10 Jul 2012
By Leigh Price

HOW TO: stop unwelcome and nuisance phone calls


Nuisance and prank calls can be a serious annoyance if they continue over a long period. We know that these calls can sometimes be quite distressing, so we’ve set up a dedicated Unwelcome Calls team to help you stop the calls in these situations.

Hang up calls

These are calls where you hear the caller put the receiver down, followed by the busy tone, as soon as you answer the call.

Silence, hoax, obscene or abusive calls

These are calls where the caller holds the line open with silence or speaks in an abusive or obscene manner and does not hang up.

To clear the line on your fixed phone service, replace the receiver and do not pick it up for 5 minutes. This will enable you to call out.

Malicious or life threatening calls

Of course, if you’ve received a malicious call threatening your life, you should immediately contact the police by calling 000.

In other situations, our specialist Unwelcome Calls team can help with a number of situations. Find out more detailed information here.

They’re trained to help with everything from basic advice and practical steps on how to stop calls, to liaising with the police to trace calls when necessary. You can request a callback from our Unwelcome Calls team by completing our online form, or by calling 13 2200 and saying “unwelcome calls”.

If you’re receiving unwanted telemarketing calls, you might also be interested in joining the Do Not Call Register. This is a service run by the Government and will add your mobile or home phone number to a blacklist, meaning that you won’t receive unsolicited marketing calls. It only takes a few minutes to join the Do Not Call Register online.


Posts: 21


  1. sean says:

    Well I just read all the comments, it seems futile to contact telstra!
    WHY can’t TELSTRA do something about these calls instead of placing all the onus on the victims of THEIR service?
    With their computing power they must be able to “see” the flow of traffic from auto dialers etc?

    • Tony says:

      Telstra won’t do anything about nuisance calls for the simple reason, they are getting paid for them.
      It’s my belief Telstra and Optus are selling Phone numbers to overseas companies.
      I can’t see why it is’nt possible to block incoming overseas calls. If something is’nt possible, it means someone’s getting paid.

    • Jonno says:

      We got a truecall blocker because we got never-ending calls from computer diallers at kids dinner time. Contacted Telstra about it but they couldn’t help or offer anything. We got the truecall a month ago and it’s stopped everything. Family ring straight through, but the charities and sales mob get stopped.

      Doesn’t work on a mobile, and they don’t have any way of stopping the calls on a mobile, but it’s brilliant on the home phone.

      • Robyn says:

        How did you get it please? I have had enough. I am constantly getting them every evening about 15 a night!

        Would really appreciate knowing how to get this true blocker,


  2. Briony says:

    Telstra is really frustrating! I don’t understand how in the year 2014 they say they don’t have the means to be able to stop these stupid calls.

    We tried everything and ended up changing our phone number but guess what…yep the calls started again. So the only thing left to do is turn the ringer off our phone so we don’t hear it ring anymore…so now we are stuck paying for a home phone that no one can ring us on!

    The international callers and Telstra win :-(

    • jenny says:

      We have a caller id telephone and I don’t answer the main one “Private Overseas” just pick it up and put it back down. You are correct though, in this day and age it should be sorted. If we can block certain spammers from our computers, why can’t Telstra block certain numbers from coming through their exchange? Too hard basket like most things.

  3. Margaret says:

    I get a call a day from a movile number. Hangs up as soon as i answer. I try to call ba k and it goes to voice mail that says the mailbox is full. I checked on reverse phone look up and it says the number belongs to whelN strata management. I rang them. They say its not their number. So i block the. Caller on my phone. Now i get messages saying they cAlled but didnot leAve a message! Driving me crazy! Nearly as much as typing this on my phone.

  4. Megan says:

    Overseas private number rings approx between 800pm and 900pm every night for the past 2 weeks I have rang 132200 today but they have told me I can’t do anything about this. I have small children who are in bed at these time it’s annoying

  5. Johan says:

    Really poor performance from Telstra.
    Should they wonder why people leave their service?
    They have squandered so much money in overseas investment schemes that have turned to shite.
    You want to be able to do something about nuisance calls and there’s no support whatsoever.

    Poor! Poor!Poor! Poor!Poor! Poor!Poor! Poor!Poor! Poor!Poor!

  6. Paul Szilard says:

    On my mobile Samsung Galaxy Note 3, I have defined both Block by time and Block by Numbers to give me peace during the night. I allow Favourites (e.g. parents).

