How many ways are there to say, “Stop calling me”?

By | September 21st, 2016

Like many Americans, Diana Colwell is constantly bombarded with solicitation calls. And she’s fed up.

She’s tried asking, she’s tried being stern, and she’s tried being “downright rude,” but they keep calling … and calling. Colwell wrote to us asking if there is anything else she can do to make the calls stop.

“I get calls from the same company every single day,” she complains. “The recording says it’s my ‘final option’ to reduce my credit card debt. It also says if I don’t want any more calls I can push the number five, and I’ve done this every time.”

Blocking the number isn’t an option since the calls come from a different number each time.

“I’ve even received a call from my own number,” she says.

I get these same calls. Not every day like Colwell does, but at least twice a week. I have also pressed the number five to make the calls stop — but gotten the same call the following week, anyway. This company seems to be ignoring the wishes of consumers and federal law. We’ll get back to these solicitations in a moment.

Colwell is also concerned about other calls she receives:

I also get calls from people claiming they represent the Kentucky state police and asking for money for the widows of fallen troopers. I have state troopers in my immediate family who have assured me that they do not raise money over the phone.

I have received calls in the past from the Fraternal Order of Police asking for donations, but I’ve never lived in Kentucky so I can’t speak for them. If Colwell’s relatives insist these calls cannot be legitimate, this isn’t a case of overzealous telemarketing. Unlike the previous type of call, this is more likely a crime in the making.

The simple solution here — to provide no information and immediately hang up — should eventually stop the calls. Once someone figures out you’re not an easy mark, they will typically move on to someone who is.

The final type of call bothering Colwell is a clear, well-documented scam:

The worst one is this moron who says he’s from the some kind of internet service, and there is something wrong with my computer. He wants me to give him access to our computer.

This scam has become so prevalent — and so many people have fallen for it — that the Federal Trade Commission now specifically addresses it in the Tech Support Scams information on its website. The page provides information on how these scams work, what to do if you get a call, and how to recover your information if you responded to a scam.

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The most important information given about potential scam calls: Don’t give them any personal or financial information, and don’t give them access to your computer. If you have any reason to believe the call could be genuine, hang up and look up the company’s name and phone number on a box or receipt from them. If you’ve never done business with this company before, it’s highly unlikely that the call is legitimate. Also, legitimate companies never call you out of the blue and ask for passwords or financial information.

Now back to our friendly neighborhood telemarketers and what to do about them.

Register your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry
The FTC allows people to register both their landline and mobile numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Once you’ve registered, companies have 31 days to remove you from their call lists.

It is important to note that the registry applies only to sales calls. It does not apply to charities, political organizations, telephone surveyors or debt collectors. If you’ve done business with a company within the last few months or given a company permission to call you, the registry will not prohibit an initial call from that company. But you can ask them not to call again, and if you do, they are required to remove you from their list.

The exemption also does not apply to “robocalls,” since they became illegal on September 1, 2009.

Ask the company to stop calling you
Ask for the name of the caller, the name of the company, the company address and its phone number. Then, a simple, polite “please remove me from your call list,” should do the trick. (Please remember the other person on the phone is probably not a horrible monster, and is simply another human being trying to make a living.) Also keep in mind that companies don’t typically pull their call lists on a daily basis. It may take several weeks before you drop off a list. Give it the same 31 days that is allowed by the Do Not Call Registry.

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File a complaint if a company violates your registry
If you receive telemarketing calls starting on day 32, you may file a complaint against the company through the same FTC page. You’ll need to enter your telephone number, along with the date, time and content of the call, including whether it was a recorded message or a human caller. You can report text messages, as well.

There is a rumor that you have to re-register your phone numbers every few years. You don’t. Registrations do not expire, which is why I’ve filed a complaint against the company that has been wanting to lower my credit card debt twice a week for the last six months. I’ve been on the registry since July 2003.

