Dealing with spam calls and emails

Unsolicited Phone Calls:

Register for the free service provided by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the official central opt out register where you can record your preference to not receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.  TPS note that it is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make calls to numbers registered on the TPS database unless they have your consent to do so.  To register with TPS click here.

Unsolicited Text Messages:

There has recently been an increase in unsolicited text messages relating to accident claims, debts or missold PPI.  The companies sending these messages are seeking to solicit leads which are then sold on to management firms.  The TPS advise that if you receive these text messages then it is best to ignore them.  If you feel that the text messages are becoming a nusance then you can report the messages to your network operator who may be able to prevent further spam from the originating number.  You can either contact your network operator’s customer services or use one of the reporting numbers:

  • Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Three: Forward the text to 7726
  • Vodafone: Forward the text to VSPAM (87726)

However, numbers often change and so the network cannot guarantee stopping all unsolicited messages.

If you do not believe that you have opted-in to the number of that there is a breach of your data protection then you can also report it to the ICO (follow guidelines below)

Complaints to the ICO:

A second option is to contact the ICO.  If a company that has contacted you fails to provide details of who they are then the communication is unlawful and the ICO can help.  The ICO website advises the following action to be taken if you are concerned:

1)  Contact the organisation in question explaining your concerns and allow them some time to address the problem.  You can call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 for more advise on what can be done to resolve the matter.

2)  If the problem remains unresolved the ICO may be able to help.  If necessary, they will investigate the problem further and they can provide help and guidance to the organisation if they believe that the law has been broken.  You will need to be able to provide evidence to support your complaint otherwise the ICO will be unable to consider it.

You can make a complaint to the ICO by email:

  1. Fill out the complaint form (available here)
  2. Open an email with ‘Complaint to the ICO’ in the subject line
  3. Attach the complaint form and any additional documents that you wish to include
  4. Send to

Or, you can send it by post:

  1. Fill out the complaint form (available here)
  2. Send the form and and any additional documents that you wish to include to:

First Contact Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

The ICO are inviting anyone who has received spam marketing calls and messages from an unknown sender to take part in their survey.  The survey aims to help aid the ICO’s investigations into spam messaging.

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Take Action | 3 Comments


  1. Guest
    24th April 2012

    How can you “Contact the organisation” if they have ” fails[ed] to provide details of who they are”. This advice just about sums up the ICO

  2. J4joolz
    25th April 2012

    Is there any way to stop the “You are entitled to a grant for insulation/solar power” calls?

  3. S
    23rd August 2012

    1 – The TPS is virtually useless. It is an organisation set up by the Direct Marketing Assn – ie the poachers have turned gamekeepers. Their standard response is an automated email which appears to have little value and they do not appear to have any powers to prevent cold calling. Certainly they can do nothing about calls from abroad, which are increasingly common.
    2- The ICO is in a similar position. They take ages to respond and there is no apparent conclusion. Whilst their response can be helpful and occasionaly works there is very little feedback to make people feel as though something is being done on their behalf.
    (In one case some years ago the subject of a number of very serious complaints concerning slanderous emails was simply given a slap on the wrist).
    These organisations seem more of a public panacea than ones capable of actually achieving anything!