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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

Someone named Lisa Wilson called from 205 433-0056 & 760 767-8122and left a voicemail stating:

“Hello my name is Lisa Wilson you were not available today and this message is in regards to a complaint notice to your attention. Please immediately contact 844-229-7345 again the number is 844-229-7345 update your address or contact information. After a third failed attempt I am required to direct further attempt to your HR payroll department on file…”"

I received this EXACT same voicemail on 12-14-17. Except she called from 314 366 3172 , which is the area code from where I am from.

I am curious if anything works besides ignoring certain numbers. Because I have no way to predict the next spoofed number, I have no choice but to even ignore certain doctors calling because their switchboard number is not always known. I am mostly being bothered by a company claiming they are not a sales call, but for the free trial of their product they need me to pay 5 bucks for postage. I would wonder if anyone has an idea if turning the table on which of us is harassing the other might be an effective tool. I am open for suggestions.

254-275-0302 calls at least once a week---Joe with Family protection services. He does not let me cuss him long before he hangfs up. I am on do not call list.

Ok so I had a nervous breakdown earlier in the summer and these calls are like a thousand a day from various people car warranty student loans government grants I can't stand it I'm to the point where I'm going to have another nervous breakdown because I can't handle what I'm going through now with all these phone calls it's not fair that I pay a phone bill and I get harassed by Indian people calling themselves Bob I'm sorry but I'm frustrated is there anything that I can do I feel like I should be compensatedyou used to be able to sue bill collectors that called all the time why can't I sue these people who are literally driving me nuts my mental stability cannot take this right now

You have options about how to handle robocalls. Read about call blocking services for landlines and mobile phones. You can also use an answering machine on your landline phone to screen calls, so you don't have to answer every call.

This number keeps calling. They tell me I have something wrong with my PC windows. I tell them to stop calling and they don't stop. 1-747-282-2166

My phone has been under attack from a constant stream of calls for a couple of weeks. I cannot block the number, which changes frequently, and the phone rings constantly when it's turned on.

I cannot block the number because they've used characters in the Caller ID that can't be represented, so when for example, the caller id shows '123' it's really '123(unprintable character)' and rings through, even though '123' is blocked.

The only solution my carrier has suggested is a new number...this is my work number that I have used for many years to establish my business , to give it up would be to give up most of my clients/business.

I tried a call blocker, which disconnected me from calls I had placed whenever a blocked number would call, which is, roughly, every 2 minutes.

What can I do?

I keep getting calls from this Hearing aide telemarketer. both my husband and I have been receiving calls they just hang up on us. then we block that number and they call on another extension several times a day. It's really absurd at this point! coming from salem Va 540-302-2068 is one of the numbers! I just want them to stop calling.

If I get a number that calls numerous times, I usually answer, "Pennsylvania State Police. How may I help you?" The caller hangs up immediately and rarely ever calls back!

What can I do if I keep receiving unwanted calls from a number outside of the country? The person who is calling me is a person, not a company.

I have been harassed by repeat nuisance callers for years, often more than 100 per any given month. Even after signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry the calls have persisted. The scammers are simply not going to stop calling simply because it is illegal to do so. Aside from the large amounts of money they can con from you, they often have software that will enable them to block disconnection when you hang up the phone, thus allowing them to eavesdrop or to probe through the information stored in the files on your phone or even to place calls from your phone. They often have software that will allow them to pose as any name or number whether they are operating behind USA phone banks or from the other side of the world. Moreover because of the huge number of commercial and governmental databases that have been hacked (many of which will not even report the event until long afterwards), a huge amount of personal information about you, your relatives, and your friends is now available for sale on the darkweb. An increasing trend by scammers is their use of the same area code and 3-digit neighbor code prefix as yours to make it appear the call is local even though it may be originating in a foreign country. Posing as charities (autism, cancer, aiding veterans, aid for refugees/disaster victims, etc) is also a favorite tactic. Payday loan scams are an entire subject in itself. Before opening your wallet to any charity I recommend going to state or federal sites to check lists of legitimate charities and the percentage of any donation that actually goes to purported benefitee (one expose reveled 96% of money collected for one legitimate charity actually ended up in the pockets of the advertising agent and for others less than 30% was actually spent on the people needing the aid with most of the funds actually going to overhead costs for advertising, offices, salaries of staff and administrators, etc ). Federal law (and often state law) mandates that vendors regularly check the NDNCR [or its state equivalent] and to immediately remove any numbers found therein from their solicitation lists. Likewise they are supposed to remove the number if they receive a direct complaint from the owner of the number. Any continuing calls is highly indicative of a scammer. A recent (2016?) but little known change in FCC/FTC regulations now authorize victims of robocalls and telemarketing solicitation calls placed without the prior consent of the recipient to collect from the perpetrator $600-$900 for ANY and EACH such call. It is uncertain how long this will last under the current administration's goal of rolling back consumer protections. Even now the government is very slow to act and largely ineffective (especially when dealing with perpetrators operating from foreign countries. It usually takes a critical mass of complaints before any action is taken. It is important to DOCUMENT and REPORT !!! If they do manage to catch and convict the perpetrator of an illegal call based on your report then you could befit financially.

