Tired of annoying telemarketing calls? There are steps you can take to get off the lists for these calls. You won’t be able to stop all of them, but you will be able to reduce the number you receive.

Here’s how . . .

Keep Your Phone Number To Yourself

Don’t put your phone numbers on forms, or give it to businesses, unless absolutely necessary. Whenever you give a business your number, ask that they not share it with other companies. Don’t print your phone number on your checks.

Register With The National Do Not Call Registry

The Federal Government created this national registry. Call toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. You can also register online at www.donotcall.gov if you have an active e-mail address. Registration is free. Your number will stay in the registry for five years, until it is disconnected, or until you delete it from the registry. After five years, you may renew your registration. You can expect fewer calls within three months of the date you sign up for the registry.

Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. You may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors, and companies with which you have an existing business relationship. A company with which you have an established business relationship may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. Also, if you make an inquiry to a company or submit an application to it, for three months afterwards the company can call you. If you make a specific request to that company not to call you, however, then the company may not call you.

Ask To Be Put On Individual Companies’ Do Not Call Lists

When you get a telemarketing call, if you just hang up or say “I’m not interested,” the company may call back at another time. Instead, every time you get a telemarketing call, say “Put me on your ‘do not call’ list.” The Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 requires companies to keep this list. Your request must be honored for 10 years. Nonprofits are an exception: they do not have to comply with this law.

Get An Unlisted Number

Getting an unlisted number can cut down on telemarketing calls. It will not prevent calls from companies that dial numbers in sequential order by computer.

Be Aware That Phone Technology Allows Companies To See And “Capture” Your Number When You Call

Some companies add the numbers to a marketing list. At no cost, you can block your number from being displayed by dialing *67 and waiting for a dial tone before making a call. However, this “per call blocking” does not work when calling 800 or 900 numbers.

Screen Calls And Hang Up On Auto-Dialers

If all else fails, you can avoid having to talk with telemarketers by using an answering machine to “screen” your calls before you decide to pick up. Many telemarketers hang up if they reach a machine. Also, learn to recognize the sounds of an auto-dialer: you answer your phone and there is a pause. If you don’t want to be connected to a sales representative, just hang up. Or, if you prefer, stay on the line in order to tell the caller you want to be put on the company’s “do not call” list.

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**This article is designed to provide helpful information that can be read within 2 minutes. It is neither a full explanation of this subject nor legal advice. To learn more, and to get legal advice on which you can rely, contact me or another lawyer.