Ofcom crackdown on surge in nuisance calls

 
Michael Bow
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NUISANCE silent phone calls received by homes and businesses almost doubled last year according to figure published yesterday, prompting regulator Ofcom to promise tougher action to stamp out the practice.

Silent and abandoned phone calls are associated with automatic diallers used in call centres punching in numbers at random.

The calls are silent when they are picked up, causing annoyance and concern for people at the other end of the line, Ofcom said.

Instances of such calls doubled last year to 47 per cent up from 24 per cent of people who say they have received them.

Almost three quarters of landline customers also said they had received a live marketing call last year, while 63 per cent said they had received a recorded marketing message.

Ofcom yesterday announced a five-point plan to bring together industry, regulators and government to help address nuisance calls.

The regulator said it would do more to trace companies who try and hide the practice, as well as write to businesses in the UK warning them they face fines of up to £5m if they break the rules. The body issued fines of over £800,000 last year to companies breaking the laws on calls.

The five point plan also included more research to help understand which sectors make the most nuisance calls.