Block the number
If you’re receiving multiple telemarketing calls from the same number, block the number. It’s easy to do on a smartphone. If you have a landline, call your telephone service provider. This works with reputable companies who actually call from the same number. It doesn’t work with an unscrupulous company like the one calling Colwell.

Don’t pick up calls from numbers you don’t recognize
If the number isn’t recognized by your caller ID or if it’s from an unknown or blocked number, let your answering machine or voice mail pick up.

Get a Google Voice number
Among its many services, Google Voice lists calls in an email-like platform and allows you to easily block calls that you no longer wish to receive. When someone calls from that number again, they will receive a message that the phone number has been disconnected.

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Hang up
The most simple solution is to hang up, which won’t get you on a no-call list. The company is likely to keep calling, but this is the least complicated end to a telemarketer’s call.

Unfortunately, none of these suggestions will prevent companies that are not interested in abiding by federal law from calling you.

Some people argue that companies have a “free speech” right to call you and interrupt your dinner. These people believe the U.S. Constitution gives companies the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in the interest of selling their product. They also argue that because you have the right to hang up, your privacy is not being invaded.

Others disagree and would argue that the explicit right to privacy outweighs whatever right a company might have to sell you something while you’re in the shower. They would likely argue that the Bill of Rights protects individual freedoms from government intrusion, and that corporations are not people. Repeatedly calling consumers who have asked not to be contacted would be defined as harassment.

Colwell would fall into this latter group, and she just wants the calls to stop. I don’t blame her. In addition to employing the seven suggestions above, if she finds herself on the receiving end of any of the companies for whom we list customer service or executive contacts, she could escalate her request to them.

What do you think?

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  • scoosdad

    CVS is the worst I’ve run into in regards to not keeping you on their do not call lists, no matter how I’ve tried. I’ve called CVS corporate and spoken to the local pharmacist over and over, and yet they point fingers at each other like you wouldn’t believe.

    I get automated “refill reminder” calls twice a day like clockwork, on medication that I’m no longer taking. Their caller ID makes them look like they’re coming from the local pharmacy and so I reluctantly had to block all their incoming calls. Now when I pick up prescriptions, I get notes on my prescriptions asking me to speak with the pharmacist about “updating my contact information”.

  • sirwired

    Alas, the normal legal remedies are utterly useless for the true scammers. The DNC list, FTC/FCC reports, the AG’s office, whatever… When it’s a Tech Support or IRS or Credit Card or Burglar Alarm scammer, the only way to stop them is to pay them, and “follow the money”, and of course that is not something a consumer should EVER try to do themselves.

    I use a landline for business purposes, so I have to answer my phone. I have the following hierarchy for unsolicited live calls:

    – Robots just get hung up on; there’s no point in doing anything else.
    – Surveys: I politely decline
    – Political calls: (Americans for Prosperity has a persistent mistaken notion I might actually support them): I growl “Unsolicited calls make me less likely to agree with whatever/whomever it is you are pushing.”
    – Charities: I bark “I NEVER give to charities who call unsolicited, NEVER call this number again. GOODBYE. *slam!*” I don’t feel bad doing this, because it’s never legit charities that raise money this way; it’s stupidly expensive, and makes too many people angry.
    – Scams: (The one I get the most is the Tech Support Scam; which is hilarious because I’m a Computer Engineer and certainly know better) I ask “Are your parents proud of raising a thief and a liar?” They usually hang up at that point. I’d like to think insults like that drive up their staff turnover. Incredibly, one scammer CALLED BACK to berate me for being rude, and tried to persist in convincing me I needed the scammy crap he was selling.

    Curiously, whenever I get the IRS scam, it’s always a message to call them back (never “Press X to speak with somebody). And they even use legit CallerID info. When I get that, I always immediately hang up and then report the number to the Dept. of the Treasury. I like to think they work promptly to get the phone number turned off.

  • deemery

    There are two kinds of callers, those who will respond to Do Not Call, and those who will not (the crooks). The latter use Voice over IP telephony, which makes it pretty much impossible to block a number. The best you can do is screen by Caller ID (which is often forged by the crooks), and not answer if you get a call from someplace you don’t recognize.

