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Stop Telemarketers

Who doesn't want to reduce unwanted and unsolicited telephone calls? Read on for tips on mitigating telemarketers and telephone scams.

When a Telemarketer Calls

When a telemarketer calls tell them "put me on your do-not-call list". Federal law requires telemarketers to keep a list of of consumers who don't want to be called. Confirm that the caller has placed you on this list each time you get a telemarketing call and you should reduce your calls over time.

Only Allow Certain Calls

For people that have caller id, set up your phone so only calls that display their caller id will get through. This is not perfect since the caller ID can be (illegally) spoofed (faked) but in most cases it helps.

National Do-not-call Registry

Registering your telephone (or cell phone) with the national do-not-call registry is easy. Once we did this, telemarketing calls dropped to zero.

Use one of the following methods:

Once registered, telemarketers (there are a few exempt) are not supposed to call 31 days after you registered. If they do, you can file a complaint online. Either the name of who called *or* their phone number is necessary to file a complaint. The phone number remains in the registry for 5 years.
This also works with cell phones and there is no cost.
Note that this does *not* apply to offshore telemarketers.

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Caller Complaints has partnered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to publish do not call complaints online. You can search for nefarious phone numbers and see how many complaints are lodged against it.

You can report telemarketers, debt collectors, suspicious numbers, and fraudsters. And it is free.

CC takes no legal action against the offending owner of the telephone number; that is up to the FTC when you file a complaint on the do not call registry website.

International Area Code Scams

International phone scams prey on consumers to call back a telephone number that looks like a domestic number but in reality is an out of the country pay-per-call number. For example, 809 is a three digit number that connects to the Dominican Republic and 264 connects to Anguilla. And you do not have to dial 011 to get there.
Note that you will probably not get a warning that it is a pay-per-call. So before you call:

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Credit Bureaus Main Opt-Out Line

Call 888-567-8688 and talk to the automated voice response system to opt-out of all credit-related offers for two years, or permanently. You can also call back later and opt back in if you want the credit offers to start flowing again.

If you choose to opt out permanently, you will receive an additional form in the mail. Fill out this form and return it! If you don't, your lifetime opt out is reduced to 2 years. Fill it out and opt out of these offers permanently.

Using this service will remove you from all pre-approved credit-related phone offers coming from the credit bureau lists.

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Experian Consumer Services

Call 402-458-5247 to remove your name from telemarketing lists.

Or send your complete name, address and telephone number to:

DMA Telephone Preference Service
P.O. Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512

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Telephone Books

Many organizations use phone books as their national database. You may consider having an unlisted number, or list just your name and phone number, not your address. Note that if you are listed in a phone book your phone number is probably available on-line since it is considered public domain.

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Warranty Cards

It isn't necessary to complete warranty cards to be covered by a warranty. Most warranty cards request demographic information which is used to add your name to various organizations' mailing lists. The only reason to return a warranty card is to find out about product recalls. If you want to return the card for that reason, only provide your name, address and product serial number.
Write to National Demographics and Lifestyles to be removed from the lists created from warranty cards especially if you know you have filled one out in the past.

National Demographics and Lifestyles
List Order Department
1621 18th St. Suite 300
Denver, CO 80202

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Additional Reading

You may be interested in these links:

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