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Can I stop nuisance calls?

Q: Lately I have been getting nuisance calls from solicitors and recordings on both my landline and cellphone. I only give out my cell number to a few people for emergencies so when it rings it alarms me. One of the perks for me since I retired is I can stay up later and sleep in the next day if I choose. It is annoying when the phone rings before I am even up in the morning. Is there anything I can do to stop all these calls?

A: Anyone who has a landline in their home and/or a cellphone has gotten the kind of calls you mentioned. It is bad enough to deal with a live person on the other end of the call, you have the option of firmly saying no or simply handing up. Robocalls are the automated calls delivering a recorded message and they may be even more frustrating.

Robocalls can be legitimate such as a healthcare provider reminding you of an appointment, a child’s school notifying you of a delayed opening, an airline informing you of a change in travel reservations or political calls reminding you to vote. The problem is it is estimated around 40% of robocalls are fraudulent and this is where you have to be especially careful.

One suggestion is not to answer the call if it is an unknown number, just let it go to voicemail. Make sure all phone numbers are entered at the National Do Not Call Registry. Once your number is registered it does not expire. You can go online www.donotcall.gov to enter your number or call 1-888-382-1222 (you must be calling from the number you want to register). Unfortunately this only relates to legitimate businesses, scammers obviously do not get the message. You might consider low-cost call-blocking options if your carrier has this as an additional service. Any robocalls that prompt you to press a key or give a voice command: Don’t! Go online to read Tips for Older Consumers to Stop Illegal Robocalls at ncler.acl.gov (National Center on Law & Elder Rights).

 

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Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.