Someone on a call with a smartphone.


Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data watchdog, received a 60% rise in reports of nuisance calls, texts and emails in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2020.

This is according to official figures analysed by legal firm Griffin Law. In the first half of 2021, the ICO recorded an average of 13,925 reports of nuisance calls, texts and emails each month.

This is compared to 8,680 per month throughout the whole of 2020. The disparity was even greater when comparing the total number of reports in the first half of 2020 with 2021 (38,269 vs. 83,558, an increase of 116%).

The majority of nuisance contact reports in 2021 involved telecoms services, including broadband, phone and TV, with an average of slightly more than 2,000 per month. 

There were also 1,059 nuisance contact reports per month relating to banking and 620 per month regarding accident claims.

In 2020, the most common type of nuisance contact was concerning accident claims (1,946 reports per month).Nuisance calls, texts and emails relating to telecoms services had averaged 1,182, and for 534 per month for banking.

In 2021 the month with the most nuisance contact reports was March 2021 (17,728). This compared to just 6,484 reports in March 2020.

Ed Blake, area vice president EMEA for Absolute Software, explained: “’Nuisance’ contact has become synonymous with malicious cyber-attack attempts, which usually starts with a phishing, spam or malware email or text, sent to a recipient under the guise of a legitimate service or brand name.

“This is not to say that all reports of nuisance contact have malicious undertones, but it is certainly something that end-users and business decision-makers must be aware of, particularly as the remote working climate has increased the cyber threat facing businesses.”

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