Telemarketing calls are often considered to be intrusive or annoying, particularly when they interrupt your sleep, dinner, or time with family or friends. What’s worse, they will bombard you with endless calls recommending their substandard yet pricy goods which you either don’t need or can buy on the Amazon at a more reasonable price. This article is going to explain some methods that help reduce the number of unwanted sales calls you receive. It also provides tips for protecting yourself from fraud and for filing a complaint, if necessary.
What are Telemarketing Calls
A telemarketing call is a type of marketing or sales call that is made over the phone to potential customers. Telemarketers typically use a script or a pre-determined sales pitch to introduce their product or service and try to persuade the customer to make a purchase or provide personal information. Four common kinds of telemarketing include outbound calls, inbound calls, lead generation, and sales calls. Telemarketing calls are often considered to be intrusive or annoying, and many people prefer to avoid them by using call screening or blocking services.
How to Block Telemarketing Calls
To block telemarketing calls, you can join the National Do Not Call Registry list. However, this may only work for legal telemarketers. Some telemarketers, such as those that are exempt from the rules or operate outside the United States, may still be able to contact you. You can try some other ways below to block telemarketing calls.
Join the National Do Not Call Registry list
For American users, you can go to the website donotcall.gov and enter the landline or cellphone number you want on the list. Joining the National Do Not Call Registry is simple. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want to put on the list. That’s all it takes; your number stays on the list until you ask for it to be removed or you give up the number.
Once you sign up, the Do Not Call list takes you off for-profit business call lists, but this effect isn’t immediate. Telemarketers only update their listings periodically, which is why the FTC says it can take up to 31 days. Political organizations, charities, and survey-takers are still permitted to call you. Businesses you’ve bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months also have a right to call. When they call, however, firmly tell them to take you off their list and they should honor your request.
Block individual phone numbers
This won’t help keep the spoofed numbers away, but it will stop persistent companies. Here’s a feature available on any iPhone and Android — the ability to block specific numbers. Although this cannot possibly stop every robocall and spammer number, you can at least block the recurring ones.
- On Android, open the phone app and tap the three-dot “more” icon, followed by Call History. Tap the number you want to block, and on the next page that appears, tap Block/report spam. You can also block unknown numbers in a similar way. Open the phone app and tap the three-dot “more” icon, followed by Settings. Choose Blocked Numbers, then turn on Unknown. This will block calls from private or unidentified numbers.
- On an iPhone, go to your recent calls and click the “i” next to the number that called you. Scroll to the bottom and select “block this caller.” On an Android phone, either find the “call blocking” or “call rejection” menu in the settings and enter the number.
Consult your carrier about scam-blocking services.
All four major wireless carriers offer some sort of call-blocking feature. All have a free option and a premium tier.
- AT&T’s Call Protect app is available for iOS and Android. The free version blocks spam and fraud calls and provides nuisance warning labels and a personal block list, and you can block all unknown callers.
- Verizon’s Call Filter app is automatically enabled for Android users on a postpaid plan. The service offers spam detection, a spam filter, a call log for blocked or spam calls, the ability to allow calls from specific numbers (iOS only), and the option to report numbers for free.
- T-Mobile’s Scam Shield is free to all customers and includes multiple features designed to protect you from robocalls and sharing your personal information. Dial #662# from your phone to turn on Scam Block, or download the free Scam Shield app in your phone’s respective app store. With Scam Shield enabled, you’ll get full caller ID, scam reporting, scam blocking before your phone ever rings, and the option to mark numbers as favorites so they still ring your phone.
- Sprint’s Call Screener is free. Sprint customers will fully migrate over to T-Mobile’s system and be able to use the full Scam Shield product offering. Until then, you can download and use Call Screener Pro without the $3-a-month fee. The service identifies and either labels or blocks suspected spam calls and allows you to report numbers as spam.
Use the third-party app RealCall to block telemarketers and scams.
