A Message from Consumer Action

Consumer Action's MoneyWi$e educational materials have moved to our Managing Money Project website. Here you may view, download and order bulk copies of the MoneyWi$e materials. Please make a note of the Managing Money Project address— www.managing-money.org —and add it to your address book.

Help Desk FAQ

Privacy

Telecommunications

 

How can I reduce the number of telemarketing and robocalls I receive?

You can’t stop all nuisance calls, but you can make a dent in their numbers by following these tips:

  • Add your home and cell phone numbers, at no charge, to the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222/866-290-4236 TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register. Find out if your state keeps its own do-not-call list by doing an online search or by contacting your state’s consumer protection agency (https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer). Numbers stay on the list unless you remove them.
  • Call blocking apps let you create lists of numbers to block from calling your cell phone, and often generate their own lists based on data identifying certain numbers as spam. Some apps may upload your contacts list along with your call log. The app’s privacy policy should explain how it collects and uses your information.
  • Smartphones come with the built-in capability to block calls from specific numbers, set “do not disturb” hours and otherwise help you reduce nuisances. Check your device's "settings" to find out what your options are.
  • Devices that block unwanted calls can be installed directly on a home phone. Some base their blocking on a blacklist of known and/or added spam numbers, while others require you to create a whitelist of allowed numbers. You would have to purchase a call-blocking device; make sure, before you do, that it will work on your phone and with your carrier (phone service provider).
  • Carriers usually offer customers some options; contact your carrier to find out what is available. The problem is that robocallers frequently shift the numbers they use, so can often get around blacklists. Or they "spoof" the caller ID so that what shows up is a number or name you recognize (or at least one that is not blocked as "anonymous") and the call sneaks through. Some carrier tools are free, but others may cost a monthly fee.
  • Paying a small fee to have your phone number unlisted (omitted from the phone directory or directory assistance) will help reduce unwanted calls, too. 

Following all of these tips will help you reduce unwanted calls, but it won't stop them entirely. As explained in the tips, some telemarketing and robocalls will circumvent the efforts to block them. Certain other calls, including fundraising calls, survey calls, informational calls, calls from non-profit organizations and calls from anyone with which you already have a business relationship (such as your bank or phone company), are legal. However, you can reduce the frequency of these by clearly stating during the call that you want to be added to the caller’s own do-not-call list (non-profits are not required to keep a list). The company must honor your request for five years—after that you would have to make another request. Your request should also stop calls from affiliated entities.

 

 
 
 
 
 

Quick Menu

Support Consumer Action

Support Consumer

Join Our Email List

Optional Member Code
Facebook FTwitter T

MoneyWise Modules

Managing Money Topics

Help Desk

Advocacy