You are here

Stopping unwanted phone calls and text messages

Share this page

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

When your phone number is on the Do Not Call list, you can still get:  political calls, calls from charitable organizations, informational calls, calls about debts you owe, phone surveys and calls from companies you’ve done business with or gave permission to call.

If your number is on the Do Not Call list and  get a call from someone that is not on that list of permitted callers, you can report it at ftc.gov/donotcall.

Reporting calls to ftc.gov/donotcall does nothing. I've done so for years. The only thing that will work is a forcing the phone companies to do something and allow the Fed and State agencies to painfully enforce laws on the scammers. Legislation and software can stop most of the scammers. No one in charge seems to be concerned. We have a nation of bright people, this problem should have been solved years ago. Immediately shut down the exchange the calls are coming from, phone companies can see in real time when thousands of calls eminate from one site. Today I got a scam call on my home phone and hours later on my cell. Others in NJ also got these calls all day today, tracing them can't be impossible to do. The phone companies can see all of this real time. Our NSA can tap our phones and know everything about us but the FTC and other agencies can't catch a scammer, pathetic.

Has anyone ever thought about turning the fone off for a few hours? as sometimes I have done this just to get PEACE while my kids are @ school & husband @ work, if they need me they can still call me @ work otherwise I lose my sanity & also my husband is a computer whizz & can track scams & find out where they come from without dng any damage to the computers too

Calls from various cities and states are increasing -- three or more daily. Congress voted against a bill to make robocalls illegal. We need to pressure Congress to make robocalls against the law, and then to have the phone companies work on ways to identify and block all robocalls. It's getting ridiculous!

I get calls daily on my cell phone from scammers. Now they are texting me - one text woke me up at midnight. Really?! Sure I can block the call/Text but they just use another spoofed number, so why bother? With all the intelligence in this country, can't we figure out a way to stop these criminals? I'd like access to a program that allows only my contact to come through-I'd use my landline for all other non-contacts like doctors etc.

I've listed do not call.....my name is not even anika jefferson I'm a guy for Pete's sake. Some company using the false name of lawyer referral calls sometimes five times a day are insulting claim I "probably am the debtor and need to pay the damn bill and quit being cheap" told me to change my number.....that us listed private and I've had for a year. Claims they are protected by the Fed govt ext and can do what they want. These sleazy people need to be shut down. Enough is enough I pay my own debts and run a bussiness I have to turn calls away lose customers ext. According to ss 1690-1690p they cannot use false pretenses nor be harassing. So why is it they exist and why the heckler will they not stop calling ME????? FOR GODS SAKE IM NOT EVEN CLOSE TO ANIKA JEFFERSON irk who it even is

Receiving calls multiple times daily. Does not ring the phone, goes straight to voice mail to tell me about a "Treasury" issue regarding me. Can't block the call because there is no number associated just shows my voice mail number, and I want to hear that alert. Getting tired of the messages that are nothing but trash.

I received a call today from 5713358307 i didn't answer because i didn't know the number they left a recorded message stating that my name is under federal investigation for IRS and at the end it said good luck.What can I do or call about the harassing call

As a concerned citizen I would like to know why I can't put a number into google that supposedly belongs to a business and find out who it is without signing up for something or signing up and giving my credit card number to some unknown entity. Is this set up by google? For some reason google seems to put them at the top of the list. That goes for reverse lookup and anything that says free, ie callername.com, whoscallingme.net, gettherecord.com, instacheck, Spokeo, phone-trace.com (with their fake loading screens acting like they are searching for it when you know they already have the information in their database charging $4.95 to get all info, oh and 75% off)
If it is an actual business why are they allow to have a number with no identification.
I have had people tell me I owe money, I will be sued, I need to pay now, and an onslaught of other lies. Why should I have to put up with someone calling me at work ON MY EMERGENCY LINE with their fraud. Something needs to be done about this or I am going to hire a good hacker to take care of it for me and everyone else that are complaining! No one is doing anything to stop this and I am tired of reportng numbers to websites and have them still calling me. Not only that but I am on the so called "do not call list" as it calls itself. I do not answer my phone unless I know who it is and what they want. I do not think this should be an issue in our technology savvy society. Everyone should have to register their phone number and have an identity check and if you have nothing to hide this wont be a problem. I can't even get my IRS tax returns or credit report without answering a bunch of questions about myself like I am the one on trial. This is chaos! Computers are supposed to help us and I have never had more problems since everthing went digital.
Why do any of us have to put up with this? The government needs to monitor that instead of listen to my conversation about what groceries I need to buy. Meanwhile I dont want to be bothered with fraudulent phone calls. And if an frauds are reading this your not getting a dime out of me. Just ask my bill collectors they can barely squeeze it out of me. My money is for me.And now I have to enter this captcha to tell it I am not a robot. Rant over.

You need to chillax. Everything is going to be ok.

Um, no it's not. The calls are out of control and nobody is doing anything. I agree with this person who has had it because I have as well. Call every freakin day numerous times per day and now texts as well. This is ridiculous!!!

