Register for the “Do Not Call” list

I heard a story this week about a lady in her 80’s who received a phone call from Medicare – well, the caller said he was from Medicare. The caller was very pleasant and said he needed to update this senior’s Medicare information. The conversation went on for a minute or so, and then the caller asked for the lady’s bank account information.  The lady immediately knew this was a scam and told the caller, “I made be old, but I’m not out of it!”.

Everyone with a phone is a target for telephone scams as well as annoying telemarketing calls. The best way to avoid unwanted calls is to register your number on the federal “Do Not Call” list. You can do this by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. You can also sign up for the “Do Not Call” list online at

Register your cell phone.

Cell phone users will soon be getting many more telemarketing calls because cell phone numbers are going public this month (according to an email I received from a friend today – which prompted me to write about this topic).  Cell phone users get charged for incoming calls, so not being on the “Do Not Call” list could get expensive.

Medicare does not call people to “update their record”.

If you get a call to “update your record”, you should assume it is a scam. The same rules apply to emails asking you to update your credit card or bank account info.  I just got one of these emails yesterday, supposedly from Chase, saying my account would be frozen unless I clicked on a link and provided info.

Medicare Telemarketing

People turning 65, and those over 65, are sure to get unsolicited phone calls about Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans – unless they are on the “Do Not Call” list.

Medicare says agents, brokers, and telemarketers cannot call people to talk about Medicare Advantage. But, they can call about Medicare supplements. And of course, the conversation might just happen to shift to the more lucrative Medicare Advantage option – and then an appointment will be requested.

To avoid all these annoying phone calls, register your home phone and your cell phone for the “Do Not Call” list. I just registered my cell phone today.

The federal “Do Not Call” list phone number:  1-888-382-1222

The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.




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25 Responses to "Register for the “Do Not Call” list"

  1. Karyn_Zoldan says:

    That’s all good advice. Thank you. What really slays me is when I get a voice mail or answering machine and the message says you have reached 254-XXXX, please leave a message. People should NEVER be announcing their phone number on their answering machine.

  2. CascaRufio says:

    We have been registered with the “Do Not Call” since it first came out, and re-registered several times since it seemed to have no effect.  The government is not enforcing the list, and allows telemarketers to claim their call is a survey to get around the list.  They can also claim that you visited their website, or an affiliate’s website and left your phone number agreeing to be contacted according to the terms and conditions of their website.  There is no way to prove or disprove this, so the telemarketer has an easy way around the list. 
    The government website should have an option to be put on a list to block all calls from all businesses regardless of whether they are telemarketing or conducting a survey.  All of these businesses should have to register their phone numbers as business numbers and all phone companies should have to support the blocking of these numbers to your phone unless you specifically call a number from your phone and unblock that number.  If a person on the list gets an unsolicited call, there should be an option to immediately dial a number which automatically reports that number (caller id blocked or not) to a government database which after a number of reports will cause an investigation of that number.
    If a business phone calls a personal phone or a cell phone which has not specifically authorized calls from that business phone, even when not on the do not call list, they should get a recorded message requiring them to accept charges of $10 per minute charged to their business phone account before the call is completed.  $8 per minute should go to the account of the private phone and $2 per minute shared between the two phone companies for handling the transaction.

  3. Denise_Early says:

     You mention being told that you visited a website and therefore gave permission to call. This is very important – and very hard to avoid.  If you enter a contest online, or fill out a form for information… you are probably giving permission for your information to be shared. I know it’s terrible, but the government cannot enforce the “do not call” list if marketers have found ways to get around it.

  4. tiponeill says:

    Thanks for the warning – I had heard that our bought and paid for congresscritters were going to sell them our cellphone numbers.

    Not that it works – they have enough “exceptions” that one local business that calls itself a “surveyor” already likes to call my cell phone while I’m driving and it’s perfectly legal.

  5. tiponeill says:

    Why not ? The caller know what it is.

  6. Karyn_Zoldan says:

     Wrong numbers also get the phone number.

  7. tiponeill says:

    So ? the “wrong number” knows what number it just dialed on any modern phone or autodialer.

     All the message does is alert the caller that they have dialed incorrectly – it doesn’t give them any information.

  8. Karyn_Zoldan says:

     Tip, you’re a PIA. Go do something productive. My land line is 1 digit off from a local social service agency that deals with drug and alcohol addicts seeking treatment. I get at least 2 or 3 wrong numbers a week. The caller always asks what number they dialed. End of story.

  9. tiponeill says:

    Handing out dumb advice isn’t “productive”.
    On the other hand, I would advise you to change your phone number 😉

  10. CascaRufio says:

    I did not say I visited a website.  I said all the company has to say if complained about is that the person visited their website and there is no way to prove that you did not, so the telmarketer does not have to pay attention to the do not call list.

