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Is There a Way to Stop Those Annoying, Unwanted Phone Calls?

By:   Christine Stone

Is it just me, or are those annoying marketing junk calls and telephone scam calls getting worse?  It used to be that I only received those calls on my house phone.  But lately, I’ve been getting unwanted calls and text messages on my cell phone.   

Yes, they’re really a nuisance, and you will never be able to completely eliminate these annoying time-wasters.  But the good news is: there are measures you can take to reduce unwanted marketing calls.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives upwards of 300,000 complaints per month from consumers reporting unwanted live and pre-recorded calls.   If you didn’t already know – – it is illegal to make telemarketing calls to consumers who have not given their consent to receive such calls.  Unfortunately telemarketers simply ignore the law and/or bet the regulators will not come after them.    Telemarketers are very clever – – they can mask their phone number or change their phone number as often as every hour – – making it difficult to trace calls or track them down.   And while many telephone companies provide some level of call blocking, it’s up to the consumer to create their own “call block list.”

Signing up for the “Do Not Call Registry” will give some level of blocking unwanted calls, but it’s not fool-proof.  The “National Do Not Call Registry” (NDNCR) can be accessed at  But it can take up to 30 days to take effect.    And to add insult to injury, some telephone scammers call claiming to be from the National Do Not Call Registry.   Be aware that the NDNCR does NOT call consumers directly.  So do not respond to these calls.

Keep in mind that charities, not-for-profits, political organizations, legitimate telephone surveys, and debt collectors are still permitted to make “unsolicited” calls.   They can (and will) continue to call you despite placing your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Also keep in mind that it is illegal to call you before 9 am or after 9 pm.

Here are a few other steps you can take to minimize marketing calls and robocalls.  If you don’t have a computer, ask a trusted relative or friend to help you.   Follow the computer links for the following services:

  • is a FREE service that is easy to set up, allows legitimate robocalls to get through, and is approved by the Federal Trade Commission.   If you find you no longer like service, it’s easy to turn off.
  • allows you to sign a petition pressuring the big telephone companies to provide free tools to block robocalls for their customers.  This service is from the publishers of Consumer Reports magazine and very trustworthy.
  • will give you access to the Federal Trade Commission and the Do Not Call Registry.

Telemarketers and telephone scam artists will always find new and clever ways to call and scam us.  There are a few easy things we can do to protect ourselves and stay one step ahead of these phone con artists.


  • Don’t EVER give out your credit card information or debit card PIN number. Once the con artists have your information they can use your credit/debit card for their own purchases.  They can also sell your credit/debit card information to other scammers.
  • Don’t EVER share personal or financial information such as social security number, bank/checking account number.


Your bank will never call you asking for this information.  

The IRS will never call you asking for this information.

  • Don’t be fooled or made afraid by the threat of sending the police to your house. Banks and the IRS simply do not do this.
  • Don’t be lured in by the offer of a credit card at a ridiculously low interest rate. The scammer will get your personal information and start charging to your account.
  • Don’t respond to anyone calling you claiming to be your son / daughter / grandchild….etc. and asking for money.
  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a non-profit organization, ask them to mail information to you. If they don’t already have your address, hang up.
  • Be skeptical of all unsolicited sales calls that are pre-recorded. Never return calls from these pre-recorded solicitations.  They may be trying to access your phone number and use it to make calls and commit other frauds using your name.
  • Have your phone number placed on the Do Not Call lists – Do it TODAY.