How Did Telemarketers End Up With Number That Was Changed To Avoid Telemarketers?

A man in California was so fed up with unwanted telemarketing calls (which may be a redundancy) that he finally gave in and changed his number to one that was completely unlisted. Little did he know his actions would only lead to end up on a list of newly changed numbers that was sold to telemarketers.

The man tells the L.A. Times’ David Lazarus that only three days after he changed his number, he got a call from ADT trying to sell him on an alarm for his home.

“I asked how she got my number,” the man tells the Times. “She said she had a list of new and changed numbers.”

He figured that the only way ADT could have gotten his number was from AT&T, which provides his home phone service.

Sure looks like it. But when I contacted the phone giant, Lane Kasselman, a company spokesman, said AT&T would never, ever sell a customer’s number or any other info to marketers.

But a Death Star rep tells Lazarus that it’s impossible, as “AT&T does not sell customer contact information to telemarketers.”

When ADT was asked how it got the number, the home security company was quick to point the finger at yet another party, a company called Budco Holdings.

A rep for Budco clarifies that the company doesn’t buy its lists directly from the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world, but from the directory-assistance services used by the telecoms.

So yes, AT&T is correct in saying it is not involved in the selling of its customers’ numbers, but the communications colossus can’t be ignorant of how this information is ultimately bought and sold.

The AT&T rep tells Lazarus the company is required to hand over numbers to these directory services, and what those services do with the information is up to them:

[O]ur contracts with third-party directory publishers grant them a license only for the purpose of publishing directories, and although we are limited in controlling directory data once it’s public, any such disclosure of listing information for purposes other than directory listings would be a violation of our contract.

While AT&T said you can pay a nominal fee each month to keep your number unlisted, the California customer insists he requested an unlisted number. This means that AT&T failed at keeping that number from being listed or an AT&T staffer failed at fulfilling the customer’s request. Neither is acceptable.

It’s hard to give telemarketers the slip [L.A. Times]

Comments

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  1. Rocket says:

    Try putting your number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

    https://www.donotcall.gov/

    • polishhillbilly says:

      yeah that works perfectly

    • EllenRose says:

      Surely you jest! I’ve been on the Do Not Call list for as long as it’s been around, and I still get plentiful telemarketing. There are so many exceptions and evasions the list is only marginally effective.

      • GaijenSoft says:

        In Canada, the only exception to the Do-Not-Call list is for legitimate things such as political calls during elections, emergency notifications (Never happens), and polling people (Those stupid surveys people call you for). Sadly, I used to be one of those that called for surveys. You would think that’s a shitty job, and it is. But, what made my job go from shitty to unbearable is the fact I was calling student loan defaulters, asking them about their experience with their provincial student loan services…

        The only part of the job that made me laugh is that the very last call I made before going on vacation to see family (several provinces away) was for my brother. The first screen is the number, and the second screen has the name. After I called the number I said to myself “Man, this number looks familiar”. Sure enough, my grandmother picked up the phone.

        Also, telemarketers can get away with ANYTHING in Canada. Telemarketers use the DNC list as a list of people to call, and the company that manages the DNC, Bell, doesn’t do ANYTHING to prevent them.

        • BooCackles says:

          I love the “survey calls” (that I still get in spite of being on the DNC list) that ask some random questions and then want to know how satisfied I am with my furnace, how much energy it used and how likely I am to buy another one soon….if I hadn’t hung up, I bet I would have been transferred to the furnace installation department for an estimate. I got a little smarter after that and quit answering the phone if I didn’t know the number. (I love my caller ID!)

          • Firethorn says:

            I’d recommend getting a recording device*, their information, etc… The moment they try to sell you anything it becomes a telemarketing call and you can take them to small claims court for some nice change.

            *Double check that THEIR ‘this call may be recorded…’ warning counts for YOU recording it.

            • Amp says:

              Simple – Inform THEM it’s being recorded. Pass it off as a casual comment, most phone jockeys either won’t pay attention or shrug it off, and keep going.

              What’s best is even if they get wise and don’t consent, that pretty much ends the call there too.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      LOL that’s a good one!

    • bearymore says:

      According to the article in the Times, this was the first thing the man had done.

