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Stopping Telemarketer Calls

Telemarketing calls can be infuriating and sometimes very difficult to prevent. There are steps you can take to put an end to this bothersome direct sales tactic. This is a page about stopping telemarketer calls.


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May 3, 2010

If you receive unsolicited phone calls and text messages even though you are on the Do Not Call registry, you can file a report with the FCC and post messages on these "Who's Calling Me" type websites. But there is something else you can do that will usually work even better and faster at stopping them; report them to the company who's phone service they are using!

Go to a reverse lookup site, I used, and type in the phone number you received the call from. It will tell you where the call originated from and what service they used (the two I got today both were from T-Mobile phones in Ohio). Then, find the website for that phone company and find their Customer Service number.

Call them and ask to speak to someone in their "Fraud Dept". Give them as much info as you can about the call/text, including the phone number it came from and any phone numbers,emails or websites it lists.


It seems like a lot of these telemarketing calls and text messages are now coming from cell phones because it's harder to track them down. Most of these cell phone companies (and the regular phone service companies) have fraud departments and they act quickly to shut these people down when they get a complaint about someone using their service to make unsolicited, harassing phone calls or text messages. They don't like it, it makes THEM look bad! Not only that, when you sign the contract to use their service,you agree not to use it for these purposes.

I have had to do this in the past and the phone calls/text messages stopped almost immediately, whereas the report to the FCC just makes them aware of the problem but doesn't stop it as fast.

By Judy = Oklahoma from Tulsa,OK

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October 20, 2016

I just now got a call from a telemarketer. It was my first in a long time. I handled the call in the manner I usually do. I thought someone else might find my method useful.

My method is quite simple. I listen to the sales pitch long enough to hear the instruction to press '1' to speak with a representative. I press '1', lay the phone down and walk away.


I don't get upset or angry. I don't engage in conversation with the party, asking them 'How did you get this number'? or 'I'm going to report this call'. At this point, I'm in control. I call the shots.

After I've laid the phone down, a representative attempts to speak with me. 'Hello, hello'. Hello, is anybody there? Hello?'. After a few frustrated attempts, the representative hangs up. I've walked away. I don't hear any of this. A moment later, what I do hear is the loud busy signal indicating the call has been disconnected. Then I go and replace the receiver on the cradle.

I started using this method a long time ago when I was receiving many telemarketing calls a week. It quickly reduced the number of calls to zero for long periods of time. Rarely do I get such a call any more.

My method is simple, saves my hair, puts me in control and leaves the caller frustrated to the point he/she will probably tell their super to remove my number from their calling list.

Oh! If you are given the option by the caller to press a number to be removed from the list, don't! That's interacting, exactly what they want, and you can be sure they wont remove your number. They will keep it and probably sell it to another firm.

Just lay the phone down and walk away.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 16, 2019

I can't ignore my phone. I'm receiving too many important calls, just now. Along with those calls, I'm receiving a lot of telemarketing calls. Thank goodness for caller ID.


I have noticed a new trend with telemarketers. They somehow route their calls in such a way that a local (probably unused) number will show up on your caller ID. That would cause some to think the call was from someone nearby.

Today, I see yet another new trend. I have received three calls so far today with the caller ID showing my own number. On the third call, I used the return call feature. Sure enough, the line was busy. (My name also appeared on the ID. I thought this odd as the phone number is not listed in my name).

I was wondering how commonplace this tactic is. It's new to me, but I'm curious as to how many other members are dealing with this issue.

While writing this question, I also did some research and was able to find an answer. I still think the information I found is important enough to pass along to the rest of you.

Here is the link.


April 16, 20190 found this helpful

With that extension, I didn't think the link would go live. You can highlight the link, right click and select 'Open link'. No need to copy and paste.

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April 16, 20190 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing! Yes! This drives me bonkers. It does feel very Twilight Zone to see my own number. They phish many local numbers including doctor and hospital numbers. Those are the worst because we have elderly family and friends who could be calling from a doctor or hospital to notify us of an issue. If these scammers would put their creativity to good use, the world would be so much safer and nicer.



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April 17, 20190 found this helpful

Thanks for providing that informational link, it works now. I think that extension needed actual coding to work with our system.

