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How to Check if a Number is on the Do Not Call List

Unwanted and spam calls are rampant these days. Most of us get at least one or two a day. The Do Not Call List was created to limit unwanted calls, but it is not effective against spammers, robocalls, and some illegal telemarketers. However, it is still a good idea to get your number on the list to reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive. Read on to learn how to check if a number is on the Do Not Call List.

What is the Do Not Call Registry?

The FTC created the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 to reduce the number of complaints about unwanted calls from telemarketers. The idea was if your number were on the list, you wouldn’t get any more sales calls from people trying to sell you stuff. However, then cell phones sprang onto the scene and with them more phone calls than ever before. Even if telemarketers do respect the Do Not Call Registry, spammers, and criminals trying to scam you, do not. So, the end result is, most Americans still get a ton of unwanted calls.

What Does the Do Not Call Registry Do?

If you add your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry, nothing automatic happens. It does not prevent anyone from calling you with an automated system tied into your phone service. So, what does the Do Not Call Registry Do then?

The Do Not Call Registry is a list of phone numbers that salespeople and telemarketers must consult before dialing. They are legally responsible for observing the list, and if they violate it and call a number that is on the list, the FTC can fine them up to $42,530 per call.

Sales companies and telemarketers can download the entire Do Not Call Registry and remove the numbers from their sales call lists. However, businesses must register with the FTC before downloading the list.

Are Mobile Phone Numbers Different than Landline Numbers?

Not when it comes to the Do Not Call Registry. All phone numbers added to the list are treated the same. However, the FCC also regulates unwanted calls and telemarketers that dial mobile phone numbers.

However, business phone numbers are not protected by the Do Not Call List; it is a service for personal phone numbers only.

How to Check if a Number is on the Do Not Call List in the USA

You can check anytime to see that your number is or is not on the Do Not Call list by dialing the FTC at 1-888-382-1222 or visiting donotcall.gov. Once you enter your phone number and email address, you can either “verify” to see if your number is on the list or change the information. Once you do submit it, you will get an email. If your number was already added to the Do Not Call List, the email will specify the date it was added. If not, you will receive a confirmation to add it, and you will need to click the link to confirm within 72 hours.

If you get a new phone number, remember to add it to the Do Not Call Registry. That will not happen automatically.

How to Add a Number to the Do Not Call Registry

There are two ways you can add your number to the Do Not Call List. First, you can visit the FTC page donotcall.gov. Or you can call the FTC at 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). Be sure to call from the number you want to list. If you use the online method, you will get a confirmation email from the FTC. You must click the link contained in the email within 72 hours to lock in your registration. Otherwise, it will be deleted.

It may take up to 31 days after adding your number to the Do Not Call Registry before it takes effect. Remember, salespeople have to download the list and merge it with their call list before the calls stop.

If someone calls you offering to put your name on the list, do not let them. They are scammers. It’s free and easy enough to do it yourself.

Can I Remove My Number from the Do Not Call List?

Registration on the Do Not Call Registry does not expire, so you don’t have to re-register in the future. Your number will stay on there until you remove it. If you do want to remove it, you can by calling the FTC at 1-888-382-1222.

If your number changes, you do not need to remove your old one from the list, that will happen automatically.

What if I Still Get a Lot of Unwanted Calls?

Spammers and scam artists will not respect the Do Not Call List, and you may still get a lot of calls from them on both your landline and your cell phone. Many of these calls come from outside the country where groups of criminals, dial thousands of numbers a day, trying to get a few victims to fall for their scams. There are a few things you can do if you still get unwanted calls from scammers.

  • You can report any spoofed or scam calls to the FTC. You can visit donotcall.gov and report any phone numbers (even if they are spoofed to look like a legitimate caller).
  • Use a free or paid app to block unwanted calls or send them to voicemail.
  • Contact your phone carrier to inquire about their call blocking and spam services. Most carriers have some free version but also offer paid plans with more options.

Each year the FTC sues thousands of companies for violating the Do Not Call Registry and perpetrating scam calls on unwitting victims. Although you may still be getting dozens of robocalls each day, the FTC has shut down many companies, and they are reducing the threat with every arrest. The FTC works closely to enforce the Do Not Call Registry so that salespeople respect your privacy and stop calling you.

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