New research has found that British consumers were subject to 2.2 billion nuisance calls and texts in 2017. This breaks down to 4,200 calls and texts every minute.
The study, conducted by insurance firm Aviva using data from Ofcom (the telecoms industry regulator), found that the majority of the calls were related to injury claims, pensions, PPI or other insurance matters.
If you’re being bothered by nuisance calls and texts, there are things you can do to put a stop to them: follow our ten tips to stop cold calls.
‘I’ve heard you’ve been in an accident’
The research found that nuisance calls made that chase an injury claim are particularly rampant: 895 million were made last year.
Aviva suggests that consumers who may have been injured in a car accident are particularly targeted due to the large sums they can return to claims management companies. In exchange for a fee, the companies can pass people they’ve successfully targeted to other organisations that will help pursue a claim.
However, whether call recipients have actually been involved in an accident or not, many are being irritated by the unwanted calls. When Aviva conducted a survey of 2,000 adults, 57% said nuisance calls were ‘the most annoying thing about owning a phone’. Nuisance calls were also said to be ‘intimidating’ by 18% of respondents, while 13% said cold calls made them feel ‘anxious’.
The next time you get pestered, report the nuisance call with our helpful tool.
Nuisance callers prey on pensioners
30% of the nuisance calls and texts made in 2017 targeted someone who is 65 or older.
Nuisance calls relating to pensions, in particular, have increased since April 2015, when the government introduced new rules allowing anyone 55 and over with a defined contribution pension to take all or part of their retirement savings as a lump sum.
In August 2017, the UK government estimated that £43m had been unlawfully obtained by phone scammers since April 2014, with those who were targeted losing an average of nearly £15,000. Scammers typically make false promises of low-risk, high-return investment opportunities.
Don’t let scammers steal your life’s savings – find out how to spot a pension scam.
How you can avoid nuisance calls
One option is to block most calls and only allow those from a specified list of numbers. If this is your preference, you’ll want to invest in a call blocking home phone or standalone device that you can plug into your phone. Read more about these in our guide to call blocking options.
Most phone providers will offer call management solutions, too. BT’s free service – Call Protect – automatically diverts calls that BT believes to be from nuisance callers to its customers’ junk voicemail boxes. Sky has a similar free service called Talk Shield, and TalkTalk’s version is named Check and Report.
In August 2017, the government promised a crackdown, including a ban on all cold calling related to pensions. If you’d like to join us in calling on the government, regulators and businesses to confront all scams head on, join our campaign to force action on scams.