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Just say ‘no’ to cold callers

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
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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24 Comments
z the y
March 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

My favorite response to an unsolicited call is to simply ask them to please hold the line for a moment- then I just lay the phone down and go on about my business. Ha Ha!

Tired of Spams & Scams
March 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

I do lots of things TO online, over-the-phone, and door-to-door salesmen/beggars/etc.:

1. First of all, as a matter of policy, if someone has to come to me to get me to buy their product, the chances are that something is very, very wrong with it. I like to point this out to them. If what they were selling was good, and I wanted it, I'd be finding them.

2. Secondly, all electronic contacts can be easily faked. That means no one can demonstrate who they really are. I point that out to electronic beggars. My favorite was the 'police charity' caller who told me I wasn't in trouble, they were just making a courtesy call. So I launched on a tirade about illegal threats, and demanded badge numbers. No more calls from them.

3. Finally, I'll also fake interest in some products, just to waste the time of the caller, finally telling them that I know they're being paid by their successful sales, and the time I wasted kept them from making money to feed--their children. Then I tell them I'll do it over and over, unless they stop calling me.

Rose McDonald
March 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I NEVER answer calls from 800 or 888 numbers. Period.
If there's no number I don't answer.
If I don't recognize the name and number on caller ID I don't answer. If I do pick up and find out it's a sales call I set the receiver down and go on with what I was doing. When I hear the off the hook sound I hang up.
For e-mail spam; I hit the spam option. Or I send back a do not contact me reply with every expletive I can think of.

John
March 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I got my home and cell put on the do not call registery and have been call free (except for non profits and political) since...definitely the way to go.

tacamojo
March 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I try to keep them on the phone as long as possible. Ask them to speak extra loud as you're hard of hearing. Ask them to repeat everything numerous times while you pretend to write down the information. Always ask them to spell anything over 4 letters long. Ask them to hold while you take a bathroom break. If asked for an address give them a phony one. Remember, the longer you keep them on the phone the less time they will have to call me. I'll return the favor.

BeSerious
March 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

Kakthie: I hope you're just kidding if you're talking about email spam. Sending ANYTHING to any address you find in spam email will at best turn you into a spammer yourself - because spammers regularly forge email addresses from unrelated other people into the headers of their email - and at worst will confirm that your email address is working and actively being monitored, which will get you MORE spam. Try reporting services like SpamCop instead - they won't stop the spam, but they might help stop the spammer.

Kakthie
March 08, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Oh, let's get real about this.

Put a stop to all the junk mail that you get. Send to the e-mail address of each unrequested item of mail that you received-do NOT send me mail again. That's the way to stop this harassment.

paul
March 02, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Great idea blocking the in laws until someone dies or has a major accident and you cannot be reached because well.......
Might give you peace of mind at night sleeping, but those pesky divorce lawyers may be lurking next!

DoNotAnswer Anymore
February 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I no longer answer any phone call live - UNLESS it is a known friend showing up on Caller ID.

ALL other calls are monitored.

I UNPLUG my phone from night time til the next day after breakfast so no annoying rings from anonymous or fake caller IDs.

My online call registry shows me who called and I can retrieve voicemails.

Probably 4-5 calls on an average day that are junk calls.

I no longer let them disturb my peace and quiet.

Gary
February 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I purchased the OOMA phone system. It substantially reduced my phone bill and with their premium phone service which cost only $10 per month, one of the features is the ability to block unwanted calls (you easily add numbers via computer - i do this about once per week) with various prerecorded messages (I use "this phone number has been disconnected). This service has essentially eliminated all unwanted calls.

I am still debating whether to add my in laws to the blocked call list.