How do the companies get your details?

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There are a number of ways in which companies can obtain your details for cold-calling.

It used to be that you just had to go ex-directory if you didn’t want telemarketers to call you, however, the days of telemarketers using a copy of the phone book as their calling list are long gone – they have new methods.

If you are signed up to the free Telephone Preference Service you shouldn’t receive cold calls – generally the only people who should call are those who you already have a business relationship with – but if you tick a box allowing companies to call you then they can ignore your Telephone Preference registration.

On application forms, web forms, free competition forms, website registration pages – whenever you fill in your name, address and phone-number details, be very aware of what permissions you give.

You may be asked whether you want to be contacted by ‘carefully-selected third party companies’ – never give them this permission as it allows them to sell your name on to anyone they like.

Steve Smith of trueCall, a company which sells call-blocking systems, said: “Companies can be very devious about this – sometimes you tick the box to give then permission to call you, sometimes you have to tick the box to prevent them contacting you. It is all very confusing, but it is worth the effort taking a little while checking.

“Some price-comparison websites are the worst offenders. They will insist that you enter your phone number to register and then, if you’re not careful, will sell on your details to other companies.

“A trueCall customer – an 80-year-old woman – was receiving around 35 to 40 nuisance calls a month (about average for someone at home all day during the week), but when she replied to an advert in the national press for a free hearing aid, the number of nuisance calls doubled and then stayed consistently high.

“You wouldn’t think that responding to an advert in a national newspaper was risky behaviour, but it increased the number of nuisance calls received dramatically.

“No matter how careful you are you can’t escape the robocalls. These calls are so cheap to make that sometimes the companies don’t bother to use calling lists at all – they just dial sequentially through the number range – 0191 123 0001, 0191 123 0002, 0191 123 0003, etc. No matter how careful you are in giving out your number they can still call you.”

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