will block the last number that called you. Find out more.

Anonymous caller reject: it’s quite likely that a malicious caller will hide their number when calling. You can block all anonymous callers using anonymous caller reject. Find out more.

Malicious, abusive or threatening calls are a crime, so if you continue to receive them or you feel the threats to you or your family are serious and immediate, you should speak to the police. Make sure you keep a note of call details like times, dates and content. This will make any potential investigation easier.

Where can I get more advice? For more advice on malicious calls, visit the Ofcom website:

Ofcom: Abusive and threatening calls

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