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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 keep reicving calls aboutwinning money . they do nt quit calling. i told one that i reported them to the ftc. and they breagged about never being caught in a milllion years

What about unwanted voice mail's on my mobile phone?

If you got an unwanted recorded message on your phone, report it to the FTC at donotcall.gov. You can report that even if your phone isn't on the Do Not Call Registry.

You can add your cell phone and landline to the Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov.

Yes i receive these all the time. Sometimes as many as four a day from the same company/locating!

I have had "DO NOT CALL REGISTRY" since it was introduced- - -IT NEVER WORKED and would not accept complaints

WHY WRITE THIS IF NO ONE CAN STOP THESE ANNOYING PEOPLE, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU HAD A SLOW DAY JUST TO DISAPPOINT THE READERS TELLING THEM OH WELL DEAL WITH THIS STUFF.

I agree with you. I filed a complaint with the FTC and they don't do a darn thing. Just take your information. Made me think of giving a baby a pacifier. Since January 2016 I've been getting calls asking for some guy. In the beginning I answered and would tell them no one by that name lived here. I've gotten text messages at 3 a.m. It used to be during the week only. Now they've started calling on weekends with "Call Restricted." I don't answer the calls but it is extremely annoying. In a way it's a relief to know it is not only me. I mostly keep my phone off and just check voice mail via Skype every so often which is fine with me.

constantly getting calls from people with a foreign accent that I can not understand,I tell them to take my number off their calling list but they keep calling. Also getting a lot of robo calls.

I have been called by (209) 736-5850 who says his name is Dennis Gray-( heavy accent) telling me to call back on that number to avoid litigation with the U.S. Treasury and prevent appearing in front of a magistrate. 5 calls today- I have blocked the calls- but seriously annoying.

Same here. US Treasury legal department scam keeps calling me. Heavy Indian accents, mediocre English grammar skills. They've been Steve Martin or Alex Ferguson when voicemails are left. Numbers they've called from have been: 323-729-3672, 714-982-7329, and most recently (30 mins ago) it was 757-952-0789.

Please report these to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide goes into a database used by law enforcement nationwide.

Blog comments aren't part of the law enforcement database.

I get calls and my husband has several kinds of cancer and I have an incurable disease and the phone ringing all day is very frustrating. If our country can put a man on the moon, they can surely stop the harassment of these jerks.

Thanks for all of the nice advice. What the FTC is saying (by using all of the "don'ts") is that they are incapable of handling this scourge... and... the personnel involved are actually getting paid.

I have been called by (209) 736-5850 who says his name is Dennis Gray-( heavy accent) telling me to call back on that number to avoid litigation with the U.S. Treasury and prevent appearing in front of a magistrate. 5 calls today- I have blocked the calls- but seriously annoying.

What about text messages I get from an email address that is spam? How do we file a complaint on those?

There are a couple ways to do that.

You can forward the message from your device to spam@uce.gov.

Or you can file a complaint online from your device. When you file the complaint, choose "text message" and there's a place to copy and paste text. If you don't want  to copy and paste, you could type the message in exactly as you got it.

 

I just recently changed my number to a non - published number for which I have to pay a $3+ added per month. That should be a crime unto itself. But, the heart of the matter is that most numbers are recycled and now I am getting calls from prisoners, still some telemarketers and some businesses I have never done business with. I am on the DNC Registry and it seems I should not be getting any of this crapola; but still do. I realize nothing is 100% but what I have needs to get to 80%+ and I would be delighted.

I am registered with the Do Not Call Registry, and I
STILL get unwanted calls. The callers are getting smart, they don't leave a phone number so you can call them back, they want you to press the # sign or press "1", etc. The Do Not Call Registry wants you to report to them the callers phone number...which you can't do. The system needs to be updated.

Is it true that September first telemarker calls will be allowed to call randomly to cell phones?

If you add your cell phone to the Do Not Call Registry, it's protected. Add your cell phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to notify marketers you don't want to get unsolicited telemarketing calls.

The government is not releasing cell phone numbers to telemarketers. There have been some viral emails saying that, but it's not true.

Go to donotcall.gov to register your cell and landline phones. There is one registry for all phones.

