How to report spam calls and texts - Area code (2023)

Telephones, especially mobile phones can be a gift and a curse. They are tools that provide instant communication, worldwide if you need to reach someone in a hurry. This is especially true when using a smartphone - you have a device with you at all times capable of accessing the internet, internet messaging apps, texts and phone calls.

However, this extremely useful tool can be a gift and a curse. If you make a misstep when handling the privacy of your phone, or the wrong person gets hold of your phone number, your mobile could play host to continuous spam text messages and nuisance calls.

It is essential to guard your privacy and to know what to do when you receive spam texts and nuisance calls. Ofcom has stated that in three months in the summer of 2021 alone, 44.6 million people received nuisance calls or spam text messages. This is around 66% of the entire population of the UK. Scammers have even been taking advantage of recent global events to try and scam you out of money. Many people have received fraudulent spam text messages and nuisance calls from con artists pretending to be the NHS, the WHO, or the government pretending to contact them with regards to Covid - 19.

This article will explain how to report spam texts and report nuisance calls. It will also explain the best practices to avoid unwanted text messages and calls.

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How do I report spam texts?

There is a special number designated to report spam text messages. This UK number is 7726. An easy way to remember this number is that it spells SPAM on the alphanumeric phone keypad. As instructed by the National Cyber Security Centre there are slightly different steps to take to report unwanted text messages on Apple and Android phones as shown below.

Apple

  • Write down the suspicious phone number
  • Press down and hold on the text bubble
  • Press more
  • Select the text message in question that you want to forward
  • There should be an arrow at the bottom right of the screen - tap that
  • Dial 7726 and hit send

Android

  • Write down the number for the unwanted text message
  • Click into the text conversation then press and hold the bubble of the message you want to report
  • At the top right of the screen three vertical dots will appear - tap that
  • Then select forward
  • Dial 7726 and hit send

This is a free service that allows your mobile phone provider to investigate where unwanted texts have come from. Then, if it is found to be malicious, the sender will be blocked, and their number may even be banned. If the above method does not work, you can contact your provider for a different method.

Alternatively, to report a message you can either screenshot the unsolicited texts or record your screen. Then you can attach this to an email and send it to [emailprotected].

How do I block and report unwanted calls?

Both iPhones and Android phones allow users to block unwanted calls. As reported by Uswitch, you can follow the below steps to block calls.

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iPhone - (iOS 7 or later)

  • Find the phone number in question from call list
  • Press the i symbol beside the number
  • Press 'block this caller'
  • This will block the number from calling or messaging

Android

  • Find the nuisance call number in your call list
  • Press the number and hit the three dots at the top right or slect more
  • Select the option that lets you add the number to your reject list
  • Furthermore, android gives you the option to block a number when you hang up on a call

You can also report any suspicious activity such as a suspected spam text or suspected phone scammers to the Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO have a dedicated online tool for reporting scammers. This includes:

  • Scam calls and texts
  • Spam emails
  • Silent calls
  • Faxes

How do I prevent cold calls and texts?

Your first port of call should be to register your number with the Telephone Preference Service. This should prevent any legitimate yet annoying/unwanted sales and marketing calls. The Telephone Preference Service will add you to their list of people who do not want to receive these types of calls, making it illegal to do so. So, if you do receive a call claiming to be from a sales or marketing company you know it is likely to be a scam, as a legitimate business will not break the law so frivolously. However, this does not include computer-generated automatic calls as the law only covers human callers. These types of calls are often called robocalls.

Also if you are receiving spam calls from charities you can register with a similar service. This service is the Fundraising Preference Service and registering with them will block charities from calling. This service is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also, as a preventative measure, you should protect your personal or financial information as much as possible. In particular to stop unsolicited calls and texts be careful who you share your phone number with and what you consent to. Always be wary of competitions that ask for phone numbers. They may ask you to consent to your information being shared. If so they may share your phone number with numerous sales and marketing teams. You should also guard this information closely online as scammers will scour social media to gather phone numbers and intel about you to try and trick you.

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What additional steps can I use to prevent unwanted mobile phone calls?

Smartphones give you additional security to prevent annoying calls. For example, you can install call-blocking apps. TrueCaller is perhaps the most established app you can use. This app has more than two billion numbers on a continually updated list which allows them to verify legitimate numbers and highlight spam. The app also allows you to build a blocked list. However, TrueCaller will not work on a messaging app like WhatsApp, so you will have to block numbers on those particular apps separately.

