Blocking nuisance telephone calls

Currently available for call blocking are Truecall units which can be bought from any online retailer.

However, there are a number of other options that you can use:

How to block nuisance calls

Blocking calls using your home phone provider. Most of the major landline phone providers now offer a free service to reduce the number of nuisance calls that you receive.

BT Call Protect

BT’s Call Protect automatically diverts calls that BT believe to be from nuisance callers to customers’ junk voicemail boxes and allows people to compile a personal blacklist of numbers they wish to block.

You can then supplement this by also sending all calls from certain types of numbers (international, withheld, and unavailable) to the voicemail service. Call Protect is a much more powerful tool than some of BT’s other call features, such as Choose to Refuse, which only lets you block 10 specific numbers, and Anonymous Call Rejection, which just stops calls from people who have withheld their number. And while you must pay for both, Call Protect is free. So, if you have not signed up for it you should do so, especially if you are wasting money on the other two inferior options.

Sky Talk Shield

Sky customers can benefit from Sky Talk Shield, the networks personalised call screening service.

This works in a similar way to TrueCall’s call blocking system, which is used in the company’s call blocker and in some BT home phones.

Talk Shield intercepts and blocks calls from ‘robots’ and automated callers, while live callers to your phone are asked to identify themselves. When you then answer the phone, you’ll hear a recording of this – you can then accept the call, add the caller to your Star or Block List or send them to voicemail.

Callers on your Star List, such as your friends and family, will get straight through every time, while numbers you block will never bother you again.

TalkTalk

Talk Talk’s free call blocking feature is called CallSafe.  It works in a similar way to Sky’s Talk Shield, asking callers to record their name so you can decide whether you want to talk to them. Calls from frequently dialled numbers or those on your approved list are automatically connected, while those on your blocked list or in CallSafe’s database of unwanted calls are automatically blocked.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media does not have anything as advanced as the three other big phone providers. Instead, its customers must rely on its more limited anonymous caller-rejection feature, which only blocks calls from withheld numbers.

Blocking calls using your home phone

Increasing numbers of home phones now come with some call blocking technology, although these range in sophistication. The cheapest call blocking phones often will only block specific numbers.

This is of limited value, especially if they will only block a small number of callers as thousands of numbers are used to make these calls and they change regularly.

A more useful form of blocking lets you block numbers from a specific range, for example all calls beginning 08, or calls by type, such as all calls from withheld or international numbers. But while effective, this can be quite blunt and could easily block a call from a friend on holiday overseas, or a call from your bank or hospital if they withhold their number. It is therefore helpful if blocked calls are transferred to your answering machine so genuine callers can still reach you.

Blocking calls with a standalone device….

If you don’t want to replace your home phone and your provider can’t block the nuisance calls you receive, then another option is to buy a separate call blocker and plug it in to your existing device.

These usually work in the same way as the call blockers built into phones, in that they have a ‘blacklist’ of numbers or number types, and stop any incoming calls from them.

The TrueCall call blockers are a little different, using the same technology licensed to some BT phones and embraced by Sky and TalkTalk, to screen out unwanted callers.

Blocking calls on your smartphone

All modern smartphones let you block specific callers.

If you have an Android or iPhone handset you can add numbers to a blocked list, reject unknown callers altogether or set a ‘do not disturb’ mode that only allows calls from certain numbers.

Call blocking on an iPhone. 

To block specific numbers simply go to your list of recent callers (open the Phone app, then hit the Recent tab at the bottom).

Click the i symbol next to the unwanted number, scroll down and tap Block this Caller, then confirm your decision. You will not be bothered with any calls, texts or FaceTime calls from that number.

Alternatively, go to the Settings app, scroll down, and tap Phone. Tap Call Blocking & Identification, and you will see your list of blocked callers. Hit Block Contact and pick further numbers to block from your contacts list. You would need to add the nuisance caller to your contacts list for this method to work, however.

To stop calls from people you do not know you can turn on a feature called Silence Unknown Callers. This is also done in Settings app. Got to Settings > Phone, scroll down, then select Silence Unknown Callers.

This blocks phone numbers that you have never been in contact with and don’t have saved in your contacts list. Calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent to your voicemail and appear in your recent calls list.

Call blocking on an Android phone

Whether you answered the call or ignored it, all calls are registered in the recent tab of Android’s Phone app. Launch the app by pressing the Phone icon, touch the Clock symbol to show your call history, then navigate to the number you want to block. Touching it will bring up a short menu, enabling you to choose to block it.

Once you’ve blocked a number it will appear in your blocked numbers list, accessible by tapping the three dots at the top right of the phone screen and choosing Settings > Blocked numbers. You can also manually add a number you wish to block within the Blocked numbers page.

Call blocking apps

Smartphone owners are not limited to the pre-installed call blocking options available through their Android and iPhones. Instead, they can download third-party apps that offer far greater call blocking options. One such app is TrueCaller (no relation to the similarly named TrueCall). This has access to a huge directory of numbers, which is added to daily by the community of millions of app users and helps to identify who is calling you when your phone rings. You can then decide whether to accept the call and can also use the app to build up your own block list.

One final word on apps. If you want to stop people from contacting you through apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, then you will need to block those in the app itself – blocking them in your phone won’t usually be enough.

Action Fraud:

If you are a victim of fraud please contact Action Fraud which is the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

You can make your fraud report online via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Website Links

Detailed counter-fraud advice is available online, including from ScamsmartCIFASTakeFiveCitizens AdviceTrading Standards and the National Cyber Security Centre.

Cheshire Police Victim Support

Cheshire CARES is an enhanced service offering emotional and practical support for all victims of crime, and can offer tailored support to help you cope and recover from the impact of crime. Cheshire CARES can be contacted e-mail: Cheshire.Cares@cheshire.pnn.police.uk or telephone 01606 366 336.

Information provided by:

Financial Abuse Safeguarding & Prevention Officer- Economic Crime Unit
Phone: 101
Cheshire Constabulary HQ | Oakmere Road | Winsford | Cheshire| CW7 2UA

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