The number of unwanted calls has increased. I get on average 4 to 5 a day. In the past I have reported these people as I am on the "Do Not Call List". The FTC does not follow-up on these calls and the violators know it so the whole law is a joke. You need to prosecute these people and hand out hefty fines to get their attention. If nothing is done they will continue to thumb their nose at the law as there is no risk to them and they know it. I use NO MORE ROBO and it does stop a great percentage of the Robo calls but I still get the voice callers

They do follow up it just takes them either months or years to catch them. A company that was calling my landline number just got caught today. So they do follow up

still recieving annoying phone calls. I signed up a few days ago to FTC. Don't know what else to do.

the law as stands is toothless: there is not enough resources aimed at enforcing it,and more importantly, it doesn't protect me enough in today's world because it gives the power of choice takes not to me, but to the large body that Cam claim to call me legitimately, even tho this too it's being abused. Copnduct a survey and find out just how many of us want further restrictions as I do. How do I work to change the law so I do not have to tolerate robocalls or calls about or from charities scrupulous or not, politicians and their deceptive fear mongering pacs, call requesting info, or surveys, often aimed put a product in one's mind or record and misuse my responses. I only want to receive calls from debtors and people I explicitly expect to receive a call from: reminder for appts i made, something I ordered has arrived, or MY bank calling for me, etc. All else that is currently allowed by law is merely telemarketing wolves in sheep's clothing.

Like everything in the government, this doesn't work!

Excellent article! Alvaro, you should also consider writing another article to educate consumers on how to block unwanted calls to house phone lines. Please elaborate on effective ways to help consumers stop unwanted calls from those that the “Do Not Call” registry fail to protect consumers such as calls from charities, politicians, and scam artists. More than 90% of the unwanted calls consumers receive fell into one of these categories! For example, the Consumer Reports has a list of some Robocall Blocking devices in their September issue. Why don't you invest some government resources educating consumers about these devices? Is there a way that the government can help cover some of the cost of these devices so that low-income seniors can get these?

I was planning to make a comment of my own as I read through this Group of Comments, but this one stopped me and I decided to tack my thoughts onto this Abused Senior's report. I would also like for you to elaborate on the Robocall Blocking devices available. I am a disabled senior who has suffered endless calls as well as having been scammed by one caller who had gotten into my Bank Accounts. I had to drag myself to the bank, taking a taxi both ways, and spending the entire afternoon closing my meager accounts and reopening new ones Then came endless hours on the phone and online changing my method of payments and so forth. It's been two and a half months of long holding time listening to bad music, being sent from department to department, etc, etc. repeating the story over and over until I'd get someone who would correct the new billing info. Then the next month, I had to enter into the same round of the same malarky as I got the billing information corrected again; but this time trying to talk these same companies into crediting me for the Late Fees that were caused by me changing my payment information.

I did sign up to have these calls blocked and about 80% of the calls stopped.

BUT that pesky 20% keep calling.

I am in the "lowest" Low Income category so every penny counts.

If there are devices out there that can help, how and where can a Low Income Disabled Senior get them?

The FTC doesn't have information about commercial devices that block calls.

The federal government has a program to help some people get discounts on telephone services. This is different from stopping unwanted calls, but it could still be a help for you. This page tells about the Lifeline program for discounts on service, and has a map so you can find participating companie in your state.

This page tells about other programs that can help older Americans pay for utilities, medication and more.

Answer some questions to find benefit programs that can help you pay for medications, health care, food, utilities and more. - See more at: https://www.benefitscheckup.org/#sthash.YvFex30p.dpuf
Answer some questions to find benefit programs that can help you pay for medications, health care, food, utilities and more. - See more at: https://www.benefitscheckup.org/#sthash.YvFex30p.dpuf

 

Answer some questions to find benefit programs that can help you pay for medications, health care, food, utilities and more. - See more at: https://www.benefitscheckup.org/#sthash.YvFex30p.dpuf

Good idea, in theory. However, I found that filing complaints with the Do Not Call website had no effect. So every time I get a robocall, I save the number to a contact - mine's tagged "1-recording" and programmed that contact to go directly to voicemail. They never leave a message!

Great information! Thank YOU

This is ridiculous - the NSA has the ability to listen in on ANY phone call anywhere in the U.S. and the world (including the cell phone of the chancellor of Germany) but the government can't stop, find and prosecute these people? Just another example of a thoroughly corrupt Congress, in the pockets (this time) of the telecommunications companies, who profit from these calls.

I have a Call Block feature on my home phone. I just check the number that called & put it in my Call Block Phonebook! Thanks for this message, I am forwarding to others. :)

How can we stop all the annoying calls from area code 876, which is Jamaica. They call at all hours of the day and night. If one of us hangs up, they call the other cell phone or land line. These people don't give up and don't listen when we tell them we are on the NO CALL LIST and not to call these numbers again. Please help.