    And you can write to your Congressperson asking them to legislate unforgeable Caller ID.

  • deemery

    Talk to your pharmacist, they can disable a lot of this.

  • deemery

    The problem is the true scammers/crooks use forged Caller ID numbers. That’s something that Congress & the FCC should fix. If you could actually trace the call, that would substantially cut down on fraudulent calls.

  • sirwired

    Yeah, they are getting worse and worse with that. Just for laughs, I’ve done a couple reverse lookups. They are now shifting to supplying CallerID info for real (utterly random and innocent) people with their real phone numbers. That’s just Evil-with-a-capital-E. I can only imagine what they go through when people call back to yell at them…

  • deemery

    Once the Caller ID said I was calling myself :-(

  • sirwired

    Yeah, I call myself all the time, apparently. I wonder what happens if you block yourself (on the systems that allow it)?

  • Rebecca

    The same exact thing happened to me. I also blocked their number. I switched pharmacies. But, if you need to be contacted when it’s ready, you can switch to text alerts. It comes from a different number, so you’ll still get the text.

  • Rebecca

    Do not, I repeat, DO NOT “press 5 to be removed from this list”. The scammers simply use this option as a tool to find out if the number they’re calling is “live “. All pressing 5 does is let them know your phone number belongs to a person that will answer the phone. You’ll only get more calls, from the shady company and the places they sell it to.

  • DChamp56

    I LOVE getting calls from the guy with the Indian accent saying “I am from “Windows” and there is a problem with your PC!”
    Not from Microsoft, but from Windows! *LOL*
    I then (being a 25+ year IT Specialist) ask HIM questions that he can’t answer about my PC. The guy gets so flustered, he hangs up!

  • RBXChas

    NoMoRoBo is actually quite good at blocking a number of these calls, plus if you’re like me and report robocallers to them, it helps block numbers further. It’s not perfect, but it helps a lot.

  • RBXChas

    Oh, and it’s free.

  • MF

    Great ideas! I have a few strategies to add;
    1. Scammers – my receptionist acts interested & excited about the offer, says she needs to put the phone down for a minute & will be right back, well it’s more like 5 minutes & the scammer is no longer on the line.
    2. Self screening – when my name is mentioned by a solicitor, I’ll inquire, ‘who may I say is calling? ‘and what is this regarding? Then the fun begins…

  • David___1

    I use NoMoRobo. It works. Unfortunately it’s not available for all phone companies. Verzion doesn’t support it.

    Note: one of the things that is going on is scammers and the shadier telemarketers route their calls from outside the country. By doing this they avoid the responsibilities that legitimate US companies have to abide by under the rules of the DNC registry.

  • Helene Apper

    When I get calls from survey companies, I nicely tell them to submit a check to me for $88.28 which is my monthly phone bill. They can then call me to do their work for them. They usually hang up.

  • Helene Apper

    My answer to them is Oh…..let me get my husband on the phone. He is the director of Homeland Security :) (Always gets an instant hang up). :)

  • LeeAnneClark

    “Please remember the other person on the phone is probably not a horrible monster, and is simply another human being trying to make a living.”

    Yeah, um…I disagree with this. Sorry, I did not invite this person into my home, but he/she attempted to force themselves into it anyway, for the purpose of selling me something. I have a right to be angry. This is MY phone line, MY home, MY dinner hour. Don’t want to get sworn at by strangers? Don’t call them on their personal lines.

    The “he was just doing his job” excuse went out with Nuremberg. These people are scum. Even the so-called “legit” telemarketers. Look, we are at almost full employment – there are decent jobs available out there that don’t involve harassing people. They should go get one.

    As for the scammers, they deserve every invective I can throw at them. And more.

    Sorry but I have zero sympathy for telemarketers of ANY ilk.

  • Carrie Livingston

    On my phone I use YouMail. It handles all my phone calls and the really neat thing is that it syncs with my contacts so if I don’t answer the phone it will actually change the voicemail outgoing message to Hello First Name, Carrie can’t come to the phone right now, etc. It screens for known robocallers and gives them a no longer in service message and that same message to anyone I block.

