Ofcom: People experiencing fewer nuisance calls, but more work to do

Landline and mobile customers are experiencing fewer nuisance calls than they were three years ago, according to latest research from Ofcom.

The findings are included in an update to the joint action plan to tackle nuisance calls and messages, published today by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Nuisance calls tracking research

In January 2020, two in five (39%) customers reported that they’d received a nuisance call on their landline telephone – down from 61% in May 2017. The proportion of mobile customers experiencing a nuisance call also fell from 47% to 37% during the same period.

Complaints about nuisance calls

The ICO received around 37,000 fewer complaints about nuisance calls and messages than it did five years ago – 129,354 in 2019 vs. 166,663 in 2015 (-22%). Similarly, Ofcom received half the amount of complaints about silent and abandoned calls in 2019 (27,869) than it did in 2015 (49,648), when complaints were at their peak.

More work to do

Nuisance calls are an unwanted interruption to our daily lives. They can also cause anxiety and distress, or result in customers being scammed by fraudsters. So while it’s encouraging that progress is being made, there is still much more to do to make sure people are protected from harm.

Today’s action plan therefore summarises our ongoing technical work to tackle the problem, including blocking nuisance calls at source, as well as the coordinated effort by the banking and telecoms industry to tackle scams, led by Stop Scams UK. The update sets out the ICO’s and Ofcom’s joint priorities for the coming year.

Covid-19 scams

The ICO and Ofcom are also aware of reports of scams related to Covid-19 and are working to help protect customers against these.

Ofcom has published advice for consumers on how to recognise and deal with Covid-19 scam calls and texts.

Further advice for people on how to protect themselves against unwanted calls and messages more generally, is also available on our website.

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