Your Local Phone Company Can Stop Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

You may be able to eliminate many unwanted telemarketing calls by taking advantage of custom calling services offered by your local phone company.


Before you sign up for these, though, make sure you understand whether they will work in your situation and if they are worth the monthly fee (if any). Some of these features only work within your local service area, in which case calls coming from outside the area might not be affected. The "Customer Guide" section of the phone book or the phone company's web site should tell you the boundaries of your local service area.

Also keep in mind, most of these services require a fee, either month-to-month or per-use.

  • Call Screening (*60): Your phone can be programmed to reject calls from selected numbers with a service called Call Screening (your local phone company might use a different name for this service). Instead of ringing on your line, these calls are routed to a recording that tells the caller you will not take the call. With Call Screening, you can also program your telephone to reject calls from the number of the last person who called. This allows you to block calls even if you do not know the phone number. Most phone companies charge a monthly fee for this service.

    Call Screening is not a foolproof way to stop unwelcome calls. A determined caller can move to a different phone number to bypass the block. Also, Call Screening does not work on long distance calls from outside your service area.


  • Call Return (*69): This service allows you to call back the number of the last person who called, even if you are unable to answer the phone. Some people suggest that Call Return can be used to stop harassing callers by allowing you to call the harasser back without knowing the phone number. Use caution with this method of discouraging harassing callers, however, as it could actually aggravate the problem. This service is generally paid on a per-use basis.


  • Caller ID is not likely to allow you to capture the phone number of the determined telemarketing services. Many will block their phone numbers. However, Caller ID can be used to decide whether to answer the phone. Simply choose not to pick up calls marked "private" or "unavailable," or calls from a number you don't recognize. If the call is important, the caller will leave a message.


  • Anonymous Call Rejection (ACR), a companion service to Caller ID, requires an incoming call from a blocked number to be unblocked before the call will ring through. Use of this feature forces telemarketing services to disclose the number - by entering *82 - or to choose to not complete the call. This service can be added to your local phone service for a fee or at no charge, depending on your local phone carrier. It is activated and deactivated with the touchtone code *77.


  • Privacy Manager: Many local phone companies offer a relatively new service called Privacy Manager. Similar to Anonymous Call Rejection, it works with Caller ID to identify incoming calls that have no telephone numbers. Calls identified as "anonymous," unavailable," out of area" or "private" must identify themselves in order to complete the call. Before your phone rings, a recorded message instructs the caller to unblock the call, enter a code number (which you must give them), or record their name. When your phone rings, you can choose to accept or reject the call, send it to voice mail, or send a special message to telemarketers instructing them to put you on their "do not call" list.


So you don't have to feel harassed any longer by telemarketing services on behalf of charities. Take advantage of some of the suggestions offered here to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.

For additional suggestions, see Stop Unwanted Charity Calls from Telemarketing Services.

Comments for Your Local Phone Company Can Stop Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

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Jan 31, 2014
Legitimate Military Charities
by: Anonymous

I received a call from an origination New York Vietnam Veterans Foundation Inc., the return envelope is a blank window envelope.

I have donated to Veterans before but this envelope does not look right to me and I am not going to send them my money. I was going to even increase the pledge, however, I am not going to send my pledge.

I tried finding the address in telephone directory, and online. I would like to help the veterans but I have to be sure where my money is going.


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