You’re sitting down to have dinner or relaxing in front of the television and the phone rings. It’s someone trying to sell you insurance, or a robotic voice advising you about a PPI claim – a nuisance call.

A nuisance call is a call you get that you didn’t ask for. Unfortunately nuisance calls affect almost all of us at some point.

At best nuisance calls are annoying sales pitches and an invasion of privacy - at worst they can be scary and upsetting. BT's just introduced a new free service to help called BT Call Protect.

BT Call Protect

BT Call Protect is a brand new free service exclusively available to BT landline customers that helps stop nuisance calls, giving you peace of mind so that you can answer the phone without worrying whether it’s a sales call, another PPI inquiry or an automated marketing message.

BT Call Protect proactively monitors nuisance calls and automatically stops them getting through to your phone by sending them directly to a junk voicemail. You can manage your calls in three ways:

1: BT blacklist: Numbers identified as nuisance callers by BT’s experts are added to a BT blacklist and sent automatically to your junk voicemail. The list is continually updated with new numbers.

2: Personal blacklist: If you get an unwanted call you can add it to your Personal blacklist within seconds. All future calls from that number will be sent to your junk voicemail.

3: Individual call types: You can send calls from specific categories (such as withheld or international) straight to your junk voicemail.

Manage BT Call Protect at any time from by logging onto bt.com/btcallprotect with your BT ID or calling 1572 (it’s free) on your home phone.

BT is the only phone service provider to offer such a service, which new customers can simply order when becoming a BT customer. Existing customers can activate BT Call Protect at bt.com/callprotect

Read more: Discover how BT is leading the way in tackling nuisance calls.

Woman on the phone looking unhappy

What is a nuisance call?

Nuisance calls fall into four categories:

1: Malicious calls

Calls where the person at the other end of the line is being abusive or threatening are often the most upsetting type of nuisance calls.

How to stop malicious calls:

  • If you get a malicious call, don’t react, be calm and don’t say anything, taking care not to give away any personal information such as your phone number or address.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone – remember it’s your phone, so you can take control.
  • If you have an answerphone message, make sure it doesn’t reveal too much, so don’t record your full name and phone number. If you are living alone, consider leaving a message that says ‘we are out’.   
  • Keep a record of the date and time of calls, and you can take a note of the number if you have caller display like the BT8600, or by calling 1471.
  • Report malicious calls to the Nuisance Call Advice Line by calling 0800 661 441.
  • If the calls persist, or you feel unsafe, report them to the police.

2: Marketing and sales calls

Here someone, or a company, is trying to sell you something or offer their services. This can be double glazing, a PPI claim or a charity looking for donations.

The odd call now again might not bother you, but to receive lots can be overwhelming, especially if the seller is persistent and pushy.

How to stop marketing and sales calls:

  • Contact the company and ask them to remove your phone number from their list. Some start with a recorded message, allowing you to opt out of calls. Make a note of any details about the company.
  • Contact the Telephone Preference Service to prevent your details being made available to marketing lists for organisations who may call you. Run by the Direct Marketing Association, the service is free. Register your details online at www.tpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0345 070 0707.

Get a phone that can help

The BT8600 is a home phone designed especially to tackle nuisance calls.

The ‘one-touch’ button allows you to transfer calls straight to the built-in answerphone. Press the button during a call to end it and add the number your blocked list.

BT 8600

The BT8600 Incorporates multi-award winning trueCall call blocking technology, it lets you block up to 1000 numbers and you can choose the type of calls to block such as withheld and international numbers, or even numbers from a specific dialling code.

The 1.8-inch colour screen displays incoming calls and if you want peace and quiet, Do Not Disturb mode turns off the ringtone, ensuring only calls from family and friends get through.

BT customers can save 42% on the cost of the BT8600, find out more here.

3: Silent calls

A silent call is when you pick up the phone and there’s no one on the line.

This is often a technology error, caused by dialling equipment automatically making calls although there aren’t enough staff to be on the end of the line. Others unfortunately can be malicious.

How to stop silent calls:

  • Get your phone number removed from marketing lists by calling the Telephone Preference Service (see above).
  • If you think there’s someone else on the line trying to intimidate you, report them to the Nuisance Call Advice Line (0800 661 441) or contact the police.

4: Text calls

This relatively new phenomena is when you pick up the phone and hear a pre-recorded message. These messages are sent if you’ve received a text message and don’t have a text-enabled phone.

How to stop text calls:

  • Call 0800 587 5252 from the landline the text calls are coming to. You can choose to stop them or set curfews during which you won’t receive them.

Phone receiver off hook

What else can I do to stop nuisance calls?

  • Go ‘ex-directory’ Take your number out of the phone book by calling 0800 800 150, it’s free.
  • Anonymous Call Rejection BT has a feature called Anonymous Call Rejection that stops you getting calls from withheld numbers. It costs £5.80 a month and you can add it by logging into your BT account. Find out more.
  • Sign up for BT Privacy This service allows BT customers to get Caller Display, which shows the phone number of the caller. It costs £1.75 a month when you take out a 12-month line rental contract. Find out more.
  • Choose to Refuse With Choose to Refuse you can stop pre-specified numbers getting through to your phone number.   It costs £4.75 a month and you can store up to ten numbers on a barred numbers list. Find out more.

Read more: Spam email: What is it and how to stop it

The BT8600 is available now from BT Products and Services, BT customers can save a brilliant 42%, taking the cost of the phone down to just £34.99 or £49.99 for two handsets.  Find out more.