    Another neat feature is that it has is voicemails can be sent to an email account or as a text message. It does a whole bunch of other stuff but those are the most interesting.

  • Chris Johnson

    Is there a way to block a number directly on your smartphone or some kind of app for it? I ask because I get a million of these robocalls, mostly for “last chance credit card offers” and logging into my Verizon account is a bit to add to the blocked number list is a bit of a hassle for me, especially since the numbers on that list expire after 6 months anyway.

  • Charles Owen

    This is a popular myth. In reality, robocalls don’t care if you are there or not. They call everyone. The system is playing the odds. You are not confirming anything if you touch 5, they just ignore that. Once they have your number, they will keep calling, whether you answer or not.

  • Charles Owen

    Yes, card services calls are violating federal law by calling numbers on the do-not-call list. But, pointing that out is rather like pointing out that the bank robber jaywalked as he was entering the bank. Those card services calls are not trying to sell you credit cards, they are scams. They are either trying to steal your identity information or convince you to pay some ridiculous fees for nothing. See for details.

    The best thing you can do is to tie up the human operator. If there is a number to connect to someone, we press it and set the phone down. If everyone did that, it would drive them completely out of business in no time. Don’t worry about that “you’re just confirming your number” nonsense. They don’t care. They call every number they have, whether it’s know to be answered or not.

  • Charles Owen

    Do not call the numbers. One scam that is particularly popular for mobile phones is to have a number that automatically charges your phone account in some way. They can redirect your call to an international line that charges just to connect, then more per minute.

  • Rebecca

    My understanding is that for scam artists, it validates numbers. For more traditional robocalls (which my autocorrect REALLY wants to change to “robot allspice” for some reason), you’re correct, it does nothing. So the advice at least remains the same. Don’t answer at all.

  • Mike

    I’m an IT professional as well. I act all concerned and like I can’t hear them and ask for a call back number. I then post that # on craigslist in the personals section. As for the IRS scam, I once got one who had the audacity to call me back, after I researched his info. I got pertinent info, names, badge number, etc. Strung him along for a minute, then said “Anthony eh?” You don’t sound like an Anthony. In fact, I contacted the IRS all ready about you, and they’d like to speak to you. Never got such a fast hangup in my life.

  • redragtopstl

    We’ve been on the “do not call” registry since Day 1, and I swear it’s been only marginally effective at keeping the idiots from calling. We get the credit card calls every other day, the home security calls, the personal alarm calls.

    While we had AT&T U-verse TV service (as part of a bundle), it was nice to have Caller ID displayed on our TV screen when the phone rang, because our landline phone is now VOIP. U-verse got so expensive, however, that we switched the TV service to DirecTV recently, and the only Caller ID we have is on the answering machine. Now we can’t dodge unknown callers by not picking up the phone.

    Guess I’ll need to pick up a couple of Caller ID boxes for the house, or maybe buying a couple of new phones with built-in Caller ID would be about as much. Time to research on Amazon …

  • Mel65

    I got fed up with those “This is Rachel from card services” calls. I would get up to 4 or 5 a day. I bought an air horn. Now I press to talk to an operator and when they answer I blow it. It’s mean, and I should probably feel bad about it…but I don’t.

  • Mel65

    I’ve never heard of YouMail, but it sounds awesome. Is it for Android or iPhone or both, do you know?

  • Mel65

    Too many of the ones who called me got hostile and aggressive when asked to stop calling. One said, “F*** You B***ch. I’m putting you into the rotation to get called every hour” and others have expressed similar sentiments ala “F**k you” so yeah I’m with you. Those people on the other end of the phone are WELL aware that what they’re being asked to do is at BEST scammy and most likely flat out illegal.

  • Carrie Livingston

    I think it’s for both. Here’s a link to the website.

