How to stop cold calls

Nuisance calls are an unwanted interruption to our daily lives. They can also cause anxiety and distress, or result in people being scammed. And whilst the number of cold calls made are slowly declining, in January 2020, two in five adults still said they receive cold calls.

As part of the free IPS membership, our team register members with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to help reduce your cold calls. In this guide, IPS breaks down more ways you can help reduce and stop your nuisance calls.

Protect your friends by sharing this article with them:



Screen your phone calls

If you have caller display and an answer phone, consider only answering calls from numbers you recognise. Legitimate callers are likely to leave a message.


Keep your name off sales call lists

Some companies may use online or paper phone books to find numbers to target with sales calls. Ask for your phone number to be excluded from directories, this will stop companies from finding out your number in this way.


Set up barring for unwanted calls

Many cold calls come from abroad, so unless you need to receive international calls, ask your phone operator if it can block calls from international numbers.


Report cold-calling offenders

It’s important to report nuisance calls so that the offenders are identified and punished. You should report live sales and marketing calls to the Information Commissioners Office. If you are getting calls where there is no one there (silent or abandoned calls) you should report them to Ofcom.


If you think its a scam

Phone calls which sound like scams should be reported straight away to Citizens Advice and Action Fraud.


Don’t automatically reply to marketing texts 

If a message is from a company you trust or from a five-digit number, replying ‘STOP’ should do the job and you shouldn’t be charged. But if it’s from anyone else it’s probably best to ignore it, replying will just confirm your number is a valid one and you may start seeing a lot more communications from them. Instead, report the message to your network operator by forwarding the message to 7726.


Block the call

You can always report phone numbers to your network operator and find out what services they offer in terms of blocking calls. On the phone app, tap the number or contact you want to block and select “Block this Caller” or “Block Number”.



If nothing else is working, think about complaining to the company and asking them to stop. This could be the simplest solution.


If you’re getting calls about PPI or accidents

Companies are not able to call about PPI or personal injury claims unless you have told them they can. The Citizens Advice website explains this.


Register with the free tools and services we have highlighted below.


Services to help stop cold calls to your landline

Telephone Preference Service

The TPS is a UK register of domestic telephone numbers whose users have indicated they do not wish to receive sales and marketing calls.

By joining the IPS community, we will automatically sign you up to the Telephone Preference Service.

Sky Talk Shield*

Sky customers can choose to answer the calls they want and block the ones they don’t. We have teamed up with our friends at Sky to offer IPS members a free upgrade to activate Sky Talk Shield with Sky Broadband for both new and existing customers. Sky Talk Shield screen all calls to your landline and offers you complete control when choosing who to speak to.

BT Call Protect*

Helps BT customers stop unwanted and nuisance calls. They can choose which calls you want to take and the ones to send to their junk voicemail.

Call Safe*

A free security feature for TalkTalk customers that helps keep unwanted callers at bay.

BT’s Ex-Directory

Your details will not be included in the Phone Book and will not be available via BT’s 118500 Direct Enquiries, nor their online directory service.

BT’s Enquiries Only

Your details will be disclosed only through Directory Enquiries. This means your details won’t be available on their online directory service.

Fundraising Preference Service

An official service that lets you stop charities contacting you. By using the website, you can end contact with up to three charities at a time. Or by calling, you can end contact with up to 20 charities. It allows you to stop charities contacting you by email, telephone, post and/or SMS.

Direct Call Blocker Services

Services to block calls on your landline

CPR Call Blocker*

Plugs directly into your home phone, and allows you to screen the calls you receive.

Alternatively, you can also buy some home phones with call blocking features built in to them.


Connects to your home phone, and allows you to both block and screen calls.

Mobile App Call Blockers

Services to block calls on your mobile


Security App that identifies the calls you want to take and blocks the numbers and texts you want to avoid. Free + Paid versions.


Security App with caller-identification, call-blocking, flash-messaging, call-recording, Chat & Voice by using the internet. Free + Paid versions.

Make a complaint

Services to register complaints

Telephone Preference Service

Make a complaint to the Telephone Preference Service.

Fundraising Preference Service

Make a complaint to the Fundraising Preference Service.

Information Commissioners Office

Report any other issues relating to nuisance calls and spam texts to the Information Commissioners Office.


You can also report issues to Ofcom, who may be able to help with complaints relating to phone, broadband, postal services, TV, radio and on-demand programmes.

*This article contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through one of these links IPS is paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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