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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 think where a lot of these calls come from is that people who have smartphones have apps which harvest their contacts for the express purpose of generating spam calls. It is probably impossible to tell which apps those are. I never used to get these calls until my son got a smart phone. Now pretty much everybody (except me, being a luddite) has one. No, the government doesn't care about whether people get robocall spam. Reporting the calls doesn't do anything. I noticed the volume of these calls increased exponentially after I passed age 60. The scammers apparently think everyone becomes cognitively impaired once they reach 60 years of age. What I do with these calls is I have a fax down in the basement. All landline calls go to the fax. The ringers on the phones upstairs have been turned off. I don't even hear the rings. I have had my phone number since -- get this -- 1952, and now the robo-scammers have rendered my phone unusable for anything except outgoing calls. Even with a fax attached, I still get 7 or 8 calls a day from spoofed, and therefore unblockable numbers. Some scammers have even figured out how to bypass the fax and go to my voicemail. They are freaking relentless. They have even started calling my cell phone, so I have set my default ringtone to "no ring" and have customized ringtones for my contacts. This is an ongoing nightmare that, unless phone providers create a feature that acts as a whitelist whereby all calls are disabled except those you allow through, I don't see this problem going away in my lifetime.

I keep getting calls from 121234 which isn't even enough didgets for a phone number? What is that?

That is a text.

I've been getting a lot of weird calls. I just ignore them, but yet I still feel the urge to look up the number after they call by using WhitePages Reverse lookup. For example, I received a call this afternoon from a suspected scammer in Roxbury. Yet, I find myself trying to figure out whether to report the calls to my carrier or not.

phone #s, 631-326-9624 763-381-5699 and 631-209-6023
all unwanted messages

I have been getting numerous calls from area code # (551) 267- followed by either 7052, 7082,or 7114 all within about a month. Since I don't recognie number or caller I do not answer. I have also never made calls to these numbers, but on this past Saturday my cell phone shows two numbers (the 7052 & 7082 being called at exactly 7:46PM & the 7082 number shows 4 calls as OUTGOING from my phone. And again today at shortly after midnight a call OUTGOING to the 7114 # & that was definitely impossible because I was on flight and phone was off. In all since Feb. 7 I have gotten 14 other calls from this (551) area code 3 numbers. Has any one experienced such a thing. My housemate receives (551)calls too. Going to phone provider to report and get assistance. Bizarre. Oh, from what I understand 551- is from Jersey City & other NJ towns. I know no one in Jersey City or thereabouts. They never leave messages. When I did a search earlier for info on these numbers I read how the calls coming from Jersey & that the (551)267-7052 was reportedly a bad number & to tell friend not to answer any calls from such a number, but when I looked on line tonight there was no such information about (551) nor about (551)-267-70s2.

They're spoofed numbers, the calls are not coming from those numbers but from another main line to make it look like it is coming from any number they want it to look like, that way you can't block them and they have unlimited access to numbers if you try.

It's a no-win situation.

everyday all day I receive calls from meds 4 everyone. I am so tired. I have asked to be removed from their calling list...they hang up on me only to call a few more times a day. They call from different numbers. so so very tired of it. I have had this number for 45 yrs but so ready to discount it.

Stop answering. Only answer calls from numbers you recognize. If it is something important from someone you know they will leave a message.

Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

My home phone has been on the Do Not Call list for years. I still receive numerous phone spam and robocalls daily. Once I even received a letter from the FTC telling me that there is nothing that can do about stopping phone spammers, as those spammers change their phone numbers constantly.

I used to get tons of unwanted calls that I was constantly blocking. I decided enough was enough. I recorded a greeting that states the number you have reached is not in service...this is recording and repeated it. FINALLY I'm not getting as many calls. IT WORKS! Take that SCAM ROBO JERKS!

I did the same thing. I think it has helped but not very much. I despise those idiots.

