The end of nuisance calls and phone pests?

Posted on: 31 March 2015 by 50connect editorial

81% affected by phone pests as new research reveals extent of nuisance calls in UK.

nuisance callsResearch released today reveals a shocking insight into the UK’s nuisance call epidemic. A YouGov report into nuisance calls was commissioned by Community CallBLOCKER, a new enterprise which allows victims of nuisance calls to block unwanted numbers, record and share them with the CallBLOCKING Community. As the Government cracks down on nuisance calls with new powers to fine repeat offenders up to £500,000, from April 6 2015, new technology promotes ‘people power’ allowing victims to take action and collect evidence against offenders.

Community CallBLOCKER was created by 23-year-old Oxford University engineering entrepreneur Hugo Sykes, who developed the service after his own grandparents were targeted by phone fraudsters. He created a product to combat the problem which works by attaching a small device to a user’s telephone which not only filters nuisance calls but also actively detects and records possible fraudulent activities. Nuisance call numbers blocked by Community members are collected in a database and are then shared with all CallBLOCKER Community members.  A unique feature of Community CallBLOCKER is that it can provide a recording of the nuisance call as evidence for people to prosecute the nuisance callers and intelligently detect a range of phone scams.

Speaking about Community CallBLOCKER, Sykes explained: “Nuisance calls are clearly out of control in the UK and we know they are affecting many households’ everyday lives.  It isn’t just the intrusion but also the potential criminal activity that these calls are leading to. We know from our research that 12% of people have either been a victim of telephone fraud, or know a friend or family member who has, and this doesn’t account for those who may be too embarrassed to admit they’ve been defrauded.

After seeing one of my own grandparents targeted by telephone fraudsters, I decided to design a solution, which would empower all of us to fight back and take the nuisance call companies to task. With the law changing and the government now firmly and clearly behind the issue I hope to see companies that have impacted people’s lives prosecuted and fined. Our device enables people to do this by recording the nuisance calls and sharing blocked numbers within the community.”

In the March Budget announcement the Chancellor pledged £3.5million for technology and campaigns to crackdown on cold callers, further stressing the magnitude of the issue.

The YouGov report  reveals that 81% of Britons are plagued by nuisance calls; with a quarter receiving ten or more nuisance calls every week, while 7% receive more than 20 each week. Additionally, almost one third of those polled stated that unsolicited calls made them feel ‘stressed’, ‘bullied’ or ‘vulnerable’.

The nationwide survey of more than 2000 people found that:

  • 81% of British people are plagued by unwanted nuisance calls
  • A quarter of people receive more than 10 calls a week, with nearly 7% of the population receiving more than 20 calls a week
  • Nearly A third of those polled are at breaking point, stating that unsolicited calls leave them feeling ‘stressed’, ‘bullied’ or ‘vulnerable’
  • Whilst the majority of nuisance calls reported related to PPI and automated marketing calls,  nearly a third of calls related to attempted fraud
  • Despite a majority of Britons reporting they are concerned about nuisance calls, just one in ten has taken steps to tackle the problem
  • The data reveals that the problem is especially acute for women with a quarter of female respondents saying calls left them feeling stressed. Women were also around three times more likely to feel vulnerable and bullied by calls than men
  • 12% of Britons have been a victim of telephone bank fraud, or have friends or family who have been victims
  • 36% of those retired receive the most calls (10 – 20+ per week), while 13% are students. What is also surprising is that while one in four (25%) part-time workers are in this high nuisance category, the callers clearly know when to call, with one in five (21%) full-time workers also reportedly receiving very high numbers of nuisance calls when they get home from work.

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