Hanging up on unwanted phone calls

Hanging up on unwanted phone calls

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Are you tired of getting all of those telemarketer or spam calls. There are some things you can do to prevent them and protect your personal information at the same time.

"We receive more calls and inquiries about phone harassment than anything else," said Emily Nichols, a consumer protection specialist with the Attorney General's office.

Some of the calls are annoying some of them could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Nichols says the best thing you can do is don't answer any call from a number you don't recognize. If you do there are some things you can do to prevent them from calling back. The most common type of spam calls are robo calls.

"It's illegal under federal law to use robo calling for sales solicitation purposes unless you have a preexisting relationship with that company."

So if it's a call from your wireless provider or cable company they do have the right to call you. Often times the robo call will ask you to press 1 for more information or 2 to be put on their "do not call" list. Pressing 2 won't do anything but let them know they've found and active number and you will get another call back. Nichols says the best thing to do is say nothing and hang up so they will never know if the call reached someone.

While some of these unwanted calls come from legitimate businesses, others are looking to cheat you out of your money.

"The most common scam right now is the IRS scam. Someone calls you and says they are from the IRS and you owe back taxes and if you don't pay now over the phone you will have a legal problem."

The IRS will never call you and ask for money over the phone.

You can block a good chunk of the spam calls by going to the Federal Trade Commission website and sign up on its "do not call" registry.

The only companies exempt from the federal do not call list are: companies you are already doing business with, companies seeking charitable donations, and political messages. If you do get a call and you're still not quite sure, consumer protection experts say don't be afraid to ask questions. Find out the company name and then look up the number and call them back to make sure it's a legitimate phone call.

There are also apps out there for your phone that will help identify calls likely to be spam. You can also register your landline and some cell phones on this website to block a lot of those unwanted phone calls.
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