Don’t get hung up!

Photo Credit: SUPD

It’s not personal. Your cell phone and your landline phone are being called dozens or hundreds of times a week by people you don’t know. You may have jumped onto the national “no call” list, but nothing seems to be stopping the unwanted calls. The “no call” was designed to limit the calls to 1) businesses you already have a relationship with, 2) charities and 3) political calls (thank you very much mid-term elections).

Criminals don’t pay attention to the law and are always finding new ways to rummage around in your pockets by calling you. Thousands of calls per hour go out from illegal call centers and makeshift phone banks so fast that the Federal government has a hard time catching them before they close up shop, move and start again elsewhere. However, there are still a few things that you can do to slow them down and make them miserable. The first would be to register your phones on the No Call Registry at You can report unwanted calls, register your phone numbers and verify your registration with the Federal Trade Commission.

On your landline phones: Press *77 to block “anonymous” and “private” numbers, then deactivate it anytime with *87. On your cell phones: Block individual numbers that get through on an iPhone, open the phone app, tap the circled “i” icon to the right of the spam number that called, scroll down and tap Block This Caller. For Android smartphones, open the phone app and tap the calling number, select Details, then Block Number.

Some robocall machines fake the phone numbers caller ID on your phone. It might come up as coming from Ignacio with a 563-XXXX number or a local 749-XXXX cell number. Some of these fake numbers have actually come back to real Southern Ute Tribal office phone numbers.

A dropped or “one-ring” call is a common ruse to prompt a callback. Beware of area codes 268, 284, 809 and 876, which originate from Caribbean countries with high per-minute phone charges. When you get curious enough to call back, the call can cost you dearly as you give them a piece of your mind and your wallet. The ploy is to get you angry enough to spend more time and money on the callback.

One trick to try is silence. Many calling machines are waiting for a voice to signal that the number is valid and to call back later with a live person. Answering the phone and waiting a moment until they speak can let you have the power. If you don’t recognize the voice, hang up. If they don’t speak, hang up. If you are lucky, the machine will pass your number bye the next round.

Robocallers can make money off of selling their lists of “live” phone numbers. Since numbers change so frequently, a good calling list of recent numbers with responding people can earn money for every number each time it is sold as a valid number.

Try using a cell phone app to block calls. Customers of AT&T can use Call Protect, Verizon Wireless provides Caller Name ID, Sprint offers Premium Caller ID, and T-Mobile has Scam ID and Scam Block. You can also buy apps like YouMail and RoboKiller that will filter calls for a few bucks a month — or for free in the case of Youmail.

Have patience and you can start to whittle down the number of annoying calls. The Federal Trade Commission has recently made some large arrests at some of the larger unscrupulous robocalling centers because of the numbers of reports filed and the FTC investigations. There is hope that their calls will get hung up for good.

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