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Don't Call Me, I'll Call You

Tired of unsolicited calls and mail? Take a few minutes to get yourself on these lists.

Our caller ID has been filled recently with calls from "000-000-0000" or "Unknown Name." Frankly, I don't want to talk to either of those callers. I've also had my shredder going overtime getting rid of unwanted credit card offers and other unwelcome mailers. I did register for the Do-Not-Call list when it first came out, but I decided it was time to re-visit this issue before my not-so-nice side comes through to an unsuspecting telemarketer!

Here's what I found out about unwanted calls:

  • Register your landline and cell phones on the National Do Not Call list. Contrary to rumor, cell phones have been included since the start of the Do-Not-Call list in 2003. Within 31 days of registering, there should be a sharp decrease in calls from telemarketers. A law enacted in 2008 made phone numbers on the list permanent, so those of us who originally registered, need to re-register for this forever list.
  • Registration doesn't stop all unwanted calls, however. Calls from political organizations, charities, survey takers and debt collectors are still allowable. You can also hear from companies you do business with, unless you specifically tell them, "Please remove me from your call list."
  • Still getting unwanted calls? Report the offender to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-382-1222.

To end unwanted junk mail, there are several steps to take:

  • To stop receiving credit card offers, visit Opt Out Prescreen. The site lists an opportunity to opt out for five years, or to opt out permanently. Registration discontinues all firm (preapproved / prescreened) offers of credit or insurance from showing up in your mailbox.
  • The Direct Marketing Association offers DMAchoice to let you control your mail in four categories: credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other mail offers. Sign up to discontinue mail in any, or all four, of these categories. This will only last for three years, so mark your calendar for November 2014 to re-up. 
  • The DMAchoice site also has special services for family members, friends or caretakers seeking to remove the names of deceased individuals from commercial marketing lists, and for caregivers looking to get the names of their dependents removed from mailing lists.
  • Register for a free service by Catalog Choice to stop the catalogs, coupons, credit offers, phone books, fliers, circulars, newsletters, and other unsolicited mail you receive.

So, I'm back on the Do-Not-Call list. Don't call me to try and sell me a magazine or sign me up for a credit card. If you do, I'll be asking for your home number so I can call and interrupt your dinner!

MrJ November 07, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Thanks for the info. I looked at these websites and I don't know which is worse, getting unwanted mail or having to give these websites my SSN, DOB and other information that should not be given out so easily on the net.
Joanne LaSpina November 07, 2011 at 05:00 PM
I hear you, TJ! I suggest that you always look for "https" at the beginning of the website address to make sure it is secure. All of these links offer phone numbers as well. For something like the "Opt Out" site that requires so much personal data, I'm more inclined to call (1–888–567–8688)
Edwin Flynn December 03, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Thanks for the heads up, Joanne!This is really useful reminder. I've always had issues with telemarketers and all these annoying calls but I'm to skeptical to do online registration. It's nice to have a phone number to call instead.
Edwin Flynn December 04, 2011 at 12:04 AM
by the way, I just checked on those telemarketing phone numbers I have reported to the telephone scams watchdog site http://www.callercenter.com and guess what? the complaints are piling up! Is there a way we can send these complaints to the FTC and maybe the police can also investigate?

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