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ICO advice to people receiving cold calls, as government looks to ban cold calls on financial products

The ICO is reminding people to report nuisance calls, texts and emails they receive.

It is against the law for organisations to make marketing calls to anyone signed up with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which operates a “do not call” register, unless the individual has explicitly consented to receive these calls.

This week, Government Ministers announced plans to consult on a ban on cold calls to sell financial products including mortgages, insurance and crypto currency. Calls to sell pension products are already banned. The ICO has the power to fine organisations making nuisance calls up to £500,000.  

The ICO has issued more than £2,440,000 in fines against companies responsible for nuisance calls, texts and emails in since April 2022. Some of these investigations began with a single complaint from a member of the public.

We also take a robust approach to companies who have been fined but refuse to pay. Earlier this summer, we were granted court orders to wind up four companies who had failed to pay the fines we had issued.

“Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable after simply answering the phone. People register with the TPS for a clear reason: to stop unwanted marketing calls and protect their privacy.

“If you are clear you don’t want calls, and still receive them, our message is simple: hang up the phone, and report the call to us. You don’t owe nuisance callers your time or your courtesy, and we fully support proposals to ban cold calling on financial products and services.”

- Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations

As part of proposed data protection law reforms, the government has proposed increasing the maximum fine for nuisance calls from £500,000 to £17.5 million.

Report any nuisance calls to the ICO using our online reporting tool.