Call blockers are used to reduce, and even stop nuisance calls altogether, and are usually pieces of physical hardware that plug into the landline.
There are legitimate companies who provide this technology, however as you have discovered, there are also scammers who take advantage of people.
Help from telecoms providers
Telecoms providers are doing more to help their customers who are receiving nuisance calls, with many offering call features included in the cost of existing packages.
It is worth reaching out to them and explaining your situation, as the features they offer can help to screen, block, and reject unwanted calls.
Limit what you share
When dealing with unsolicited callers over the phone, we should be cautious, ensuring that we do not provide any information, regardless of how insignificant it may seem.
Scammers can use smaller pieces of knowledge to build up a picture of the people they target and use this to seem like a legitimate organisation further down the line.
If you are speaking with someone and realise that they are a scammer, it is best not to panic, as they can use this to their advantage – often, we do not think as clearly when we are in panic mode. If you believe you are speaking with someone who is trying to scam you, the best thing to do is hang up on them, taking note of the telephone number they are calling from, and the date and time for reference.
Different types of scam calls
There are many different types of scam calls, and with some the scammer does not speak to us directly.
Automated ‘Press Button’ Calls – If you receive a call asking you to press buttons to be connected or speak with an adviser, it is advisable to avoid selecting any options, as this could transfer you to a premium rate number and charge you for the call.
‘Silent calls’ are contacts that when the phone is answered there is no response – this type of call can be reported to Ofcom on 0300 123 3333.
There are also scammers who call and hang up, relying on the recipient calling them back, often at a cost. It is important to avoid returning calls to numbers we do not recognise, as this can also be a scam.
Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
The Telephone Preference Service offer a free opt-out service, allowing people to record their preferences on the official register to not receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. This may also help to reduce some of the unwanted calls you receive from legitimate companies and organisations.
You can find out more about them by visiting www.tpsonline.org.uk or by calling their registration line on 0345 070 0707.
By avoiding sharing information, and employing the tools that are available, we can reduce the likelihood of becoming part of a ‘phishing expedition’ for scammers, keep our information safe, and avoid being caught out.
Advice Direct Scotland run consumeradvice.scot, Scotland’s national consumer service, providing information on a range of consumer-related matters, including scams.
You can contact them us 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or by visiting the ‘Contact Us’ section of the website.
Alternatively, you can report suspected scams and suspicious activity 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week using the Quick Reporting Tool at scamwatch.scot.