How to manage nuisance calls

You’ve just been slaving over a hot stove for an hour and you’re about to sit down to a nice dinner when the phone rings. If you’re like me, your first response will most likely be: “Who’s calling me at this hour?” Because, let’s face it, everyone should know what time we eat dinner each night. Your second step might be to look at your caller ID to see if you recognise the caller’s number and chances are you’ll have no idea who’s calling.

You might at first think it’s a telemarketer, but what if it’s a loved one with a new number? Or what if it is a call that is actually important? This is a frustration felt by many Australians who receive persistent calls from unknown numbers. So, how can you find out who is calling? How do you put a stop to it?

Firstly, ensure you’re signed on to the National Do Not Call Register. This won’t stop all telemarketing calls, but it will significantly reduce them.

Your second option is to use a reverse lookup service. Here are a few you can access for free:

To use these services, simply type in the number that’s calling you and they will try to identify the caller for you. It works a lot of the time, but it’s not always successful, as the ID occurs as a result of other people, who have answered nuisance calls, making reports to the service. Some even offer ratings as to how much of a nuisance a caller has been. For example, a telemarketing call from Oxfam may not be considered a nuisance call, whereas a call from some global trading company offering you super-high returns on investments would have a high nuisance rating.

There’s one more trick that can be quite successful. You see, any time you enter your phone details and name on an online form that is not secure, your information leaves a digital footprint that can be tracked.

And here’s a Google trick you can also use to identify unknown numbers:

  • open Google
  • in the search field, type in allintext: (all one word, lower case)
  • key in the unknown phone number within double quotation marks (i.e. “03-555-5555”)
  • your results will be listed in the standard Google search results format.

Now that you’ve identified the caller, you can block them if they’re are a nuisance. Here’s how to do it:

On iPhone:

  • go to ‘Phone’ > ‘Recents’
  • tap on the ‘i’ on the right-hand side of the nuisance number
  • the caller’s information page will open. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see ‘Block this Caller’
  • tap ‘Block Contact’ and you’re done.

On Android:

  • go to ‘Phone’ > ‘Logs’
  • tap on the number of the caller you wish to block
  • tap on the three dots at the top right-hand side of your screen
  • tap ‘Add to Auto Reject list’ and you’re done.

Now you can eat your dinner in peace and quiet!

Do you get spam calls? How often do you get them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to prevent telemarketer calls

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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  1. We get scam calls starting with 03, 07, 08 at lunchtime and evening mealtime, 3 or 4 each day to our landline and some to our two mobiles. You can’t block them as they simply change one digit in the number.

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