This happens to everyone very occasionally – usually someone dialled a wrong number and realised and put the phone down or didn’t recognise the voice answering your phone and realised their mistake and put the phone down.
But, this can be a regular occurrence and then the reasons are more concerning.
Automated Calling Systems
A lot of marketing companies and scammers use automated diallers that call people in turn on a list. To maximise use of their staff, they set the diallers to call numerous people at the same time in the hope that at least some will answer the phone and those get put through to operatives.
However, this method also means many people will get silent calls when all operatives are already on the line to other people.
The law changed some years ago to outlaw this practice and most companies comply, but criminals don’t.
The law on automated calls is quite strict. They must not make an automated marketing call – that is, a call made by an automated dialling system that plays a recorded message – unless the person has specifically consented to receive this type of call from you. General consent for marketing, or even consent for live calls, is not enough – it must specifically cover automated calls.
All automated calls must include their name and a contact address or freephone number. They must also allow their number (or an alternative contact number) to be displayed to the person receiving the call.
Any message left by an automated system must specify the name of the calling company and give a number you can call to opt out of further calls.
If the automated message does not contain these, then assume it’s a scam and block the number.
Internet-based calling technology, also known as Voice Over Internet Protcol (VoIP), is used by millions of consumers globally to make phone calls free or cheaply every year.
But it’s also used by scammers as it’s cheaper than phone calls and it makes it easy for the criminals to hide or fake (this is called spoofing) the number they are calling from. For this reason, do not trust what shows as the callers number.
Most silent calls nowadays come from these computer calling systems overseas.
Telephone Preference Service
See https://fightback.ninja/the-telephone-preference-service/ for more details on TPS
At present, landline customers can request to have nuisance calls blocked by registering on the Telephone Preference Service. The free opt out service allows you to record your preference on the official register and not receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.
Companies (including charities) who choose not to check and then subsequently call a number on the register can be fined up to £6,500 for each registered number they call.
Makers of repeated abandoned and/or silent calls can be reported to Ofcom which has powers including fining the caller up to £2 million.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.