Monthly Column: Stop unwanted telemarketing calls

 

By: Michael H. Ranzenhofer

 

In last month’s column, I shared five helpful tips to protect yourself from identity theft.  Another way to safeguard your privacy is to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry.  

 

The National Do Not Call Registry is a service managed by the nation’s consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission.  The agency offers the opportunity to limit the number of telemarketing calls which you receive free of charge.  Registration is free.   

 

You don’t have to put up with unwanted sales calls.  The National Do Not Call registry gives residents a choice about whether or not to receive telemarketing calls.  You can register online or by phone.  

 

To register online, go to www.donotcall.gov and complete the registration form.  You will receive a confirmation e-mail from Register@donotcall.gov, which will include a link.  Simply click on the link to complete the registration process.  

 

If you register online, you may register up to three phone numbers at one time. You will receive a separate e-mail confirmation for each number you register, and you will need to click on the different links to complete each individual registration.  If you have more than three numbers to register, you will have to repeat the process. 

 

To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number that you want to add to the registry and follow the prompts.  You can only register one number at a time.  When registering by phone, you will not receive a confirmation. 

 

While your phone number appears on the registry the day after you register, telemarketers have up to 31 days to take you off their lists.  However, if you continue receiving calls after that time, you can file a complaint against the company. To file a complaint, visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.  You will need to know the name and telephone number of the company that called you, as well as the date of the call.  

 

Your number remains on the Do Not Call Registry permanently whether you register your number by phone or by e-mail.  You do not need to re-register when you move, unless your phone number changes.  If your phone service is disconnected and then reconnected for any reason, you will need to re-register.

 

Unfortunately, the law does not apply to all telemarketing calls.  There are a few exceptions, including charitable, political and religious organizations.  Also exempt are companies with which you have had a prior business relationship and companies who wish to arrange a personal meeting before concluding a sales transaction. 

 

The National Do Not Call Registry has helped to benefit those who value their privacy.  I hope that you find this information helpful to you.  As always, if I can be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

 

Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bee on September 18.