    • chizu says:

      The DNC doesn’t seem to work for me, and I try reporting many of those numbers. Sometimes I’d get three to four spam text messages in a day, along with a few phone calls. (Some messages would come before 8am and as late as 3am.) But it doesn’t seem to do anything for me…

      • Velvet Jones says:

        If your state also has a DNC list then report them directly to the state attorney general’s office. I did this in PA, it worked wonders. The AG office actually sent a cease and desist order to a collection agency in Iowa who had been incorrectly harassing me for months. Once that happened pretty much all other unwanted calls stopped.

    • giax says:

      Put each and every offending call and SMS to http://www.800notes.com
      I’ve learned to not answer the calls unless I know the number, or it’s at least of my region code (or it’s friends from abroad). Everything else goes unanswered, and I google the phone number before I return the call.
      Oh, and since I can’t turn off the voicemail, it’s more or less: “Don’t leave a message. Email. Ciao”

    • humphrmi says:

      Yeah it works wonders. Don’t know why nobody thought of that first.

      /facepalm

    • canfree says:

      I’ve heard that this list has been hacked and sold a few times. My number obviously one of them, cause I’ve had more telemarketers call me in the last year then the previous 5

  2. unpolloloco says:

    Wouldn’t the do not call list fix this? Or a cell phone?

    • Nuc says:

      I get calls to my cell phones.

      • menty666 says:

        Yep, I think the the DNC list is being sold to telemarketers.

        • Cat says:

          “Since January 1, 2005, telemarketers and sellers have been required to search the registry at least once every 31 days and drop from their call lists the phone numbers of consumers who are registered. The dedicated, fully automated and secure Web site at http://www.telemarketing.donotcall.gov provides this information to telemarketers and sellers. “

          “Data for up to five area codes is free. Beginning October 1, 2009, the annual fee will be $55 per area code of data (after five) up to a maximum annual fee of $15,058.”

          So yes, yes they do sell the list to telemarketers.

    • aja175 says:

      do not call is a joke. Once your number is out it’s out, DNC can’t stop anything.

  3. elangomatt says:

    How do telemarketers even still exist?! NOBODY likes telemarketer calls, so some people must be lying. If they didn’t make some money at it, they wouldn’t be doing it. I just wonder who the heck buy stuff or donates money to charity via telemarketing campaigns.

    • Marlin says:

      Never under estimate the stupidity of others, especially the elderly that are not up with current tech.

  4. Lucky225 says:

    OMFG people are so stupid sometimes, did ADT address you by name or provide the actual service/billing address on your account? Probably not. Most likely ADT is using a predictive dialer which dials all numbers in a prefix sequentially or randomly, or the new number was an OLD phone number for someone else. If someone dials your 10 digit number, it rings your phone — it doesn’t necessarily mean the person dialing you knows that it’s YOU who is going to answer.

    • Lucky225 says:

      On the flip side my comment in no way is meant to undermine the fact that the telecoms sell your info, I know for a fact they do because we had an unlisted number one time with Verizon landline service and I intentionally told them my house was an ‘apartment’, and we started getting junk mail from 3rd parties addressed to the name the telephone service was in with the ‘apartment number’ even though we were paying Verizon for it to be unlisted, it was in my mother’s maiden name, and the house did not have any apartments and the junkmail just happened to have the same conspicuous apartment number we provided.

    • Bent Rooney says:

      Did you read the article?

      “She said she had a list of new and changed numbers.”

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        OMFG people don’t read the articles sometimes.

      • Lucky225 says:

        Some minimum wage telemarketer making up a story about a list of new and changed numbers is not convincing, it sounds just like something a slime ball telemarketer would say to calm the caller and quickly get on to the next call. Again, did the telemarketer know the name and/or address of the person she was calling? That bit of information is NOT in the article, I read it. Furthermore, just because the caller claims to be from ADT does not mean he/she actually is, and yes predictive dialers DO call random numbers and can be programmed to discount numbers on the national do not call registry while calling all other numbers NOT on the do not call list, regardless of if they know the person they’re calling or not. Again the other issue you morons are not addressing is the fact that this number may have previously been assigned to another customer who may have changed their number or moved, and then that number went back into the pool as available, and when this person changed their number, they ended up with the previous assigned number which was ALREADY on the list for telemarketing calls. Until and unless they address the person by name & address, common sense dictates it was just a random call and the number wasn’t actually sold.