We live in a world of perpetual "Tech". Why does the government allow ANY call from a spoofed number? If someone calls me, I should be able to call them TO the number they called FROM. They use telephones to CALL ME. WHY can they hide this information?
Telecoms have the ABILITY to prevent these calls. IF I call YOU, you should be able to call me back from the caller ID, NOT allow me to transmit a fake caller ID.

What do you do if someone is "spoofing" your number. People call me and leave messages saying I called them but I have not. Also get unwanted text "who is this" I have gotten 30 calls in one day. It's been going on for 3 weeks now. What do I do? Help!!

You can contact your phone carrier to see if it offers call or text blocking services, or put a message on your answering machine saying your number has been taken over by a scammer.

Today I had 2 voicemails on my cell phone that were questionable marketing calls. Thing is; there are no numbers listed for received calls. How is this possible?

I suspect airing our complaints on here is the only satisfaction any of us are ever going to get. Certainly my landline provider isn't helping, and I don't think my complaints to the FCC will have any more effect than explaining the situation to my cat.
At this point, my landline phone is receiving more than 75% of its use from robot calls, annoyance calls, morons pretending to be from the IRS, Sears Roebuck, "Unavailable," and so forth. Legitimate calls from family and friends is now reduced to about 25%. I am literally PAYING for service that is essentially fielding unwanted calls. Unwanted, unanswered calls. I never answer these people. But still they call. Relentlessly. Last night, well after midnight, I received a call from "Unavailable" (a New Mexico number, 575-205-0040, for those on here who might wish to contact this caller). As one might expect, I was sound asleep. It took me hours to get back to sleep. Once I finally did, "Unavailable" called back. This time at 3:30 in the morning, thank you very much. A Florida number (321-204-6482, for anyone wishing to have a scintillating conversation with this particular crack-head non-English speaking nitwit.)The upshot is that these criminals, these irritating SOBs are in complete control now. Nothing can stop them. Not the phone companies, not the government. They are in control.
What gets me most is this: What could these callers POSSIBLY want? If they're selling something, calling prospective "clients" in the middle of the night is hardly going to result in a cheerful purchase. If they're calling to chat, I'm not interested. In fact, whatever reason they are calling for (so important) is not going to result in a positive outcome. Yet they call. And call. And call. I will throw my telephone into the Hudson River before I answer one of them, and that's exactly what I'm going to do if this doesn't stop. I cannot fathom why this problem cannot be solved by either the service provider or the government, but it obviously is beyond their capabilities to do so. I will get even with these two callers. I just haven't quite figured out how yet, but I do have their numbers. Clearly, I am not going to call them from my phone, but I will call them from someone's phone. You know, sometime in the middle of the night their time. Repeatedly. I will discuss the weather with them. I will go into detailed descriptions of the contents of my cat's latest puke. I will explain how cute the neighbor's child is when she recites poetry. I will torture them. There is no other outlet.

If you have caller ID and you see an unknown number, answer the phone "Internal Revenue Service, Fraud Division, May I help you?" My phone number is published on my website. I used to get 10 calls a day from unknown numbers, telemarketers & scam artists After I started doing this, the phone calls stopped completely. Now I only get phone calls from family, friends and companies with legitimate caller ID's.

I keep getting harassing calls from various numbers and when I answer they refuse to tell me who they are or what they want or the name of their company so I hang up on them. When I google the number it says Portfolio Recovery. This is against the law. A caller must identify themselves and their company within the first 10 seconds of a call. They also use fake names (like Theodore Hawkins) and laugh. The last number that called me was 248-237-3551. I have no idea what they want because they won't tell me who they are.

There should be an easier way to report spam calls. Just received a spam call from 508 454-1883 (wireless caller). Why is reporting so difficult?

tax dollars are not doing jack. I'm on do not call list, doesn't matter , spam calls every week.