  • Carrie Livingston

    I know on my iphone I can block callers. I just go to the number and more details and I scroll down there is a button to block the caller.

  • Carrie Livingston

    I’m using a Panasonic cordless system and it announces who is calling once it shows up on caller id. You can specify certain ringtones for callers and can also set it up to block certain numbers and/or send them straight to voicemail.

  • greg watson

    I get calls about ‘your computer has malfunctioned’ or some such nonsense way too often. I ignored them,but they always leave a message & a 1 – 800 # that I won’t call back. I also get the one about reducing the cost on my credit card. Where I live, I can call block a 10 digit number on my landline phone, but I can’t block a 1 – 800 or 1- 877 #. Any ideas, as I don’t want to call these #’s back

  • SusanV

    I have Verizon and NoMoRobo works fine for me. Also, with a FiOS line, you can use the MyFios smartphone app to block numbers. I block anything that shows up more than twice. (And I never answer anything I don’t recognize.)

  • SusanV

    If you have FiOS (as opposed to a genuine old-fashioned landline) the MyFios app is what you want.

    If you mean block callers to your smartphone there should be an option for any incoming number.

  • RightNow9435

    On the landline—–never pick up til I hear who it is. On the cellphone, if the call isn’t in my contacts list (or expected, such as a car repair place), the call doesn’t get answered.

  • marathon man

    I have one I have tried a few times and it worked:

    I pick up the phone and breathe frantically and stammer out with, ” OMG I am soooo glad you called! There’s blood everywhere and I think I will need your help to clean it all up!”


    Hang up.


    But now, we get so many calls from so many things–the scams, the credit card calls, the political surveys, etc… We do NOT even answer our home phone unless we recognize the number. And our policy that if they don’t leave a message, it wasn’t important!

    We have, sadly, run into problems with this:

    1) There have been companies that have called and later on when I finally reach someone to deal with whatever it was about, they say the old, “Well we tried to call you…” excuse. I tell em: “If you tried to call, that means you physically dialed the numbers and someone actually spoke into the receiver and even left us a message. We don’t have one, so you did not try well enough!”

    2) The mother of one of my daughter’s friends in our neighborhood is not the easiest person to deal with nor is she easily accessible. But she claims the same about us. I mean, we get along when we do see her but that is rare… Anyway, she says her daughter is not allowed in our house anymore because we never answer the phone if she calls. The kids in our very family friendly neighborhood often stop into each others’ houses–of course asking first, and no one has any problems–if a kid comes in our house, they would have asked their parents first and the same is true if one of ours goes to a neighbor’s house. Most of us have grade schoolers. A text or a quick call may occur if one needs to get a kid home for dinner or for something else. It never poses an issue except with this one mother. The problem is she calls from different numbers–likely work or cell phones we do not know. And she does not leave a message. She is always working so it’s hard to reach her to sort this out. I have suggested texting but it all falls on deaf ears. Yeah, I know, there’s a way, but it’s all so stupid. And on my street, sadly, we cannot rely on Verizon’s cell service for anything except emails and texts. Calls never stay connected (or I would get rid of the home phone) and it seems to be one of the few places in the country where Verizon just does not work. This problem exists for people with AT&T, T-Mobile too, but Sprint would work. It’s just that for us, they don’t work anywhere else we go. Believe me, we have tried all this! I have gotten a signal repeater, I have tried friends and neighbor’s phones, I have signed up for services just to try it out, and I have complained to Verizon. I have even looked into what it would take to get a tower but we cannot do that here. At one point we had been thinking of moving out of state (work related) and one of our key points on the lists of pros and cons was cell service. So we have to have both our cells and our home phone but I would get rid of it completely if I could. Also, I cannot quite remember what it was–maybe a credit card or something–but I was once told by a company that I could only do a certain thing–like activating a card or something–from my home phone, not my cell. That was weird.

  • marathon man

    I actually called back and played along and listened to the whole load of crap with the fraudulent IRS guy and then I called him out. He began swearing at me and then he threatened me and my family. At this point I contacted my local police. The cop called and got the same guy. The guy even threatened the cop. At this point the Cop and I spoke again and determined we could do nothing because these cats are in Russia anyway.