        • Sneeje says:

          I’m pretty sure that calling auto-generated numbers and excluding the DNC numbers is not enough. Auto-dialers USED to do this. However, if you take some time to read the Telemarketing Sales Rules from the FTC website, you’ll see that not being on the DNC is only one criteria for being able to contact someone. See:

          1) Creates an “established business relationship” exception to the National Do Not Call provisions so that a company may call a consumer with whom it has such a relationship, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.
          2) Allows a company to call a consumer who has given the company express written permission to call, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.
          3) A telemarketing office must abandon no more than 3% of all calls answered by a person (consumer) and allow the phone to ring for at least 4 rings or 15 seconds.
          4) If a telemarketer is not available to speak to the consumer within 2 seconds, you must leave a pre-recorded message.

          As such, I’m pretty sure that “auto-dialing” without regard to the above would get you fined into oblivion.

          • Lucky225 says:

            Let’s take a look at that, because it pretty much proved that the only requirement is not to call someone on the Do Not Call registry, with the EXCEPTION that they CAN call you EVEN IF YOU ARE on the DNC if you have established a business relationship with them in the past.

            1) Creates an “established business relationship” exception to the National Do Not Call provisions so that a company may call a consumer with whom it has such a relationship, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.

            This doesn’t say that they CAN NOT call you if you they don’t have a business relationship, it says they CAN call you if you’re on DNC, *IF* they have a relationship with you. (i.e. Verizon can call you on your landline if you have service through them, even if you’re on the national DNC)

            2) Allows a company to call a consumer who has given the company express written permission to call, even if the consumer’s number is on the Registry.

            Basically the same thing as #1, with the exception that a business relationship is NOT required, just the customer’s pre-consent (i.e. filling out a sweepstakes card and indicating consent with a signature)

            3) A telemarketing office must abandon no more than 3% of all calls answered by a person (consumer) and allow the phone to ring for at least 4 rings or 15 seconds.

            This has nothing to do with what numbers can be or can’t be called^

            4) If a telemarketer is not available to speak to the consumer within 2 seconds, you must leave a pre-recorded message.

            Same as #3^

            • Sneeje says:

              Well, maybe you’re right, I thought that auto-generating numbers without a call list was legislated out, but I can’t find any evidence of that.

    • Traveller says:

      Telemarketing auto-dialers do NOT just call random numbers. If it was one of the more reputable companies (like ADT vs. the auto insurance folks), they buy those numbers through clearing houses as the article notes.

      Disclaimer: Not only worked for telemarketers (as part of the phone company), wrote the software for the autodialer.

      The DNCR is your best recourse. If after the waiting period you DO get a call ask the caller as much information as possible and file a complaint. The telemarketers DO listen to these, it was always a hairy deal when we got a complaint.

      I also believe that with most of the state run registries, at least back in the day, you could file individual claims in small claims court and collect the $1500 fine.

      • Lucky225 says:

        Even if ADT is not using a predictive dialer that discounts only DNC list registry, that still negates the fact that the article does not mention weather ADT *KNEW* who they were calling, or weather they were just calling a number already on the list. If his new number is not on the DNC there is nothing preventing ADT from dialing it, nor is there any reason to believe they knew they were calling someone who had recently changed their phone number other then an ADT rep’s word, which working in a call center myself, I know for a fact that many reps simply bullshit the person they’re talking to on the phone as they believe the caller/callee would not have an understanding of the technical workings of how their auto dialer works, and a lot of the times the reps themself do not know how their own equipment works or where the numbers are generated from, it’s easier just to bullshit about it and get on to next the call. My point was, ADT dialed his number, that doesn’t mean ADT was knew they were dialing this individual, even if they bought a list of numbers through a clearing house, the number it’s self may have once belonged to the Smiths, and now belongs to the Browns, so long as the number it’s self isn’t on DNC, ADT’s auto dialer is going to call it. That doesn’t imply that AT&T sold the Brown’s information when ADT is trying to call the Smiths, it just implies the number was set in the auto dialer and it wasn’t on the DNC within the last 30 days. So unless they actually addressed this man by name and asked him if he had an alarm system at his service address, an accusation against AT&T selling his number falls on it’s face as there is no evidence of that. Again, I’ve had Verizon landline service sold when my number was both unpublished AND unlisted, as evidenced by spam mail from 3rd parties addressed to my ‘service address’(I put a fake apartment number, when living in a house and ONLY did this with Verizon, and 3rd party mail was addressed to this fake apartment in the same name as my landline), so I’m not trying to negate the fact that it isn’t possible AT&T may have sold the number, but I certainly would not go accusing AT&T of anything until there’s actual proof of the source.

