How do I stop unwanted and harassing phone calls?
Getting harassing calls, texts or other unwanted communications can be extremely distressing – and no one should have to put up with it. Here are some practical steps you can take to stop them happening.
If you’ve had a call or message making threats against lives or property, you should immediately report it to the police by dialling 000.
Unwanted calls and texts
Block or screen
If your call or message isn’t life-threatening, some practical approaches are to block the number you’ve received the call or message from, or to screen incoming calls using caller ID.
Report it to the police
It’s your right to report any harassing calls or messages to the police. [GM2]
Report it to Belong
You can also report it to us – get in touch by sending us a support request.
To make sure we can properly look into it, give us with as much information as you can about the calls or messages you’re getting, including these details:
- the date and time of the call or text
- how long it lasted (for calls)
- who made the call or sent the message (if you know)
Don’t delete the communication, or any record of the fact you received it – you might need it later for follow up.
The Australian government has an eSafety website with practical advice on dealing with unwanted communications.
Marketing calls and spam messages
Getting overrun by marketing calls and spam messages? Here’s what you can do about it.
Cut down on the marketing malarky by signing up for the Australian government’s free Do Not Call Register, where you can opt-out of receiving most unsolicited marketing calls. (It also prohibits unsolicited marketing faxes, for those of you still keeping the 80s dream alive.)
If you still keep getting calls after you’ve registered, you can let the Do Not Call Register know by filling out a complaint form.
Spam is unwanted marketing messages sent by text, email or instant message. To legally send you marketing, the sender needs to:
- have your permission
- include their contact details in the message
- give you a way to opt out of getting future messages
To stop text message spam you can try replying with STOP or OPT OUT. You can also block the sender’s phone number to stop them contacting you.
The Australian Communication and Media Authority takes complaints about spam messages. You can fill out their spam complaint form here.
Political calls and messages
Political parties (along with charities, educational institutions and government bodies) are allowed to contact you without your consent – the spam rules and Do Not Call Register don’t apply to them.
The main thing you can do to stop these political calls and messages is to block the number used to contact you.
It’s not a perfect solution: these messages can come from different numbers, so blocking one might not stop every message from that political party – but it’s a step towards lessening the political spam you get.
You can still lodge a complaint about political calls and messages using the Do Not Call Register and ACMA complaint forms.