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Stopping unwanted phone calls and text messages

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Unwanted phone calls or random text messages seem to come at all hours. They bug you at work, interrupt your dinner, or wake you up when you’re sound asleep. I think we can all agree they’re a real nuisance. Did you know they could also be a scam?

If your phone number is one of the more than 217 million numbers on the Do Not Call Registry, you’ve taken action to stop most unwanted sales calls. The law allows political calls, calls from charitable organizations, informational calls, calls about debts you owe, and phone surveys, as well as calls from companies you’ve done business with or gave permission to call.

If you get an unwanted sales call or a robocall—a recorded message that’s pitching a product or service— it’s probably a scam. The unscrupulous businesses behind these calls use autodialers to make thousands of calls a minute and don’t bother to check if the numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry. Don’t press buttons to request to speak to someone or be taken off the call list. You’ll just end up getting more unwanted calls. Hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at complaints.donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.

If you’re getting repeated calls from the same number, you might want to ask your service provider to block the number; for calls from different numbers, ask if they offer a service to block unwanted calls. You can also buy a call blocking device. Getting calls on your mobile phone? There’s an app for that. Actually, there’s more than one. Look in your mobile app store or marketplace.

What about those random text messages? It’s illegal for a company to send you a text message if it doesn’t have your permission, barring a few exceptions. If you get a random text message from a number you don’t recognize that says you won something or asks you to confirm some personal information, don’t text back or click on links. Report it to your provider at 7726 (SPAM) and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-888-382-1222.

Comments

I had the same people call me today and at work no doubt, i burst into tears freaking out, i really thought i was in trouble. These people need to be held accountable for doing this!

You will NEVER EVER EVER receive a phone call if you are truly in some sort of criminal trouble meaning there is a warrant or something like that. These people are SCUM!!! They scare people with no knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. If you get a call saying you have a warrant or are being investigated bur you can pay us now to clear it up just hang up!!

Hi! I have that situation I been getting calls from different numbers saying they have multiple complaints against me and it's a recording. I was just deleting them. They kept calling. One called saying I need to call about a lawsuit case and I called the number first time it kept ringing no answer second time a lady answered with loud noise in the back ground and asked how long ago I got the call and asked my name then she hung up on me. Then another one called about a warrant I called back number was disconnected. One was from NY and other from MT. My sister told me not to answer them because of getting your personal info. So I blocked the two and will block others as they call. Messages are all recordings not a person calling. I was looking for site to report the phone numbers.

Screen ALL calls and only answer the ones you recognize. Scammers use most folks innate curiosity to get them to answer, hence repeated calls. let them go to voice mail. Only call back those you know, simple.
Let people you know who will be calling you what is up, family, doctors etc. When you stop answering chances are you will stop getting the unwanted calls. Your telephone number is sold and/or passed around just like an email would be among scammers.

Good advice riCK. Too bad more people were aware of this. I never fell for those calls, and of course I have my answering machine answer these unknown callers. Of course they autodialers then hang up, rarely leaving a message.
It's still annoying because of the countless telemarketing scammers that call my home phone, fill up my caller ID and the dead silence before the hangup, fills up my answering machine. I have to keep deleting these blank messages, the numbers on my caller ID, and the countless interruptions of checking my Caller ID to see who is calling...Grrr.

I've been getting calls from a private number that I can not block.This all started today February the 7th 2017.Ive have gotten multiple calls from the caller.I have answered none for fear that they are a bad person or some one dangerous that can track my phone and try to harm me.I had a dream about something like this but a little different and now I feel scared.Ive never encountered something like this.I have only had my phone for a few days and do not like what is happening.I have 2 other friends who have been also getting calls from a private number.Please help.I don't know what to do!

Carrie, don't panic. You state you just got the phone, if it is an iPhone click the info button to the far right of the caller's name (not sure if there will be one on a private number, but click it if there is) and scroll down and you can block the number. If it is a different kind of phone look up how to block callers. You are right not to answer. DON'T get curious. usually they will just give up after a while. It is a battle of wills. Yes, it is creepy, but trust me that you are not their only target and if you don't ever answer it won't be worth their while to keep trying. Tell your friends the same thing, just don't answer the calls. Good luck!

I started doing that several years ago. If I don't recognize the #, I don't answer it. If its that important they will leave a voicemail.....It takes awhile and is aggravating as hell but I do it anyway

I'm getting the same issue I wish they would go away!!!!

Report it to the FTC and ignore the calls. Do Not Answer or respond.

I point blank tell the scammers that I know they are scamming and that the debt is not legitimate and that they should go ahead and do what they think they need to do. It seems when you call them out on their BS they usually will quit calling.

I have an area code locator app on my phone. That’s also very helpful.

