Speak to your provider
If you keep getting calls from a withheld number, contact your phone company who should have a dedicated team for handling nuisance calls.
Your phone provider can advise you on what to do next, and may even be able to trace the caller to stop them contacting you again.
They may also be able to help you set up caller display, or block calls from withheld numbers. For example, BT Call Protect lets you send blocked calls straight to a junk folder.
Contact your phone company via their website, or by calling their customer service team to find out more. You can also use our comparison to find providers who offer call blocking.
Register with TPS
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) mainly exists to combat unwanted sales calls and registering with them should help you reduce the number of silent calls you receive.
Cold callers use predictive diallers to make high numbers of sales calls.
They create such a high number of calls that when you answer, there is nobody available to take your call and the line is silent.
It is free to register and unwanted calls should stop within 28 days after registration is complete. TPS lets you:
Stop unwanted marketing calls
Stop unwanted text messages
Prevent calls at inconvenient times
Allow valid calls to get through
Stop calls about products you are not interested in
Find out who is calling
UK companies are required by TPS to display their phone number so it is easier for you to report unwanted calls from the same number.
To check the number of the call:
Screen the call using your handset and make a note of the phone number, along with the date and time of the call
Dial 1471 if you missed the call and record the phone number and the time the call was made
You can then report the company to the Information Commissioner's Office who will investigate and potentially issue fines for unwanted cold calls.
If a call centre is owned by a UK registered company, it will still have to display its phone number even if the callers are based overseas.
What is spoofing?
This is where nuisance callers and criminals change their caller ID to hide who they are, or to appear as though calling from a real company.
For example, identity thieves who want to steal your bank details will pretend they are calling from your bank or building society.
If you think you have been contacted by someone trying to commit identity fraud, you should:
Not give out your personal details
Hang up the phone
Wait five minutes, to make sure the fraudulent call has ended
Contact the company the caller claimed to work for, to see if the call was genuine
If you think you have been a victim of spoofing, you can contact Action Fraud via their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Complain to Ofcom
You can report silent calls or abandoned calls to the telecoms regulator Ofcom so that they can investigate further.
To complain about a silent call:
Visit the Ofcom website
Enter details about when you received the call
Confirm what number it came from
Report a recorded message or silence on the line
If Ofcom needs more information about your complaint they may contact you, but in most cases this is unnecessary.
Report intimidating calls
If you believe the calls you are receiving are from an individual who is deliberately trying to intimidate you, you should contact the police.
To find contact details of your local police station or neighbourhood policing team visit the Police.UK website.
Stop spam text messages
If you are receiving spam text messages, there are a number of different ways you can report them and stop them almost instantly.
Read our guide on how to stop spam text messages for more information.