  5. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    If it requires an additional action on the phone company’s part for your number to be listed, how is it that they charge to not provide your number (unlisted numbers)??
    That always bugged me. That and the fact that ‘anonymous call block’ doesn’t block ‘NOT AVAILABLE’ number calls. To me, that falls under the definition of ‘anonymous’ don’tcha think?

    • dwtomek says:

      Well, if you won’t let them sell your number to directory services then how are they supposed to profit further from you beyond your service charges? Answer: they sell your info to you instead! I.E. The fee for unlisted number.

      • nybiker says:

        Yep. And despite what ATT thinks, $2.50 every month to Verizon (my landline carrier) is NOT a nominal monthly charge (information superhighway robbery is more like it). Now that I have a voip # & a cell phone, I don’t pay them for the unlisted option anymore. I don’t answer the phone either.

  6. samonela says:

    My home number has cobwebs on it now from lack of use. I only still have it because my internet provider dictates that I need to.

    Seems that the telemarketers have all but stopped caring about my number. The only calls I get on it are from the illegal robo call companies you read about on here, the post office begging me to join their town hall meeting conference calls, and the occasional politician’s lackey.

    When the house phone rings, my wife and I look at each other with a “what’s that noise?” look on out faces.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      When my home phone rings, my family all looks at each other, waiting for the answering machine to pick up. It’s that same feeling as if someone knocked on your door at 3am. “Who is that??? What could they want???”

      • msbask says:

        Same thing happens in my house!

        We switched to Fios a few months back and got a new phone number (that we never gave out to anyone). When the phone rings, we KNOW it’s not for us and is generally one of three people:

        • The local newspaper trying to sell us a subscription
        • A bill collector looking for Helen Singh
        ‚Ä¢ An old lady who simply says “Hello? Hello?” over and over again

        Good time, good times.

    • backbroken says:

      I thought I smelled DSL in here.

      • samonela says:

        It’s either that or cable internet through Time Warner…which will require that I get cable again (I am more than happy with my free OTA HD) and…you know…give money to Time Warner.

        I just won’t do that.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          My only alternative to DSL is Mediacom, which is prohibitively expensive even with the bundling. While AT&T does the naked DSL, I don’t trust them not to mess it up so I keep my landline also.

          I don’t use it for long distance; been using Skype for that. Or my prepaid phone.

  7. Dr.Wang says:

    Why do so many people feel obligated to answer a ringing phone? My elderly relatives are the same way. They feel compelled to answer the phone and politely deal with every telemarketer.

    I tried to tell them to use their caller ID and if they dont know the caller, don’t answer the phone. Same with strangers at the front door. Otherwise stop complaining. The only reason they keep calling is because keep answering. They will not stop until you do.

    Never talk to a telemarketer. They are ALL liars and criminals.

    • CalicoGal says:

      I had to train my mom not to open her front door to people. I’ve taught her to only open the window and ask “May I help you?” to a stranger, if she even acknowledges the person at all.
      I mean, if you see a person with a clipboard and he’s knocking on all the doors, then chances are you don’t want to answer that knock.

      • redskull says:

        Same here. I can see my front porch from the bathroom window, so I can get a look at whoever’s knocking without opening the door. Which I never do.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      habits. the phone has been around long before caller id.

      After I got my mom and answering machine, she rarely picks up the phone. Actually nobody really pick up the house phone anyone.

      you have to call, and tell someone to pick up the phone with the answering machine picks up.

      but we never like picking up the phone because we don’t want to deal with people from the motherland asking for money. when caller id first came out, my parent got it right away.

    • samonela says:

      Um…it makes it pretty hard to mess with them and waste their time if you don’t answer it. Duh.

      (My life is sadder than yours).

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’ve been spending a lot of time with my parents since Dad’s surgery, and learned that (1) my parents have Verizon voice mail, that was never set up, and (2) they also answer every call, even though they have caller ID now.

      So, I set up the voice mail, purged all the ancient messages, and told Mom and Dad that no legitimate phone number has zeros for the area code or local exchange. My Mom actually wrote a note to that effect, and taped it on the phone.