  • marathon man

    I tend to agree. Sure, people need a job, but there are some things you just should not let yourself agree to do for a living. It would be like if you were some naive teenager and you agree to deliver a package for someone who says “Good job Vinny” and hands you a $20. Then they ask you to do it again. At some point you have to decide if that’s what you really want.

  • scoosdad

    I have. Repeatedly. They give me 800 numbers to call, and I do. The pharmacists all tell me the same thing– they don’t have the power to stop the calls. Doesn’t matter anymore, they’re forever blocked.

  • Fishplate

    In the old days, they would choose random email addresses to attach to their spam. Always an entertaining week or two if they happened to choose yours. Just one abusive message after another. I finally started replying with a form letter that had an explanation of the scam, and told them to save it for when it was their turn.

  • Fishplate

    I generally don’t answer a number that doesn’t pop up with a name in my address book. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message and I’ll call back. Otherwise, it gets ignored.

    Sometimes, though, if I have the spare time, I’ll press 1 to speak to an operator. When a human answers, I chat for a minute, then ask them what they’re wearing. That usually puts a stop to it fairly quickly.

  • deemery

    I just ask them for the IP Address of my “infected computer”.

    But as a Mac guy, I could go down the “I don’t see a ‘windows’ key” route…

  • deemery

    “The Phone Company doesn’t work for free.” Some entity is associated with the incoming call. That’s the entity that needs to be targeted, to make it painful/costly for them to continue to allow deceptive calls through their systems.

  • deemery

    One strategy I used for a while was to get the human on the phone, and then play Gregorian Chant on the computer with the volume turned up. One woman stayed on and listened for a while, “That’s nice.” The rest of them go commit their sins elsewhere :-)

  • KJ

    We get all of the calls mentioned…have signed up for NOMOROBO & we LOVE IT! I say thanks NOMOROBO daily. Some of the scammers have found a way to get thru…IRS, Windows, & credit card…so not sure what they’ve changed as I think they still have to be robo calls. If I happen to answer the phone I sometimes play around with the caller before telling them I’m not stupid & to stop calling me…doesn’t work I know but makes me feel better. One did call me back and said FU! That was nice!

    So…do have to ask…who’s the 1 person who thinks it’s the right of the telemarketers to call us? Are you just being ornery or do you truly believe it?

  • RBXChas

    I love to mess with them. I had a guy from the “US Grants Department” offering me $8,700 the other day. He said my name had been randomly chosen. I asked him what my name was, and he asked me why I didn’t know my own name. I told him that I know my own name but that he called me and said that my name had been chosen, so he must know my name. Silence, then hangup. I also like to do the “hang on a second” thing, then put the phone down and walk away. The more time I waste of theirs, the less time they have to annoy or scam others.

  • Bill

    The same thing happened to me with Kinney Drug … I switched drug stores for this and other managerial reasons. It’s quite annoying.

  • Bill

    I, also, am a computer tech and responded similarly to a scammer who actually called my computer shop! He ended up calling back four or five times because he was angry with me for suggesting he was a liar and a thief!

    With the robocalls, since we have two lines, I put them on hold just to cost them a few more pennies on their long distance bill.

  • RBXChas

    You’re right in that Verizon Wireless doesn’t support it, but I just block those numbers manually on my cell phone. I still report them to NoMoRoBo. The only annoying part is that, with cell phones, scammers/spammers can just send messages to your voicemail without ringing your phone. I’ve had that happen a few times over the past year.

  • Bill

    Yeah … I’ve done that before too. I play along for a while and then tell them I’m working on a Mac so the majority of what they’ve been saying is baloney. Unfortunately, many of our clients have been bamboozled by these scammers and have allowed them into their computers. Some have even paid them their fees!

