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Services from BT

Our range of helpful services can help protect you if you forget to pay your bill, give you priority treatment if you have a fault, help you with computer problems and much more.

Unwanted calls

If you're having trouble with unwanted or malicious calls, there are several ways we can help.

  • Stop unwanted sales or marketing calls

    If you're receiving unwanted sales or marketing calls or recorded messages, you can ask the marketer to stop calling you – just contact them on the number they should give you for this purpose.

    Read more about how to stop unwanted sales or marketing calls
    • More about

      Silent calls

      Many silent calls are generated by automatic dialling equipment in call centres, where more calls are made via 'automated diallers' than there are operators available to handle them. To help reduce silent sales or marketing calls, you can register your number with the Telephone Preference Service.

      If you sign up to BT Privacy you can get Caller Display*, so you can see the number that's calling you before you answer, and we'll also register your number with the Telephone Preference Service.

      * For charges, see bt.com/callingfeatures

      Alternatively, register with the Telephone Preference Service at www.tpsonline.org.uk or by calling their automated registration number: 0845 070 0707.

    • Calls made to you by mistake

      Many unwanted telephone calls are simply mistakes. See our advice on malicious calls if you think they are being made deliberately to cause you distress.

    • Wrong numbers

      Usually wrong numbers are not malicious. Some wrong number calls are made by people with memory problems, when they mistakenly dial a phone number of someone they know, and will continue calling this number repeatedly. However, as a precaution:

      • Don't reveal personal details such as your name or address
      • Take care not to give any information about the number or gender of people who live in the house
      • Don't give out your telephone number – instead ask the caller which number they wanted or where they got your number. You may be able to find out the reason for the calls.

      You may also receive more mistaken calls if your telephone number is similar to the number of a business.

    • Calls from fax machines or other diallers

      If you hear electronic beeps and noises down the line, it is probably a fax machine or other electronic dialler calling your number by mistake. Some fax machines are programmed to redial unconnected calls, so you may receive multiple unwanted calls over a short period of time. If it is a persistent problem you can try dialling '1471' to obtain the number, then use our services to block or screen these calls (see below).

    • Ways we can help

      • Caller Display – lets you see the number that's calling you before you answer so you can decide whether to pick up the phone or ignore unwanted calls
      • BT Privacy – a service that can include Caller Display and registration with the Telephone Preference Service
      • Choose to Refuse – helps block particular numbers from getting through to you
      • Anonymous Call Reject – lets you block incoming calls from withheld UK numbers
      • Call Sign – gives you an additional number with a different ring tone. If you give this to family or friends you can distinguish between incoming calls
      • BT Answer 1571 – a voicemail service for callers to leave a message if you don't answer the phone
      • BT 1471 – dial 1471 to check the last person who called you
      • You may also wish to make your telephone number ex-directory.

      Find out more about the above calling features and associated charges at bt.com/callingfeatures

    • Telephone Preference Service

      If you sign up to BT Privacy, you can have Caller Display so you can see the number that's calling you before you answer, and we'll also register your number with the Telephone Preference Service.

      For charges, see bt.com/callingfeatures

      The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) lets you opt out of many marketing calls, and you can register both home and mobile telephone numbers. Once you register, your telephone number is no longer available to organisations that may telephone you with offers and information.

      Sign up at www.tpsonline.org.uk or call 0845 070 0707.

    • Call Control

      Your phone is an important way of staying in touch with the world and keeping your independence. But sometimes, receiving unwanted, repeat or international sales calls can cause problems.

      So we’ve developed Call Control, a service that lets you filter the calls you want to take and block the ones you don’t, to help you get the most from your phone.

      Find out more about Call Control
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  • Stop malicious calls

    Malicious calls are made from one person to another with the intention of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety. They can be upsetting and distressing – but there are ways you can deal with them.

    Read more about how to stop malicious calls
    • More about

      General advice

      Remember, you are in control – and you can take a few simple precautions when answering the phone.

      • Stay calm and don't engage with the caller. Many malicious callers are motivated by getting an emotional response from you, and walking away from the phone for a few moments before replacing the handset can be more of a deterrent than simply slamming the phone down or retaliating verbally.
      • Don't disclose any personal information. This may seem obvious, but many people answer their phone by stating their telephone number, or sometimes, their name. If the caller has dialled your number at random they are more likely to remember it and call you again if you've given them some personal information. It's always better to answer the phone with a simple 'hello' or wait for the caller to speak first.
      • Keep any answer phone messages short and to the point: never leave a message informing people that you are away from home. For example, simply state that you are unable to take the call at the moment. A male voice message may be more of a deterrent than a female voice, and if you're a woman, you could consider changing your phone book listing if this gives any indication of your gender or marital status.
      • You may find an answering machine or service like BT Answer 1571 a useful tool for screening your calls.
    • Taking action

      • If you are receiving abusive, threatening or obscene calls that are distressing to you, then you should report them to the police
      • For every malicious call you receive you should note down the date, time and nature of the call. Note specific details of what the caller said, including any background noises you can hear. Any information you gather may help towards identifying and prosecuting the caller.
      • Someone from BT will talk to you and advise the best course of action. This may include changing your number or placing a trace on your calls. Most malicious calls can be traced, whether they come from private, public or even mobile telephones, anywhere in the country.
      • You may need to be prepared to give evidence if the malicious caller is traced, charged and taken to court.
    • Reporting malicious calls

      If you are receiving persistent malicious calls, please contact the Nuisance Call Advice Line on 0800 661 441 (Monday to Friday – 8am to 10pm and Saturday – 9am to 6pm).

