Telemarketers, phone scams and the do not call list

Are you receiving a range of calls from telemarketers trying to sell you their products, or companies asking for donations? As well as these nuisance calls, there has also been a dramatic rise in the number of scam phone calls which prey on senior citizens.

The Do Not Call Register of Australia

There is a government initiative called the “Do Not Call” register which is designed to reduce the volume and frequency of the calls you receive from these companies. By placing your number on the list, it will become illegal for many of these companies to call you.

There are exceptions to the list, which include: charities, research companies, political parties and educational institutions.

It is free to add your number to the Do Not Call Register and once you are added it is illegal for companies other than the exempt companies to call you.

Companies have 30 days to update their register to include your number. Once you are registered on the Do Not Call Register list, your registration will last for eight years.

The Do Not Call list has had an affect on the amount of calls that registered people have received. The ACMA reported that people registered in 2011 had an 88% drop in unsolicited telemarketing calls.

Steps to register on the Do Not Call Register

1) You can go to the following website: https://www.donotcall.gov.au/

2) You can register on the phone by calling 1300 792 958 and following the instructions.

3) You can download a form by clicking this link, completing the form and faxing it to: 1300793514

If you are contacted after your 30 day registration period, you should lodge a complaint with the DNCR on 1300792958.

Do not pay for the Do Not Call Register

Don’t let someone trick you into paying to have your number listed on the Australian Government’s free Do Not Call Register. It is and always has been a free service provided by the Australian Government.

SCAMwatch has heard that devious telemarketers have been calling Australian consumers and requesting payment to list their telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

Be alert. Don’t agree to any request to pay to have your number listed. Instead, hang up and lodge a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Australian Government agency which administers the register. By reporting the scam you can help ACMA put a stop to it.

Another idea to protect yourself from unwanted phone calls and scams

If you are concerned about answering the phone because of the fear of scams or telemarketers, there is another great idea sent in by one of our readers.

The technique is to get a phone which has caller ID installed, so you can see the number that is dialling you. You then write a list of the numbers that you know and trust: family, friends, companies you expect calls from, etc. You then make sure you have an answering machine or Telstra Home Messages and record a message saying “Thankyou for calling. I am not always able to answer my home phone even if I am here, please leave a message with your name and phone number and I will call you back”.

This way, you are able to answer the phone calls for the numbers that you recognise, and safely ignore the ones which you don’t. Anyone who needs to contact you with an important message will leave a message, and you do not need to be worried about answering the phone.

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