*.* from Telemarketing Lists

Here are some things that work.

Provide inaccurate information regarding home telephone numbers (e.g., fax machine, the business' own number, etc.)
This includes businesses you trust because they may be including the phone number on someone else's form.

It appears that they are getting their data from four sources:
  1. "war dialing" (dialing every number in an exchange), or dialing every number listed as valid
  2. dialing from telephone subscriber lists (listed phone numbers)
  3. dialing from information obtained from businesses and credit agencies. This is where giving the wrong information helps!
  4. "spam lists" of Known Good Numbers (obtained from previous successful connections)
The callers using information obtained from businesses are the most persistent because they paid for ostensively valid information, from targeted lists.

Inaccurate information is better than no information because the information gatherers will sometimes attempt to fill in blanks in their lists. If you have a properly listed phone number, your home number will be inserted. If the information is simply wrong, the people who collect these numbers generally never find out, and so it gets sold that way.

If you are concerned about someone at the business getting in touch with you, provide your work phone in addition to the number you gave as your home phone, or provide your home number as your "work" phone. (Add a bogus "extension number" when you list your home number as a "work number", e.g., 202-456-1414 x12.)

Look for original sources of your personal data.
Typically these are insurance companies, utilities and creditors. If you find some original source has your number in their database, update their information with inaccurate information. "Inaccurate information" is the most efficient way to make your number "disappear" from their lists. Typically you'll get a request to confirm your phone number. If you get what they refer to as a "courtesy call", call back later and "update" their information.

Give bad information on surveys.

Don't answer "hello" more than once.

(when convenient) Keep them on the line as long as possible.

Don't list your full address in your telephone listing. Check your listing with directory assistance before the book publishes.

Try to avoid calling 800 numbers from home phone numbers, especially during evening hours. (caller ID blocking doesn't work with 800 numbers.)

If you like what they're offering, buy it from someone else.
The FRCA (US) provides for an "opt out" procedure for the purpose of blocking credit reporting agencies from releasing marketing data.
1-888-567-8688 . This "opt out" procedure must be renewed every two years, so it makes sense to call about once a year.

back to Counter-Telemarketing Tactics - (this site)

originally posted 14-july-01   rev August 22, 2004 Stan Protigal
This website can be found by searching for "The Telemarketing Scum Page" on a search engine.