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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

You should not call back because now they know this is a working number and they will call back. Find out if your telephone provider offers a blocking service or better yet get a phone that allows you to block calls. I have a landline phone that can block 250 phone calls and it works out great!

I am receiving calls daily from Jamaica, Florida, Nevada and others I don't remember. I have blocked everyone and they just use a different number every time and I also block that number. My friend actually talked to some guy today and told him she was my attorney and he actually started calling he cuss words and things I will not repeat. So what can I do about things like that.

what phone do you have that blocks 250 calls. Mine only does 30

Go to Google and type in call blocking equipment. There are dozens of devices as low as $50 to $60 that will block up to 1500 callers. I have one that blocks 250 and I had to clear its memory (a simple operation)in less than a year. My phone is at my desk where I spend a lot of time. I see the ID window on my phone light up, but no ring, and the window says BLOCKED CALLER. This happens on an average of six to eight times a weekday. This has saved me hours of aggravation and actually puts a smile on my face. I have used this blocker for almost two years now and well worth the investment.

RECEIVED Call saying I was being sued by the IRSand should call them immediately....number given by female voice was indistinct on the last 4 numbers but I heard 509-428-2147 or 2127. The number listed by the automatic
incoming call log was different - 225-406-8591. Logged in at 8:40 am Aug 21, 2015.

Today I received two phone messages (10:53 AM and again at 1:05 PM) the same as described by TRUDYAB, only the number left in the message was 509-588-7318.

The same happened to me but with a 702 area code.

I received two calls from "IRS" suing me, using an area code of 202 which is Washington DC. One left a voice message--automated call. One I answered while driving (Bluetooth) and hung up immediately. Out of curiosity to see who would answer I called from a business phone. Very heavy accent, answered "IRS" on the first ring! Red flags: (1) my cell phone never used with tax claims; (2) automated call, no names--mine or theirs; (3) IRS uses toll free numbers; (4) If you have ever called the IRS for anything, your call is answered automatically and is put into a que after menu options and you wait and wait for your turn. They do not answer IRS, but their full name "Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service"...I hope no one is harmed by these crooks.

Ha same happened to me said it was IRS I owed ect. 702 num

I too have been receiving these calls stating I was being sued by the IRS. The numbers are all different. I get Missouri cell Numbers area code 417, IL# 773-312-4650 and Othello, WA #509-331-5236. I called the IL and WA numbers back and they were the same foreign person. When I told them I knew this was a scam, I was cussed out repeatedly. I contacted my phone provider and they suggested the "Do not call" website but that isn't going to stop these scammers. Then I was told I could change my phone number. I refuse to do that I have had this number for years. Oh what a mess that would be!!!!! Then I called the local Authorities and they said they couldn't do anything and suggested I use the media to get the word out. Okay I can do that but that's not enough. There has to be something more a person can do. No one knows who to contact when you get these calls. I knew it was a scam but my issue is what information have they gotten from an unsuspected person that really thinks they are being sued. This absolutely infuriates me. There has to be someone who we can contact to report this and its not just brushed aside.

You can report a call from an IRS impersonator to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

I twice received the same call as Trudyab from Tennessee with call back number 423-314-6222. Totally a scam.

The IRS DOES NOT initiate calls to you for collection. PERIOD. They send written correspondence first and usually you would have already responded to them before anyone might start calling you. They will not e-mail you either. Their collections process is a very lengthy one dictated by lots of regulations. Don't respond. You can report them to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)on their website www.treasury.gov/tigta. There is a fillable form. It is possible you may eventually be contacted by a TIGTA Special Agent so be sure to document as much as you can.

We receive at least 3-7 calls s day. I do not answer the phone anymore unless I recognize the number. But if I am writing or doing other work I have to stop and look at the phone to see the number. I have been reporting calls for years but it has just gotten worse. I hope something changes soon.

We receive 1 to 30 call's a day from Jamaican scammers! They have my 87year old GRANDMOTHER BRAINWASHED that no matter what information I show her,she still answer them and sends them money!I keep running into a brickwall when ask the government for help.Does our government not care about the elderly??

The FTC created information to help older people avoid scams, including the prize scam you wrote about. You can print out the Pass It On fact sheet about "You've Won" scams for your grandmother.

