Since it began in 2003, the National Do Not Call list has grown to include  more than 246 million phone numbers.  When you register your phone number with the Do Not Call list it becomes illegal for telemarketers to contact you by phone.  The Do Not Call list does not apply to charities so you still may be contacted by charities even if you have registered for the Do Not Call list. However, when you receive a call from someone purporting to be representing a charity, you can never be sure who is really calling so you should never give your credit card number to someone who calls you allegedly from a charity. If you are interested in a particular charity, contact the charity directly to make your contribution.

If you are registered for the Do Not Call list and you do receive a call from a telemarketer, you can be confident that the call is a scam because no legitimate telemarketer would call you if you are enrolled in the Do Not Call list. It is also important to note that while telemarketing is not in and of itself illegal, telemarketing through robocalls is always illegal.   Registering for the Do Not Call list will not stop robocalls. Illegal automated robocalls continue to be a major source of complaint for many people with the most common subjects of illegal robocalls being debt reduction, vacation and timeshares and warranty plans.  Two years ago Congress passed a law intended to reduce robocalls, but the legislation does not by any means stop robocalls entirely.

Each year, the Federal Trade Commission issues an annual report for the Do Not Call List and this year’s report shows the greatest number of complaints involve impostor calls, both live and robocalls, in which the scammer poses as an IRS official or some other legitimate representative of a government agency or business.  Other common complaints involved calls about warranty plans, prescription drug and medical issues as well ad phony debt reduction plans.

A scam that uses the Do Not Call list as the basis of the scam starts when you receive an email informing you that your registration in the Do Not Call list is expiring and that you have to register your phone number again. You are then directed to a phony website that gathers information that can be used for purposes of identity theft. The important thing to know is that you never have to reregister your phone number with the Do Not Call list. Once you have registered a number it is permanently on the Do Not Call list until the number is disconnected or you ask for your number to be removed.

Registering for the do not call list is easy and free.  Merely go to to register your phone number.

I often urge people to consider not answering your phone if you do not recognize the number of the caller.  If it is legitimate, they will leave a voice mail.  If it is an illegal robocall, you can ignore it even if they leave a voice mail.  If it is a telemarketer and you are enrolled in the Do Not Call List, you can be confident that it is a scam and ignore the call even if they leave a message.

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