Did You Know You Can Google Junk Phone To Find Out Who’s Calling?

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When the caller ID lists a number totally unfamiliar to you or says ‘private caller’, it’s probably the dreaded Junk Phone.

The National Do Not Call Registry—where you’re supposed to be able to remove yourself from telemarketer lists through a single, centralized form, and any salespeople who called you after your number was registered were supposed to be subject to government fines or worse— was a great idea, but it’s not really working.

Telemarketers figured out pretty quickly that it doesn’t matter what laws are on the books if no one’s prosecuting offenders, and they’ve also figured out it’s a simple thing to just hang up as soon as a savvy or annoyed consumer demands to be taken off a telemarketer’s list.

In my home, the phone-answering rule is simple: I only take calls from people and companies I know. When “Private Caller” or an unfamiliar phone number displays on my caller ID, I don’t answer. But if you’re the type of person who’s running a business, or is involved with numerous clubs or other community or family activities that may put you in line to receive calls from people you’ve never heard from before, this type of rule won’t work for you.

 

So how can you more easily separate the Junk Phone calls from legitimate ones?

Easy! Just Google the number.

Yep, it’s that simple. Go to Google, type in the phone number (with dashes) and search. If the results list includes lots of sites having to do with consumer complaints, it’s a telemarketer or scammer and you know not to waste your time taking that call. If you ignore the caller a few times in a row, they’ll usually stop trying.

One caveat is collection agencies. Nowadays, they seem to just go through the local white pages and add anyone who has the same last name as their intended target to their robo-call list, the robo-dialer calls all hours of the day and night—sometimes as frequently as every hour!—, and these companies don’t give up easily.

I’ve received MANY a call like this for various Hamiltons who owe various people money, and the only way I was able to stop them was to call the number back, tell the company they’ve got the wrong person, and ask to be removed from their list. This has worked for me every time so far, I guess since the collection agency isn’t actually trying to reach anyone other than their intended “client”.

 

If your Google hunt doesn’t turn up consumer complaints or a collection agency, the call is probably legitimate.

 

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