Plagued by nuisance calls? Here's how you can avoid them

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

ITV News has learned there's been a huge spike in the number of complaints about nuisance calls.

The first two months of this year have seen them rise by 81% on the previous year.

Many of the complaints are about so-called "Robo-Calls" - which are automated and use pre-recorded questions and answers.

Nuisance calls expert and director at trueCall, Steve Smith, who runs a company that produces call blocking devices, has shared his advice on avoiding scam callers.

  • Be cautious when you receive a call from someone you don't know

When receiving a call from an unknown number, you should be extra aware of someone who wants to do a monetary transaction with you over the phone.

  • Ask them a lot of questions

Even if you recognise the number, the nuisance caller expert suggests you tell the caller you will call them back and trust your instincts. Credit: ITV News

If you are unsure of who is on the phone, you should ask them for more personal information, including their name, their company name, their address and their phone number.

Scammers do not want to share this sort of information but a legitimate company would.

  • Be careful of anyone trying to sell you a pension or investment services

The annual average amount lost to people who fall for pension scams is £91,000.

Calls about pensions should also raise a red flag, as it is illegal for a company to call you with a pension offer.

  • Tell the caller you will call them back and trust your instincts

If you feel like something is wrong, or uncomfortable sharing any sort of information with the caller, trust your instinct and tell the caller you will think about it and then call them back.

You should also try and have five minutes alone to think it over and if you want to call them back you can.

What measures can you take now?

  • The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service and the official central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

  • It is a legal requirement all organisations do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.

  • Mobile phone numbers can also be registered with the TPS, but registration only prevents the receipt of calls - not SMS messages.