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(Pocket-lint) - There's now a number you can text to stop getting nuisance calls.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) has partnered with Ofcom in the UK to launch a "text-to-register" service that adds your mobile phone number to an official "do not call" database. It's illegal in the UK for organisations to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls to any number registered in the TPS database (unless of course they have consent).

Ofcom said only 40 per cent of Brits are familiar with the TPS and that they can add their mobile numbers to the TPS database for free. However, 88 per cent of Brits have realised they can register landline phone numbers. Only 3 per cent of mobile phone numbers (about 2.9 million) are therefore registered in the TPS database, compared to 18.5 million landline numbers.

Ofcom wants to raise awareness, so it's introduced an easy text-to-register process with the TPS. And this is how you can ensure you block nuisance calls.

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How does 'text-to-register' work?

  1. To register your mobile phone number in the TPS database, text TPS and your email address to the shortcode 78070.
  2. You should receive a text reply from the TPS that confirms your mobile number has been added to its database.

Do the nuisance calls stop immediately?

You should notice a "gradual reduction in unsolicited sales and marketing voice calls after a few days", according to Ofcom. But it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective. A study commissioned by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office found mobile phone customers registered with the TPS saw a 31 per cent reduction in nuisance calls.

Will registering stop spam text messages?

No. Registering with the TPS does not prevent spam text messages. You can report spam texts to your mobile network operator however by simply forwarding the text to the shortcode 7726.

Are there other ways to stop nuisance calls?

Ofcom has offered some tips that could also help prevent you from receiving nuisance calls in the future. Be careful who you give your contact details to, for instance, and be sure to look carefully at any marketing "opt-in" and "opt-out" boxes in small print. Also, ask your phone provider to see what privacy services are available such as a call-blocker service.

You can also make a complaint about nuisance calls to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 26 May 2016.