How to identity nuisance callers and prevent them from calling again

Discover how to identify a caller and, if they’re a nuisance, prevent them from calling again.

Red cord telephone closeup female hand ending call

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 around 7pm. 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 which 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!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    22nd Jan 2019
    You advised readers after I bought the Guardian Telstra MK2 to your attention before Xmas 2018 . Still to date we purchased Guardian Telstra MK2 last June 2018 we have not received 1 single call Only the other day a friend called haven heard from for several years I was able to take because all you have to do is say who is calling then the phone rings you are then told the persons name press 1 then continue the chat . Your phone will not ring unless as detailed above . You decide to put all numbers in the data base you wish to receive . Its very interesting each night to pick up phone and see anything from nil to 6 or 8 calls made .If you are uncertain you can then try the number and 100% it says this number is not connected so then hit the block button . So if you are concerned it maybe a old friend all they have to do is say ( Hi its Bill or Jane ) the phone rings or you can call them back when free . If you wish to get more details Google Telstra Guardian MK2 all info can read
    22nd Jan 2019
    That sounds excellent! Pity I refuse to have anything to do with Telstra after their many letdowns of my sister's business lately!
    22nd Jan 2019
    You can't block a number on a landline. I've had scammers call me trying to tell me that my ISP now caters for this, and hahaha, guess what they want you to tell them for your ID? Your credit card number of course lol.

    Even for mobiles, whether Android or Apple, the "autreject" only works for the specific number that you block. The scammers use a whole heap of numbers, using VOIP phones, so this has little effect either. This article sounded good until I realised all it was saying was routine stuff like "get on the donotcall register" and how to block calls on mobiles. The non-scam calls I get are mostly from charities, which are exempt from the Do Not Call, so as far as I'm concerned the whole article wasted my time.
    Occasional Traveller
    22nd Jan 2019
    iPhone users can get the app, Truecaller, it has a data base of a lot of the scam / nuisance callers and automatically blocks them. Ended up ditching landline because all we were getting were nusance calls, people rang us direct on mobiles
    Karl Marx
    22nd Jan 2019
    Policy is, if the number is private or not recognised don't answer it. If it's from family or friends who have a new number they will ring back or send a text. If it's important they will ring back. You can check the number later by reverse look up as suggested above or put you mobile on private & ring the number later if you're that curious.
    You can't block private numbers or numbers on your landline.
    22nd Jan 2019
    When I was with Telstra I got up to 7 scam calls a day -- I also reported them to Telstra -- who said they would check on my phone calls -- nothing stopped so I am no longer with Telstra and it has been one of the best moves I have ever made
    ray @ Bondi
    22nd Jan 2019
    a lot of numbers are cloned or fake, I have rung back and it appears there is no such number
    East of Toowoomba
    22nd Jan 2019
    Every call coming into my home via the landline goes through the answering machine first. 2 rings (at the lowest volume) then the answering machine takes over. I miss about 10 calls a day this way as telemarketers and scammers don't leave messages.

    Genuine callers, family and friends will generally speak to the machine so that I can return their call.
    24th Jan 2019
    Once I realise they're unsolicited calls, I pretend I can't hear them and keep saying 'hello', 'hello' until either I, or they, end the call. I then go into my call register and block them.

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