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Q: stop telemarketer calls ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: stop telemarketer calls
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: susan-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 12 Jun 2002 20:49 PDT
Expires: 19 Jun 2002 20:49 PDT
Question ID: 25057
What is the best way to stop telemarketer calls to your home phone number?
Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
Answered By: dandrick-ga on 12 Jun 2002 21:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

There are several ways to stop telemarketers from calling your home.
There are several products out there that can be bought and installed
(no professional installation, just plugs into your phone line) that
stops telemarketer calls that are dialed by certain automated
computers. Here's a link to a few of the more popular ones if you
decide to take that route:

There is also something called 'call intercept' that the Verizon phone
company offers if you happen to have your telephone service provided
by them - basically this is an add-on feature to caller-ID and is
explained in a cut and paste below from Verizon's site (

"How Call Intercept Works

    * This automated service works with Caller ID service.
    * Unidentified callers that typically show up as "Anonymous," "Out
of Area," "Private" or "Unavailable" on your Caller ID display are
prompted to record their identity before your phone rings.*
    * Once the caller records his or her identity, the service alerts
you with a unique ring and displays "Call Intercept" on your Caller ID
    * When you pick up the phone, Call Intercept plays the recording
and then gives you several options for handling the call.

Additional Benefits

    * Unidentified callers who don't record their name hear a
pre-recorded message stating that you do not accept unidentified
calls, and then are disconnected.
    * Use of a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) that
you choose allows friends and family to bypass the screening process.
When Call Intercept is bypassed using the PIN, you hear a unique ring
and "Priority Call" appears on the Caller ID display.
    * If no one answers, Call Intercept will allow the caller to leave
a message on your answering machine or Home Voice Mail service."

Also, there are several services offered by various not-for-profit
companies that run "Do Not Call" lists - supposedly all they do is put
peoples phone numbers on these lists and distribute them to
telemarketers. More information about this can be found here:

If I had to give my opinion on the 'best' way after shifting through
all of the above stuff, I would have to say the last link to the
Privacy Rights website above sounds the most logical. They don't offer
any 100% success stories or anything - there really isn't a way to
completely stop telemarketer calls but using some or all of the
methods above should drastically cut down on the number of them that
you recieve.

Please feel free to ask for clarification or rate this answer :)

I hope this helps!

Clarification of Answer by dandrick-ga on 12 Jun 2002 21:25 PDT
I meant to add this link, but missed it when moving this from my
notepad to the answer box here.

This is The Direct Marketing Association's (The DMA) website - this
specific link points to their "How to get your name off telemarketing
lists" section. There's some good information here.

susan-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: tlspiegel-ga on 12 Jun 2002 21:50 PDT
Hi Susan,

Just wanted to let you know the Direct Marketing Association does a
very fine job.

The fastest results will be when you register online at:

However, there is a registration fee of $5.00 - using a credit card
for secure

Or, on the website you can utilize the mail-in form and there is no
charge for registering by mail. Print out the completed form, sign,
and then mail it to:

ATTN: Dept 4908034
PO BOX 3079

It may take up to 6 weeks for processing, but I can verify I was
pleased with the results, and your registration is good for 5 years!

In addition some telephone companies offer a free service where you
register with them for no telemarketing calls. Again... it can take up
to 6 weeks for the service to take effect. If you phone your telephone
company and speak to their Customer Service they might be able to help
you out that way also.

Good Luck to you,
Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: rico-ga on 13 Jun 2002 05:43 PDT
Just a comment on the Telezapper ...

I was considering trying out the Telezapper several months back and
cruised over to Amazon to check out the reviews. One reviewer pointed
out that the Telezapper's core technology was simply the
"disconnected" special information tone, which will cause many
telemarketing computers to hang up and automatically remove the number
from its database when heard. The reviewer went on to recommend you
simply surf the Web, find a a wave file of the tone, such as the one
located on this page ...

... and add it to the beginning of your answering machine message
rather than lay out the $50 for the Telezapper.

So, that's what I did, and almost immediately noticed a dramatic
downturn in calls. Of course, you also have to be prepared for
complaints from friends and family that there's something wrong with
your answering machine. :-)

Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: bethc-ga on 13 Jun 2002 06:29 PDT

I have been fighting the intrusion of telemarketers for years. About
10 years ago, there was briefly a product for sale called the Bouncer,
which would allow you to handle incoming calls based on their
Caller-Id information. It was a nifty little gadget that went a long
way to enabling you to rid yourself of junk phone calls. If the
Caller-Id showed “OUT OF AREA” you could instruct the little thing to
just send the calls back into the ether, never even ringing your
phone. For a while, peace reigned and the telephone only rang with
welcome callers.  AT&T quickly bought up the company, and, of course,
put it out of business. End of Bouncer.

