There aren’t many of us who haven’t experienced a cold call – whether it be a PPI claim, road accidents or even just pure silence. Aside from nuisance phone calls being annoying, many of us are often left wondering why we are inundated with phone calls from strangers and automated voicemails.

According to a recent survey of 1,500 people conducted by Headsets4Business, a wired and wireless telephone headset provider, 66.5% of the UK puts the phone down on someone trying to sell them something they did not ask for.

In England, it’s people in the East Midlands who are the least tolerant: almost 70% of us have little sympathy for cold callers and will immediately hang up on a conversation about double glazing or insurance.

Out of those who don’t slam the phone down and are decent enough to give an excuse – 36.3% are honest and say they’re not interested, 10.8% of us say we’re too busy and 5% of us pretend we’re just about to sit down to a meal.

Local authorities have issued advice about the dangers of cold calling
Local authorities have issued advice about the dangers of cold calling

Unfortunately, cold calling is often used by scammers as a means to con people out of their hard earned money.

To help advise local people about what to do if they receive a cold call, crime prevention officer for Derbyshire Constabulary, Kate Bowyer said: “If you receive a cold call, do not give out any personal or bank account details and always remember that your bank will never ask you for your PIN.

“If the caller is from a reputable company, they will be happy for you to call them back later once you have had time to check they are calling from a genuine number that you have obtained from your bank statement or the firm’s website, for example.

“If you find yourself repeatedly receiving nuisance phone calls, you can register your number with the Telephone Preference Service.”

Echoing that of Derbyshire Constabulary, a spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “If you are experiencing unwanted cold callers, please hang up the phone immediately and do not engage with them.

“Cold callers can sometimes be quite aggressive and rude, but try not to panic, hang up and talk to someone you trust about the call.

You should never disclose personal information during a cold call
You should never disclose personal information during a cold call

“You must never disclose any personal information about yourself and never reveal any financial details – all legitimate organisations would not ask you to reveal details like these over the phone if they had called you.

“Finally, if you think you have been a victim of fraud or you think the cold caller was trying to commit fraud, please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their online fraud reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud ”.

Why am I getting these calls?

When shopping online or in person, you may have clicked ‘OK’ on a box that said something similar to ‘Are you happy to receive calls from third parties?’

Callers also get numbers through surveys. This is also known as ‘sugging’, short for survey mugging.

After you receive a call from someone saying they are conducting a survey, every answer will be sold on to marketing lists, according to our sister title the Plymouth Herald .

For example, if you get asked if you like apples and you say ‘yes’, your number could be sold to the apple marketing board.

If your details are passed on like this it is a marketing call and actually illegal. Unless you know the survey is legitimate – from a company you have definitely heard of – never answer a phone survey.

Lonely pensioners don’t want cold callers banned

Police are often unable to introduce “No Cold Calling Zones” in lonely pensioner’s residences because a sales representative is sometimes the only person they see for days on end, it has been revealed.

The authorities are encouraging people in many areas to set up these zones to minimise the risks of being targeted by cold callers and scam artists.

However, some elderly pensioners are prepared to run this risk rather than be completely alone.

There are currently 16 of these zones across South Derbyshire in Hilton, Hatton, Ticknall, Melbourne, Newhall and Swadlincote.

Each home has to put up a sign warning cold callers to stay away from the premises.

Staff at Age UK in Union Street, Burton say they regularly receive phone calls from local pensioners confused about cold calling phone calls.

Jane Ingram, information and advice manager for Age UK Burton said: “We make sure we stress to everybody that rings us that if it’s not somebody they’re expecting, or if it’s not somebody in their family, to say goodbye and put the telephone down.

“We tell them to not continue the conversation.”

To register your phone number with the Telephone Prevention Service, visit www.tpsonline.org.uk.