  • joycexyz

    The Do Not Call List is a joke! Unenforced, or unenforceable. The telemarketers know this. The tactic of using different phone numbers makes it impossible to trace them. The only ones who are scared off are the local small businesses because we know who they are. Asking the “big boys” to remove you from their lists merely confirms you as a live one. And I’ve found that letting the call go to the answering machine merely generates more calls. The phone companies (AT&T, in particular) are reluctant to block calls because these calls generate revenue for them.

  • joycexyz

    I’m a computer consultant, and have gotten the “Microsoft” scam calls. Apparently, they can see in my computer that I have viruses, etc. One of my answers is “which computer? I have three of them.” Another answer is “That’s miraculous! I don’t have a computer!” Or, “You’re seeing this right now? But I just got home from vacation and the computer is turned off and has been for two weeks.” Or, “what does Microsoft have to do with a Mac?” Just havin’ some fun!

  • joycexyz

    I just block calls from numbers not in my contacts. But I like people to call me on my landline.

  • joycexyz

    I check the caller ID every time the phone rings. If it’s Unknown or an obvious telemarketer or an area code I don’t recognize, I push the talk button to connect and then immediately disconnect. I think I’m getting fewer annoyances now than when I’d let them go to the answering machine.

  • joycexyz

    You can also use a really loud whistle.

  • Pegtoo

    I set the phone down also. Like to think it at least slows them down before they call the next person.

  • redragtopstl

    Hubby won’t have a cordless phone in the house (other than cell phones). We’ve tried them and didn’t like them. And the answering machine is in one corner of the house (master BR). So I’m probably looking at buying a couple of new phones w/ built-in Caller ID.

  • greg watson

    The calls just keep on coming & I don’t answer them……………………..but my phone does ring each time to interrupt whatever I am doing, & goes to the answering machine. Do I really have to call the number they leave, & if I do , can I get them to STOP CALLING ?

  • EvilEmpryss

    Fair warning: much like email scammers who include “opt out” links in their solicitations, all that “pressing 5” (or whatever umber they offer you to press to take yourself off the call list) does is prove that a live person not only answered the call, but listened to the pitch long enough to get to that point and was cognizant enough to make a selection. This is pure gold to scammers, as they can sell your number to other scammers as a live and working number with a real person answering (not just voicemail).

    So if you get a recording — which costs these companies next to nothing to put out in mass quantities — do not make any of the offered selections! Simply hang up and block the number. Yes, they may be spoofing it, but it’s one less they can use to get to you.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Kinda like being a TSA screener. The moment you are told that your job requires you to touch the genitals of innocent travelers, you should cut and run. ;)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Yup. I’ve had the same thing happen.

    I actually know someone who did this for a while, and he told me some pretty interesting stuff. Many of the telemarketing calls I get are from companies trying to sell solar power, home improvements, or heating/AC, and they always pretend they work for the company, sometimes saying it’s their “Dad’s company”, or they are “right around the corner working at your neighbor’s”, or some other lie to make them sound legit. But the people calling are NOT employees of these companies, they are telemarketers who sit in call centers and make calls for many different companies who contract with them. They are paid per appointment set, and get bonuses from any sales generated by their appointments. The callers themselves are often drug addicts, homeless people, ex-cons. They make very little money, so there is constant turnover. This is why so many of them get hostile and abusive. Meanwhile the telemarketing company is raking in money from the contract regardless of whether or not they generate appointments or sales.

    He also told me they don’t bother with do-not-call lists. Nobody ever reports them, and even if they did, nothing would happen. They don’t even give their company’s real name or information until they get a bona-fide mark willing to make an actual appointment – so how are you going to report them? When someone complains they are on the do-not-call list, they just laugh. When someone asks to remove their number from their call lists, they do nothing. They don’t even know what number they are calling – the system dials it, and the moment someone answers, it routes it to an open extension. That’s why there’s a delay from when you answer to when they speak – the auto-dialer has to find an open line and connect you to an available telemarketer.

    You can’t block their numbers – they spoof millions of different phone numbers, so it will never be the same one.

