Unwanted sales calls are worse than spam: for all its horrors, junk email doesn’t wake you up from a nap or interrupt your dinner. Lifehacker UK is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher.
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Designed to be search engine friendly, we receive thousands of visitors every day, the majority of visitors are based in the UK. UK Classifieds is free to join, it's free to reply to ads, most categories are free to advertise in too. Be careful who gets your number Competitions, surveys and and sneaky “we would like to share your details with carefully selected third parties” tick-boxes are a good way to get added to all kinds of marketing databases.

Some of the tick-boxes are deliberately confusing, so read them carefully to ensure that you’re not agreeing to any kind of data sharing.
Go ex-directory Some small firms still use the phone book to find targets, so keeping your number ex-directory can foil them. Join the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) In the UK, it’s illegal for marketers to make unsolicited sales calls to numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service. Registration is free - visitTPS Online or call 0845 070 0707 - and takes a few weeks, and while it won’t stop all nuisance calls it can significantly reduce their number. It’s worth remembering that companies can still call you if you’ve previously agreed to them contacting you - such as via the opt-out tick boxes we’ve already mentioned - until you notify them otherwise. Ask the caller to take you off their database This does work, but only with reputable companies. STOP texts Replying STOP to unwanted texts should unsubscribe you, but again that only works with reputable firms: if you don’t recognise the sender, don’t reply at all.

Use Caller ID One of the simplest ways to block unwanted calls is to enable caller ID, aka Caller Display, on your landline, so you can see who’s calling you and decide whether or not to answer. Block the caller Smartphones generally enable you to block calls from a particular number, and some phone networks can do the same: for example, if you’re with Talk Talk you can use their Last Caller Barring service to reject future calls from the last number that called you.
Contact your phone provider and ask to speak to their malicious calls team, and consider calling the police. Don’t answer the landline We suspect that like many people we have two kinds of phones: a mobile that we use for talking to people, and a landline that’s only ever called by elderly relatives and marketers.
Using an answering machine to screen every incoming message deters most of the marketers and ensures you won’t miss any messages from Auntie Flo.

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