A woman calling from her smartphone

BT launches new tech against nuisance calls

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BT has introduced new technology that automatically detects nuisance calls and blocks them before they reach the customers.

The Call Protect service, free to BT customers, is different from the reactive blocking used previously.

The UK telecom provider says callers can’t bypass the new system by frequently changing numbers, which was possible with the previous system.

“Weve been at the forefront of equipping our customers to defend themselves against the huge numbers of PPI and unwanted marketing calls that are continuing to grow,” said John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer.

“Now, with our unique technology, we can identify and tackle huge numbers of those calls in the network and also give our customers control over the calls they receive.”

BT said the technology could divert up to 15 million unwanted calls a week such as those from PPI companies and accident compensation scams.

Users will also be able to compile their own personal blacklist of individual unwanted numbers by dialling 1572 after receiving the call or by going online.

Nuisance callers identified by large numbers of customers will also be added to the list.

“We welcome BTs new service, which offers customers an additional level of protection, helping them to fight back against this ongoing harassment,” said Digital Minister Matt Hancock. “Nuisance callers are a terrible blight on society and Government and industry are working together to crack down on them.”

The government has previously issued legislation forcing companies to display numbers when calling, Hanckock said. Companies also face fines of up to £500,000 for nuisance calls.

However, data show that the practice is difficult to tackle. According to a recent BT survey, people receive on average four nuisance calls a week. 60 per cent of the respondents said they find dealing with the callers stressful.

“Telecoms companies have a responsibility to tackle nuisance calls,” said Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which?.

“We have long campaigned for tougher action to tackle this problem and it’s encouraging to see new technology being rolled out as part of the solution.”

 

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