I wanr to expose a scam claiming to be The Nation Endowment For Humanitys grant mpromo. They want money before FEDX can deliver your money. No Government Agency would ever require money upfront befor delivering the money. I have kept everything that the messenger has sent me. Also telling me I can be arrested

Thank you for sharing your experience.

You are correct: A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant you’ve already been awarded, or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is grants.gov.

If you think you've been a victim of a grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You also can report it to your state Attorney General. Read Government Grant Scams for more.

My name is kazi. I received pron graph today from these two telephone number: 347-586 0765 and 813 430 4790.

Phone Number 844 381-2562 is REPEATEDLY calling me. There is no way to make them stop.

Saturday 4/22/17 11:06am EST. Call from Longview, WA
(360)562-9014. Claimed to be IRS investigating me and I should return call. Please find them.

This was a computer service scam that charged me $199 on my credit card two years ago; they credited it back because I threatened them I was going to report them. Well, they keep calling me and saying my computer is being attacked and they never credited me the $199. They won't stop calling me; I blocked their number but now they call me on my work number. The number that is blocked is: 8556152311 It blocks for awhile and then comes back; please investigate this further. Thank you.

To report a complaint to the FTC please go to FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will  go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you make here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

While typing this message the fake Federal Government Affordable Health Care company - Hendersonville, TN called my home six (6) times(615-757-9196 -2xs, 615-757-9197 - 3xs and 615-757-9143 - 1x). I have submitted a complaint to the FCC twice, but nothing has stopped these people from harassing me.

It doesn't matter if you block their number because they just call you from another number. I, too, am on the Do Not Call list and I get at least 3-4 calls a day about student loans debt, payday loans, mortgages etc of which I don't have any student loans, nor mortgages, nor any loans. I get frustrated so much now that my language speaking to them begins to sound like a sailor. I have also used a whistle to blow in their ears. And now they are using numbers that are within my living area. But I will not answer them anymore.

I get scam calls on my cell phone constantly. Was blocking up to 10 numbers a day. Now they are somehow mimicking local numbers on caller ID. I am ill and have to answer local calls like that because I am getting doctors calls and test results. Surely, there should be a way to stop this.

Since this do not call list has been in effect for years I have kept my number on it. Its done nothing as far as helping stop these calls. Once a day? its now more like 10-20 times a day. I need my phone and can not afford to pick and choose when I answer a call. My bill is still going up, my taxes on my phone bill still go up, and my service only gets worse. I,ve blocked numbers, called my service provider and nothing helps. These people are working in the USA! how about someone actually answering a help wanted add for all these call centers and finally busting them?

I took out a few payday loans in 2006 because I was having some financial trouble. I took them out online. I closed my bank account a few months after the loans. I checked with my bank and have proof of every loan I took out being paid and the fee being paid. I started getting my phone calls about a year and a half ago. I first thought I my goodness maybe I didn't pay but I was at the same job 6 years after and same phone number. I almost paid but things didn't add up and they threatened me. I've got several different calls they know name # ss# previous address. Different amount every time and can't give me a date of service orcreditor name. They have also called my family. This is 10 years later. I google the name and it says scam. Please help.

You might be getting calls from a fake debt collector. A fake debt collector might seek payment on a debt for a loan you don't recognize, or refuse to give you a mailing address or phone number.

You have rights when you deal with a real debt collector. Within five days after they first contact you, a debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe. This notice must include the name of the creditor you owe money to and say what to do if you think you don't owe the money. If you think the caller is a fake collector, tell him you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice."

it seems the big thing now is for scammers to use local numbers to entice you to answer...I keep blocking them but it seems they have an unlimited supply only changing the last four digits..super annoying!!!

My phone company only allows 10 phone numbers on the reject list. Are they kidding? I get more than that daily from green earth to anonymous.

I keep getting calls from the same people but whenever I block the calls they call me back using a different number and area code. Also, today I got a call from someone with an African accent who knew me by name stating I won something. I'm getting annoyed at this point.

