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The federal government's Do Not Call (DNC) Registry allows you to permanently restrict telemarketing calls by registering your phone number at donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you receive telemarketing calls after your number has been in the national registry for three months, you can file a complaint using the same web page and toll-free number.
The Federal Trade Commission advises that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the DNC Registry despite e-mail claims circulating on the Internet telling you to do so.
Placing your number on this national registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all of them. Calls that are still permitted include those from:
If you think a sales call is in violation of the Federal Trade Commission rule and want to file a complaint, use the online resource.
A Federal Trade Commission rule defines what telemarketers can and cannot do when making a sales call. Callers must:
If a prize is involved, the caller must give you the odds of winning, inform you that no purchase is necessary, and tell you how to get instructions for entering without buying anything.
It's illegal for telemarketers to:
This FTC rule applies even when you receive a call from a telemarketer in another state or country. It also applies if you make a call to a company in another state or country in response to a mail solicitation.
The rule generally does not apply when you call to order from a catalog or in response to an ad on television or radio, or in a magazine or newspaper. It also does not apply to solicitations you receive by fax or e-mail. Be aware that certain types of businesses, including nonprofit organizations, investment brokers and advisors, banks and financial institutions, are exempt from the rule.
In addition, telemarketers are not allowed to use auto dialers to reach cell phones.
If you get a phone call from someone who says they are with your bank and/or credit company and they ask you to provide or confirm any personal information:
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: May 16, 2013