How to Stop Annoying Robo Calls

Whether it’s the time of year or some other factor, our mobile phones are getting far too many automated calls which got me looking for the best way to block them.

First, it’s important to note and accept the ugly truth that our personal data, purchasing habits, web browsing history, and even what we’d consider to be somewhat private data is being sold and shared by big data companies. Each of us has a profile that marketers can use to target us for direct mail, email, and telemarketing type offers. The fact is that the more we engage with any sort of marketer, the more we tend to look like good marketing targets.

Remember, any sort of marketing is expensive. One of the first rules of marketing is not to waste money on unresponsive prospects. So, we need to realize that as long as we engage in any way–even complaining–we are identifying ourselves as responsive prospects.

The sales person or the manager at the other end of the telemarketer’s phone line doesn’t usually care about how loud you yell or how big your threats are. If they listen at all, they are just waiting for you to finish so they can move onto the next call. But their computer systems may see your response differently. They see that you answered and engaged. Sure the advanced database prospecting systems used by the sales team could remove an effective screamer from the list, but it takes another step. All too often, the database update doesn’t get made by the salesperson and the bothersome calls continue.

There are 217 million Americans on the Federal Do Not Call List, but last year the FTC still received over 3 million complaints about unwanted calls. The problem? Some legitimate companies still aren’t respecting the Do Not Call list. And many of the unwanted calls are from scammers or non-legit companies, who don’t care if they violate the law.

After reading several articles on the topic, the following five actions seem to be the first line of defense. Lastly, pressure on lawmakers to take more affirmative action against violators is always prudent.

1. Get on the National Do Not Call Registry
Visit the National Do Not Call Registry. There’s no cost to sign up and your number will be listed indefinitely which can help to stop the law-abiding telemarketers. It works for both mobile phones and landlines.

2. Don’t Press Any Keys or Interact in Any Way
If the automated systems offer any keypresses to speak with a human or even remove yourself from their list–do not press any keys. This doesn’t usually work and it just identifies you as an active prospect for more calls.

3. Subscribe to a Call Blocking Service
Blocking services are starting to emerge. The service Nomorobo is now available to a number of consumers, check here to see whether it’s available to you. Check with your phone company for other options. Some carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint allow you to block certain phone numbers. If you use any of these, give Consumer Reports feedback on these services.

4. Try your smartphone’s call-blocking apps
If you have a smartphone, consider available call-blocking apps. Also, Apple iOS7 and later customers can use Apple’s call blocking feature.Tell Consumer Reports about your experience with these apps.

5. Pressure Major Telcos to Stop Supporting Robocallers
The major telecommunications companies have the technology and means to stop robocalls and they are dragging their feet. The following group seeks to pressure lawmakers and telcos to take more affirmative action. Sign the petition here

You telemarketers can stuff it. I’m sick of you. Be gone…

Jack Manza

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