Stop those telemarketers

You CAN stop unwanted telemarketer telephone calls.

It takes patience, courage, perserverance and a little ingenuity

My mother-in-law solved the problem of harassing phone calls with a very loud police whistle she keeps next to the phone. She gets a real charge out of it. That kind of activity can get you on their "no call." list

Another example is comedian Tom Mabe. He keeps a recorder by the phone. One of the finer examples is when Mabe pretended to be a homicide detective at a crime scene when a telemarketer calls. He begins to question the telemarketer as if he is a suspect. Google it. It's pretty funny.

Don't be a victim

Telemarketers call with impunity because they know most people won't complain. If victims don't complain, they lose the right to bitch. When people tell me about harassing calls and isn't on the no call list, I lecture them about being part of the problem. Most people get angry because they get the calls. You're thinking: "They shouldn't be calling me." You are correct, but the calls come any way. Skip the anger and direct it to take action.

If you do nothing, you're helping them snag more victims.


  • Get on the federal no call list. It's the first line of defense. If the recipient of the callis is not on the list regulators can do nothing.
  • Keep a pad of paper next to the phone and keep a record of the times and numbers even if the number is spoofed. With a valid complaint the authorities can get the telephone info they need to prosecute even if the caller ID number is spoofed.
  • Record the calls. In many states, if the person who is the victim of the call is not a law enforcement officer, permission is only required from one person on the call. Presumably the victimized person grants permission to record the call. Or, just tell the telemarketer the call is being recorded by you for quality control purposes.
  • If there are threats, file a police report even if the police say no arrest can be made. Many states have laws requiring police departments to accept all complaints. In Florida where I live, the nice officer hands over his business card with the report number written on it.
  • File complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and your state attorney general. Include things like the police report number.
  • If you don't recognize the number don't answer the call. Most telemarketing equipment recognizes voice mail and disconnects. If a scammer calls and does leave a message, you are under no obligation to call back. Skip the anger over receiving the call. Get even. You can cost telemarketers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • If someone calls and leaves a message and number about the XYZ credit card in your wallet or purse, flip the card over and call the number, not the number a potential scammer left.
  • When there is a number on the caller ID list and there is no message, don't call back. Trust me on this. If it is important, they will call back.