You can also go into the settings on your mobile phone and set it to automatically block anonymous callers. However, it is important to be aware that certain legitimate services will use a withheld number. This includes health and emergency services.

Also, a new phone number has been launched if a suspicious caller phones you claiming to be your bank. Simply hang up and dial 159 which will allow you to speak directly to your bank. There are certain things a bank will never ask you for when contacting you. This includes:

  • Your full pin number
  • Sending someone to collect cash
  • Bank account or personal information via email or text
  • They will never send a link for you to log in to
  • Advise you to buy things such as diamonds
  • To perform a test transaction
  • Ask you to use a banking app that is separate from the official banking app

What do I do if I think I have been scammed?

The best thing to do if you feel that you have been scammed is to report the incident to Action Fraud as soon as possible. The quickest way to report this is to use their phoneline 0300 123 2040 which is available Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm.

Or you can use the online Action Fraud tool to make a report. You can create an account or use the tool as a guest. Advisors are available to respond and give advice 24 hours a day using this service.

How can I manually identify an unknown phone number?

There may be certain times when an unknown caller or unknown sender contacts you. They may even bypass any scam-checking apps you may have. If you know the number, you can manually enter the number into a designated website to see if it flags up as spam. Websites like Who Called Me will check the phone number against their database to see if anything like scams or spam flags up.

(Video) How to block spam calls

You can also look at the area code to see if the person who is calling is from an area you recognise. You can use an online area code checker to find out exactly what area the person is calling from. This should help you decipher whether or not the call is likely to be friendly or not. For example, if you live in England and a person is calling from a small town in Scotland where family members live, you may surmise that it is likely them phoning.

If the call is made to your landline and you miss the call you can dial 1471 to reveal the number.

How do I prevent unwanted calls to my landline?

You should also implement preventative measures already mentioned when thinking about your landline. For example, register for the TPS and the FPS. You should also be wary of who you give your landline number and to whom you give contacting consent.

Landline providers also usually have their own services for blocking and screening calls. Check with your landline provider for the best option or switch to a provider with better options. Modern landline devices also have blocking buttons built in so it may be time to upgrade if you have an old receiver. You can also purchase a separate device which blocks and screens calls to your landline such as trueCall.

You should also sign up for ex-directory on your landline. This means your phone number will not be put in the phone book and will not be available via BT 118500. This limits your exposure to sales and marketing teams and scammers as well.

How to report a scam text or call: Summary

(Video) iPhone How to Stop Unwanted, Spam, Scam and Unknown Callers

Every year millions of people will be on the receiving end of annoying or malicious spam calls and texts. There are a number of ways to report and limit this. For example, sending a suspect text to 7726. Both Android and Apple devices have in-built tools allowing you to block numbers also.

You can also sign up for certain services as described to limit the visibility of your phone number. You should report to Action Fraud immediately if you believe you have been scammed. If you receive a call from a number you do not recognise you can also use manual steps to try and trace the number and find out if it is friendly or not.

FAQs

What is the number 7726? ›

Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it's found to be malicious.

What happens when you text 7726? ›

When you forward a text to 7726, it alerts your cell phone carrier of a spam problem. After cell phone carriers receive spam reports at 7726, they ask you for more information and then launch an investigation into the spam sender.

How do I report a nuisance text message? ›

Forward the text to 7726 - this spells 'SPAM' on your phone keypad. This will report the sender to your mobile network company. You won't be charged for forwarding a text to 7726.

Why am I getting spam calls from my area code? ›

It's a trick called neighborhood spoofing, and RoboKiller has a good explainer on it here. In short, scammers think that a number matching your area code (and maybe even the first digits of your own number) will trick your brain and make you more likely to answer. And it makes their deception feel even more nefarious.

Why am I suddenly getting spam texts? ›

Spam messages usually originate from a spammer's getting hold of your cell number, often via data leaks, the sale of personal data or even simply by random number generation. However the spammers got your number spam texts are at best an annoyance, and at worst a downright security hazard.

How do I stop spam text messages? ›

Here's how to block unwanted texts on your Android phone: Open your messaging app and find the text you want to block. Then, tap the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Then, tap the Block number option (or select Block contact) and confirm.

