Scotland's Nuisance Calls Commission: our response and action plan

Response to Scotland’s Nuisance Calls Commission, with actions to empower and protect individuals and encourage better business behaviour.

Protecting People

The steps outlined here are targeted at protecting individuals - whether it's actions to keep people safe; delivering key messages to raise awareness of available help and support; or finding out how better to make a lasting difference.

How will we and our partners protect and empower people?

1. Providing call blocking technology

Often, people who are already vulnerable are most likely to be targeted by scam callers, which can have a devastating impact - sometimes as extreme as making people feel unsafe in their own homes.

Vulnerable people receive twice as many nuisance calls as other users of call blocking software [5]

Using Scottish Government funding, over the next 12 months, Trading Standards Scotland will provide over 500 call blockers to vulnerable people to prevent unwanted calls. We will build on the good practice already developed and work with social work, healthcare and charitable agencies so help goes where it's most needed.

Benefits to society from blocking unwanted callers are significantly greater than the cost of supplying, installing and monitoring call blockers. Over a five year period savings per vulnerable person are between approximately £3K to nearly £8K [6]

2. Raising awareness of protection options

The Commission sought to empower people to protect themselves. Commission members Which? and Citizens Advice Scotland are running a consumer awareness week. Key messages will reach people all across the country, providing information in clear, accessible formats on issues like call blocking technology, avoiding scam calls, and keeping data safe.

The Scottish Government will make sure these messages are re-enforced through campaigns we fund on an ongoing basis, including by exploring the benefits of holding an annual consumer day to continue to raise awareness.

3. Measuring impact to make a difference

Volumes of nuisance calls have remained persistently high over the past few years. The Commission identified a need to conduct an in-depth review of previous actions to ensure that future initiatives, at both a Scottish and UK level, are evidence-based and have real potential to make a difference.

We have commissioned research to analyse the impact of the actions set out here and to examine the outcomes of past interventions. This will be shared with the UK Government, regulators, enforcement agencies and consumer groups so that future work is better targeted and more effective.

Levels of nuisance calls remained broadly unchanged between 2013 – 2017 [7]

What can you do to keep yourself or your loved ones safe?

While stopping these calls on a larger scale is for government, regulators and telecom providers, you can take steps to help reduce the number of calls you receive.

  • Sign up to the Telephone Preference Service ( TPS)

TPS is a free service. When you sign up, your number will be added to a register that telemarketing companies are legally obliged not to call. Signing up has been shown to reduce nuisance calls received by about a third, on average. [8]

You can register your landline online at or you can call 0345 070 0707.

You can register your mobile number in the same way, or text ' TPS' and your email address to 85095.

  • Block unwanted calls

Some telecoms companies are helping their customers stay safe. For example, Sky, BT and Vodafone have recently rolled out free services. These systems stop nuisance callers, and you can easily block and report additional numbers.

If your phone provider doesn't offer this service yet, some landline handsets come with call blocking technology built in, and you can buy stand-alone units, too. There are also many call blocking apps for smart phones, but be sure to check how they use your personal data, including your contact lists.

  • Check before you tick

Your data is valuable, so be careful how you give it away.

Many companies ask for consent to process your data or to contact you when you use their services. But the way companies ask for that consent isn't always the same - sometimes ticking a box means you're agreeing to be contacted and sometimes it means you're confirming you don't want to be. Equally, some companies ask for consent to share your data with third parties. Make sure you read carefully before agreeing, and think about how widely shared you want your data, and whether you trust who you're giving it to.

  • Complain

Complaining about a nuisance call or text can often add to the inconvenience by taking up more of your time. However, if you're particularly concerned and want to complain, you can use the Which? Consumer Rights complaints tool. This passes details on many kinds of calls and texts to the right regulator, and direct you to the correct place where it is unable to. If you complain direct to a UK body, such as TPS, The Information Commissioner's Office or Ofcom, include your postcode so they know that you live in Scotland.

Reporting an unwanted text as spam is even simpler. Just forward it to 7726 - easy to remember because it spells out "spam" on your phone keypad.

If you feel threatened or suspect a scam, you should always contact someone to help protect yourself and other people. Use 999 if you think the threat is immediate and 101 if you're concerned but not in imminent danger.

In June 2017 over 1100 complaints were made about nuisance calls in Scotland [9]


Email: Corey Reilly,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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