Number of nuisance calls and spam texts in Britain plummets by more than two thirds in lockdown

Another, Tim Jones tweeted: “Nice to see that the ‘life insurance review team’ nuisance calls have started up again. Not having a sales call in so long it was good to hear the silence before the pitch kicked in. Ah the good old days of blocking random numbers returns.”

On Thursday, the consumer watchdog Which? warned that the ending of lockdown could see people start to be ‘flooded’ with nuisance calls as centres opened up again.

Natalie Hitchins, Head of Home Products and Services at Which?, said: “Nuisance calls can have a huge emotional impact for the people who are plagued by them everyday and to make matters worse many of the cold calls reported to Which? often turn out to be scams.

“As workplaces reopen and restrictions ease, cold colds may come flooding in again. We’d advise consumers to continue reporting nuisance calls and texts to the Information Commissioner, so that they can take enforcement action against those companies who flout the law.”

Meanwhile, the ICO figures showed that nuisance texts only dropped by less than a third, 29 per cent, between February and April.

The ICO said that during lockdown it had detected a rise in text message scams ‘preying on people’s fears’ during the pandemic.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “We’re also aware of a growing number of organisations using the public health emergency opportunistically to set up scams and contact vulnerable people using nuisance calls, unsolicited emails, and spam texts.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen an increase in complaints about nuisance marketing clearly aimed at preying on people’s fears and we are prioritising such cases.”

Earlier this week, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warned people are already being targeted by text scams pretending to be from the NHS contact-tracing app. 

The app is currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight ahead of being rolled out to the rest of the country.

The CTSI said it had uncovered phishing operations sending people bogus texts that told them they needed to contact someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. A link would then take them to a sham site where they would be asked to enter personal details, which can be used by scammers in identity theft crimes.

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