Does 7726 actually work? ›

Report phone numbers to your carrier

You can do this by forwarding the message to 7726 or SPAM. Once you've forwarded the message, your cell phone carrier can investigate the text and number. Forwarding a text to 7726 works for most cellular providers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

How do I report a text to 7726? ›

How to report a scam text to 7726 on an Android phone - YouTube

How do I block spam texts on my iPhone? ›

On an iPhone, open the text message you received. Tap the phone number at the top of the screen and then tap the Info button. At the next screen, select Block this Caller and then tap Block Contact to confirm.

What happens if you report spam? ›

Reporting a spam message will move the email from the user's inbox into their spam folder and will also send a copy of the email to Google to analyze, helping to protect other users from spam and abuse. Blocking the sender of a spam email also sends the message to the user's spam folder.

Are spam texts illegal? ›

Remember that any unsolicited spam or commercial text messages sent to a wireless device are illegal, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

What happens if you dial 622? ›

VERIFY: Yes, dialing #662# blocks incoming scam calls on certain cell ...

How do spam callers know my location? ›

Certain apps, often free apps, could be mining your phone for information such as your wifi network, your IP address, the serial number of your router, other apps that you have on your phone, your phone's International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI, a number that cell phones use to connect to cell phone towers)–and ...

Does * 61 block unwanted calls? ›

Block calls from your phone

Receive an unwanted call? Press *61 to add the last call received to your call block list. Press *80 to turn call blocking off. Press *60 to turn call blocking back on.

What can a scammer do with my phone number? ›

Your phone number is an easy access point for scammers and identity thieves. Once they know your number, they can use it to send you phishing texts, trick you into installing malware and spyware, or use social engineering attacks to get you to hand over your personal identifying information (PII).

How do I get rid of spam numbers? ›

On your device, open the Phone app . Spam and Call Screen. Turn See caller & spam ID on or off. Optional: To block spam calls on your phone, turn on "Filter spam calls." You don't get missed call or voicemail notifications, but filtered calls are in your call history, and you can check your voicemail.

How do I use Iphone 7726? ›

How to report a scam text to 7726 on an iPhone - YouTube

How do I report a suspicious phone number? ›

Report Telephone Scams
  1. Report telephone scams online to the Federal Trade Commission. You can also call 1-877-382-4357 (TTY: 1-866-653-4261). ...
  2. Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry.
  3. Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission.
11 Jul 2022

How do I report a number on Iphone? ›

How to report a scam call to 7726 on an iPhone - YouTube

Is it better to block or report as spam? ›

Is it better to block or delete spam? Generally you should mark spam as spam, or just delete it. Blocking spam is generally ineffective because spammers rarely send their messages from the same place.

How do you report spam on Iphone? ›

Report spam or junk messages

In the list of messages, press and hold the spam message, then tap Report Junk. Or, if you've opened the message and the person isn't saved in your contacts, scroll to the bottom of the message, tap Report Junk, then tap Delete and Report Junk.

How do I report spam texts to the FCC? ›

If you think you've received a political robocall or text that does not comply with the FCC's rules, you can file an informal complaint with the FCC at fcc.gov/complaints. If you are receiving texts that you didn't ask for, report the sender by forwarding the texts to 7726 (or "SPAM").

Can you get paid for reporting spam texts? ›

If you are being bothered by unsolicited spam text messages, you can take legal action. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you may be eligible for compensation of $500 to $1500 per unsolicited text, which can be trebled if the violation is knowing, willful, or intentional.

Do I get charged for spam texts? ›

These texts can expose you to identity theft and increase the risk of you accidentally downloading malware onto your phone. They can also lead to unwanted charges on your phone bill if your wireless carrier charges you for receiving a text message.

What happens if you dial 662? ›

Dial #662# from your phone to turn on Scam Block, or download the free Scam Shield app in your phone's respective app store. With Scam Shield enabled, you'll get full caller ID, scam reporting, scam blocking before your phone ever rings and the option to mark numbers as favorites so they still ring your phone.

What happens when you dial *# 21? ›

We rate the claim that dialing *#21# on an iPhone or Android device reveals if a phone has been tapped FALSE because it is not supported by our research.

Will 622 block spam calls? ›

Activate from your T-Mobile account, in the latest Name ID app, or dial #622# from your T-Mobile phone. Offered to customers at no extra cost. Verizon Call Filter: An app that blocks and silences unwanted calls for Verizon customers based on risk level. Available on iOS and Android for free.

