Guide to tackling malicious and nuisance calls or messages

This guide provides help and advice about what to do if you are receiving malicious or threatening calls. For example, ex partners, debt companies, silent calls and so on.

Don’t assume the worst

In this day and age we have a tendency to be highly strung and our patience for things short at the best of times. Just because you receive a number of telephone calls, especially hang ups, doesn’t mean there is something to worry about.

Nuisance calls can be a worry for some

Malicious calls and messages

Malicious calls are by their nature intended to cause you stress and anxiety. They are usually 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.

The Basics

Remember, keep your cool, you are in control. Stay calm and don’t engage with the caller.


Many malicious callers are motivated by getting an emotional response from you.

Try walking away from the phone for a few moments before replacing the handset. This can be more of a deterrent than simply slamming the phone down or retaliating verbally.

Don't let malicious calls stress you out
Stay calm and relaxed

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 so 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. It’s always better to answer the phone with a simple ‘hello’ or wait for the caller to speak first.

Keep any answer machine messages short and to the point. Don’t leave messages explaining that you are away from home. A simple message would to say 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.

Things you can do

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.

The police can help you if you're receiving malicious calls
Photo by West Midlands Police

You could consider calling your telephone provider and asking them to change your number or place 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. Be aware though that you may need to be prepared to give evidence if the malicious caller is traced, charged and taken to court.

Reporting malicious calls

BT Nuisance Calls 0800 661 441 Visit website
Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk 0870 444 1820 Visit website
Kingston Communications 01482 602 555  
Plusnet 0800 432 0200 Visit website
Post Office 0845 600 3210  
Primus Saver 0800 036 0094  
Sky 08442 414 141 Visit website
Tesco 0845 300 7080  
Tiscali 0871 222 3311  
Virgin Media 0800 953 3333 Visit website
Vonage 0800 008 6000