UK bans cold callers from withholding numbers

Companies making too many nuisance calls can expect fines of up to £2.5 million.

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Have you been involved in an accident at the workplace, taken out a loan with unnecessary payment protection insurance, or think it's time to upgrade your double glazing? If too many of your conversations begin with one of these questions, you either have a pretty boring group of friends or you're frequently a victim of the dreaded cold call. Thankfully, the government isn't a fan of these unsolicited chats either, and is bringing new rules into force that should cause companies to think twice before dialing your number.

From May 16th, any direct marketing firm registered in the UK -- regardless of where they're physically based -- won't be allowed to hide the number they are calling from. While seeing a withheld number pop up on your mobile is a pretty clear sign it's a nuisance call, having the digits in your log gives you an opportunity to redress. With numbers to hand, the government hopes more people unduly targeted by cold callers will be inclined to report offenders. And if a company is found to be skirting the rules, they can expect a fine of up to £2 million from regulator Ofcom, and potentially an additional £500,000 slap on the wrist from the UK's Information Commissioner's Office.

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