If you want to find someone to talk about scams, you could check with your local police department or contact someone in aging services. Eldercarelocator.gov is a government website  to help older people and their families find local help for many different needs.

There is a 19year old girl that sends me death threats saying i should kill myself or she is going to have me killed and then she podt RiP meaning death ....I am44yeats old and yes at the beginning i got so abset and yelled at her but now i had to hire a lawyer and file charges against her she thinks this is a joke and she text me every day she has photos of me she posted then she will post my private photos then say it was me so i could get kicked off Google. ..This is every day she even has a community just my photos and texting ABOUT me ...I reported her but now ihave to call thr FBI because she text me that i should kill myself. .I am tired of this what should i.do

Report it to your provider at 7726 (SPAM).

Monku....Change Your Phone Number. Report her to phone company & local PD.

I received an unsolicited text message that included my incorrect name but my correct address followed by a suspicious hyperlink which I did not click. Despite having been on the DNC Registry for over a decade, I received this text which is illegal si ce I did not give this "company" to text me.

I called the number that texted me, and surprise, the number has been disconnected and is no longer in service. So how was I texted from this number? Some cretin is either spoofing the invalid nu'mber or is texting my phone through a computer. The ONE time I have given out any personal information and cell number (with permission to call or text my number)...was at orientation at my child's new school which leads me to suspect that the schools system is selling their 'lists' to make money. I pray this is not the case, but if it is I will be filing a lawsuit for violating my right to privacy and potetantially endangering my child (he is a protected witness).

NEVER click on ANY hyperlink sent to you via email or text message. The consequences could be devastating.

I keep getting phone calls and emails from a home security company despite my telling them more than once that I do not own a home and do not not have I ever been in need of their services. I've told them repeatedly to take me off of their calling list and have unsubscribed from their emails many times. I don't know what else to do, wondering if I can sue them for harassment.

I reported a caller, they called 47 times as of today over the past 3 months and was told they couldn't take my complaint because the (scammers) number was not registered. What scammer is going to register his number? I am on the dnc list since 2003.

I get phone calls from Rachel all the time on my house and cell phone

I am still getting these calls from "card holder services", even as
Foer asking them to stop. They come from local numbers and always different ones. I am tired of this. I havam been on the DNC list since 2006 and they don't stop. Ridiculous.

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. THESE ARE AS BAD OR WORSE THAN THE OTHERS!!!! TELEFUND calls here three or four times daily and God help you if you make a charitable donation because they make you crazy begging for more.

I completely agree!

FYI what I have started doing is using my tablet's number that I have through T-mobile. The tablet DOESN'T ring, and they get the message that is close to this: " the subscriber has not set up voice mail". As you know you can't make calls from your tablet nor receive them. By doing that I have reduced calls by 50%, just need that other 50% gone. Hope this helps you...

Another solution I just started using is actually humorous. My home phone company allows me to forward selected numbers to another number...so I simply auto-forward all of those robo or scammer calls to either themselves, or to another robo-caller or scammer number...gotta be driving them crazy to get call backs from other scammers at their toll free number (which costs THEM money)...I love technology !!

Lol! Never thought l'd actually look forward to receiving a scam call! Made my day. :)

Sounds like fun...how on earth can I set this up?

I was scammed right before Christmas I really thought I was going to get this loan I wanted my family to have a memorable Christmas my dad & grandmother are old & sick & its thier Christmas maybe if we r lucky they'll have 1 more but the chances are slim & my dads sister hasent had a Christmas in years so I wanted to share with her so not only that I didn't get the loan I ended paying out $623 ouch that hurt but it hurt me more not to give them a good Christmas. However it's not about all those gifts under the tree we still all came together & had a loving dinner. I hate my phone it rings all day long so now if I don't know the # I answer it by saying sheriff office may I help. I'm telling you it tickles me to hear the response mostly they just hang up or huh then click but they still call all day long why do they still get away with stealing our money

Oh ... I just love this one! I only answer my phone for numbers which are in my contacts! All others just hang up or leave a message! I will now be forwarding the messages back to where they came from! Lucky me ... Cricket lets me pick the date and time I want it to be forwarded! I wonder how they like 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning? Paybacks are a witch ... LOL. Thanks for such a great suggestion!

For years I've had my "script" cued-up and at the ready: I'm sorry, we don't respond to telephone solicitations. (Even for those callers who say they're not soliciting donations, ostensibly from charitable organizations I've donated to in the past.)

