The federal Do Not Call Registry was created in 2003 and permits people to register their landline or cell phone number on a list of telephone numbers that telemarketers are not permitted to call. For many of us who have found telemarketing calls to be a great nuisance, this was a great development although there are a few things to keep in mind. Although legitimate telemarketers by and large honor the list, phony telemarketers may still call you. If you receive a call from a telemarketer after registering your telephone number, you should therefore be particularly skeptical of the caller and hang up immediately. The Do Not Call Registry also does not ban calls to you on behalf of political candidates, who may be seeking contributions or from charities seeking donations. In either case, it is dangerous to respond to a solicitation on behalf of a candidate or a charity on the phone because you can never be sure that the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are. If you are inclined to contribute either to a candidate or a charity that calls you, I suggest that you hang up and send your contribution to an address for the candidate or charity that you know is accurate and legitimate. Recently a new Do Not Call Registry scam has been going on around the country by which you receive a call from someone who tells you that he is with the Federal Trade Commission, the federal agency that sponsors the Do Not Call list. You are told that you need to either confirm information to remain on the list or that you need to renew your registration. Both of these claims are false. You do not need to confirm information or renew your registration in order to remain on the Do Not Call List. Do not give any information to anyone who says this to you because the information can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Phone calls from scammers and identity thieves can be very convincing. You can never be sure when you receive a phone call as to the true identity as to the person on the other end of the line. Even if you have caller ID, the criminals can “spoof” the phone number and their identity so it appears that they are legitimate. You can’t trust your caller ID. Never give personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone unless you are absolutely sure that the call is legitimate. The better course of action is to call the company or agency they purport to be at a number that you know is correct so you can confirm if the call is legitimate.