When you get a robocall, should you…
- hang up right away
- follow the instructions for removing yourself from their call list
- try to get through to a real person, then shame them for calling when you’re on the “Do Not Call List”
Although “C” was tempting, I used to do “B” thinking that it was the most logical way to get the calls to stop. But the calls actually increased! How could that be?
It’s because some of these calls are from fraudulent companies who have no interest in following FTC regulations.
Like many of you, we’re on the Do Not Call Registry. (If you’re not, do this today at DoNotCall.gov.) It stops most unsolicited calls. The calls we do receive are from scammers like “Rachel from cardholder services” and the new “Life Alert” phishing scam.
While it does help to report these calls to DoNotCall.gov, you should know that some originate from outside the US, which makes it difficult for the FTC to prosecute them. It doesn’t help to try to remove your number from their call lists, because they don’t actually have a list. They’re just dialing random numbers hoping to get a live line. In fact, any interaction on your part could actually put you on a call list!
If you want to keep track of calls that violate FTC regulations, you can put in a formal complaint on the Do Not Call website or by calling 888-382-1222. We’ve started to do this. In fact, I did this yesterday as I received a robocall on my cell phone – which is against FTC regulations in every state no matter the circumstances.
Calls you shouldn’t report to DoNotCall.gov
- Political campaigns
- Companies that you do business with
Unless they’ve called your cell phone, it’s perfectly legal for companies to call you for these purposes. If you report them, you’re just wasting the FTC’s time, which is unfortunate around election time and the holidays.
While doing the research for this post, I came across some interesting tips for stopping the calls. Some people are suggesting starting your voicemail message with the three tones you hear when you call a disconnected number. Do you think the robocallers have programmed their systems to ignore disconnected phone numbers? I’m not so sure, but it’s a fun idea.
Let me know what you are doing to eliminate unwanted phone calls from your life.