Mobile phone users across the UK can now opt out of unsolicited and marketing calls - by sending one text.
The ‘text-to-register’ service - created by phone company regulator Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) - allows mobile phone users to add their number to the UK’s official ‘do not call’ database by texting ‘TPS’ and their email address to 78070.
Having a mobile number on the database means that it is illegal for companies to call without permission.
Ofcom are keen to raise awareness of the TPS - according to their research, only half of people familiar with the TPS (48 per cent) are aware that mobile numbers can be registered, compared to almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) for landline phone numbers.
Only around 3 per cent - 2.9 million - mobile numbers are registered with the TPS database, compared with 18.5 million landline numbers (around 85 per cent).
How to register
Mobile customers simply text ‘TPS’ followed by their email address to 78070. They should receive a text reply from the TPS confirming their number has been successfully added to the database.
A gradual reduction in unsolicited sales and marketing voice calls should be noticeable after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.
People registered with the TPS have seen around a reduction of around a third in ‘live’ sales and marketing calls - although registering with the TPS does not prevent spam text messages.
John Mitchison, Head of the Telephone Preference Service, said: “Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people.
“Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases.”
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom Consumer Group Director, added: “Many millions of landline customers already take advantage of the protection the TPS gives against nuisance calls, and we want to ensure it’s as easy as possible for mobile users to do the same.
“We encourage anyone who wants to reduce the number of frustrating and unwanted calls to their mobile phone to register with the TPS today.”
Aside from the new scheme, Ofcom has five tips for tackling nuisance calls:
• Be careful who you give your contact details to, whether it’s online, on the phone, or in person.
• Look carefully at any marketing ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ boxes. These boxes are often buried in the small print. If you don’t pay attention to them, you could find yourself inadvertently agreeing to be contacted by companies you don’t recognise.
• If someone rings and asks for financial information over the phone, such as your account details or PIN number, don’t provide it.
• Talk to your phone provider to see what privacy services are available, and consider a call-blocker - though be aware, you may need to pay for these services.
• If you receive a nuisance call or message, make a complaint. Complaint information helps regulators take action against companies acting unlawfully. If the call is a live telesales call, an automated marketing message, or a spam text message, complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can report spam texts to your mobile network operator by simply forwarding the text to 7726. If you receive a silent or abandoned call, complain to Ofcom.