Almost a quarter of a million people in the U.S. are currently employed as telemarketers and with each one responsible for making hundreds of calls a day, it is not surprising that you keep getting calls hawking everything from alarm systems to cheap travel packages. The Federal Trade Commission set up the National Do Not Call Registry in 2004, to protect home voice or personal wireless phone numbers registered on it from telemarketers. If your number is registered on the Do Not Call list then callers are prohibited from making telephone solicitations to that number as long as it remains on the list, requiring companies and telemarketers to have your permission to call with any telemarketing pitch.
How To Register Your Number On The National Do Not Call List?
You can register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list by phone or on the Internet for free.
Sign Up For ‘Do Not Call’
To register online, visit the site www.donotcall.gov to enter the landline or cell phone number you wish to add to the registry. It will run a quick email verification and you’re done with the process.
To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). Just make sure that you call from the phone number you wish to register. Your number will be on the registry till you request it to be removed or you give up the number.
What Does ‘Do Not Call’ Cover?
According to the FTC, once you join The Do Not Call list, it will take up to 31 days to come into full effect and it will take your number off of for-profit business call lists. Political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you. And even businesses that you have transacted with, in the last 18 months, have a right to call. But if you request them to take you off their list, they have to honor your request. Be careful when signing up for sweepstakes and free product offers, as you may be giving permission to receive telemarketing calls from affiliated companies. If you do get unsolicited calls, just state you want to be taken off their list.
File A Complaint
When you get an unsolicited marketing call on your cell phone, firmly ask the caller how they got your number and then tell them you don’t want to be contacted again. If you keep getting calls from them, file a complaint with the FTC at donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222. You will need to hand over information about the date and time of the call, the caller’s number and so forth so that the FTC can track them down.
According to Federal Communications Commission, unsolicited telemarketing calls or robocalls to cell phones are illegal but there is no deadline to register your cell phone and most definitely no danger of your mobile number being made public. You can also visit the Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov to file a complaint online if you receive any telephone solicitations that you think violates any FCC rules.
Getting your phone number on the Do Not Call registry list does cut down the number of calls substantially as legitimate telemarketers within the U.S. refrain from calling you due to legal ramifications. Based on the Do Not Call Implementation Act, telemarketers (excluding surveyors, politicians, and charities) can be fined up to $40,000 if found to be flouting the list. Theoretically speaking, adding your number to the Do Not Call registry should stop all sales calls. However, that isn’t always true. For criminal telephone spammers the Do Not Call list is not a useful barrier as they still manage to evade U.S. law enforcement and get through the cracks.
Additional Measures To Block Unwanted Telemarketing Calls
Here are some additional measures you can take to block unwanted telesales-
There are many statewide Do Not Call lists for residents too that you can join. Contact your state’s consumer protection office to find out if there is any such list for your state, and register your number or numbers on it too. Check the government listings or blue pages of your local phone directory to find out the contact details of your local consumer protection office.
There are many services and apps that can block annoying robocalls, such as Quilici’s app, YouMail. You can also use Nomorobo, which helps screen incoming numbers against a database of known spam callers.
The Internet Engineering Task Force, meanwhile are working on developing open-source technical standards for the Internet that can better verify the source of voice-over-Internet calls using a cryptographic signature to indicate legitimacy. Till then, taking these precautions will help keep pesky callers at bay.