    • Other ways we can help

      • Caller Display – lets you see the number that's calling you before you answer so you can decide whether to pick up the phone or ignore unwanted calls. BT Privacy includes registration with the Telephone Preference Service and the option of Caller Display
      • Choose to Refuse – helps block particular numbers from getting through to you
      • Anonymous Call Reject – lets you block incoming calls from withheld UK numbers
      • Call Sign – gives you an additional number with a different ringtone. If you give this to family or friends you can distinguish between incoming calls
      • BT Answer 1571 – a voicemail service for callers to leave a message if you don't answer the phone
      • BT 1471 – dial 1471 to check the last person who called you
      • You may also wish to make your telephone number ex-directory

      Find out more about BT's calling features and associated costs at bt.com/callingfeatures

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  • Avoiding internet (Phishing) and voice scams

    Not sure if an email or call you've received is genuine? Find out more before you click on any suspect emails, and never give out your BT account number or bank details.

    Read more about avoiding internet (Phishing) and voice scams
    • More about

      As more people join the internet every day, hundreds of new scams are being thought up. Like anywhere in life, it pays to be aware of the risks. Remember; If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      Phishing: Where fraudsters try to obtain personal or financial information from internet users (identity theft), typically by sending email that looks like its from an legitimate organisation. Find out more about Phishing.

      Visihing: similar to Phishing, but it takes place over the telephone (Voice phishing). An example would be; where the fraudster calls a person and asks for specific details about their account “please can you give me your full account number so I can check …”.

      Think Jessica: A project to protect elderly and vulnerable people from scams which come through the postal system and the criminals who contact them by telephone. Find out more about Think Jessica

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  • Stop unwanted texts and text to speech calls

    You may occasionally receive text messages on your home phone. These can either appear as a text message, or will be translated into speech using an electronic voice. Find out more about BT Text messages, and what to do if you don't want to receive them.

    Read more about how to stop unwanted texts
    • More about

      What is BT Text – and why have I received a text message call?

      Somebody you know may have sent a text message to your phone instead of calling you. This can be confusing if you're unaware of this service or if the message came at a strange time of day.

    • How will I know it's a text call?

      • If you have a text enabled phone and BT's Caller Display service, your phone will let you know when you have received a text message – and you'll be able to read the message on your phone screen
      • If you don't have BT's Caller Display service or haven't previously registered with BT Text, you'll receive your text messages as automated voice messages (text to speech)
      • Texts from BT landlines can always be identified by number on Caller Display or after dialling 1471 will detail 0845 602 1111 as the number that called you.
    • How do I know who sent the message?

      The telephone number of the person who sent the message will usually be shown in the BT Text delivery message. Occasionally, someone may send you a message in error intending this for someone else.

    • I don't like receiving BT Text messages on my landline – how can I opt-out?

      Dial 0800 587 5252 (the text message options line for BT) – you must dial this from the landline you want to stop receiving text messages on.

      • Please listen carefully to the initial recording, which will then give you 5 options to amend the curfew period on your line (so you don't receive texts or text to speech messages).
      • You can either set a curfew between specific times of the day or you can opt-out of receiving text messages altogether.

      During the call you will be presented with the following curfew options;

      • Standard curfew: turn off messages sent between 11pm to 8am
      • Watershed curfew: turn off messages sent between 9pm to 9am
      • Late night curfew: turn off messages sent between Midnight and 6am
      • Turn off receiving ALL messages
      • Anytime (no curfew): allows you to receive text to speech messages at anytime of the day or night

      Please Note: other communications providers also offer text to speech services. We suggest you ring the number left on Caller Display or 1471 to identify the number to call for other providers' Text to Speech services.

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  • Use the Which? Portal to report nuisance calls and texts

    Which? are running a campaign "Calling time on nuisance calls and texts," follow this link to report a call or text today.

    Every complaint helps in the fight against nuisance calls & texts.

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Avoiding internet scams

Think Jessica aim to raise awareness of the danger of replying to deceptive mail and phone calls. These scams offer tempting rewards, free gifts, fake lottery winnings and everything else which seems too good to be true – and indeed is.

Find out more at www.thinkjessica.com

Dealing with unwanted calls on your BT line

Your phone's a great way for you to stay in touch and for people to stay in touch with you. But you might sometimes get unwanted calls. This booklet shows you how to deal with unwanted calls and how BT can help.

Download PDF [514 KB]

If you'd like more information about our downloads find out more here.

Ofcom's guide to tackling nuisance calls and messages

Nuisance calls and messages come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and can be inconvenient and annoying at the best of times. This guide offers advice and information on how to deal with these calls.

Download Ofcom's guide [0.99 MB]