    On my land-line, I have installed a Fritz! Box modem, which is also a VoIP interface and set it to block. You can use Google to find out more about Fritz! Box and your mobile phone settings.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  7. Robert Dowling says:

    Can’t we get the service similar to in the US, you dail *77 wait for response message then hang up. This stops all unidentified numbers from ringing. Is it that Testra does not want to stop these calls as they miss out on income plus nearly all my unwanted calls ( call centres) are for renewing Testra services.

  8. Rachel says:

    We have been receiving overseas private number calls for some months now which when answered, simply are silent for approx 5 seconds and then hang up. Over the past week, these calls have escalated, starting from 2pm each day and calling approximately every half an hour until 6 or 7 at night. Surely this is harassment.

  9. Kate says:

    I agree that more services should be put in place to block certain calls from coming through. It’s the 21st century afterall, and all telephony is now digital. A friend of mine was also getting very regular calls during the day where the other end would just hang up after about 5 seconds. It got so annoying and nothing was done about, so he saw himself forced to cancel the phone line and get a new number.

  10. David says:

    An indian lady called tonight at 23:45 Aus time, trying to sign me up for a Telstra T Box. I have her first name and recorded the conversation. We are on the DO NOT CALL register with 3 young children, but obviously Telstra employs some telesales sweat shop who do not adhere to the concept. Very poor, Telstra you should be ashamed.

  11. MICHAEL says:

    Hi we are being bothered by constant calls from people offering alternative phone plans to telstra and telling us that you telstra has authorized for them to contact us. Today i have had 15 calls and we are in our 70s and cannot take this rubbish any more. We are supposed to be a silent listing ?

    Can you please advise us if you can help us.

    Thank you Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      That sounds incredibly annoying!

      I’d recommend calling our Unwelcome calls team, who will be able to advise what the best course of action is. Call 13 2200 and saying “unwelcome calls.”


  12. Briony says:

    Hi Michael,

    from experience the unwelcome calls team won’t be able to do anything to help. Telstra themselves are unable to do anything to stop these annoying calls…we tried calling them…nothing, we tried blocking all international calls…nothing, we tried hanging up on them, yelling at them, not answering the phone…everything we could think of and they still rang and Telstra keep telling us that there is nothing they can do.

    We ended up changing our phone number which was highly inconvenient but stopped the calls for a little while and then they started again so the only way we have managed to stop them is to turn the ringer off on our home phone and only use it to ring out.

  13. Karen says:

    All week receiving calls from “Telstra” advising they are about to disconnect our internet! Asking a few questions makes them hang up – however if you have a few minutes go along with their requests ( whilst not actually doing it!) pretending to be stupid when they ask you what’s on the screen and have your husband say next to you “you can hang up now we have the trace!” They do give you a bit of verbal abuse but it is very funny, perhaps they don’t like having their time wasted – tried calling unwanted calls they were busy, didn’t give the option for call back and from reading the above posts they are unable to help anyway! We’ll see if they try again!

  14. Matt says:

    Given that I have zero reason to receive calls from India, why can’t Telstra disable all calls from this country to my phone???

    My wife and I no longer answer our home phone and rely on our answering machine to filter calls.

    The DNCR is BS… Telstra should be doing more to protect its customers.

    • Hi Matt,

      While it’s not possible to block incoming international calls from a particular country, if the number is displayed (see steps to obtain in blog), then you can set up Call Forwarding Selected Caller. This will allow you to not accept the call for that particular number. I hope this helps.

      Thanks, Jamie

    • Matt says:

      Yes it can be done, Telstra choose not to do it. I have between 1-3 scam calls a day. These scammers are pretending to work for Telstra in most instances.

      Your sollution does not work because the scammers are using VOIP. What is your sollution for this?

      Also, is there a device i could purchase to filter/block calls from India?

  15. Phillip Scott says:

    I have serious back injury so joined the Do Not Call Register and still keep getting unsolicited calls which is driving me insane. The help is useless and to me looks like telstra has no intention of trying to stop these overseas call centres ignoring rules, no doubt they get money from these call centres to continue to keep lines open. Their solution was for me to limit my phone service and block overseas calls which is pathetic cop out. I was told by one person I spoke to in telstra even said is no point trying to track number as a lot go through a relay number provided by local carriers and get around the overseas number block anyway. I also cant accept Telstras excuse no way to identify these centres because the shear number of calls been made will stand out with minimal effort or investigation.

    • Hi Phillip,

      I can assure you that Telstra is not taking money to keep the lines open. Please call our Unwelcome calls team, who will be able to advise what the best course of action is. Call 13 2200 and saying “unwelcome calls.”


  16. Jo says:

    Telstra needs to seriously look at the people from overseas who they are allowing to divert their overseas calls through 02 and 03 numbers. This problem of nuisance calls seems to have more than tripled this year (2014).
    Why should Australians have to put up with this rubbish? It is interfering with our private and business lives.
    This is one of the annoying callers 02 94810783

  17. Lauren says:

    We are on the do not all Register,we have had 4 calls in 24 hours stating they are ringing about our computer,all Indian voices,last night was 9.15.p.m.
    We had one saying they wanted to query a $700 purchase on my Visa card,sorry guys,no visa,bloody pests.

  18. Steve says:

    Jamie (Editor) says:
    12 Mar 2014 at 1:10 pm
    Hi ___________,

    I can assure you that Telstra is not taking money to keep the lines open. Please call our Unwelcome calls team, who will be able to advise what the best course of action is. Call 13 2200 and saying “unwelcome calls.”



    you are kidding us about ringing 132200 right ? We get 6 to 7 calls day and night. Taking up phone time etc. Can’t switch phone off as we have school age children.

    Telling these people to stop doesn’t help.

    As mentioned in these comments, call blocking won’t work.

    If you’re the “Editor” then perhaps enlighten all here with a point by point editorial regards what action myself and the others with complaints and questions can do without us having to ring 132200 and wait for a response.

    You try ringing that number.

    Isn’t this what a written forum is all about. This is a Telstra information website and you can’t answer the questions.


  19. Marie says:

    My son has an intervention order out against an unstable ex girlfriend who did all sorts of crazy things to him ( that I won’t go into here)
    Ever since I get hang up calls several times a day and calls from mobiles. The hang up calls are all private caller and so I don’t know who they are from. The mobile numbers I am fairly certain are coming from family and friends of the ex girlfriend. Qld no’s and Sydney no’s too. The intervention order applies to both of his phones both home and mobile but the police aren’t interested. It’s so unfair, if the roles were reversed my son would get charged. If it’s a woman, well there’s a different set of rules. He’s changed his mobile number so it targets my mobile. I’ve had enough!

  20. Marea Foster says:

    Can you suggest WHY we get these overseas calls that don’t speak, just pause and then hang up? Some that we have had had ‘heavy breathing’ or just say ‘hello’ and hang up. Testra put a block on my phone and advised they were all from overseas call centres using VOIP.
    I don’t understand why they do this. What’s in it for them? I can only imagine its retaliation for not responding to those ‘Windows’ or Microsoft calls with Indian callers who want to sell you software to stop your computer crashing.

  21. Marea says:

    I have read all the instructions on Telstra’s page on how to avoid the calls – of course.
    I would still be interested in your speculations about the calls. Or anybody else’s thoughts.

    • Enrico says:

      Sounds like they have either:
      1) A broken auto/pre-emptive dialler.
      2) They actually cannot hear you so they are waiting in anticipation and breathing heavy. :)

      Unfortunately this just demonstrates the ongoing issue.
      If you read my above post you will see I identified overseas calls centers as a place you can’t stop by using whats out in the market now right now.

      That’s why I invented what I did.
      If you had MHQ it WOULD stop the those calls.

      Check it out here:

      Please do support and spread it if you like it so that I can make it a reality.

  22. Mark says:

    I repeat what I said months ago.
    Only answer your land line phone on the 5th ring.
    The overseas telemarketers hang up if you don’t answer in 4 rings.
    Simple. Works every time for me.

    • Enrico says:


      MArk not trying to cut you down here, just offer what I have found.

      I’ve rarely seen call centers hang up after x rings.

      Infact in most cases they wait until it goes to voicemail.
      You see a ringing phone costs them nothing.
      They are not paying for the call.
      Nor is there a person waiting on the other side for you to pick up.
      So given it does not cost them, then it does not make business sense from their point of view that they would give up on a ringing phone.

      I however see a small number of call centers doing it, with more advanced systems that know they are calling a number which is more likely to have a voicemail box on it. they would know this from previous calls.

      Then the downsides of the 4 ring approach are:
      1) If you DO have voicemail you are only giving yourself one ring to answer in time.

      2) Or even worse its a friend with a private number who will hangup knowing you have that voicemail box too, but they just don’t want to leave a message.

      The above issues are not a problem with the way MHQ is designed.
      I think what we need to realize is these calls are jut like email spam. They will never go away.

      And the main two solutions you have to solving this is:
      1) Alot of manual work and time spent.
      2) Get a SPAM filter and save your precious time.

    • Marea says:

      Mark, yes I found that about the 5th ring it cut out – but recently they just let it keep ringing. Now I leave it to the answer machine, and when that kicks in, then they disengage. So in other words, the 5th ring doesn’t seem to work any more.

      Enrico good luck with your device. At this point I will tough it out and see if we can overcome it other ways. I think its very disappointing that Telstra have so little to offer. They seem to know what’s happening, and why, but obviously can’t discuss it.

  23. Mark says:

    I don’t have voice mail, so phone keeps ringing until the caller hangs up. In my experience its 4 rings. FWIW.

  24. Michael says:

    We are getting 3 or 4 calls a day from India, claiming to be ringing from Telstra, telling us that there is a problem with our Telstra internet connection. We don’t have a Telstra internet connection connection. When we tell them this and ring off, we then get a call threatening us with disconnecting our (non existent) Telstra internet connection; OR, we get another call telling us that we have a problem with our Windows computer – we don’t have a Windows computer, we have a perfectly working Mac.

    We are on the no junk call register and receive charity calls but do NOT expect to have to put up with harassing calls purporting to come from Telstra.

    Why can’t Telstra stop this harassment?

  25. Phillip Scott says:

    Marea a lot of call centers now use automatic dialing systems and only connect to a live operator when we answer. If there are no operators free it will then switch to a message like goodbye or hello. It saves them time but wastes even more of our time.

  26. Robert Shea says:

    Hi I’m wondering if the silent phone option for $2.93/month will stop all telemarketers and charity calls?

  27. Briony says:


    Having and paying for a silent number WILL NOT stop the overseas calls…been there tried that! The Do Not Call register will stop calls from within Australia but Telstra continually tell me that they have no way of stopping the overseas calls.

  28. Kathy says:

    I keep getting Telemarketers 0011 numbers saying they are calling as there is either something wrong with our computer or router from Telstra. I have had them abuse me lie to me everything to try and gain access to my computer. I have called Telstra and Optus and they say because these are overseas numbers they can not track them or put a trace on them. When is there going to be an investigation by telstra and optus into these scams from overseas.

  29. Lyn says:

    I keep getting overseas calls via 0386835158, I have left messages to stop calling me on that mailbox but as they are going through a Victorian number is there any way to actually stop them? I am in Qld but have lots of family in Vic so quite often pick up before realising its them AGAIN! Come on Telstra, please HELP!

  30. Mark Robinson says:

    Hold to telstra 31 minutes, you really are useless, going to move to competitor

  31. Marea says:

    I let my phone go to answer machine for a few days and the dreaded phone calls seem to have stopped.

    These were the typical overseas VOIP telemarketing – no answer calls (according to Telstra).

  32. Phil Scott says:

    Thanks for moderating and removing my comment even though was nothing offensive. Guess it just confirms my comments. The nearest I have gotten to straight answer from Telstra.

  33. marlene says:

    I have recieved several texes on my mobile phone 4.00 am 5.00 am it is supposedly from facebook telling me i have some new friends to contact them,not at that time in the morning i have complained to facebook and never recieved an anwser has anybody had this trouble

  34. Enrico says:

    That solution is a good start.

    However the issues I see they have are:
    1) Configuring them can be very hard and daunting.
    2) Only works with landlines.
    3) How does it handle private numbers? e.g. what if your friends have private numbers, according to this devices its blocked. Some other make them have to hear a menu every time to speak to you?
    4) This appears to be a US product. Does it work with AU phones? Does it comply with AU regulations? Is it A-ticked?
    5) What if 175 entries is not enough?
    6) It can’t handle different peoples calls in different ways
    7) It cannot apply “time of day” AND “day of week” logic to let you control your calls.

    What I am trying to bring to market solves all the above issues and it does a lot more too.

    By the way MHQ is an Ozzie invention. Please support us and help us make marketing and unwanted calls a thing of the past.

    Andrew if you are an Ozzie I’m reaching out to you to help me promote a much better Ozzie solution.

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