This does nothing. I get at least 2 spam calls a day. I get plenty from Global Energy who uses different numbers each time. I keep blocking and they still find a way through. Reporting them does nothing (and I've reported them several times).

I’ve been receiving phone calls from people’s cell phones from a student loan forgiveness company, however I have no student loans therefore no student loan debt I’ve listened to the whole phone call and pressed the correct number to have my phone number removed from the call list but they STILL CALL. I am thoroughly annoyed.

Go to the dollar store and purchase a whistle for children. Next time you get a call from someone who says "Hi, am Jake and I am calling from Microsoft" don't even answer. Just get the whistle and blow as strong as you can into your phone. Or if they still have the nerve to call back, tell them that you will send the devil to them so that they can negotiate with them and use the whistle again. No use trying to tell our government to do something. They are off shore calls and can only be controlled if every incoming call from another country is censored. So have fun and blow into their big ears or tell them to go to the devil. No politeness is necessary.

I get a call for a "Brian Griffin" from 1-219-318-1200. They say they have "Received an order in their office today" and will be criminally charging this man. I do not know anyone by this name and am in renal failure and very ill at present. I notice if I call "Spectrum" cable with an over the phone payment, such people call me for days afterward. Last one was a call wanting money for "the women" in regard to breast CA victims. THey ask often for my mother who is dead and then want my credit card. I told them I am going to contact law enforcement. Anyone else make a connection with the rude folks at Spectrum?

I keep getting annoying phone calls everyday from different unknown callers claiming that my car insurance warranty has expired & that I need to tell them my car model & make. I keep blocking these numbers & they keep calling me on different numbers. Then when I return the calls other people answers them but they be resident people who have no clue of why their number calling mines.

I get constant calls from 724-261-8908 and they never leave a message. I sent them a text weeks ago to stop and they sent a text apologizing. That was until tonight when they called FIVE times in a row. This time I called them back a female answered then hung up. I blocked them and contacted my phone carrier requesting phone records to turn into the authorities. When you tell someone to not contact you and they continue to do so it's harassment and the authorities will trace the number and you could get a financial settlement out of it and/or the person will be fined.

Calling constantly about my credit which I know is fine. Very frustrating phone number is 1-888-133-9115

I've gotten calls from 607 777 3325 and 607 321 3825 that were about filing lawsuits against the gov't. They told me to press 7 to get help if I didn't have my file number. I pressed it to tell them never to call back... they hung up. Oh yeah they REALLY wanted to sue someone didn't they. I cannot block them on my cell phone because the person who set it up at the store messed it up so bad I cannot get the internet to put a block ap on it - I can only call out and receive.

I keep getting calls from probably 100 or more numbers all saying the same thing, “You have 10,000 or more in federal student loan debt.” Sorry buddy but I went to one semester of community college which I received for free because of my mothers passing. I would LOVE nothing more than to block the calls but it’s from another random number every time. I can’t take it anymore. I just got 4 of them within one hour. I can’t even take a freaking bubble bath!!!! I told the first couple of people I talked to that I’m only 14 (which is a lie) and that my mommy and daddy say I’m too young for college. Now I just threaten to file charges. And as soon as they hear that they hang up like cowards. Someone. Anyone. Help.

I wish the cell phone companies would do something more on their end with technology and having these calls/numbers blocked before they even reach the phone. Ridiculous in this day and age that technology can't do that, or that they simply don't want to do it.

Got a call at 4:30 in the morning ,I looked up the number it says it belongs to Dell printers but it also says it's an Hp number that's 2 different companies that do not call anyone at 430 am especially f you don't own a Dell or an Hp computer the number is 888 234-2303 so now they even figured out how to lie to you about the number on Google this is really getting out of hand! Then if you report it nothing us done about it ,just like if you report a scammer that you caught running scams on a website that is trying to hack you for finding out about them , you report it to the fbi with all sorts of info pictures numbers and names they use and more than one time you report it and 2 years later this scumbag is still trying to mess with you ,they do nothing about it not e en the website they where doing it on , what a joke ,it's a waist of time reporting or doing the right thing ,it's like it's set up to protect the scumbags more than the good people ,just look on Google it's saying this number belongs to 2 different companies that have nothing to do with each other ,what a joke Google is!

The same number calls me five or six times a day, every day for the last two weeks. Person with heavy accent wants to send me a free sample of something, but can't understand most of what she says. I have asked five times now for them to stop calling and she denies ever calling before, even though the number shows up five times a day on my caller ID. I would like to know how to stop this nonsense.

Read about ways to block unwanted calls.

This Number has called me 6 six times in consecutive Calling 1-267-525-9830 & then hangs up trying to tellthem to stop they hang up on me ! I have never Conducted "ANY Business "with these Folks they Need A $500,000.00Fine to get their Attention then they might stop harassing Good Disabled US Veterans. !

Read about ways to block unwanted calls.

