Ofcom announces SMS scheme to end nuisance calls

TPS and Ofcom said the new service makes it easier to opt out of time-wasting calls

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Ofcom have announced a text-to-register service that automatically opts phone users out of nuisance and marketing calls.

Those who want to stamp out annoying calls from marketers can text "TPS" and their email address to 78070 to stop unsolicited salesman calling them on their mobile number.

"Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people," John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said.

"Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases."

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The news comes following research by Ofcom, which revealed only half of the population who have heard of the Telephone Preference Service knew that mobile phone numbers could be registered with the service. However, 88 per cent of those surveyed knew that landline numbers could be registered.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom Consumer Group Director, added: "Many millions of landline customers already take advantage of the protection the TPS gives against nuisance calls, and we want to ensure it's as easy as possible for mobile users to do the same.

"We encourage anyone who wants to reduce the number of frustrating and unwanted calls to their mobile phone to register with the TPS today."

The TPS and Ofcom wanted to make it easier for mobile phone users to register for the service and texting seemed the most logical action.

"Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant distress, particularly to elderly and vulnerable members of society," Baroness Neville Rolfe, Minister responsible for data protection, said.

"Government is committed to tackling this problem, and we have introduced a series of measures that have already seen record fines handed out to combat these rogue callers. This new service from the TPS and Ofcom will help protect people with mobile phones, making it easier for them to register via text and opt out of the call list."

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The service will take up to 28 days to take effect, although those who sign up should notice a gradual decrease in nuisance calls from a few days after registering.

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