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How to Screen Out Crooked Callers

crankcallsI often get asked how to stop the pesky telemarketing calls in my job as a daily money manager. Most of us have all put our names on the National Do Not Call Registry, but the people calling aren’t typically playing by the rules. After you register, other types of organizations may still call you, such as charities, political groups, debt collectors and surveys. If you continue to get calls after being on the list for 31 days, you can report them to the FTC here.

Unfortunately, for seniors, the biggest complaint is about the number of charities that are calling. They are exempted from the National Do Not Call Registry. If you have asked that they remove you from their call list, and they continue to call, here are a few things you can do to help stop nuisance calls:

  1. Sign up for a automated service for your landline to block calls. Nomorobo is free service I can get from my local carrier, Verizon. The Nomorobo website can help you find out if you can get their free service in your area. I implemented it at home and it has made a big difference. When we moved in 17 years ago, we opted for the unlisted number–that USED to work at keeping callers at bay. 
  2. If you can’t get a service like Nomorobo, you can purchase a call blocking device like Sentry 2 that lets you blacklist numbers. It does require that you tag calls to the “blacklist” to block, and you can also add numbers and only get calls from those on your “whitelist”. It can fill the need but does require assistance to be effective.
  3. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. When you answer, they know they have a valid number. Asking to be removed, or selecting the dial option they offer typically won’t yield a positive results.
  4. Sign up for “Anonymous Call Rejection” with your local carrier. It will reject calls from anyone that has blocked their caller ID information. It is usually something you can enable using *77 but varies by provider.

The DEFCON 5 OPTION

When I was in elementary school, we were getting calls at home that were personally threatening. This was in the 70’s before all the other technology options and rules existed. My parent’s put whistles by the phones, and I was told to blow it in the phone should I answer and find the person on the other end of phone is threatening me. I haven’t instituted this in my own home, but wonder if the calls would stop more quickly if we all choose the whistle option. Mischievously Wondered. 

 ** I will follow-up on what you can do if you are being pestered on your cell-phone. 

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