13th Mar 2018

The good news and the bad on silent numbers

Good and the bad on silent numbers
Janelle Ward

We have good news and bad news on silent numbers – and a warning.

The good news is that Telstra made silent line services free from mid-February, dropping the $2.93 monthly charge. Optus does not charge for the service. The bad news is that in 2016–17, complaints about calls from telemarketers jumped 20 per cent.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said there were 28,200 complaints about telemarketers in 2016–17, up by more than 5000 on the previous financial year. It also reported that an extra 375,000 numbers had been added to the Do Not Call Register – an increase of 3.5 per cent.

ACMA sent 5049 compliance warnings about potential breaches of telemarketing and spam in the past financial year – a 23.1 per cent increase on the 2015–16 financial year.

And the warning?

YourLifeChoices member ‘On the Ball’ advises everyone to read the fine print when signing up for information or services from “some of those stalls that frequent shopping malls (security shutters, tile painting, solar panels etc)”. The member believes “you may also be approving the removal of your number from the Do Not Call register” when you sign up for further information or special offers.

An ACMA spokesperson said that the only person who could remove a number from the Do Not Call register was the owner of that number, but she said the terms and conditions of any special offer might permit that particular business to ring the silent number.

She advised anyone concerned about their privacy to ask questions and/or read the terms and conditions before signing anything.

ACMA says most businesses did the right thing and checked contact numbers against the register.

Have you had an unsolicited call to a silent number? Did you report them?

Related articles:
Managing nuisance calls
Ditching the landline
Phone scammers


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13th Mar 2018
Before we had mobile phones we installed a number display wall phone and simply ignored 'anonymous' calls. I had contacted Telstra who replied that they were compelled to provide the service. The Telecom ombudsman gave the same reply. Now that we use cell phones we continue to ignore so called silent numbers and treat them with the contempt applied to anonymous letters. What a person is saying, when hiding his/her number is "I want to speak to you and now is a convenient time for me, but I don't want you to ring back at your convenience"
13th Mar 2018
I don't understand the term 'silent number' - if it were silent you wouldn't hear the calls anyway.
We had an 'unlisted' number for a while when we were getting nuisance calls on our landline. It did the job quite well.
With mobiles, I agree with Beeman - if the caller's number isn't displayed, don't answer it and don't phone back.
13th Mar 2018
At one stage I was using skype but found many were not taking my calls because they did not know who was calling and presumed it was a telemarketer. However now I am getting many many scam emails telling me I have won a Woolworths $200 voucher nearly 5 times a day, have won cars and ipads and nokia phones and so on and so on. Also I am told I need to pay RTA fines and also tax money. Also fake bills from telstra and so on. It is getting very hard to tell the genuine from the real ones. No wonder people get caught.
13th Mar 2018
Mike, Skype does have the facility to record a genuine phone number so that when you call someone, your landline (or mobile) number is displayed on their phone. It's under Call Settings, but you will have to set it in your browser rather than within the Skype app. Takes less that one minute
Old Man
13th Mar 2018
I have a very limited knowledge of how scammers work mike, but as regards emails, I have been led to believe that even opening an email will trigger a positive response to the scammers and therefore they will continue to send annoying and unwanted emails.

Our Telco gives us caller ID and over a period we have saved the scam numbers in our phone system with the name of the caller as "Do Not Answer". Our scam calls have dropped dramatically. Works for us.
13th Mar 2018
We also get regualarly a call and it just says Anonymous00000000. If we answer, or it goes to the recording, it just shrieks and shrieks and doesnt stop and wont let you hang up. Does anyone know what this is?
13th Mar 2018
Simple solution to this dilemma is to get Telstra's Call Guardian 301 - costs $ 74.00 for 2 handsets and you can pay on your bill $3.00 per month.
You do need to have calling no display - the caller has to identify themselves to you - family and friends you setup in your phone and when they call you for the first time you hit 2 on the handset which allows them thru thereafter - with new callers you hit 1 which makes them identify themselves and if you don't like what you are hearing simply hangup! This service is activated in the exchange and it has been the best thing we have ever done - Do Not Call hasn't been a success for us - too many callers are hiding behind Private these days and you don't know who is ringing you and this way you are in control of who you let thru! Robo calls, political calls, scams etc are controlled by you. I don't understand why Telstra is not letting people especially older folk and pensioners know about this system as it will give you some protection from these ferals! Mind you if you are able to deal with Telstra it will come up on your MY Telstra billing account and it is easy to sign up thru your account and get your phone.
13th Mar 2018
I don't answer any private numbers at all. If they don't leave a message - ce la vie.

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