I get phone calls off and on anything of the day. They are from all over Ore, NM, Ct, NY, MA, Al, Unknown, 0000000000, 111100000 how the hell can this be stopped? My phone is a track phone iPhone so I can't call a carrier as I pay by the month. But I'm getting really annoyed and pissed as to how my number keeps being called. How can I stop these calls?

The same thing is happening to me! 3-4 of these calls each day. There has to be a way for the government to crack down on this crap. I've done everything they tell me to. I haven't answered but want to just to see what the company is so I can report them but the FCC says not to. WTH?

I got 10 calls within 1 hour all from different numbers. Everytime I block one they call from a different one. These people are making me crazy.

you can report them to the attorney general's office in your state

So true. I got a call from a man in Jamaica claiming I won the publishers clearing learning house sweepstakes. I knew obviously that it was a scam. They want you to call a certain number back that they supply you. It's the same person pretending to be someone else. I called back to give false info and waste their time. It charged my tmobkle account around $70.00 . TMobile took off the charges thankfully. These scammers are scum sucking leeches.

I’m getting calls from 14379919944 asking for 100K or they will publish my photos on Instagram.

I've registered on the DO NOT CALL LIST too. I never received conformation that I was on the list and I still get Spam calls and voice mails. Yesterday I received 3 with voice mails (IRS Scam) East Indian speaking person (woman) these calls were about 1 hour apart. Today I received same thing from different number and mans voice again East Indian. It seems that Our Government should do more than suggest getting a call blocker app. Or reporting EVERY Spam Call, like I have time to do that. I don't think Our Government really cares. I pay over $250 a month for 3 cell lines. This didn't start until about Feb-March of 2015 about the same time Premera Blue Cross had over 11 million (IIRC) personal records stolen coincidence? I don't know but kind of strange.

I've been on the DNC Registry for two years and on average, receive 40-50 unwanted calls per month from political parties, Pro-Life, security companies, etc. This is MY phone, and no business should be able to call my number without my express permission. These exemptions are asinine; if I don't want to be bothered by calls, why should I have to tolerate them? Do Not Call is basically, call and irritate the recipient on a daily basis. Change the rules to block ALL calls except from businesses with whom you have an established relationship.

I have often thought the same thing. I would like a phone where I can input safe numbers, and those are the ONLY ones allowed to ring through.

I don't want phone calls or texts from him.

The latest: Even private, unpublished landline phone numbers with Call Block can't block so-called "spoof numbers," according to AT&T. How pathetic and useless is that, when you pay for Call Block, but it doesn't work when you need it!!! Currently, a robo-caller named "The Prophet Ezekiel" (I kid you not), has been leaving long annoying sermons on my voicemail from various phone numbers apparently within my area code. But those numbers cannot be Call Blocked!! There has to be recourse when you pay the phone company for an additional feature that does not work. Advice, please.

There is a feature from Verizon (landline phone)called "Do Not Disturb" which allow you to allow only certain calls through like family or doctors. All others receive a does not want to be disturbed message.

Since you have att try "nomorobo" Also their website allows you to block or forward up to around 30 numbers. I used to work nights would get calls all day 8:30 address till 9 pm peace has returned. A few get thru but 95% gone@

I get them all the time and just hang up. At first I got millions but had to buy a gift card for them so the transaction could go through. They even wanted to come to my home to give me the prize and collect their gift card. Never gave it out. Eventually they will stop calling you

ANSWER WITH A MADE UP BUSiNESS NAME! For instance, "Good Morning, Acme Tire Company" and just repeat every time they speak. They will remove you from the list.

I receive many calls from the same numbers on my cell. I don't have an app to block. So I created a "contact" for each solicitor so if they called a second time I would recognize what was going on. THEN I CREATED A RULE THAT EACH TIME THEY CALLED IT WAS SENT DIRECTLY TO VOICE MAIL! This way I do not have to hear it ring or be interrupted. This also helped when I reported the number to the do not call registry. Good luck!

I have one phone call that came with the phone. What I do now is with every phone number that I want to talk with/to I add to my contact list. If a number rings and it does not come up with a contact info, I just do not answer...ez

I agree, never got unwanted or robocalls until registered on do not call list, now sometimes 10 per day!

I keep getting calls from a 1 000 068 9770 number and I can't register a complaint. Claiming to be the government

First of all, I believe the 'Do Not Call List' is a scam by our government itself. Color me cynical, but the gov't doesn't do anything for free. They get something out of this. Most likely they are getting kickbacks somewhere from the telemarketers.

I don't have any proof. But think about this. You put your name on a do not call list. That means that is a list of VALID numbers that would otherwise be receiving automated telemarketing calls. Now, if you were a telemarketer, wouldn't you love to have such a list? I know I would! Millions of phone numbers that are ripe for the picking.

