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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 can count on the government to do their job but first the runaround...

TALK ABOUT CALLING...AND UPSETTING EVERYONE. I MAKE SURE I CALL EACH MONTH OR GO ON FTC WEBSITE TO INPUT MANUALLY. SO FAR, THIS GENIUS OF AN IDEA WORKS FOR ME! KEEP ON CALLING FOR NOTHING TB'MAKERS!

I have been looking for an affordable room in Seattle for a few weeks now. Problem is that with a few high tech companies rapidly expanding, affordable housing in Seattle has become a thing of the past.

What am I driving at? Let the renter be aware of scams! Roomster has been advertising heavily on the Seattle page of Craig's List and the return spam texts to help Boost their sales have gotten to the point where I have had to disable the text feature on my prepaid cell phone. Just this morning, I received Five (5) texts of Roomster trying to make a sale. The same texts verbatim from two (2) phone numbers.

The 2¢ per text is not a big deal until you get a ton of them. I am not in a position to spend money on text messages. Often, I encourage family and friends and others to use email or the use of my land line [voice calls are often better.]

Is anyone getting calls from a number that shows up on the screen only showing the last four digits?

I keep getting the IRS scam calls. If I answer the phone, they eventually hang up. If I let it go, I get the "there is a warrant for your arrest" spiel, please call, and they usually talk so fast you can only get the phone number but not the name of the contact person. The caller ID is spoofed, so it shows up as an actual IRS phone number - 800-829-1040. TheIRS also recommends reporting it to the FTC, but I get so many I have taken to answering, and saying "Hello, Scammer." They hang up.

After reading all these comments, I now realize it a waste of time to file a complaint about these telemarketing calls. I had one lady laugh when I told her I was on the no call list. Why does this not work. Is the government fining the companies that in violation or just ignoring the complaints that are being filed.

I've been getting calls from Jackson Davis & associates Matthew Roberts 866-816-1095. He is threatening to have paperwork served to me at my job or home. When I called him back I asked him to please send me a copy of the bill he was talking about so that I could take it to my attorney he hung up on me. I then called back and spoke to a very rude woman who yelled at me that I wouldn't be getting these phone calls if I paid my bills. I said what bill are you referring too? I said send me a copy so that I can forward it to my attorney, she hung up on me too. They called the government agency I work for to serve me, our Chief Counsel advised them that would not be allowed in our building and that would forward the information to me, they of course hung up on her. I have googled their name and phone number and there are many complaints like mine on their website.

i have also been getting these same phone calls. They told me i have an outstanding debt from a credit card that i was supposedly paying on from 2004 to 2009. i never had a credit card during that time. they also gave me an address and town in which i was not living in at that time. they also wouldn't tell me what the name of the credit card was or the amount i supposedly owed. i stated to them they were scamming me and to stop calling me. they also yelled at me on the phone, threatened me, and swore at me after i called them out. now i just ignore them.

I am getting phone calls from my OWN PHONE NUMBER!! how do I stop these??? How are they able to use my home phone to call me????!!!!

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

These kind of scam level up- yesterday i was googling kasperskys windows 10 update and click on a phishing website. While reading an online chat appears and asking for my concern - i thought they were real so i wrote my name and telephone number - then i got an immediate call from an indian accent man and lead to a website so they could remotely access my desktop. The scheme script shows so professional and told me that they will pass my call to another man for an accelerated level because he found some suspicious files in my system .they show my my network traffic through going into my command prompt and typing a netstat command and of course i have lot of web traffic in my system. i know that at this point that this was a scam but i play to their script. They showed me my event viewer and told me that those error shows the work of the virus. Beware of this online scammer that use a phishing website. I told them I know their act and not buying any level of troubleshooting in my computer.

I just got a new kind of scam call. This one starts with a blurred name and the person saying that an action has started on that name which will result in garnishment on that name's property. They give a number, even repeat it twice, but the call came under unknown name, unknown number, so I figure it is a scam. The number is 240 324 6939 The number was read in such a way that I had to repeat the recording four times before I could get it right. I never answer a call unless I recognize a number, but the ringing as the others said is very annoying.

scam "irs" threat 2 calls Tues 1 Sep 2015
253-777-4258 Tacoma Wa
360-362-4696 Bremerton WA

Hi it's FYI again here to try and help out the FTC. I have 2 new numbers of scammers and a location and a different number that they are actually using. The number that they spoofed is 617-395-7474. They are from US Tech solutions. There number is 201-524-9600 which is listed for there headquarters and 4 other locations. That doesn't seem right to me. Please look into it and put it on the news when u catch them for an illegal job scheme

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you report will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

Here is a suggestion for people with smart phones: If you get unwanted calls from a phone number and already maxed out your service provider's blocked number list for your line, then go to your personal contacts list on your phone and create a "DO NOT ANSWER" contact. Add the offending phone number to the contact (you can add many more in the future) and set the phone ring tone for that new "DO NOT ANSWER" contact to none or no ring tone. The offending party can call and leave a message but your phone will never ring and your phone caller ID will read "DO NOT ANSWER".

