Tired of all those calls from telemarketers? Do ever wonder how they get your phone number? There are number of steps you can take to stop those unwanted and annoying calls.

How They Get Your Number

Commercial telemarketers are unscrupulous in getting the phone numbers of potential customers. Here are some of the ways they can get your number:

  • Your pre-printed checks containing your phone number
  • Telephone books or lists compiled on compact disks (CDs) or the Internet
  • Reverse directories that publish your street address or phone number rather than your name
  • Your use of 800, 888, 877, 866 and 900 numbers, which capture your phone number by use of an Automatic Number Identification (ANI) system
  • Any purchase you made where you provided your phone number
  • Any credit application or request for product information that you completed and provided your phone number

Telemarketers can easily acquire this information by taking it from Internet sites or purchasing it from your creditors, telephone directories, telephone company, and others with whom you do business.

Do Not Call Registries

You can significantly reduce the number of calls from telemarketers by signing up with the National Do Not Call registry and a similar registry for your state. The national registry will work for both land lines (regular home phone lines) and cell phones.

Telemarketers are required to search the registries once each month and to drop from their call lists the phone numbers of consumers who have registered.

The national registry does not prevent all unwanted calls. It does not cover:

  • Calls from organization with which you have a business relationship
  • Calls for which you have given prior written permission
  • Calls that are not for a commercial purpose and do not include unsolicited advertisements
  • Calls from tax-exempt nonprofit organizations

Automatic Dialing Systems

Even more annoying are the calls you receive from autodialers that use random or sequential number generators and computerized or prerecorded voice messages trying to get you to buy something. Artificial or prerecorded voice messages may not be made to home phone numbers except for:

  • Emergency calls needed to ensure your health and safety
  • Calls for which you gave prior written consent
  • Noncommercial calls
  • Calls that are not or do not constitute telephone solicitations
  • Calls from tax-exempt nonprofit organizations
  • Calls from entities with which you have an established business relationship

Filing a Complaint

In addition to complaints for violating the do not call registry, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against a telemarketer for the following reasons:

  • The telemarketer calls before 8 AM or after 9 PM
  • The telemarketer leaves a message but fails to leave a phone number so that you can remove your number from its call list
  • The telemarketer continued to call you after you requested that your number be removed from its call list
  • The telemarketer fails to identify itself
  • You received a prerecorded commercial message from a telemarketer

In preparing to file a complaint, keep a record of all the telephone solicitations you receive, including:

  • Each telephone solicitation you receive from the telemarketer
  • The identity of the business responsible for initiating the call
  • The telephone number of the business, entity or person who made the call

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