I have received calls from myself before. I never pick them up. I also get all sorts of calls that start the same as my number and look like they are in the local area. I don't pick these up anymore either. This has resulted in me missing calls from my sons who borrowed a friend's phone to ask for a ride occasionally. It's frustrating but it's a fact of modern life, like spam in your inbox. I add numbers to the National Do Not Call list but you can hardly do that to your own number.

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April 17, 20190 found this helpful

I think the carriers need to get on the ball. It shouldn't be too hard to block incoming calls that show your own number in caller ID. What really bothers me is that my name was associated with my number.


I know of no public records where my name is connected to my phone number. I can only guess that the scammers have somehow breached my online privacy. This is scary. I wonder what else they know.

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April 17, 20190 found this helpful

I've really not looked into this but it could be that it is showing that it is coming from you because your own phone identifies that number as yours. If it is a land line, I would be concerned.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 10, 2006

I read somewhere that when you receive an automated phone call that there are some numbers you can enter on your phone and it mixes up the automation and can delete your number from the list. Has anyone heard of this?

Jane from Richmond, B.C. CANADA


August 10, 20060 found this helpful

Register at this website to be put on the national "DO NOT CALL LIST". It is free and really works, no more telemarkers can call you. I registered myself, my daughter and my mother's number and the results have been wonderful.
https://www.don  gov/default.aspx

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August 11, 20060 found this helpful

When a telemarketer calls you, you sometimes hear a click before they start talking. As soon as you hear this click, start punching the # sign on your phone. This not only scrambles your number with them, it knocks it off their list so they don't call you again!

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April 25, 20150 found this helpful

This is a free service to those annoying telemarketers or robocalls which are done by computer.

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April 25, 20150 found this helpful

Unfortunately, political and charity calls are not blocked.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 3, 20100 found this helpful

We all get them. Those annoying phone calls that come just when you are cooking or sitting down to dinner. They're trying to sell you something. I've had calls offering me a wonderful 'free' weekend vacation in a luxurious spot, then the catch is that you have to have a husband/partner (I don't) and have at least a $50,000 a year income (Nope). Anyway, over here now we have a 'Don't Call" register where you can register with the service, and have all those annoying phone calls blocked from your number. It's worth inquiring as to if a similar service operates in your city.

By Ellie from Melbourne, Australia

Editor's Note: Anyone in the U.S. can have their name added to the National Do Not Call Registry by following this link:


Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

I always liked to give my daughter the phone when she was in her "babbling loving to talk on the phone but not actually knowing any real words yet" phase. She's sit there and "talk" to the telemarketers for a while. I always wondered how long it too them to figure it out! (07/05/2007)

By laura bucalo

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

That funny, handing the phone to your child. lol We have a simple rule, we don't answer our phone at meal time, or when we're busy. That's what the answering machine is for.

We rarely get solicitations by phone anyway (we're unlisted), but do occasionally get the random dial types. In those instances I always ask them how they got my phone number....which throws them every time, and I also ask that they remove my number from their call list.

For those who don't yet have the 'Do Not Call' lists (though I think most everyone does now), just interrupt the telemarketer and ask them to please permanently remove you from their calling list. If the same company calls back, they're violating Federal law. At that point, ask them for their company name, supervisor name and phone number. If you wish to quote the law to the telemarketer (that could actually be kind of fun), you can get that at the Federal Trade Commission: Telemarketing Sales Rule.

For general telemarketing calls: Send a postcard with your complete telephone number, area code, address, and names of people receiving calls to DMA Telephone Preference Service, PO Box 9014, Farmingdale NY 11735-9014.

I use the mail preference service and it does wonders. (07/05/2007)

By Carole

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

I usually just say that I'm the babysitter and that the homeowner is working late all this week.

But sometimes I'm in the mood for a bit of devilment and so I say something like 'oh that sounds interesting, tell me all about it' and then proceed to misunderstand what it is they are trying to sell me, sometimes I ask them to hold for a minute while I put the cat out, we don't have a cat. I will ask them to repeat things and then ask some more questions, maybe throw in a comment about the weather and ask how it is where they are.

Eventually, I will say that I'll need some time to think about it and ask them to call me back in a day or two, they never do! I wonder why? (07/05/2007)

By mum

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

Here is a US law about telemarketers that most people, not even the telemarketers know about. If you say no 3 times and they continue to try to sell you something, they are doing so illegally. Call this to their attention and let them know this and ask them for their name and the number in which they can be reached so your lawyer can contact them. I promise, they won't call back.

