It’s happened to all of us. Whether our landline or cell phone, we get unwanted calls from telemarketers or con artists. Just by answering the phone, you can provide proof to a scammer that your number is legit. By doing so, it can allow the criminals to access your number and use it for their advantage. And let’s face it. We hate getting calls from unknown companies disrupting our day. So, what to do?
The easy answer is to list your telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. But does that stop all unwanted calls? The answer is no.
The FTC has seen a significant increase in the number of illegal sales calls, particularly robocalls. The reason is technology. Internet-powered phone systems make it cheap and easy for scammers to make illegal calls from anywhere in the world, and to display fake caller ID information, which helps them hide from law enforcement.
Legitimate companies know they face fines of up to $41,484 per call by violating the Do Not Call Registry or placing an illegal robocall. It’s difficult for the FTC and other law enforcement agencies to identify “spoofed” numbers or scammers as they are usually outside of the United States. Use caution before you answer any unknown telephone number.
Don’t pay any company to register your phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Registration is always free at donotcall.gov.
Telephone numbers on the Registry don’t expire. Your number will be removed when it’s disconnected and reassigned unless you ask to remove it. You can ask for removal by calling 888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want to delete. Your number will be off the Registry the next day, and telemarketing lists will be updated within 31 days.
Want to register your telephone numbers? Do so by visiting https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx.
Quick Tips for Handling Phone Calls
- If you answer a telemarketing call, don’t give out personal or financial information.
- Don’t answer your phone if you don’t recognize the number. Let it go to voicemail.
- Just hang up! If you answer a robocall, ignore recorded prompts to press digits on your phone’s keypad. Especially those that advise pressing a certain number to be taken off their calling list. Your number can be sold to other scammers, and the frequency of calls will increase.
The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). You must call from the phone number that you want to register. To register online, visit donotcall.gov. You will have to respond to a confirmation email when registering from the website.
Been a victim of a telephone scam? Go to Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker and help us help others not to be victims.