I have the Tele-Zapper currently installed, and it does a fairly good
job, but the phone still rings, and being the curious creatures that
we are, we still are compelled to check the Caller-Id info to see who
it is. It also does not prevent the long, annoying dial-tone messages
that are left on your answering machine when the telemarketing call is

I now have, in addition to the Tele-Zapper, Call Intercept. Peace and
tranquility have again descended on my home, and I have the
satisfaction of knowing that there are at least ten thwarted
telemarketers out there each and every day who are not spoiling my
tranquility and raising my blood pressure. Only occasionally do I miss
the release of shrieking at the annoying stranger on the other end of
the line.

While trying to find out what other phone companies besides Verizon
offer Call Intercept, I ran across some interesting information, whose
links I have included below for you.

Bell Atlantic gets approval to implement Call Intercept (May 25,
2000). This is a cached page, run through Make A Shorter Link.

Screening Out Unwanted Callers
An article that indicates the service is widely available, and in some
areas is called Privacy Manager.

A piece in the Detroit News dated April 21, 2002, singing the praises
of Call Intercept would indicate that the feature is available in the
Ameritech region.

Privacy: have it or not, you pay for it
An interesting piece on AT&T and how large contributions and perks to
lawmakers influence legislation regarding telemarketing.

Good luck, Susan. May your home become a Telemarketer-Free Zone.

Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: lisarea-ga on 13 Jun 2002 08:45 PDT
All of the answers here are good, and all are elements of a good plan
of action. I just wanted to add a few comments.

First, if you don't have this already, you can get Caller ID service
from your local phone company, and then set it to block blocked calls.
Many telemarketers will still get through as 'unavailable' or 'out of
area,' but it makes a little dent. The procedure for blocking blocked
calls will differ depending on your phone service, so you'll have to
ask how to do this.

Then, familiarize yourself with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
(TCPA) of 1991. Here's the text:

There's also a summary of this and other federal regulations at:

In a nutshell, this law limits what telemarketers can do. It tends to
be on the weak side, IMO, but it does put the following restrictions
in place:

* Calls can only be made between 8 AM and 9 PM, your time, regardless
of where the telemarketer's calling from.
* Prerecorded unsolicited commercial calls are not allowed.
* The telemarketer must identify himself individually, and identify
the organizations for which he's working.
* Telemarketers must maintain a do not call list, which remains in
effect for ten years.

Obviously, telemarketers don't all follow these rules, but that's
where the fun part can come in. The TCPA allows consumers to sue in
"appropriate court" for either actual damages or $500 per violation,
whichever is larger.

Also, you don't say where you're from, but several states now have
statewide do-not-call lists and other statutes regulating
telemarketing. There's a good summary of them here:

although, if you plan to use these laws, you'll have to look up the
specific statutes. Also, check out the main page on this site at:

So if you're feeling ambitious, you can bring a suit against companies
that violate this law in small claims court. You'll need to look up
your local small claims court rules to make sure you've got your bases
covered, and you'll need to invest the filing fee, and there is never
a guarantee you'll win, but if you don't mind spending a few hours and
a few dollars, it could be fun.

Of course, this doesn't end telemarketing calls, but it does make them
much more enjoyable.

Good luck,
Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: astorbooks-ga on 13 Jun 2002 14:12 PDT

Thanks!!!!!!   I have that sound recorded on my answering machine now. :)
Subject: Re: stop telemarketer calls
From: mrubenzahl-ga on 13 Jun 2002 23:18 PDT
There is one simple step that will VASTLY reduce the calls. It is
amazing to me that it so unknown. Call the phone company and ask to be
removed from the "Street Directory." They must do this on request and
at no charge. Also called the Reverse Directory, it lists phone
numbers by street and telemarketers buy the directory to make calls.
If you also have your number unlisted (small monthly charge), your
telemarketing calls will be near zero.

Really works. I get one or two calls a -month.- 

And of course -- don't give your phone number to anyone. Make up a
number you can use for items like the Safeway club card, which use
your phone number as identification.

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