Published On: Thu, Jun 26th, 2014

Nuisance Calls: Are They A Big Problem In 2014?

If you get unwanted or “nuisance” calls at home, the most-common way to deal with them is to simply not answer the phone. The trouble is, how can you distinguish whether the person calling you is an unsolicited caller, or a genuine one?

Nuisance Calls

Most people use telephones at home with caller ID displays built into them. With caller ID, you can see the number of the calling party so that you can decide whether you want to take the call or not. The only downside to caller ID is that it won’t show all numbers, and some unscrupulous marketers even fake their caller ID details!

Many people have learned to live with those downsides of home landlines. But the topic of nuisance callers is one that often makes headlines in the media.

Much ado about nothing?

Are nuisance calls such a big problem in 2014 as the media makes out? Here are some examples of how unsolicited calls can affect people:

  • A telemarketing company called DC Marketing were ordered to stop making unsolicited calls after 280 people reported that the firm tried to sell them solar power services, even though they had opted out of receiving unsolicited sales calls;

  • Mobile network operator EE have been warned by the Information Commissioner’s Office that it must stop sending nuisance text messages and making unsolicited telephone calls to people in order to sign them up for new mobile phone contracts;

  • Some rogue elements of society often make bogus phone calls, such as purporting to be from “Windows Technical Support.” They trick computer users to giving them remote access, and effectively holding their system to ransom unless the person called gives a credit card number over the phone to “remove” viruses on the affected PC.

Landline operator scams

There have even been reports of individuals being called from people claiming to be their landline operator, demanding that they pay some money over the phone immediately for an “unpaid bill” or they face disconnection.

The scam those people use is simple; they tell the individual that they can call their landline operator back, but what happens is the scammer doesn’t hang up when the individual does.

In other words, even though the individual might be calling a legitimate number to find out what’s going on with their account, they are still connected to the scammer, who will doubtless have another operative answer the “call” so as to not arouse suspicion.

When the scam gets that far, the criminals can then persuade the unwitting victim to give credit card details to “pay off” the money owed. Once that has been done, they will properly hang up from the person they called, and illegally debit their card with fraudulent transactions.

How to avoid nuisance calls

There are many things you can do to avoid nuisance and scam calls. For instance, you can buy a telephone call blocker to filter nuisance calls and only allow genuine ones to come through.

You can also take preventative steps by opting out of any marketing calls whenever you sign up for a service online or offline, and you can even make your phone number ex-directory.