“Do Not Call” List and Protecting Your Real Phone Number

The Federal Trade Commission runs the USA “do not call” registry.   Sign up to reduce marketing calls to your phone:

https://donotcall.gov/

To find information (FAQ = frequently asked questions), this site has a nice clear description: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0108-national-do-not-call-registry.

It might be easy to be cynical about the usefulness of such a registry for honest telemarketers, since there appears to be an increasing use of “spoofed” or fake phone numbers in their caller ID.   A particularly devious method would be to show in the caller ID, the same area code and nearby exchange to your own number (maybe it’s a local person or neighbor?).

Depending on your own time availability, there are several options:

  1. Answer and have the caller identify themselves.  Once you have their company name and phone number where you can call them back, tell them they are being reported to FTC for not observing the Do Not Call list.  Report it here:  https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
  2. Just don’t pick up calls from numbers you don’t recognize.  If it’s important they can leave a message.
  3. Or do what you feel like at the time.

How to avoid incoming calls to your real phone number?

  1. Use another number (say Google Voice) when you sign up for stuff, and DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR REAL PHONE NUMBER!    Let those calls go to voicemail, and if someone really wants to contact you they can leave a message.
  2. The importance of keeping your real phone number private, has always been paramount.   If you have ever tried to ditch, er, separate from a bad date who keeps asking “what did I do wrong? can we try again?”, you know the usefulness of a disposable number.   Hushed phone:  https://hushed.com/pricing/  has a low priced (first three days free!) alternate number that can be discontinued.   $4 for 30 days is not a bad investment to protect your real phone number.  Note that this is only for a phone number:  it does not mask or protect your name, where you live, nor links back to you via social media or through mutual acquaintances.

These topics are narrow areas of privacy, if you are at all serious about protecting the privacy of your information, many other areas must be addressed, including changing your habits and daily activities.  We can always discuss privately.

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