We've all had those annoying spam texts, voice calls and emails. Today Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis will be telling you how to get rid of them forever!
How to stop spam texts
There’s no definitive way to do this, but follow these five rules and it should help both you and other people.
1. Always double check the '3rd party' box on forms
Be careful who you give your number to when filling in details, especially for marketing companies or those asking to send your details onto third parties. Remember, sometimes the tick means 'I want texts', and sometimes it means 'I don't want texts' – always check. If you have ticked a box saying you want it, then they can send it to you.
2. If it’s actual spam, don't text ‘stop’
Unlike marketing messages, where you can reply 'STOP', if it’s a spam text - one from a company you don't know or recognise - don't reply 'stop' as it could mean they then know your number is real. A rough rule of thumb to tell spam from non-spam is that spam texts usually never say who they're from.
3. Never reply to spam
Even if it’s tempting, these companies send messages out because they usually make money from selling on your number when you reply – as they then know they’ve found a real person. If we all stop reacting, we'll all get less.
4. Forward spam texts to SPAM '7726'
Forward any spam text messages you get to the number 7726 (easy to remember as it spells SPAM). This works on all networks, though for Vodafone you need to send it to 87726. Ensure the forward includes the sender’s number too.
The more people who report a particular number, the higher the chance of getting it blocked – which helps us all.
5. Consider reporting it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If you're really feeling aggrieved, you can report the message to the ICO. It can fine firms up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which govern spam texts (two spammers recently faced fines of over £250,000). To make a complaint to the ICO, either phone 0303 123 1113 or fill in a template letter via its website and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And a final note, if you get a text saying "our database shows you are owed £3,650 of PPI" – it's nonsense.
There are no databases, it neither means, nor doesn't mean you're owed PPI. As proof - I get them - and I've been campaigning about PPI reclaiming for seven years. If you want to reclaim PPI, do it yourself.
How to stop spam or silent calls
1. Register with the Telephone Preference Service
Register your landline AND mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Once registered it's then illegal for UK companies to call any individual who has indicated they don't want sales or marketing calls. The service can also help to reduce silent calls. It may take up to 28 days after registering to notice a drop in calls. However it is important to understand that it only blocks calls from UK-based companies.
So you may still get calls from non-UK based companies, which can be extremely annoying. But if you think they are from within the UK, report them to the TPS.
2. Stop silent calls
If you're getting silent calls then there's a free service you can sign up to called Silent Call-gard. It should help reduce the number of calls you get. It does this by putting your number onto a database, which effectively says you don’t want to receive silent calls, and this is then given out to companies. However this won’t stop all silent calls, as there’s no legal requirement for firms to use the database, plus it only covers UK based firms.
3. Stop spam to someone who has died
Sadly it’s very common for calls and spam to be sent to deceased relatives. If that's happened to you, one way to stop spam calls is to register with the TPS. To stop spam post, sign up with the Deceased Preference Service and the Bereavement Register.