Alternatively, download a silent ring tone and make it your default. Then, apply your usual ringtone to all your regular contacts.

This way, you don't have to maintain a list of thousands of spammy contacts. Everyone except those you choose rings silent.

received a call from IRS 773-654-4276 said they had us for tax fraud. They then asked if we had a lawyer I said we have 2 do you want the names silence........asked again if they want the names silence........so I hung up. Called the number back they actually answered the IRS

A company called Litigation Services in L.A. has called me several times with nasty, threatening messages about "Pre-Trial Services" and that my lawyer must call 323-300-5792 and that I am "not responsible enough" to take care of this problem, etc. I told them not to ever call me again, and they proceeded to call me six times in a row after that. I finally took the phone off the hook. They are calling about a wrongful debt that was written off in 2010. In my area, the limit on pursuing "debts" is three years, and this case was closed in 2010. I have read other similar comments from consumers like me complaining about the same illegal threatening language and other illegal tactics.

I am on the Do Not Call list, but it feels like the "Do Call" list based on the number of scam calls we get. One company in particular called 5 times in one single day! This same company calls every day, at least once. I report them every time. And nothing happens. I just get another call or calls from them the next day. Morning. Day. Night. Whenever it's inconvenient or abusive to me, that's when they call. I want to trash my landline. It's a waste of money because all it is is a direct connection into my home for scammers to harass me.

By the way, the number that calls every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, is (855) 402-0737. I have reported them on Do Not Call list about 20 times. But they could care less and keep calling every single day!

I had a company that called me over and over all day every day. Finally I had read somewhere that if you are on the do not call list and they continue they can be charged $500.00 for every call they made.The phone clicked and never got another call well from that particular company anyway.You can always try it.

My wife got a call and they wanted money for all the slain police officer recently shot..Now this scammer should be placed in prison and the key thrown away....

How do I stop the calls that don't show a number? Like ones that show "out of area" or the ones that put in a fake number? I am registered on the do not call list and still receive multiple calls a day, most from fake numbers or listed as "out of area". Not answering doesn't help; they just call back.

I keep getting calls from "your computer service technician." Foreign accent. I have tried hanging up, speaking in Polish, Telling them I am on the DNC list, saying I don't own a computer. Nothing works. They have been calling almost every day for weeks. I also get many robo calls.

I get these calls from a guy that sounds Chinese--he wants to clean my computer.I tell the jerk I have no computer but he keeps calling.

Maybe we all should flood our Congressmen with phone calls to make number spoofing illegal and punishable with either jail time or a heavy fine or both!!

I have been getting a bogus lawsuit call from 844-278-8485 everyday some times 2 times a day for the last 2 weeks. Told them not to call.they keep calling.told them I was on to their scam.

We get Rachel on the landline, and I keep getting these calls from 786-701-4001 on my cell, telling me the gov't has awarded me $6,000.00, then asked what would I do with the money. Called my carrier, however they weren't able to help.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA I got called everyweek from these numbers that say, This is Expedia.com. you have won cruse line $, hotel$, vacation hot spot$ ect..Press #1 to claim and speak to Rep. When I called back they never pick up. Expedia say it's a scam they don't do that. I traced down those numbers using 411 app. It was no name only map say Geneva Street, SF,CA. I keep blocked each time and new number keep emerge.
These are the numbers:
(415)799-9213 (415)799-7511 (415)799-2393 (415)799-5911 (415)799-5060 (415)799-3126 > Level 3 Communications Landline (415)802-2162 > Bandwidth.com internet phone/robo scam. Beware people!!!

Yes ive been SCAMED BY AS TOGO LAWYER. EMAIL. I HAD WON A HUGE INHERITANCE. STILL CALLING HARASSING ME FOR MONEY. FOR THE TRANSFER.

Quite honestly this "DO NOT CALL LIST" does not appear to be working. I have been on the list for years and still continue to get scam calls daily.
I don't think we will ever have a way of controlling or stopping them. Its getting worse.

