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Unwanted Calls

Information about Unwanted Calls.

How It Works

You pick up the phone and hear a recorded message — a robocall — or a live person selling something. Maybe it’s not who your caller ID said it was. It’s frustrating, and you just want it to stop.

Recorded sales calls are illegal, unless you give a business written permission to robocall you. If your number is on the Do Not Call Registry, you’re not supposed to get any sales calls — live or recorded. But scammers ignore the rules about when and how they can call you.

Scammers can use technology to make their calls look like they come from anywhere: the IRS, a business you know, a neighbor, or even your own number. Because phone numbers can be faked, you can’t trust your caller ID. So now what?

How to Prevent It

  1. Hang up. Don’t press a number. Just hang up the phone on unwanted calls. Consider call-blocking services to reduce the number of unwanted calls you get. Ask your phone carrier about call blocking and read expert reviews about your options.
  2. Don't trust your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
  3. Pass this information on to a friend. You may know what to do about unwanted calls, but chances are you know someone who doesn’t.
  4. Report robo calls to the Federal Communications Commission.

If you lost money you should act immediately:

  • If you sent cash, report it immediately to the postal service or whatever company you used. If you act quickly you may be able to stop delivery by giving the tracking number to the delivery company.
  • If you gave personal information to the scammer you may be subject to identity theft. Learn what to do.
  • Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission: Report Now