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Nuisance calls – who’s calling me?

By Jon Barrow

Our unique research has revealed that many people receive dozens of nuisance calls every month. Read on to find out more and to see what the situation is where you live.

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To find out how bad the nuisance calls problem is in the UK we've formed an ongoing partnership with call-blocking experts trueCall. Together we track millions of phone calls that are made to trueCall customers throughout the country and every six months analyse the results.

Our latest research found that calls from regular geographic numbers were the most common type of incoming calls, making up 37% of incoming calls in September 2016. A handful of the rest came from mobiles or business numbers (such as 0800 etc), but most were from withheld (12%), international (26%) or unavailable (15%) numbers.

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Telemarketers and similar organisations are typically responsible for many of these calls. As the graphic above shows, while only three in ten calls from a geographic number were unwanted, the proportion for international and unavailable calls ranges from 86% to a frankly staggering 93%.

Our research also showed that nuisance calls originate from thousands of numbers – and as most of these numbers change regularly, it's hard for regulators to take action.

Nuisance call rates throughout the country

As well as studying the national situation we also looked at how nuisance callers target different areas.

We found that Scotland faces the greatest nuisance calls problem, with trueCall customers there receiving an average of 42 nuisance calls each month (between April and September 2016). That's 17 more than the UK average (25 per month).

Use our interactive map, below, to check the situation where you live.

Sick of nuisance calls?

If you've had enough of nuisance calls, you can help us to make things better.

We've successfully campaigned to make it easier to prosecute nuisance callers and have secured legal changes so that marketing firms can no longer hide behind withheld or unavailable numbers. We've also developed an online tool that has helped more than 11,000 people  report unwanted phone calls.

But there's clearly much more to be done. We want the UK government to make senior executives accountable by law for their company's unlawful nuisance calls, and to address issues around consent by enforcing an expiry date after which 'selected third parties' can't contact people.

You can help stop nuisance calls, back our nuisance calls campaign