Received a call yesterday claiming I had been awarded $8040 because I pay my taxes and haven't filed bankruptcy. They asked for my checking acct number or a credit card and it didnt matte if it had a balance.By the way there was a $200 processing fee. The call initially came 202-666-2773 with a call back to verifier at 512-692-7194. I asked a lot of questions and was told I was wasting her time(Ellie Evans)

People from India keep calling and telling me we are being sued by the government. Scares my 91 year old father to death. The number they call from is 202 779 4885. I have reported them to IRS and FTC

Got a call today on the IRS scam ,the phone is 509-872-5623

Beware of Scarlett Torres calling from an unknown number or an 818 835-0586. She claims to call about legal accusations and allegations against you or a family member. She calls and gives you a case number then tells you to avoid legal action against you in your county you must call Mr Reed or Mr Reeves at (626)219-2691. This is a complete organized scam where they scare you to think you can avoid legal action against you by paying them money. I called them back at the (626) number and asked to speak with their lawyer and they hung up on me. Tell your friends and family tell everyone you know.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go in the database.

The advice here is pretty useless-- the sheer volume of spammer calls coming in makes actions like "asking your service provider to block them" completely untenable, and many of them will only block a handful of numbers before they max out that ability. Service providers are NOT motivated to fix this! And it's admitted here that the Do Not Call list has no teeth. The FTC is apparently totally impotent with regards to these kinds of calls. We periodically hear about big FBI busts of drug rings or other criminals, why have we never heard of a similar FBI sting busting big groups of robocallers? Probably because they're all calling from a foreign country. If I could block all international calls, I would but given they spoof US area codes, I can't do that on my end.

If you enter the word "Robocalls" in the search bar on this site, you'll find a page of information about FTC action against Robocalls.

Scroll down the list of cases the FTC and other agencies have brought against robocallers. For example, this March 2015 case by FTC and 10 attorneys general against political survey callers who also pitched cruise line vacations.

Read about the Robocall contests that awarded prizes to tech experts who created robocall blocking tools.

Learn from the detailed infographic that explains the roles of technology, money, geography and the phone system in robocalls.

There is a Spanish telemarketing company that calls my phone every day at least 1, 2 or 3 times. They are now using spoofed numbers so you cannot call them back... if you press one to be connected to an operator, as soon as you speak English to them they disconnect you. I have to believe that the FTC can find out the actual numbers that the calls are emanating from and force the phone carriers to immediately disconnect the numbers if they receive ANY complaints about that actual number being used with a spoofed number. There must be a way to force the FTC to act... I am sure if the phone carriers were threatened with substantial lawsuits if they allow these numbers to be used for illegal purposes, they would act quickly or lose millions of dollars. How do we get together and make this happen? Any suggestions?

I just broke up with me ex and she uses an app that changes her number so I cant block it. I never pick up because I don't recognize the number but she always leaves a voice-mail. Some are threatening and others are apologetic. It's been 3 months now, she is crazy! How can I stop this? Is there an app that can block the app that keeps changing her number?

I get calls DAILY from the Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) I have asked them not to call and they keep calling. I just got off the phone, again, with these people and said, I am on the GOVERNMENTS Do Not Call List, and the government still keeps calling me! I get my health insurance through a insurance broker for crying out loud, but yet they still call... and they dont even know why. I asked them why they keep calling. All they say is they will put a do not call note by my phone number. Yeah right. So, how in the heck do you get these people to quit calling?!!

You might be getting calls from your health insurance company or another company related to it.

When your number is on the Do Not Call registry, a company may still call if you’ve done business with it recently or if you gave the company written permission to call you.

However, if you ask a company not to call you again, it must honor your request. Record the date of your request. If the company doesn't honor your request, you can file a complaint at  donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.

This Toledo, Oh number: 419 725 5376 keeps calling trying to find a person who is evidently in arrears. I have told them repeatledy that I AM NOT THAT PERSON AND NOT TO MY NUMBER AGAIN....

So I have been putting my phone number on this site for years. It has never stopped my solicitation calls at all. There has to be another way to stop this annoyance. FTC isn't going to help with something so silly like this. This very website might be our culprit.

Elly110, The DO NOT CALL, list, a lot of good this does, They told me that they only hold a certain amount. And that I keep getting those annoying calls is because my list is full. SO NOW what do I do. ! ! ! ? ? ?

I wanna know, how they do this, I have caller ID with caller ID anouncment. The weird thing is. My husband and I would be sitting there and the phone would say my husbands name and the telephone number of our home. It looks like my husband is calling when he is sitting right there. How do they do that. I laugh and tell my husband , he's calling himself. When he answers it , it's usually from a bill collector.

Caller ID is a beautiful thing. If you don't recognize the number, don't pick up. Any legitimate caller is going to leave a message.

Healthcare.gov marketplace 8003182596 They call everyday on my cell phone. I've filed complaints with donotcall registry. Tried to call them to stop calling me, all I got was a message to leave my number, now they call more frequently. I've never dealt with them I have my own health insurance and have no need to use their services. How can I make this stop?

I always turn my ringer off...at various times during the day I check for calls and if I do not know the caller or number I simply delete....no muss and no fuss...

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