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How can I Avoid Getting Telemarketing Calls?

Michael Pollick
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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It often seems that the best way to attract telemarketing calls is to prepare dinner or step into a shower, but many of us wonder how to avoid receiving telemarketing calls in the first place. There are actually a few techniques and products available which should significantly reduce or even completely eliminate the number of telemarketing calls a consumer receives on a regular basis. Because certain charitable and non-profit organizations are allowed to solicit funds over the phone, however, you may still receive a few unsolicited calls from time to time.

One way to avoid getting telemarketing calls is to completely change your phone number and pay the fee for a non-published listing. Many people consider this to be a rather drastic course of action, since other legitimate callers may not be aware of the change and a number of personal documents will have to be updated.

The advantage of having a new, unlisted phone number is that you won't be included in a list of potential customers called the phone book. Many telemarketing calls are generated by professional telemarketing companies moving methodically through numerous phone books. This also includes removing your name from Internet-based phone directories, some of which obtain private phone numbers through other public sources besides the phone company.

If you don't want to change your current phone number, you might be able to avoid telemarketing calls by guarding your personal information at all times. If providing your phone number on a subscription form or mail order coupon is optional, leave it off. Never fill out entry forms for contests offering free prizes unless you know how the contest will be administered. Many times those entry forms are sold to telemarketing firms in order to generate future leads. Treat your phone number like you would your social security number or your home address. Know exactly who you are dealing with and don't volunteer your phone number to surveyors or pollsters.

There are some devices designed to reduce or eliminate the frequency of telemarketing calls made to your number. A device known as a Telezapper® attaches to the main phone line and sends out an electronic tone to the incoming telemarketing call. Many telemarketing companies use a number-generating computer to initiate telemarketing calls. Once the dialing process is complete, a human telemarketer takes over to make the sales pitch. The Telezapper® sends out a tone which tells the computer your number has been disconnected. This not only terminates the call, but also puts your number on a list of other disconnected or non-existent phone numbers.

Many consumer advocacy groups recommend contacting a national "do not call" list in order to protect yourself against unsolicited telemarketing calls. This usually involves visiting a government-sponsored website or calling a toll-free number. Once your phone number has been registered with a national "do not call" listing service, you should not receive telemarketing calls for five years after activation. If you do receive unsolicited telemarketing calls, you can report the caller and they could face fines for every protected phone number they call. You may also be able to ask individual telemarketers to place you on a "preferred calling" list, which may sound counter-intuitive at first, but unless you ask specifically to be put on that list, you could continue to receive telemarketing calls from that company.

Telemarketers have become increasingly aware of the penalties for violating "do not call" listings, so many of them take the information provided to them by the government very seriously. The instant the five year limitation runs out, however, they can legally begin making telemarketing calls again. You need to remain diligent and use a multi-prong attack to keep these unsolicited calls from interrupting your dinner or afternoon nap ever again.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By billbenice44 — On Mar 14, 2014

I use a T-Lock callblocker in my living room and go online to verify how dangerous the numbers are. The calls decrease after time.

By anon358800 — On Dec 12, 2013

The best way to avoid telemarketers is to know who your enemy is.

Take note of the numbers that called you before.

or check some websites that have list of phone numbers that have notes on it. At the cost of a few dollars, it will save you a lot of money.

When somebody calls you and it's an unfamiliar number, try checking it first using a website before answering. Hope this helps.

By anon261895 — On Apr 17, 2012

Nice information, many thanks to the author! It is good and correct. The usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again for this very informative post and good luck!

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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