I just received a all today that she asked for parents of ....my child name...
I was scared and I said yes, I am her mom and she hanged up!!!! I tried to call back that number but it was scared and it was not exist!!!
651-829-3552

The FTC is not doing it's job, the DNC registry is a joke plain and simple. The criminals are not going to abide by it because there are no repercussions, they simply switch to a different number every few days or weeks. Another example of a waste of taxpayer funds on an incompetent, inefficient department.

Help - it feels like a get a spam call Every Day - sometimes more than once!! All are from different numbers each time. I block each number, but they keep coming. What do I do? What will you do??????

My work had to come through this phone as well, and I am hesitant to pick up numbers I don't know so it doesn't lead to more.

I want 1-931 424-7306 A security to stop calling me. I have ample security and refuse to answer any questions on the phone. This repeated calling of my home phone is a form of harassment and I want it stopped. I have their number blocked but they continue to ring my number.

I have just run into this situation at work today. A gentleman called me stating it was an attempt to collect a debt. When I asked for more information he was rude and told me I had to call back to speak to a supervisor. I called back and had to leave a message asking them to not call my work number. The first gentleman proceeded to call back and I asked him to transfer me to the suoervisor. When I was transferred it sounded like the same gentleman. To keep it short, he asked me to a settle a debt that was not mine. I asked him to send me documentation and he basically said that only people running away ask for documentaion and he could not send me anything until I sent them money. I refuced to do so and he proceeded to callmy place of employment from 3 different phone numbers with calls spacing less than seconds apart. My office manager took some of the calls but nothing stopped him. The threat of the police had no effect. He started harrassing any employee with vulgar language. This is a very busy medical office where patients call with serious problems. This did not deter the harrasser. He stated he wouldn't stop until the office went out of business. I am not sure where or who to turn to to solve this problem.

If the caller is calling from the same phone number (or numbers) over & over, you may be able to block the calls.

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

 

I keep receiving a call from a guy claiming to be from Microsoft calling from number 516-613-0485. It has happened regularly over the last year. I told him that I had called and reported him and he threatened "I'll still keep calling you." I tried to register the number with Do Not Call but after putting all of the information in it claims it cannot be processed.

this is a scam to get into your computer..Its not Microsoft(do they have an Indian/Pakistani type accent?)..They will tell you that your computer has a registry error or a virus, and they need to have full access to it..They then can take over your computer whenever they want, and get at your passwords, credit cards, etc....My grandmothers friend was charged $2000 bucks from this scam

I have had to resort to using the old tried and true child whistle. When they call, if you can get a live person, tell them to never call again or they will get this every time. Then just blow away. It will hurt their ears big time and should stop the calls. Did this when we had pranksters calling when there were actual telephone books out there.

The whistle is a great idea, I am most definitely going to try that one....did you know, Verizon still makes and prints telephone books, I was delivering them to residents in my area at the beggining of the year. But a lot of people don't realize that. And the people we deliver them to are considered "advertisers" and if there was A do not deliver for certain addresses it's because they weren't "advertising" their name and number in the book....

Solar company's, and contractors now call and start off by saying that they information(about a new California Law) or that my dad got in touch with them 6 months ago(even though he passed away 2 years ago)..We average 4 contractors, and at least one solar/energy company a day..They start at 730am on Sunday and call as late as 215am weekdays..

This is funny and all, but where do we go to actually find information on how to stop these calls? I didn't come to a government site for a comedy routine.

You'll learn more by following any of the highlighted links in the blog post, looking at the information about privacy, identity and online security (click on the grey box on the left side of this page to find a list of articles), or by reading the FTC article about blocking unwanted calls.

Completely agree. This is ZERO help.

I keep getting fake phone calls I don't answer or call back, this one today tops it all. The man did not speak english and kept saying my computer sends off sounds that beeps and who knows whatever he said.I told him I do not understand nor do I believe any thing he was trying and to never call me again. The worst was his call number says only RESTRICTED!

I just turned OFF SF ALERT Garbage. It's my phone and I am free to do what I want to do...

Complaining to the FTC does NO GOOD for these numbers. I get 4-6 a day, robocalls. It is insane...why can't the FTC do a better job of shutting them down and quickly and investigate who's behind them? It's awful.

I have been being scammed since Jan. '15 & FINALLY wised up in May (I think) '16. I'm am 63 yrs old & thought I was smarter than that, but this guy had me scared after a while. At first he told me he just needed a few hundred dollars for the taxes & then the amt. kept going up. When I told him I didn't have the money he kept telling me I would be in trouble w/the law & would be arrested if I didn't pay. Before I finally wised up & started doing some research, I had lost between $75 & 80,000 if not more.