I have been on the do not call list for years. I still get on average, 3 or 4 unsolicited calls per day. They come across caller id as IMC, Unknown caller, Private call, etc. I have reported many of these numbers on the Do Not Call list site. It has done no good at all. I still get the same calls over and over. Many phone services cannot stop or block these calls.

I keep getting this call about 5 to 6 times a from this number 800 101010101 no one on the line how do I stop this this is a business they call on all my lines.

My problem is it's a different # every day, but the same pre-fix & from the same area. So I can never just block one number. The one time I answered it was a live person who said they were calling regarding "my inquiry on health care (or insurance? I don't remember). I have employee based insurance & made no such inquiries. I can't even report them because they change phone numbers every day. There has to be a way to stop this?

I KEEP Getting TEXTS from Rhea Lichtenstein, I block number and I get text from another with her name and it always says different things, I won or has an email address or site, and its almost every flippin day. Sprint says change your number,, but that is so inconvenient , but I guess I will do that, maybe when I send out my Christmas cards, have my new number by then.... such a pain and no one can stop this email for me.

So frigging tired of these calls about student loans and they always come from a different phone number. Many of which are local numbers. Since I have a small small business in photography, I answer hoping for a possible client and am faced with stupidity from people who say that they are simply responding to a call that they have recibes. They never have a supervisor available and the calls son NOT stop. The recording at the beginning of the call talks about Navient and lawsuits and whatnot, and if/when the option is available o request to be placed on their do NOT call list, it simply hangs up on you when you dial the needed option. These calls and urge hareassment have to stop!!! I continually use my phone's block feature on each new number used. I am a male, and the number they used today was one for an obstetrics/gynechologists office. It is out of control and it feels like there is nothing really being done about this. In the end this is all stemming from having clicked a link years back to find out about Obama's student loan relief. It isn't his fault, but it is the fault of whoever created those links. Tbhey should be made to pay off all the student lobs of those affected by this harassment.

Same here, exactly same problem and frustration.

please take my number off all unwanted calls lists.

For how-to's, please see the FTC publication, Stopping Unsolicited Mail, Phone Calls, and Email.

I keep getting calls from all different numbers from a "Becker Firm." They say they have court documents or a warrant for my arrest.I block the numbers and they call from new ones. This has gone on for a few years. I have argued with these people and threatened them. Nothing stops them. I just got a call today from an unknown number. The woman claimed to be a special services processor and wants to know if I will be home between 1-3pm today to serve papers. I said no. She said I needed to call a number so that I don't end up with a failed appearance on my record. I call the number and guess who answers "Mark at the Becker Firm." I am so sick of it. I know it is a scam. But how do you make them stop? I wish I had said I would be home to call their bluff. These people are relentless, pathetic scammers. Why can't anyone do anything about it?

Do Not Call is a political scam that makes it so we can still be annoyed with the marketing survey and political calls that are the meat and potatoes of political strategizing. Furthermore, it does nothing to stop spoofed numbers. There are several dozen iPhone apps, for example, that allow you to spoof your caller ID. DoNotCall amounts to total BS.

Only ones i get it from( and im on the do not call list) is from google!! And ive asked them not to call but its obvious they cant read

If I don't know the number I don't answer it as I always say if they don't leave a message it's just a random call. My problem is I keep getting text messages supposedly for a Angelina do this do that to and phone calls asking for her. I I've had my number for awhile. This just started about 6 month's ago. The problem I'm having is I block the number but it's useless since they just do with a different one. 2 of the calls I did answer the first 1 I told them stop this is not her number he says OK an the blah blah speal. 2 time was a female by this time I've had enough with the texts and constant calling as soon as I started flipping out she hung up. They were not American. Does anyone can give me any suggestions of dealing with this nerve plucking problem.

(970) 405-9838 makes terroristic threats. Call the cops immediately if you receive any phone calls from that number.

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