  11. CascaRufio says:

    Also be aware that your banks and mortgage companies will sell the addresses and phone numbers of their customers to anyone for a small fee.  This is in the terms and conditions fine print if you read it.  It allows them to share your information with affiliates that may contact you, and you are authorizing this by doing business with them with no option to not allow it.  An “affiliate” includes anyone they have an agreement with and there is no restriction, so it can be anyone that pays them for the information.  They will also allow third parties to use their letterhead in junk mail sent to you, which can make you think you are dealing with your bank if you don’t read through the often difficult, extremely small fine print, sometimes on the back in light gray font.  There is a disclaimer which absolves any responsibility even if the offer is a complete scam, and the bank authorized the use of their name.
    A fairly recent scam is third party survey companies contacting you claiming they were hired by your bank or insurance company to gather information to better serve your account or make possible cost savings adjustments.  If you contact your bank or insurance company the customer service rep will tell you that yes, this is legitimate.  Even the service rep does not know that it was the survey company that approached the bank or insurance agency with the offer to gather this information paying a small fee to the bank or insurance company plus providing them with results of the survey, if they allow the company to use their name.  The survey company profits by selling the information they gathered from you to other parties.  You should refuse to give any information to third parties, and contact your bank or insurance company to inform them you will only give information to someone that works directly for their company and should only be required to give information if something has changed since you opened the policy.

  12. Rick Raton says:

    A waste of your time to register. My phone has always been reigstered on do not call. For ten years, never ending calls from Florida time share creeps. I always gathered information from them, names, phone numbers and reported each and every call  I rec. They never stopped calling. They do not follow up and there are no real penalties. 

  13. Rick Raton says:

    I cancelled the land line, have my cell registered and now am receiving calls on it. BAH !

  14. BajaDemocrats says:

     I’ve been getting a rash of robocalls offering to lower the interest rate on my credit card debt to my internet phone service phone. I don’t have any CC debt, and only friends & family have that number. The caller ID always says “wireless caller” with various numbers. I think these companies just pick a valid prefix number and then robocall all possible number variations in that prefix, internet calling costs a penny a minute or less, so no big loss to them. I just press the number “2” when the spiel starts which tells them “not interested, don’t call again”. The robocall ends immediately, and that has cut way down on the calls.

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  16. sharon says:

    except i am registerd for a long time…still get 6 -8 bogus calls a day !
    especially medicare . both home and cell phone

  17. Sara says:

    I’ve been registered with the do not call list for several years and it’s pretty much worthless. Now I’m getting hit with a barrage of calls for the “medicare supplements”, which by no small coincidence are worthless, too. To compensate myself for not being able to avoid being called by these vultures, I get my jollies by being rude to them before hanging up.

  18. Rene says:

    I registered all of my phones on the “do not call” list. i still get many “medicare supplement” calls.

  19. Deb says:

    I have been registered for many years, still I receive at least 3 calls a day from medicare supplement establishments. They repeatedly ignore the Do Not Call list. I do not understand why they are not penalized, or otherwise sanctioned.. The list seems to have stopped other solicitors but the medicare companies continue daily. The elderly sometimes are easily misled. This is elderly abuse at it’s finest.

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  22. Mary says:

    i have been on the do not call list since 2003 and still get calls. finally bought a phone that has caller blocking on it so i can reduce those calls for awhile. what is interesting is we won’t get calls for about 2 weeks then we suddenly start getting calls from new numbers. so i delete the numbers on the call block and add the new ones. it is a pain but i do get a reprieve from continuous calls for awhile.

    now as for my cell phone. never ever gave that phone number out to anyone but my kids and family but suddenly have started getting calls on it too. so luckily it too can block numbers which I do….. not sure how many it can store but i will do the same as the landline if i have too. hoping someone will come up with an app that blocks calls not listed on my contacts…..

  23. I have been having peopke calling about anything from back braces, knee braces, shoulder braces, wrist, and ankle brace, pain cream, and dry skin cream. I tell tbem I am not interested , but they call back as many as six times. They are usually foreigners that I have trouble understanding them. Usually it is the same caller though. I am 6, I have mobility problems and I don’t need to be constantly trying to get to my phone. I am tired of it. I am on a do not call list but that doesn’t seem to matter.

  24. Pat says:

    I have been registered with the Do Not Call Registry since 10/05 (just called and checked the date), and despite that, I’ve been receiving 4-5 solicitation calls a day!!!

    Starting with the next call, I am going to begin collecting data on them and start reporting them to the FTC, and to Medicare, who has a dedicated number for such complaints (1-800-633-4227).

  25. Arlene says:

    I have been a part of the DNC for years. It has not stopped these individuals from calling. I find out who they are and they claim to represent Medicare. Once I call them on the fact they are not with medicare they hang up. I block that call but they just use another number. I am up to 5 – 10 calls a day. This is bordering on harrassment in my opinion.

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