    • alexwade says:

      I only answer out-of-state numbers from people I know. Telemarketers won’t be in your state so that local state laws won’t apply to them. Across state lines, only federal laws apply. Today I got a call from 815-395-1070 from a company called “Movie Facts”. Didn’t answer. They left a voicemail, but I immediately deleted it.

  8. canaguy says:

    the problem is universal, international, everywhere…. BUT
    in 2006 I changed my number to a small (registered) VOIP carrier ………..
    and with the magic of software and digital control, I have those pesky tele-bugs beaten down!
    I now average 2 or 3 calls (strange unknown pre-recorded) A YEAR !. The first 2 years after the switch, I had ZERO issues with unknown calls. Also, I can select individual numbers to ignore (block) if they appear unfriendly…! great features….lower cost…..$15.00 a month for two lines……BTW …..I AM CANADIAN !
    Infinite voice mail, messages are all emailed to my inbox, full CALLER ID, and I can call forward or
    retrieve calls from the internet anywhere .

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I don’t think it matters whether you have a private, unlisted, or whatever number as long as there are robodialers that just dial numbers in sequence. And the DNC list is a joke. I still get calls, from local companies to “Rachel” from Card Holders Services. I just don’t answer it unless I know who’s calling.

  10. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    There are a couple of things you can do. One thing to try is to put a fax machine on the line set to answer after 3-4 rings. If a call comes in, look at the caller ID and if it’s someone you don’t know let the fax machine pick it up. After a while you will get no more telemarketing calls.

    Another thing to do is to get a home phone service that actually has decent features. Many VOIP services let you have very fine control over inbound calls, all through a web interface. On my home phone, I have it so that all 800, 877, 866, etc. numbers get the invalid number tone unless I specify otherwise. So my security company, which calls from an 800 number, can call through but no other company can (unless they spoof that specific number I guess).

    • Hi_Hello says:

      that’s neat. make sure you also enter any 800 number your credit card, bank or whatever number uses.

      I normally dont pick up any numbers in my my contact list. I got a call from an 800 number… i didn’t answer it but they left a voicemail. it was from my credit card about some fraud.

  11. coffeeculture says:

    I use google voice and set it to go straight to voice mail. I’ll get a nifty quasi-translated email immediately after, or I can block certain numbers.

    Only real friends/humans get my cell phone #. I still get robocalled now and again, but I don’t ever pick up, and any “sale” of my phone # is really just space on google’s servers.

  12. Gehasst says:

    Maybe he should get & only use a Google Voice Account? Then he can block those unwanted numbers!

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Which would be useful, if they stuck to using the same numbers. They spoof their caller ID so it looks like it’s coming from a different number each time.

  13. farker22 says:

    ever since i went from att to magic jack i dotn recieve any telemarketing calls – fark att.

  14. Cat says:

    One of the benefits of using a Magic Jack as my home phone is I have never ONCE received a marketing call in four years.

  15. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    But did he also ask for an unpublished number? I made that mistake once. If you want your number to be completely private you need to request not only unlisted but also unpublished.

    One would think it would be the same thing, but apparently it isn’t.
    http://www.ehow.com/facts_5962968_difference-vs_-unpublished-phone-number.html

  16. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i haven’t tried this, since i no longer have a landline. but i used to know a guy who said he didn’t want to pay for an unlisted number so he changed the way his name was listed [which was, at the time, free]
    so when anyone called asking for Mr. Lazarus Long, he’d know they weren’t someone he actually did business with and would respond appropriately

  17. jsimpson says:

    As much as I hate Government interference, I want the Government to force all phone companies to have a Caller I.D. system that actually works. As long as phone numbers can be spoofed or blocked, the Caller I.D. system is a joke. The companies make money selling a feature that is flawed. I also receive calls from “Rachael, from Card Holder Services” Try to find out where the call is really from. Good luck with that. If you knew Rachaels number, you could turn that company in for a “do not call list ” violation. Even without subscrbing to Caller I.D., you are still supposed to be able to use the “star” key to find out who is calling. All the while the phone company sits on the big pile of money people send them for a broken system and Rachael continues to get through laughing at the “do not call list”.