Now, the other thing that makes me think the national DNC list is a scam is simply this... It does nothing for the consumer. The telemarketer should be fined, somewhere around $1,000 for calling a number on the DNC list. You and me should be receiving lets say 50% of that, and the other 50% going back into the DNC list coffers to research technology on stopping spoofed calls. The tech is easy to implement. Its available today. But no one wants to be the bad guy and have the phone companies mad at them for having them implement it. The FCC can mandate it. But they don't. So scam or in cahoots with the telemarketers, someone is getting kick backs somewhere.

None of this ever works. I get dozens of calls a day and I am on the registry. I have reported companies too. I have also talked to Verizon. I am amazed there's not a better process in blocking these calls. Verizon is worthless, because they only let you block a few numbers and it's just for a few months.

I own a Panasonic phone. It holds 30 numbers in call block. It also can block all calls without numbers. (Unlimited) I highly recommend this little beauty. I leave the ringer off, but voicemail comes through on unblocked calls. At last I have some peace now. I hope that this is helpful.

I get many calls from mostly Stone Mountain, Ga I never answer but today I got a voicemail and It sounded like the person was just breathing saying nothing... what should I do??

I also have been receiving daily calls from stone mountian ga. Then I try to look up the number, and it seems to be residential. But never a message left. The number changes every time. They are being paid to try and scam people. Cowardly way to earn a living.

the ones that call me use a local number and want to talk to me about my credit card debt.. I don't have a credit card. I block the number and it calls back the next day.

this one from the 876 area code started out saying he was from PCH and then says he is in love with me and I wont go on...how do I get rid of him??? I need help fast...

I just forward them to you, Government

Seriously folks rather than spend time ranting how about we petition our representatives in Washington to change the law and make it a federal crime to harass us on the phone. Ranting I am sure helps BUT who cares I don't and neither do most people. And if you harass these fools you get more and more calls. Trust me learned the hard way. Block them and take the tome you wasted trying to prove your point or instruct them in how to be a good human being to stop this practice. If you are going to play the game then get usable info for the trade commission to use. Why no one has produced a bill to send to Congress is unbeleavsble. If we start turing them in and petition our reps to do something to stop it we are getting some where. Or how about stopping the take numbers.

We get multiple robocalls daily from the same woman using different names in California claiming we owe student loans that don't exist, offers to consolidate credit card debt we don't have, etc. all hours. Do not call doesn't protect us against anything.

We've tried keeping on the NO CALL LIST since it was started - with no luck. Once your number is in one of these pests' list - it doesn't go away. They don't care about any list because they know the FCC & Federal or State Governments are too "busy" to effectively stop them. Registering a complaint with the FCC has proven ineffective as well. I spend more time reporting them then just answering the phone. We've tried just not answering but now they started using someone's name and number or at least area code, so we'll think it's someone we usually get calls from or call ourselves. That's happened at least twice with our cell phones. These calls even have one of our contact's name listed. If AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or any of the other phone carriers don't do something about this, our phones will become obsolete, and we'll have to resort to CB radios again!!!

I don’t want calls from random people again

I just called this guy out, and he has been calling me for months, and he responded with rude expletives and a loud harsh tone.

IF you get a live person, even the ones that don't breathe between words...get a very loud WHISTLE and blow it hard and long. Not only do they stop for awhile they will be in pain and not want to call again. Has worked so far.

This is only the last 3 days

407 933 5356
414 443 8582
757 352 9460
757 352 4960
401 214 2951
831 287 0497
616 451 3511
407 933 5356
414 443 8582

This is only the last 3 days, the list goes on and on, they have called from all 50 states now

Thank you for this very informative and useful article.

The F.T C. Sent an e-mail stating that they had stopped and prosecuted the owners of "Rachel" and Card Holder Services. I am Still getting robo calls from them, using all of the same formats and lead ins. Including Rachel, Brigit, Carman etc. All them using the same line of crap. How do we stop them. Most of their numbers are spoofed. Or now they let you call back and ask to be put on their do not call list , but the calls still come anyway.

You can report the calls to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I think the FTC has too many other things going on to worry about spoofed phone calls or people using spoofed phone numbers to call. Besides, I am sure most of them get a slap on the wrist when they're caught anyway.
I had some scam company that started calling me about a bad check I wrote but I do not write checks and they could not produce proof. They were listed on the BBB website with an F rating so I called the BBB and told them of my situation with them. The woman said she called the company about my complaint and he told her it had been resolved but they kept calling. They just told the BBB what they wanted to hear even though it wasn't true and I am sure most of the scammers making all these phone calls do the same with the FTC.

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