RealCall is a tool that focuses on blocking spam calls and spam text messages for both IOS and Android. Based on a strong number database and continuous iteration of blocking rules, it can effectively block 99% of robocalls, fraudulent calls, marketing calls, and of course, spam SMS. RealCall blocks numbers that are on the Global Blacklist of spam numbers, which is updated daily. When a number on this global blacklist calls you, it will automatically be blocked by RealCall.
- The blocklist supports real-time updates, collecting millions of detected spam numbers and assisting you to block calls with an accuracy of up to 99%; important robocalls, like doctor appointments and school closings, are able to get through based on the Yellow Pages.
- AI Models help stay ahead of scammers before answering unknown calls with Scam Block technologies identifying; helps you get revenge on all robocalls you don’t want to see anymore; automatically sends it to voicemail when you miss a call.
Set your phone on do not disturb
To block every number except your most trusted contacts or favorites, you can turn on your iPhone or Android phone’s built-in Do Not Disturb mode. It’s an extreme solution but it will definitely stop all unwanted calls, including robocalls, telemarketing calls, and spam calls.
Keep in mind that you may miss some legitimate calls when this mode is on, but unknown callers will always have the option to leave a voice message. You can add any number to your contacts list to let them through in the future.
- On Android, On Android, go to Settings > Sound (or Sound & Notification in some phones) > then tap Do Not Disturb to customize your Do Not Disturb settings.
- On your iPhone, go to your settings and tap the “do not disturb” button. Then, select “allow calls from” to enter your exceptions. You can also open the control center and tap the crescent moon icon to turn “do not disturb” on.
Turn on anonymous call blocking.
Call your carrier to turn anonymous call blocking on for you. Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) intercepts calls from people who have used a blocking feature to prevent their name or number from being provided to people they call. You can call *77 to turn on anonymous call blocking, but double-check first. In some areas, calling *77 will contact the police. When Anonymous Call Rejection is activated, callers hear a message telling them to hang up, unblock delivery of their phone number and call again. Your phone will not ring unless the caller removes the block.
- Anonymous Call Rejection does not intercept calls that display as Unknown or Out-of-Area on the Caller ID. These designations usually mean that the call originated in an area in which Caller ID is not available.
- Anonymous Call Rejection does not block Operator Assisted incoming calls.
- Some phones have an anonymous call blocking function you can turn on in the “settings” menu.
Hang up on automated robocall menus.
Those robocalls are trying to trick you, so just hang up. If you receive a call from an unknown number or one that doesn’t show up on caller ID, don’t answer. If it’s an important call, the person will leave a message and you can get back to them.
Don’t respond to any questions that can be answered with a “Yes.” If you do answer a call and hear a recording such as, “Hello, can you hear me?” just hang up. The same goes for a call where you’re asked to press a number before being connected to a representative. Once they know the number is active, you may be targeted by more calls in the future.
Tell telemarketers to stop calling you.
You can just speak out “Please put me on your do not call list” and hang up. Telemarketers can be obnoxiously persistent, so the longer you’re on the line with them, the more likely they are to keep pushing your buttons. If you can ignore the volume of robocalls coming in and self-filter the important ones, you can avoid even engaging with these scammers in the first place.
If the telemarketer is calling from a legitimate company, the odds are this should put an end to the calls. Most companies have an internal “do not call” list, and it’s illegal in most states to keep calling you after you’ve asked them to stop.
Report telemarketing calls
Once you sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry list, it is illegal for telemarketers to call you. If you still get telemarketing calls, you can go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and report them to the FTC.
None of the above solutions is perfect, but they supplement the carrier’s integration of technology now required to check for caller ID spoofing. So right now, you need to do some extra work to keep the number of telemarketing calls you receive to a minimum. Between being cautious about calls from unknown numbers and using a service (paid or free), you can reduce the number of unwanted calls and spam you have to deal with.