  18. jsimpson says:

    As much as I hate Government interference, I want the Government to force all phone companies to have a Caller I.D. system that actually works. As long as phone numbers can be spoofed or blocked, the Caller I.D. system is a joke. The companies make money selling a feature that is flawed. I also receive calls from “Rachael, from Card Holder Services” Try to find out where the call is really from. Good luck with that. If you knew Rachaels number, you could turn that company in for a “do not call list ” violation. Even without subscrbing to Caller I.D., you are still supposed to be able to use the “star” key to find out who is calling. All the while the phone company sits on the big pile of money people send them for a broken system and Rachael continues to get through laughing at the “do not call list”.

  19. Lyn Torden says:

    The telco should NOT be handing over UNLISTED numbers to directory assistance services. Don’t they understand what UNLISTED means?

  20. Nyxalinth says:

    I’ve had the misfortune to have to do telesales in the past. It sucks for the people doing it too, and most of them-including me–go on to far better things. I was always amused by people telling me “This is a business/cell phone, why are you calling it?”

    First of all, if I knew what it was, I’d be a psychic. Second of all, if I was, I’d play the lottery and never have to work another shit telesales job in my life.

  21. consumerd says:

    bad part is as long as the white pages is published, hayes criss-cross will still be in business. They are the biggest ones. When I used to work for a survey company (telephone contact in stl at the time) they had the cdroms full of directories that were just hand punched in my data people. They split a large white pages up by pages. Pretty much you had something chocked full of numbers. Bad part is, as illegal as you and I can think of it, it is actually legal to buy a white pages.

    The problem lies back in old regulation that needs to die. Back then ILECs were mandated to provide phone books and free to residents. Hayes Criss-cross at the time actually paid people for their phone books they didn’t want. So for a whopping $10 that you got, they got a white pages filled full of numbers.

    So essentially we were our own demise at $10 per book. Which does exacerbate the problem.

  22. framitz says:

    I recorded the ‘no such number’ tone as the lead in on my answering machine, robodialers usually hang up immediately.

    All of our phones are also on the do not call registry.

  23. Nighthawke says:

    “They do not sell information to marketers.” Hee hee, har har, ho ho.. I’m cracking up here with that statement….

    LIARS!

    You want to know how I know they resell? My billing address for AT&T is completely different than what the USPS assigned to my and my cluster box (407A and AT&T gave me 408). My number is unlisted and does not show up in ANY phone book or contact list, dead tree or internet based. *ucking liars. I’ve gotten mailers from countless credit cards, insurance operations, you name it I got it addressed to 408. *Steaming mad* NO ONE, No One has my information but AT&T. So don’t snow me saying you don’t sell lists, cuz you DO. Get it stopped or the state PUC’s get nasty, plus the FCC.

  24. Cream Of Meat says:

    There are only (999)999-9999 phone numbers that you could have, (less 555 numbers) so finding your number isn’t that hard.

  25. RiverStyX says:

    AT&T charges an extra $2 or $3 a month or something stupid just to keep your number unlisted. This is probably your explanation..AT&T wants your money to avoid something like this happening, instead of just doing it. Again with why I stopped supporting them, but their dsl caps were the last straw.

    Reminds me of what microsoft and hotmail did years ago: They enabled by default “Allow 3rd party companies to contact me” in the settings..You can guess what happened next, if you don’t remember hearing about this.

  26. icerabbit says:

    We’ve long thought that newly activated phone numbers get passed along for some additional sales pitches to interested parties.

    At one point we had an extra landline phone number, through a local carrier. From day 2 that the phone # was active, the number of telemarketer calls on it were through the roof. Only 4 people knew the number … but I’ll be damned if 99% of the calls weren’t telemarketer scum.

  27. DENelson83 says:

    Here’s how you properly respond to an incessant telemarketer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vng3HwVzuJ0

  28. RedShirt says:

    Try putting the out of service tones on your answering machine. Auto-dialers automatically delete your number from their database when it gets those tones, even if there’s a legitimate answering machine greeting accompanying them.

  29. Chiclet says:

    I have a phone number that doesn’t even have a phone hooked up to it. It came with cheaper cable, of course. I don’t even know what the number is without looking it up. Somehow my alma mater got a hold of it and now they call every couple of days. I get the notification on my TV that they’re calling. I can’t answer it, even if I wanted to. (I don’t, but still…) I know I didn’t give it to them, so I’m not sure how they got it.

  30. VHSer says:

    This is exactly why I haven’t had a phone for 10 years now.