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Dealing with nuisance phone calls

If you receive nuisance or malicious calls, including silent calls, please read our advice below on avoiding these calls.

If you suspect that the calls you're receiving are of a criminal nature, you should consider contacting the Police. Examples of these types of calls include:

  • Threatening bodily harm;
  • Sexual assault; and
  • Racially motivated threats.

Less threatening calls include:

  • Annoying/silent calls; and
  • Hoaxes.
  • Power diallers

    These are automated dialling systems used by call centres for sales or marketing purposes. The system automatically dials a number without an agent being on the line and when the call is answered the system attempts to put an agent on the line. If no agents are available within a few seconds the system ends the call.

    The system is likely to make repeat calls to the number until a successful connection with an agent is made. This can create the impression of persistent short silent calls.

  • Fax bureaus

    Some sales and marketing companies use automated equipment to attempt to send faxes without knowing which numbers are connected to fax machines. If you are called by anyone using this equipment, when answering the call you will hear bleeps, screeching tones and white noise. This could also be caused a computer modem in your home.

    There are a few things you can check if you think a Power Dialler or Fax Bureau may be causing nuisance calls:

    • Do the calls occur only between 8am and 9pm?
    • Is there are fixed pattern to the calls?
    • When answered is there a delay of one or two seconds before the call is connected? You may hear click on the line followed by the “Number Unobtainable” tone if there is no agent to take the call.

    What you can do

    Sign in to My Sky to check your preferences. This lets you choose how you want Sky to contact you. Note that some of the calls you receive may be from other businesses, not Sky, such as your bank or insurance company, or may originate from outside the UK.

    If you are able to speak with whoever is making the call, attempt to identify the source of the calls (including name and address) and resolve the issue directly with that party. When doing this ask the caller what company they are employed by and not just what company they represent.

  • Wrong numbers

    These are normally due to an individual mis-dialling or having an incorrect telephone number when dialling and should be infrequent.

    Mis-dialling can also occur where an individual has incorrectly set up call divert on their telephone or mobile phone so their calls are diverted to the wrong number.

    What you can do

    • Keep a log recording the time and date of the call and number that the caller intended to dial.
    • Identify the person for whom the calls are intended (if possible).
    • Attempt to identify the source of the calls (including name and address).

  • General advice for nuisance calls

    • Never answer the telephone stating either your telephone number or name.
    • Make sure the caller identifies themselves first.
    • Never give out personal details.
    • If a caller asks "what number is this?" don’t divulge this information but ask the caller "what number did you dial or is required?"
    • Keep calm. Some nuisance callers may gain pleasure by getting an emotional response.
    • If there is no reply after giving a greeting, do not speak further.
    • Don’t engage in a conversation.
    • Replace the handset immediately, or alternatively leave the phone off the hook and walk away for a period, then simply replace the handset without listening.
    • Use an answering machine to screen incoming calls.
    • If using an answering machine, don’t program the answer message to include your name or phone number.
    • Never program your answering machine to say you're not at home or on holiday.
    • If available, use 1471 to attempt to identify the telephone number from where the calls are being made.
    • Press a digit on the keypad to simulate the initiation of a call trace and comment as if to someone else in the room.
    • Avoid giving any details of names or marital status.
    • Record the amount and frequency of these calls and identify if there is a fixed pattern to the time of day the calls are received.

    Sign up with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)

    If you’re concerned about unwanted marketing calls and want to opt-out of receiving them, you can register your phone number with the TPS. This service is free and is the only official register to opt out of marketing calls - you should be aware of copycat services which may try and charge for their services.

    Registering with the TPS is easy to do but it doesn’t guarantee to stop all unwanted calls and doesn't cover:

    • International calls
    • Market research calls
    • Non-sales related calls
    • Calls from companies to which you’ve already given your consent

     If you want to update how you want Sky to contact you, please contact us or sign in to My Sky to check your preferences.

    It takes up to 28 days for your TPS registration to become effective but if you’re still getting nuisance calls after this period, you can register your complaint so the relevant regulator can take action.

    Which? has created a free online tool that sends you to the right place to complain about nuisance calls and texts. Visit the Which? website to register your complaint.

  • Help with unwanted calls

    If you believe these calls are relating to a fraud or scam, Action Fraud can be contacted on 0300 123 2040 or go to actionfraud.police.uk. Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.

    You can arrange for any of the following call features to be activated by contacting us.

    Opt to be unlisted or ex-directory

    You can opt to be unlisted or ex-directory to ensure your number does not appear in the Phonebook. If you're currently listed and opt to become ex-directory the change will take effect from the next publication of the Phonebook. 

    Caller Display

    This lets you see the telephone number of an incoming call before you answer the phone.

    To see the callers’ number you must have a telephone with the capability to display numbers and also have the Caller Display service activated on your line.

    Frequent wrong number

    If the calls are from a known telephone number (or up to 10 known numbers) you can add Last Caller Barring feature.

    Please note: Even if you don’t have the telephone number, the last incoming call can be barred.

    This feature is an optional extra available for a little extra, please see our Call Features Tariff Guide.

    Withheld numbers

    If the caller is withholding their telephone number you can add Anonymous Call Rejection feature which will prevent calls from withheld numbers.

    Please note: Refusing calls from withheld numbers may prevent calls from other people, for example, doctors, hospitals etc.

    This feature is an optional extra available for a little extra, please see our Call Features Tariff Guide.

    If you wish to opt-out of receiving marketing calls or faxes from Sky, please contact us or sign in to My Sky to change your preferences and this will stop Sky from contacting you for marketing purposes. 

    Additional guidance

    If after following the above guidance you are still receiving nuisance calls, you may wish to speak with one of the regulators. Below are useful guides which explain which regulators you should speak to depending on the type of nuisance calls you are receiving: