Cold callers will no longer be able to hide or disguise phone numbers from May

Companies that use cold calling as part of their lead generation activities will no longer be able to hide or disguise phone numbers.  Under new rules, firms will have to display phone numbers even if using a call centre based abroad.

The changes are part of a government plan to tackle rogue companies and to make it easier for consumers to report nuisance callers. The changes will take effect from 16 May.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for data protection, said: “Nuisance calls are incredibly intrusive and can cause significant harm to elderly and vulnerable members of society.”

The new rules are in addition to changes made last year which make it easier to impose fines on the companies behind cold calls and nuisance text messages. In February, Brighton-based firm Prodial was given the largest ever fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – £350,000 – for cold calling.