Another way to get rid of them is to pretend you are mentally disturbed, and that you are seeing and hearing things that are attacking you and describe these things as alien type beings. Or pretend you are mentally challenged and start talking off the wall about stuff. A friend of mine does this to bill collectors! (07/05/2007)

By Tina Brown

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

We used to get a lot of telemarketers and such, even with an unlisted number. When they would call, I would listen politely for about 20 seconds, and then would say "Oh, there's someone at the door. Just a minute." and then put the phone down on the table. Eventually they hang up and usually don't call back. Another thing I would do is to speak Spanish to them. Gets rid of them fast. (07/05/2007)

By laramay

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

When the display of my phone shows a 1-800 number I never answer it, or I press the speaker button for 2 seconds and then press it again to cut off the call. It works! (07/06/2007)

By Walter

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

You all are too funny. I never thought about giving the phone to a baby. Good idea. (07/06/2007)


Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

Be careful who you give your phone number to. Especially online where they ask you to give info. Depending on whether or not they have a privacy policy, they can sell your number. And some do. Now they have started with the technique of calling you up and playing a recording..What the ****?

It's not even that I mind people calling me to sell me something, it's how they act. You almost always have to be rude to get rid of them. When I do happen to speak to someone who politely accepts that I am not interested, I thank them for their respect. It doesnt happen often.

Telemarketers are not given much latitude in how they can initiate a call. And it's a job with a huge turnover rate. A thankless job to be sure. And the companies they are representing are often sleazeballs. Just remember that it's YOUR phone and it's there for YOUR convenience.

You could, if you want have some fun with them, pretend your hard of hearing. Ask them to spell everything. repeatedly, tell them about how bad your day is going, etc., or see if they would like to hear you sing "Good Golly Miss Molly." Pretend that they are a long lost friend or that someone you know has put them up to this as a prank call. (07/06/2007)

By Shera

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

The US Federal do-not-call list works, to an extent. But if you give your telephone number out online for anything the dratted telemarketers can feel free to call you anyway. Part of the law says that 'anyone you have done business with...' may call you. So don't do it! If a website demands your phone number, either put a fake one in, or leave the site.

Recently DH asked for some information online from a local college. Lo and behold, we fielded 20 to 30 calls from colleges all across the country wondering if we'd be interested in an online 'correspondence' course? Sheesh! (07/06/2007)

By YzOldOwl

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

A quick note from a former telemarketer.

If the company calling you is registered with the state that you live in (i.e., a local pest control company), they are exempt form the DNC list (especially in Texas, home of numerous critters, LOL!). You can still request to be placed on their own DNC list. The company I worked for did not buy a list, but used the Cole's Dictionary for the DFW metro area, so we did not have access to any DNC list but our own. (07/06/2007)

By Theresa

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

Although we registered in May, we are still getting calls. I have now been advised to make a note of the time, company name and name of the person and any other relevant information. After that, tell them you are on the register and going to make a complaint. (07/09/2007)

By Gwen Grosvenor

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

Thank you for all your answers. I must admit I did a crazy thing once. I got a call and told the caller I wasn't me. She (giving my surname) has gone overseas on holiday for six weeks to visit her sister. I was only the neighbour, come in to water the potplants and feed the fish. Okay, they hung up, but six weeks later the same person rang again and said 'Oh, good, you're back. How was your holiday?"

Sprung! So I said quickly 'No, it's still the neighbour, she has been delayed indefinitely. Her sister had a heart attack!" Well, when I told my family this they all fell about laughing and saying "Mother, A simple NO would have done for the first call. Why such an elaborate story?" I truly don't know. Seemed like a good idea at the time. (07/10/2007)

By Ellie

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

Even when you are registered on the National Do Not Call List, both companies that you have done business with and non-profits (for donations) are legally allowed to call you. My phone company has been a real pain in the behind, trying to get me to subscribe to unneeded services. (07/10/2007)

By susan

Dealing With Unsolicited Phone Calls

I hand the phone to my 4 year old grandson and tell him it is for him, it is so comical to hear the frustration in the caller's voice, when my very talkative grandson starts to ask them who, what and what for they are. (08/27/2007)

By Rose

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