Philip J. Outhier, Attorney at Law
Unwanted phone calls can be annoying. I occasionally receive them on my home land line but lately they
occur with more frequency on my cell phone. Worse yet, I also receive annoying text messages. Frequently,
the caller is seeking to make me a loan, advising me of an unpaid tax obligation or telling me to pay an unpaid
traffic ticket to avoid my incarceration! Plain and simple, the calls are scams. I have learned that you can take
a few simple steps to reduce these unwanted calls or texts.
It’s illegal for a company to send you a text message if it doesn’t have your permission, barring a few
exceptions. If you receive a random text message from a number you don’t recognize that says you won
something or asks you to confirm some personal information, don’t text back or click on links. Report it to
your provider at 7726 (SPAM) and to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-888- 382-1222.
Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission. Simply visit
www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888- 382-1222 from the phone you seek to register. Legitimate companies don’t
call if your number is included in the registry. Keep in mind, charitable organizations and companies you
already do business with are exempt from the Do Not Call obligation.
If the calls persist or if you get annoying robocalls, you should report the caller to the Federal Trade
Commission at www.complaints.donotcall.gov or 1-888- 382-1222. Federal law has imposed stiff penalties for
persistent calls, and the process begins with you making the complaint.
As a last resort, consider setting your cell phone to only receive calls in your contact list. You can also ask
your telephone service provider to block the call.