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Nuisance Telephone calls


If a person sends threatening or abusive messages/phone calls, they could be committing an offence. The most relevant offences are 'harassment' and 'malicious communications'. See Q497 for further information regarding these offences.

The first thing to do is report the matter to your telephone company, regardless of whether it is a landline or mobile network. If necessary, they will put a trace on your line and instruct you to keep a diary of the calls, the time of the calls and also the type, for example, silent or heavy breathing etc. This will enable the telephone company to gather information and contact you again when they feel they have sufficient evidence.

The police need details of the offending number and evidence of calls made to pursue a prosecution. Once this is obtained, you may be required to attend your local police station to complete a form that will enable the police to have access to your telephone records.

This process can take some time and it is not unusual for weeks to pass before the police re-contact you about the complaint. In this time they will be aiming to identify the offender and where possible to make a prosecution. The process is the same if you think you know who the offender is; the police still require the evidence to prosecute.

If the calls/text messages are of a threatening nature and there is a serious threat to your safety, you should report this to your local policing team who will treat the matter as a higher priority.


One of the first things to consider is for your telephone number to be ex-directory. This will stop a great deal, if not all, of the telemarketing calls.

Another way of stopping the calls is to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS); this is a central register that holds the details of all the people who do not wish to receive telemarketing calls. Once registered with this service the companies are not allowed to call you.

Please see the links in Related Information for details on these services.


Phone hacking is where people gain unauthorised access to information that is held on a mobile telephone, in most cases, these are voicemail messages.

Mobile phone companies set up a default voice mail service for all mobile telephones. This service can be accessed from other mobile telephones (or traditional landline telephones) by dialling your mobile telephone number. Once the voicemail service message begins, all a hacker has to do is dial * and enter a PIN number, which is a default PIN number unless it has been changed.

For details on how to amend this PIN number, see your service provider in the related links.

If you suspect that your telephone or mobile telephone has been subjected to hacking then you can report it to your local police.

When you contact the police they will need:

  • Your name, address, date of birth and current contact number
  • A brief reason why the caller believes that they may have been a victim of telephone hacking
  • The telephone number is believed to have been hacked and
  • The estimated date when hacking is believed to have occurred

Your details will be forwarded to the investigation team dealing with phone hacking enquiries.

There are ways you can protect your phone:

•    Use security software.
•    Keep your phone and the apps updated.
•    Use a strong, unique password.
•    Avoid public charging stations.
•    Encrypt your phone.
•    Lock your SIM card.
•    Turn your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when not in use.
•    Avoid third-party app stores.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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