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Updated: 31 Jul 2019

Nuisance calls fall to lowest level in six years

New research shows the lowest numbers since tracking began, but scam calls are on the up. Find out how to stay one step ahead

The number of nuisance calls is down to the lowest level in six years of monitoring, according to new research from Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator said the research, conducted earlier this year, shows that rules it introduced in 2018 are now having a positive effect. Last year, Ofcom introduced rules requiring all telephone numbers displayed to be both valid and possible to call back.

If you're still being bothered by nuisance calls and texts, there are things you can do to put a stop to them. Make a start by following our ten tips to stop cold calls.

Overall nuisance calls are down

Ofcom asked 803 participants to note in a diary all of the nuisance calls they received to their home landlines over a four-week period.

In this time, 79% of panellists had received at least one nuisance call. This level of calls has remained fairly steady since numbers have been recorded, although it peaked at 86% in 2015.

However, the average number of nuisance calls participants received has dropped. In 2015, participants received an average of 9.7 nuisance calls, while this year they received 7.4 calls - the lowest figure seen in Ofcom's six years of research.

People who are 55 and over were more likely to receive nuisance calls, although this figure has also decreased - from 13.7 calls in 2015 down to 10 in the latest study.

If you're still being bugged by unsolicited callers, find out more about dealing with unwanted calls and texts, and you can report a nuisance call or text message using our tool.

But scam calls are on the rise

Some 26% of the nuisance calls recorded by the panel were thought to be scams in the latest study. In 2017, this figure was just 4%

Other nuisance calls were related to phone or broadband promotions (13%), insurance (9%) or home improvements (7%). A further 7% of calls related to PPI and 6% to accident claims and compensation.

Read more about phone scams and how to spot a scam to stay one step ahead.

What can I do about nuisance calls?

If you'd like to try to manage the calls you receive, it's worth getting in touch with your phone provider. BT has a free service - Call Protect - that automatically diverts calls that BT believes to be from nuisance callers to customers' junk voicemail boxes.

Sky has a similar free service called Talk Shield, while TalkTalk's version is named Check and Report.

Another 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.

Picking a cordless home phone with strong call-blocking features is another tactic. When we assess cordless phones, we give each a dedicated rating for call blocking, factoring in how effective the features are as well as how easy they are to set up and use on a daily basis. Take a look at our Best Buy cordless phones to find the most impressive on test.