    When I answer the phone and somebody isn’t immediately on the line, that’s how I know it’s a telemarketer. So I just hang up. There’s literally nothing that can be done to stop them from calling.

  • John McDonald

    you can’t stop this if from outside the USA, so don’t try to & don’t get upset.(it’s like trying to stop the mail-will never ever happen) Best bet. Don’t EVER donate to anyone over the phone. EVER.

  • taxed2themax

    I think there’s a balance.. Free speech is not without any form of limits or restrictions.. So, while I agree the businesses – even as a juristic entity – have rights like traditional single persons do, I think there are limits that are both fair and balanced to both ‘sides’
    I think business, like people, have the right to make reasonable efforts to communicate, be that for private, commercial purposes.. I also think consumers (or the person/party being contacted) has a reasonable right to reject said communication..
    Like many poll questions, I don’t think an ‘all or nothing’ answer is viable nor beneficial for either party.

  • Altosk

    I hate these calls, too. Sometimes, I play with these idiots. For instance, recently I told one very insistent lady from the “IRS” that she called an NSA surveillance van and we’re working on locating their children. Then I said we’ve found her kids at their school and are now calling child protective services because their parents are criminals who are trying to convince me that the IRS is calling me about money.

    I also let my 4 year old answer the phone and tell her the person on the line wants to know all about Paw Patrol. Those folks are probably in therapy right now…

  • LonnieC

    And the five votes in favor of the “right to annoy” are all telemarketers….

  • LonnieC

    Now that’s a situation for a well placed air horn…. (Might be illegal, but will the Russians file a complaint?)

  • Tricia K

    I got an entirely new approach on a call this morning. I answered the phone and the person asked for Jared. I politely said he had the wrong number, which was apparently his cue to launch into his talk on “how I could help him” with whatever organization he represented. I couldn’t tell you which because I stopped listening and took a call from my daughter instead. I’ve had friends and family
    members very shaken by the ones who claim to be from the IRS (NOTE: the IRS does not initiate cases via phone calls). I have learned to entertain myself when, and if, I actually take the call (it helps to have caller ID that comes up on the tv). Like the guy who calls and tells me there is a problem with my Windows computer? I ask, really? And what should I do? Well, that won’t work because I have a Mac,

  • DReinig

    I signed up for several years after reading about the service on a reputable site. It detects most spam callers and disconnects the call after one ring. It works great. And when a spam call gets thru you can report it to nomorobo and they will investigate it.

  • Deplorable Diva Linda

    We were getting so many of those calls on our home phone that we cancelled our landline and now only use cell phones. Problem solved.

  • Deplorable Diva Linda

    Whenever I got the computer scam calls I acted excited and said, “Wow, I don’t have a computer. Does this mean you are giving me one?” The scammers hung up on me. LOL.

  • Altosk

    Best way to get rid of a survey person/telemarketer/scammer/nuisance caller:

    I put my 4 year old daughter on the phone and tell her that the person on the other end wants to know all about “Paw Patrol.” Yeah, they don’t call back. They’re probably in therapy.

  • greg watson

    I have a landline, which I don’t want to cancel. My wife has a cell phone which she takes with her to work. You may have solved THAT problem, but didn’t they win in some way, because they MADE YOU cancel your landline ??

  • 99% of my incoming calls are scams, so my response is to answer to numbers I don’t recognize.

    Number two, I never call back. Too many folk do that and guess what the result is? . . . . more calls.

    Number three I post the number as a scam on four websites where people Googling a number can find feedback about the scam.

    By the way, the Do Not Call list is TOTALLY useless!

    Lastly, the government has let its’ public down by not dealing with this ugly epidemic a LONG time ago, and it it has cost many people their life savings. That is an utter disgrace.

  • No, they won because they’re no longer paying for a line they don’t really need.

    Phone companies have been dirt-bags for decades too!

  • poollizard

    I found an almost fool proff way to stop the calls. after I tell them 1 time to take me off their list, I become very lewd and crude. When you turn their sales call into an obscene call they do put you on a “do not call” list.

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