Telemarketers: How to spot them and how they get your number

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With the invent of email, instant messaging, texting and video chat it’s become the social norm to ASK permission to call someone – especially in business.   So why does it seem like our phones are ringing more and more? Well, odds are it’s a telemarketer and their getting sneakier and sneakier – calling from “local” phone numbers to get you to answer. Telemarketing isn’t necessarily illegal, but it’s certainly annoying.  

Why is it happening and what can you do about it?

Unfortunately, your personal information is being used against you. Chances are your data has been bought and sold! Most telemarketers purchase phone numbers from third party data providers. If you’ve done any of the following, your information has been stored:

  • You called an 800, 888, and/or 900 number – yes, they record your phone number when you call
  • You applied for credit
  • You bought anything
  • You entered any contest and gave your phone number in the process
  • You call a business, and they have caller I.D. (which, you should assume they do)

Even if you didn’t do any of the above, which would be almost impossible, anyone with a phone number can get telemarketing calls. How? Because robocalls aren’t even human and machines are programed to dial random phone numbers. It doesn’t matter if you are unlisted or not – they can still get to you eventually. Although robocalling is illegal unless you formally give permission, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen all the time. Note: robocalling isn’t illegal by political candidates and charities.

Are all telemarketers scammers? No, not necessarily, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference. Check out our blog on how to identify phishers, scammers, and alleged debt collectors for some useful tips. Additionally, you could also be making things worse for yourself! A lot of people make simple mistakes that lead to several more calls. Here are the things you need to avoid:

  • Just hanging up won’t stop them. The telemarketer will mark you down as a no answer and they’ll keep calling back until they actually reach you.
  • Don’t give them false hope. Don’t entertain the telemarketer – it gives them false hope and they will actually push harder to get you interested. Don’t ask questions, don’t give them any information on why you aren’t interested – just say no.
  • Don’t get angry. Remember, you were most likely chosen at random, and getting mad and yelling at the telemarketer could result in them keeping you on their list just to annoy you. Simply say no to whatever they are calling about.
  • Tell them you are hanging up. If you abruptly hang up on them, telemarketers assume you got disconnect and guess what – they will call you back again!
  • Don’t tell them it’s a bad time to talk. When you say you are busy or can’t talk, they take this as an excuse to call you back on another day or time instead of taking you off their list.

So how do you actually get off the list? The most effective way is to simply say, “Please put me on your do not call list.” Most likely they will ask why, so be polite and firm. State you are not interested and do not want to be contact again and repeat that you would like to be added to their do not call list. You can also register your phone number on the Federal Do No Call List. While this isn’t fool proof, it should help reduce the number of calls that you get.

Stephen Yonych Jr.
Assistant Vice President, Watertown Manager
MLO# 701846

Author: Stephen Yonych

A recent addition to the Litchfield Bancorp Retail Banking Group in Watertown. Steve has spent the past 6 years in retail management & lending. Steve lives in Cheshire and has been actively involved with many community organizations including the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Waterbury, the Lyons Club, the Crime Stoppers of Water-Oak and the Greater Waterbury Board of realtors.