If you’re getting repeated calls from the same number, your phone company may be able to block that number, but first ask whether there’s a fee for this service.

If you’re getting unwanted calls from a lot of different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users, and find out whether the service costs money.

On daily basis I am receiving about 30-40 unwanted spams. On many occations I reported to my provider, who is VERIZON, nothing has been done.

I get a lot of those calls

Hope this works.

When I get a moment, one of my ancient laptop PCs is going to become a call blocking system. Unfortunately, to implement the block I really want will take some serious programming, but off-the-shelf free apps exist to terminate calls if they're an a blacklist and that will help.

What we really need is someone at the FTC willing to crack down on the phone companies and force them to disable uncontrolled caller-ID falsification. The system is currently broken-by-design.

Yes, the phone companies are definitely benefitting from all the Do Not Call solicitations and scams. These force people like you and me to buy Caller ID, which is expensive. Then, once you have it, you realize it does nothing except show a spoofed number that you can then take 10 minutes and enter on DoNotCall.gov. And then they keep calling. You want to block a number, oh, OK, then the phone company demands you pay them an extra amount for that service too, and then they limit it to only 10 or 12 numbers. We should start a class action lawsuit against the phone companies to recover all the money they are taking from us by not cracking down on obvious abusers.

Typical stuff in the land of the free! My phone, I pay the bill yet, Everyone has to put up with mistreatment from BIG business. real problem , poor regulations or lack of rules, and poor politicans, collecting donations, sitting on their duffs, and We vote them back in office. VOTE'EM"OUT>

i got scammed today and by a online payday loan co. called CASH AMERICA THIS COMPANY IS LOCATED IN 180 CHURCH ST.NY,NY10013 THE MAN TOLD ME THAT THEY WOULD SEND ME 3,000.00 TO MY CHECKING ACCOUNT BUT I HAD TO GET 2 MONEYGRAM PKS. 1 FOR 100.OO AND 2. FOR 50.00 SO I DID .BUT AFTER I DID I THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE PUTTING MONEY IN MY ACCOUNT.BUT WHEN MY BANK CALLED MY THEY SAID THEY WERE TRYING TO TAKE IT OUT OF MY ACCOUNT BUT I DIDN'T THAT MUCH MONEY IN MY ACCOUNT SO THEY SAID THAT COULDN'T PUT MONEY ON MY ACCOUNT BECAUSE IT WAS A OVERDRAFT ON MY ACCOUNT AND THAT THE ONLY WAY TO DO SO WAS THEY HAD TO LIFT THE CONDITIONS ON THE MONEY THEY WERE TRYING TO GIVE OR TAKE FROM ME. SO WITH ALL THESE TROUBLE THAT ME AND MY FAMILY OR GOING THRU PLEASE WHAT EVER YOU DON'T GO WITH CASE AMERICA NY,NY 10013 THE PHONE NUMBERS ARE:646853003

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also report to the New York state Attorney General’s office

If you gave your bank account to a lender and they tried to take your money, contact your bank. Ask them how to protect your account and your money.

SMH! Now why in the world would you believe that you'd be sent $3,000 to your checking account- yet have to pay to do that? You actually gave them your checking account number? Oh my-that's a well known no-no!
You don't have to worry about anyone being foolish enough to fall for that transparent scam.

Excellent, useful and accurate as always. Thank You. Jose.

I keep getting calls on all my phones they leave me messages about d solving my student loan debt, etc,...

My student loan debt was forgiven 5 years ago. So, I keep telling them I don't have a student loan.
They still keep calling.

telemarketing is waste of my time I am disable

Hi there. The information on unwanted calls and text messages is priceless for every person especially in this day and age with everything going automated like robo this or robo that. Great info..Thanks.

I have been on the Do Not Call Registry ever since it began and am still getting a lot of calls daily. If the phone rings and I don't recognize the number I do not answer it. Most of the time they do not leave a message so I block their number using my call blocking device. I know they are scam phone calls. I even had a call yesterday with our phone number being on the caller ID and our son. I am sure they assume people will pick it up if they see their own phone number on the caller ID.

Simple solution: turn down/off ringers and let all calls go to answering machine that lets you hear any message. All our friends know we will pick up if we hear them. Very few scammers will bother to leave a message.

I get robocalls and unwanted calls several times a day. I registered with do not call also. I can only block 10 numbers at a time. Most calls are coming overseas and the phone company can't do anything about it. They change their numbers all the time. None of what they have written here works for me.

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