What can I do about silent calls?

Older woman phoneSilent calls are annoying, irritating and can be very frightening, particularly for people who live alone.

The vast majority of silent calls are caused by automated calling systems known as diallers.

Mainly used in call centres, these systems dial telephone numbers automatically and connect the customer to agents as soon as the phone is answered.

Ofcom guidelines state that call centres using diallers should play an information message if a call is abandoned, to prevent the call being silent. However, if you are receiving silent calls you should:

  • Try and identify the caller. All companies using automated diallers should present a Calling Line Identification number on your telephone’s display, and allow you to obtain the caller’s telephone number by dialling 1471.
  • If you are unable to identify the caller you should contact your phone company. Most phone companies have a nuisance calls team, who can give you advice on what to do next. They may also be able to trace the caller’s number

Your provider may also be be able to offer you services such as:

  • Anonymous Call Rejection (ACR) - this will prevent calls that withhold their number. However, it could have the side-effect of blocking some calls you may want to receive, for example from overseas or friends who choose not to display their number.
  • Choose to Refuse – this gives the ability to block specific phone numbers from calling you.

It is likely that your phone company will charge you for using these services.

Tell Ofcom

If you’ve received a silent call we’d like to hear from you.

While Ofcom cannot respond to all consumers personally, the information you give us is used to identify trends and can lead to us investigating a particular company’s behaviour.

Although in most instances we will not require further information, we may approach you directly should more detail be required.

Ofcom also speaks to phone companies regularly. The data we collect from them about silent calls also helps us decide whether an investigation is required.

I want to complain about a silent call

Read our nuisance calls guide