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I get frequent calls to my landline trying to fax me something. I believe my number is 1 digit off a nearby hospital, and people attempting to fax them things accidentally fax me. The calls during the day are easily ignored, but they start in the early morning while I'm trying to sleep. I don't want to just turn the ringer off every night because I may get an important call in the middle of the night, which I would miss.

How can I stop these unwanted faxes?

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  • If it is always one or just a few people making the mistake, does your phone provider let you block their number? – Weather Vane Mar 9 at 18:00
  • They are making unsolicited calls. In the UK this is illegal, report the calls to the ICO. – Chenmunka Mar 9 at 18:43
  • @Chenmunka a mistaken dialed wrong number is not technically an illegal unsolicited call. However, if you were to reverse search the caller by their number and let them know, if it happens again after a reasonable time to rectify, then it does become an unsolicited call which can be reported to the ICO. The ICO cannot do anything without the caller ID number anyway – Chris Rogers Mar 15 at 7:26
  • Do you ever get important calls from numbers not already in your contact list? If not, I think the call blocker answer is a good idea. Just get one with a whitelist function. – Luke Sawczak Mar 15 at 13:03
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I've tried all sorts of things to stop unsolicited calls in the past but none of them worked. The bodies like the ICO or TPS in the UK are only interested in logging your complaint and then they will investigate when they get so many thousand reports and someone tells them the name of the organisation. If the calls are from another country, forget it, they aren't interested, even if the call routes to a local company after you press 5 or whatever.

So, about a year ago, I bought a Call Blocker device and I highly recommend it. When a nuisance call comes in, press the big red button on the front and no further calls from that number will cause your phone to emit any sound whatsoever.

I do resent having to buy this device, but 20 years after this kind of marketing/scamming became the norm, the authorities have still failed to even acknowledge that it needs to be addressed. In terms of my mental wellbeing, it has already paid for itself many times over!

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  • The scam calls I have been getting in recent times use a randomised caller ID so they are impossible to block. But if just a few people are regularly misdialling then this is a good idea. – Weather Vane Mar 9 at 22:23
  • @WeatherVane That is a problem, but the other thing that it does is to allow you to block an entire number PREFIX. I received a group of calls from one Eastern European country a couple of weeks ago - all with different different numbers. I have no legitimate reason for anyone to call me from that country so I just blocked the whole country. – Lefty Mar 9 at 23:05
  • Nice thing, but not really relevant to this particular question. The issue here is with random people, having different numbers, dialing the OP's number by mistake. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Mar 10 at 12:42
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating The fact that it's a fax machine that's calling the OP led me to surmise that it's one or a small number of people trying to contact the hospital. How many individuals still have a fax machine? If that's not the case, then you're right, the call blocker will never catch anything because it's always their first offence. – Lefty Mar 10 at 14:27
  • @Lefty it's really just random. Whoever need to send fax to the hospital might mis-dial and reach the OP. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Mar 10 at 15:19
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I might be off big time, but I'd look into buying a fax machine and connecting it to your landline number during the night.

This way, it will catch any call, and since you say most of those wrong calls are from fax, it will handle it silently.

In case a fax machine answers a non-fax call I'm not sure what will happen, but good chance you can configure it to "skip" the call in such case, switching over to the phone device.

Bottom line: not something I ever did myself and might not work, but worth a try.

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    Maybe an answer phone rather than a fax, as you do not want the faxes that should have gone to the hospital. Make the answer message such that people who know you can reach you by mobile phone or something like that. – Willeke Mar 10 at 17:25
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A mistaken dialed wrong number is not technically an illegal unsolicited call. It is just purely a mistake which could be exacerbated by the possibility that the number is stored on the fax sending the message.

If however, you were to reverse search the caller by their number and let them know, and it happens again after a reasonable time to rectify, then it does become an unsolicited call which can be reported to the ICO (Information Commissioner Office) if it is a sales call or Ofcom as there is no person on the other end of the call.

The ICO or Ofcom cannot do anything without the caller ID number and time of call anyway.

In the meantime, as suggested before, you can block unwanted calls like this with your phone if your phone has the facility to do so. The caller can call, but the phone won't ring and it will store the call as a missed call for you to report the incident.

I believe that blacklisting by BT and other providers will stop the call from connecting in the first place, but you would need to write the number down and go to them via a website or calling customer services.

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it is not difficult as you think just go to the blacklist and add those numbers

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  • I think it depends on what country you are in and who your supplier is. In the UK there was never any way of blacklisting numbers that I was able to find. – Lefty Mar 10 at 14:28
  • @Lefty, BT allows you to blacklist numbers from their website. – Chenmunka Mar 10 at 14:38
  • @Chenmunka I didn't know that, thank you. I haven't been a BT customer for many years and when I did investigate dealing with nuisance calls, my supplier had nothing useful to say. – Lefty Mar 10 at 16:09
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Mute your phone! (leave buzzer on and it might be good to keep it in your pocket if you know you might get an important call, but not at night!)

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If you have an Android phone, you can set it to "Do Not Disturb" with a few variations to allow calls you really want:

  1. Only allow calls from contacts;
  2. Only allow a call from an unknown number if it calls twice within 15 minutes.

I use the second setting, and have it activate automatically on a schedule around 11PM and off when my alarm goes off. This way I'm not disturbed in the night, but am confident if someone needs to get hold of me they only need to call back a second time.

This might block the large majority of your unwanted middle-of-the-night calls while allowing friends and family to contact you if really needed.

(I just realized you have a landline. So, I'll suggest you first convert the landline to a mobile line, then try this.)

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