How would I know if my phone is being tracked? ›

How to Tell If Someone Is Spying on Your Phone
  • Unfamiliar Applications. ...
  • Your Device is 'Rooted' or 'Jailbroken' ...
  • The Battery Is Draining Fast. ...
  • Your Phone Is Getting Very Hot. ...
  • Unusually High Data Usage. ...
  • Strange Activity In Standby Mode. ...
  • Issues With Shutting Down the Phone. ...
  • Odd SMS Messages.
4 Sept 2022

Can someone track your location from a text? ›

Yes, other people can track your location by sending you a text message on chat platforms or via SMS. They may send you a malicious link, install a hidden app, or triangulate your location using phone company data. However, it's much harder to track your location based on a text you send to someone.

Can a phone scammer track my location? ›

Stalkerware (and spyware) can monitor your device for data such as your location, which URLs you've visited and which apps you've recently run. It can even log keystrokes, giving away information about anything you've typed into your phone, including passwords.

How does * 77 work? ›

Reject anonymous calls

Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) stops calls from people that use a blocking feature to keep their name or number from being displayed. When Anonymous Call Rejection is turned on, callers will hear a message telling them to hang up, turn off the blocking feature, and call again.

What does * 002 * mean? ›

Mobile (cell) phones
Forward serviceActivateReestablish
if not answered (see below for custom delay)*61*[phone number]#*61#
if out of reach*62*[phone number]#*62#
all forwards*002*[phone number]#*002#
all conditional forwards*004*[phone number]#*004#
4 more rows

How do I stop telemarketers from calling my cell phone? ›

The National Do Not Call Registry lets you limit the telemarketing calls you receive. Stop unwanted sales calls by registering your phone number: Online: Visit DoNotCall.gov. By phone: Call 1-888-382-1222 or TTY: 1-866-290-4236.

How do I report a scammer? ›

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main agency that collects scam reports. Report the scam to the FTC online, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 (9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, ET). The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones: Phone calls.

Is 159 a free call? ›

Calling 159 will cost the same as a national rate call.

What's the meaning of spam report? ›

Spam reporting, more properly called abuse reporting, is the action of designating electronic messages as abusive for reporting to an authority (e.g. an email administrator) so that they can be dealt with. Reported messages can be email messages, blog comments, or any kind of spam.

How do I report a phone number that keeps calling? ›

The FTC is the primary government agency that collects scam complaints. Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission. You can report either online or by phone at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322).

Does filing a complaint with the FTC do anything? ›

The FTC cannot resolve individual complaints, but it can provide information about what steps to take. The FTC says that complaints can help it and its law enforcement partners detect patterns of fraud and abuse, which may lead to investigations and stopping unfair business practices.

What can I do if I got scammed? ›

When you've been scammed
  1. Contact your financial institution. If you have sent money or shared your banking details with a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately. ...
  2. Change your online passwords. ...
  3. Recover your stolen identity. ...
  4. Contact a counselling or support service if you need to talk.

What happens if I dial 159? ›

Calling 159 will help people break the fraudsters' spell, stopping the scammers in their tracks. It's a practical way people can stop, challenge and protect themselves and their money. A genuine bank or authority figure will never mind if you hang up, call 159, and call back later using a trusted number.

Will my bank ever ring me? ›

Remember that a genuine bank will never call you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, hang up and then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

How do you know if a call from the bank is real? ›

Verify the source of any request for money or personal information - check the phone numbers on their official website; your card, a recent bill or statement; or by calling your bank at the number on the back of your card.

How do I get rid of spam numbers? ›

On your device, open the Phone app . Spam and Call Screen. Turn See caller & spam ID on or off. Optional: To block spam calls on your phone, turn on "Filter spam calls." You don't get missed call or voicemail notifications, but filtered calls are in your call history, and you can check your voicemail.

What happens if you answer a spam call? ›

If you answer the call, your number is considered 'good' by the scammers, even if you don't necessarily fall for the scam. They will try again because they know someone on the other side is a potential victim of fraud. The less you answer, the fewer robocalls you will receive.

What happens when u report a number as spam? ›

Your report might create a separate “Spam reporting” conversation. This will send a copy of the spammer's number plus the most recent text message to your mobile carrier. These conversations may be spam and blocked automatically.

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