Nuisance calls result in a complaint every five minutes
A complaint about nuisance callers is lodged with the UK's data watchdog every five minutes, figures reveal.
The Information Commissioner's Office said about 370 people a day complain about cold calling, with more than half of those calls now automated. Research found eight of the 20 most prolific calls came from the same company, which is not UK registered.
A spokesman for the ICO said it was illegal to make automated calls to people without their prior consent.
Tellows, a web forum for people who find themselves on the receiving end of a nuisance call, has data on the numbers most frequently sought by its users. Cold callers behind 20 telephone numbers resulted in 219,000 searches in a month.
Analysis shows the most common offenders concerned accidents, lifestyle surveys or PPI compensation. Others make calls suggesting people have won £500 in high street vouchers or an Apple iPad. In the run-up to Christmas there was a rise in calls offering oven cleaning services.
Across the UK, a single mobile phone number resulted in 7,624 searches in one day. Eight of the top 20 numbers for October started with 01895, all with very similar details about the name of the company and the service it was claiming to offer. All but one of the phone numbers is now disconnected, with the latter going only to voicemail.
What can you do about it?
Nuisance phone calls infuriate people and disrupt their lives.
Citizens Advice consumer expert, Jan Carton, said there were three organisations that could help:
1. The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) - "They will add you to their list of numbers that don't accept sales and marketing calls from businesses."
2. The Information Commissioner's Office - "If you continue to get nuisance calls you should report them to the ICO - they have the power to fine companies that break the law."
3. Action Fraud - "If you suspect a nuisance call is a scam you should report it to Action Fraud."