7 Things You Can Do To Avoid Telemarketers

It looks like Verizon customers will have less telemarketing calls to deal with, but there are still plenty of other ways to protect yourself from unwanted calls.

1. Ditch the landline: Landline telephone numbers are usually easy to find. I mean, if you are in the phone book you are just asking for it. To be honest, I don't see much of a reason to keep one around in the first place, but if you must at least take steps with your provider to privatize your number.

2. Do Not Call Registry: One of the easiest things you can do to prevent telemarketing calls is to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. As of February, updated laws have made the registry permanent, and it prohibits telemarketers from calling you (starting a month after you sign up). Should someone decide to harass you anyway, you can file a complaint. The FTC has the power to levy hefty fines on telemarketers for each infringement.

3. "Take Me Off Your Calling List": Keep in mind that the Do Not Call Registry does not protect you from being contacted by political organizations, charities, surveyors, companies that you have done business with in the past 18 months (or submitted an inquiry to in the past 3 months) or companies you have given permission to contact you. Should you receive an unwanted call from any of these groups, they are obligated by law to remove your name from their calling list should you request it. Keep in mind that they have a 31-day buffer to update their records.

4. Block Unwanted Calls: Most service providers offer some sort of option to block anonymous calls and texts. All you need to do is request it.

5. Research With the Better Business Bureau: If you are solicited by a business or charity and and are interested in further contact, make sure to do a search with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that they are legit.

6. Be Careful About What You Sign Up For: As mentioned in the Do Not Call Registry guidelines, you can be legally contacted by a company if you have given permission for them to do so. However, "permission" can come in various forms. If you are signing up for a service on a website or filling out a entry form in a contest, you may be opening up yourself to a world of spam and telemarketing calls. The bottom line: make sure to read the fine print.

7. Google Voice: The idea is in it's infancy, but managing calls, texts and voicemail through Google Voice could evolve into a useful tool to weed out telemarketers. The ability to use it with your own phone number would be a good start.