Recently I've added to this: Please put us on your Do Not Call List.

We do have Caller ID so do not have to stand up to get to a phone, just have to spend the time required during our interrupted activities to recognize which pest it is this time. If we had this many folks ringing the front doorbell, neighbors would think we had a home business with long hours and shady customers.

I have tried, during the past few years, to do as suggested. Unwanted calls have continued to come.

Be cautious to whom you give you phone number online! By entering it, we give permission for them, and whomever else to call!

If the phone number is not in my directory, i ignore it. I then check the number with google, and 9/10 times its some miscreant using a VIOP phone and personating the phone number.

Exactly what I do. When I ignore the calls, most times I don't get another call.

it is very annoying. I am a senior citizen I get robocalls on my landline, my mobile is fine, since I am a senior citizen and only give my mobile number to family and friends only. For business bank etc., I use the landline. The robocalls are relentless and don't like a message if you don't answer the phone. Once I don't recognize the number I will not answer. It is annoying since I am a senior and if I am watching tv I can see the caller ID on the tv, if I am not I have to walk to the phone to check the number. Also I have a special sound for my ringer for friends and family, when the phone number is not family and friends the ringer is different. I can differiante, BUT NEVERTHELESS, WHENEVER THE PHONE RINGS IT BOTHERS YOU, I AM WOBBLY ON MY FEET AND WOULD LIKE SOME PEACE

I saved the caller ID numbers, then blocked those numbers on my Time Warner account online. No more calls! If you don't know how, ask a family member to help you.

Jenny I have a cordless landline phone that announces the caller names. Sometimes I have to check caller ID because because the announcing of name isn't clear. After I have checked out the number on internet or know from message it's something I won't ever answer, I go back into the phone wipe out the name and replace the name with "Scam". Ten when they call back again, it will appear as "Scam" on caller ID and know I've already check it. If you block the number, they will still call using a different number. Our phone system has 1 base and 4 other cordless phones with smaller base that we spread around the house. The base is the only one hooked up to phone jack and the other 4 are plugged directly into electrical wall outlet and all phones are hooked up to your phone number. All phones show the caller ID and will show up as Scam once you change it. My experience is they may not call back for a month, and when they do it has been already handled.

I have been on the no-call list for some time now and it seems that it does no good to report these people. I have a call blocker system on my home phone which, since I installed it two months ago, now has 145 numbers that I have blocked. Your no-call list does not work because you have no effective enforcement so its useless to report any of these numbers.

You are so right.I have my no.on the do not call list and still getting phone calls everyday from a telemarket.Same no. and same voicemail.So does anybody really know how to end the calls? The do not call list does not work.

It is often difficult to report these calls. One has to capture the phone number, remember the date and time of the call and then enter it into a webpage. Seems to me there's a better way - e.g. hit *20 to send the call to the FTC. A few years ago, we received home improvement estimates from several contractors. One very unscrupulous one sold out phone number to a contractors call list and we can't get the calls to stop. We don't what the list is called or who sold it to the callers. We ask them repeatedly to take our number off their lists, "we're on the Do Not Call List", we tell them and yet they continue to call. I've recognized the repeat callers. They don't care and there's not much I can do about it other than call screening.

What can I do about the calls that list MY phone number as the calling party?

The FTC recently published a blog post about this very issue. Please see Getting calls from your own number?

I have a problem with getting calls and harassed by bill collectors looking for someone who has probably used my number or has the same last name, a relative and they will not take no for an answer and keep calling and calling. I'm not responsible for someone else debt or someone who may have used my number. When you tell them you don't know them or have knowledge of them, they repeatedly keep harassing you. What can you do?

Most of the calls I get are robocalls from various "cities" and "numbers" around the country that that there is no such number in the CID listing for. That's a regulatory problem for a concerned government and concerned telephone services to CLAMP DOWN ON. And I thought that the FTC had clamped down on Credit Card Services and their affiliates already. I have had NO credit cards in three years, but I keep being bugged by these moron from "spoofed" numbers. I'm on the DO NOT CALL list. Thank you.

Got a text this am - I just deleted it. Next time I will report it as spam - thanks

I still get these type of calls. In the past I have report such calls and nothing was ever done.

Did all of the above and it doesn't do any good.

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