There is literally nothing more annoying in the world than those robot spam phone calls.
They are maddening.
You also get spam text messages.
They're dreadful. But there is a way you can stop them – or at least, hopefully, significantly reduce how often you get them.
This is how you stop the phone calls. There's a government-backed website called the Telephone Prefences Service.
Then enter your phone number and your details as they ask for them.
That puts your name and number on a database. Telemarketers are forbidden by law to make unsolicited calls to numbers on that list.
It takes 28 days for it to go through, and after that, you shouldn't be getting any calls from companies you haven't said can call you.
And that's it! Done.
Sort of. There are one or two more things to think about, but basically, that should be it.
This won't stop calls you've agreed to, and God knows it's easy to forget to tick or untick boxes on websites, so you may have accidentally agreed to a few. If you're still getting calls, you can block specific numbers when you get them.
It also won't stop illegal marketers, because they're illegal. You'll just have to report those numbers to the authorities.
Ofcom, the government watchdog which oversees telephone marketing, says:
When you receive a nuisance call, make a brief note of the call if you can, including the date, time, name of the firm (if it's known) and also the number you were called from (even if it doesn't look like a valid phone number). Then make a complaint to the relevant organisation or regulator. But, even if you don't have all the information available, you can still make a complaint.
More details on how to complain here.
Spam text messages are a bit more complicated, because they fall under a different jurisdiction.
Specifically, they count as mail rather than telephone marketing, so the TPS can't stop them. But in theory, you should only get them from companies you've allowed to contact you.
You can block them in the same way as you block calls. Or, if it's from a number or company you recognise, you can text STOP to them in reply. However, if you don't recognise the number, OFCOM recommends that you don't text them, because that can let a spam marketer know that they've reached a real number, so you might get even more calls.
They say: "Instead, report the spam text to your network operator. Simply forward the text to 7726. An easy way to remember '7726' is that they are the numbers on your telephone keypad that spell out the word 'SPAM'." Texts to 7726 are free.
You should also report it to the Information Commissioner's Office, who will investigate.