I was smart enough to keep receipts & names of the ppl I sent the money to, but the thing that bothers me the most is that I FELL for his scam & lost ALL our money. I'm putting his name out there & his ph. # so no one else will fall for his scam. He promised me all this stuff & sounded so BELIEVABLE. I should have known though.......if it sounds to good to be true, it is. His name is Jody James & his # is a Jamaican # (which I didn't KNOW for a long time). It's 876-871-6109 so if ANYONE gets a call from him or his #, BEWARE. All you'll do is give him money for NOTHING. He is STILL calling me & leaving messages, even though I have his # blocked on both phones. I just wish I KNEW how to have him arrested & get my money back because I can't afford things now because of him & I want to make him PAY. He needs to be STOPPED from doing this to other ppl.

I'm sorry to hear this. Please report this to law enforcement at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that local, state and federal agencies use for investigations.

If you used a wire transfer company to send money, you can contact their consumer fraud people. Call Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 and MoneyGram 1‑800‑926‑9400.

getting spam calls from different numbers. just getting tired of it. actually i am very tired.

Having read all of the comments, I can't help but wonder just who is working for whom. Seems to me that our highly paid government is NOT governing. If these scammers know that nothing is being done, why should they stop?

I have a school loan through Navient and had missed a payment and started receiving phone calls shortly after from various area codes. They would never leave a message and at first I thought it was bill collectors. I paid the bill but continued to receive these phone calls multiple times per day. I am able to block callers on my phone but the more numbers I blocked the more they would use different numbers to call me. When I would call these numbers back they would either be non existent or it would be a recording for some random business. I continued like clockwork to block all unknown numbers and finally they became fewer and fewer and then stopped all together. I had a week or so of no spammers and then all of the sudden started to receive texts calling me Mary (not my name) and telling me that they have a deal for me or that I've can make money and this also went on multiple times per day and I continued to block them and they kept using different numbers. As with the calls the texts started to dwindle and then stopped for awhile but now have started up once again. This has been going on over a span of many months now and I have even gotten calls and texts in the middle of the night. It's more than just a nuisance, I've actually considered changing my number.

When will the FTC fix the broken and untrusted caller ID system? It is too easy to spoof caller ID, therefore all preventative measures that use caller ID are useless. Caller ID needs to be verified or blocked.

I get a call from phone number 516-243-1919, with a pre-recorded message, they left a message stating that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against me and to call the above number immediately, and that this is the final notice. They try to make it sound as intimadating as possible, but I know about this scam, and I googled it to be certain, and there are tons of people complaining about this exact same number and same scam. When I seen how many there was from this number, I realized I should probably make a report against this number as maybe something can be done to catch this crock or at least shut them down.

Do FTC really do anything? I registered my phone with the Do not call registry and still get 5-6 robo calls daily. Seems like FTC is not penalizing the robo callers. Just suggesting them please do not call.

IF somebody gets fined then they may stop calling. But just saying please do not call will not do anything to stop them.

Me too I've gotten 3 just today alone all marked unavailable.

I KEEP GETTING ROBO CALLS MARKED UNAVAILABLE even 6+ months after being on the DNC list. No matter what button I push it doesn't do anything!

So I've been getting calls saying that they want to help me with my bills even though I'm young and don't have bills to pay and I don't know what to do!?

Don't answer.

I literally registered myself before reading the comments, read the comments and removed myself!

203 344 7863; 303 963 0242; 202 840 6878

1-800-528-4920 claiming to be BB&T bank wanting money for an overdraft. I verified in person that this is NOT the bank calling. They call everyday. I have reported this number to the FTC.

yes - I sure would like if someone could help me out with these problems would like to fine a way to disable all phone scams I get as soon as possibly.

I have been getting fraudulent calls. When I look on my caller ID. there is a number but the sender shows numbers and letters.Then it dissapears without leaving a message.What can I do?Please give me a phone number so I can explain my problem with more details. Thank you

I continuously get scam calls, solicitation calls, charity calls, all the time. I am on the do not call list with home phone and cell. Why does t
he do not call list stop these calls. That is what we signed up for.

We receive 4-5 calls a day. We are on the DO NOT CALL lists, have blocked numbers on our phone (though numbers from the same company change on each call), have not answered, have hung up, and have asked to be taken off lists. Nothing helps. I have a 92 year old in our house that rushes for the calls when my husband and I are at work and has fallen down in the past. It's more than an aggravation in our home, it's a tragedy waiting to happen. I believe the laws need to be tightened. Reporting phone numbers is not practical when there is technology that enables numbers to show up randomly on your phone. The response doesn't account for the seriousness of the matter - it's more than frustrating.

im still getting calls and txt from numbers i put on DO NOT CAll, now what?

the ftc do not call list is not working....apparently it is too easy to obtain phone lists and also to mask the originating phone number.

I didn't start getting these random spam calls on my cell my dad & I went to dinner at TGIFridays. They no longer have beepers to summon you when restaurant is busy. Now you have to give them your cell number which they enter in their computer and send you a text. I didn't want to give them my cell number as I do not give it out to businesses. My father insisted since he wanted to eat and he doesn't text. Funny since then I keep getting calls1 o

Pages

Leave a Comment