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Just say ‘no’ to cold callers

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Retirement planning is big business. Everybody wants a piece of it. I've had five telephone calls so far today from salespeople pitching annuities. It only takes me a minute to say "no thanks" and hang up, but it's still annoying.

The last time the phone rang, I turned the tables on the caller. I asked the questions and she answered them -- in between giving me her sales talk. She was pleasant and possibly honest, but she didn't offer me any reason to think that it would be wise to invest my retirement savings with her.

She told me she had been selling annuities for an investment company for the last six months. Before getting into the investment sales business, she said she worked for the local hospital, cleaning up between surgeries. Prior to that, she provided personal home care. At 62, she said she's working hard at this new career because she recently went through a lousy divorce and needs to make enough money to keep a roof over her head.

If you're getting these kinds of telemarketing calls too, be very wary about investing your money. Here's what the Securities and Exchange Commission tells you to do to protect yourself.

  • Don't do what I did. Telemarketers who chat you up are trying to warm you up for the sale. Just say no -- quickly -- and hang up.
  • Put your name on the national Do Not Call Registry. If a financial telemarketer persists, file a complaint with the SEC.
  • If you're in the market for annuities or other financial products, find a trustworthy financial adviser. This should be someone who has appropriate credentials and experience, and he or she should come highly recommended by people you trust.
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Maury Tepper
March 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

These out of area calls are a big nuisance. I have been on the Do Not Call Registry for years but I still get several calls a day from charities and some political. I recently got a Panasonic cordless phone that allows me to enter 20 numbers into a call reject directory. When one of the blocked numbers calls, the phone rings once, sends them a busy signal and then disconnects. I a very pleased with this feature.

Steve Jacobs
March 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm

did you hang up on bill gates when he called you to invest in microsoft? Do not be narrow minde there are good deals and people out there

March 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

If you're in the national "Do Not Call" registry and you keep getting sales calls after you've told a caller to stop calling, file a complaint with the FCC, not the SEC. The FCC handles "Do Not Call" violations and has an online form to file complaints. You'll find it at the FCC website.