I get anywhere from 5 to 6 calls a day from these numbers(469)466-6454,(469)466-6453,(469)466-6452,(469)466-6450,(469)466-6449 and many more numbers. They claim that they are from medical services and they received my order for diabetic supplies. I have talked with them just about every time and told them that I am not a diabetic. Today, I told one of the representative that I am a teacher and they are disturbing my class. Not 5 minutes later another one call and I relayed the same thing to that person. They did not care because they still called back. I even told them that I was going to report them and the lady hung up in my face. I called back and got a male this time and told him to quit calling that I was going to report them. He also hung up in my face. I listened to the end and the option to be removed from list press 3. So, I pressed 3. About 30 minutes later, I still received another call. This is plain rediculous.

470-481-7873 Robot voice left message saying it the IRS and they were going to arrest me if I didn't get back to them. Called the number though I knew it was a scam. I called a few times to provoke them, and one of them told me they were in Pakistan after he cursed me out. It was really cute with his accent. Another guy said he was Officer so-and-so and when I questioned him, he hung up on me. It was sad since I could hear other callers in the background who seemed to be gathering info on other marks on this IRS scam.

Sick of the recordings from "Hi, I'm Elizabeth..." 916-207-1601 -- do not call list is a joke.

I keep getting unwanted calls multiple times a day on both home and cell phone from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. I have asked multiple times to be removed from whatever list they are using but the calls continue at least twice/day. The number the calls keep coming from is 844-213-7851.

You can report that at FTC.gov/DoNotCall.

+917674943725 Harassment number

I keep getting multiple calls a day from this person calling about student loan forgiveness. They leave a 3 second voicemail, then moments later, they send a text saying,

“This person called, but left an empty message. Listen to voice message:”

Then there’s a link to a random number. It’s very annoying, and when I try to block them, they spoof a different number then call back. For god’s sake, leave me alone. Please make it stop.

I am on the do not call list. I am sick and tired of getting robo calls. I have an app that identifies the calls. That is fine, but I do not want them calling me at all hours. These are spoof calls, and the other day I even got one from my own number. IT's getting so that I hardly answer my phone any more.Can you please do SOMETHING ABOUT THESE RACKETEERS!!!

I have been registered with Do Not Call for a long time. However, I consistently get spam calls and the caller doesn't leave a voice mail. The most recent abuser is 517-301-9410 with over 16 calls today (2-6-18) since this morning. Ridiculous

This policy of "Do Not Call" was put in place by politicians to comfort us, making us believe it would end.....After they got Campaign Donations, of course. It's a joke....

Hi - I still receive countless calls from factoring companies (companies that lend against credit card receiveables) .. please look into that whole industry. It's been 5 years since I applied and they don't stop calling. Also just got one from 7032919056 - please have them investigated.

To tell the FTC about a problem with a company, go to FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Received message form (470) 300-5228 stating lawsuit since have not responded and should call back. Definitely trying to get something since there is no ongoing incident.

Every day we keep receiving phone calls from a call center that they speak Spanish and when we say we don't speak Spanish, they hang-up. These calls come from many different numbers, some of which are (317) 973-4711 or (330) 899-4210 or (714) 594-5449. Any idea how can we get off this company's list?

how do you report a phone number that is doing scam? or where can you input a phone number to a database to show that it is a phone number associated to a scam?

I keep getting calls from around my area and also different states. It rings, i answer and say hello and they hang up. It's every day. I can block that number but it happens over and over with different numbers. Don't know what it's all about!

Don't answer #'s you don't know.Let them leave a message.

In the last 3 days, I've received seven calls from 866-879-5777 I usually don't answer but when I have not response but I hear talking in background briefly before hang up. 2/12/18 at 11:26 am, then 2/13/18 at 7:55am, then 2/14/18 at 6:57am, then 2/14/18 at 9:41am, then 2/14/18 at 11:51am, then 2/15/18 at 8:02am and again at 11:24am. I called back number but said not receiving calls. This is coming to my landline so I don't know how to block it. What can be done to stop them?

This FTC article about blocking unwanted calls includes some tips about blocking calls to landlines.

I am on the do not call registry and I got at least seven of these phone calls just today . I've just hooked up my old answering machine. That way I can just let the call through and through and screen them .

The "Do Not Call" list is just as useless as most other government entities, I've been listed since 2008. I get AT MINIMUM 5-10 unwanted fake calls per day. I have over 300 blocked numbers and two separate blocking apps and they still get through, able to leave voice mails and text messages. No one is doing anything about these spam callers and my cell is the only communication device I have since our landline has been gone since 2006. Very frustrating.

received the following calls from numbers looking to fix my computer.
603-969-2527 -- 603-296-9069 - 557-305-8987 - 669-228-4987
413-499-6625 -- 855-705-4970 - 857-3-5-8974 - 604-940-6461
603-255-8566 -- 475-240-8954 - 652-452-1598 - 603-254-6127
413-254-8565 -- 800-425-2020 - 562-203-8429 - 786-953-6878

At 1335 today I received a call from 417-555-0172. I am retired from the telephone company. Unless something has changed recently this is a fictitious number. They did not leave a message. Perhaps it they call again I will answer to see who is calling. I have been on the Do Not Call Registry for years. It doesn’t seem to help.. My numberis 425-338-4293.

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