How to stop unwanted phone calls from unrecognized numbers

While sitting with a friend waiting for a meeting to begin recently, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. Since it was not from a toll-free number (which could indicate a telemarketer), I decided to answer it. A woman introduced herself and asked me how I was doing. Immediately, I realized she was someone I didn’t know, and she wanted to sell me something. I told her I was about to go into a meeting, so she said she’d call back later.

During the next couple of weeks, I got several more calls from this same person, but I never answered them, and she never left a message. Tired of running for my phone only to see this unknown number displayed, I decided to find out where she was calling from. I put her phone number (402-593-7107) into Google and found a Web page where other people complained of a similar calling pattern. They revealed the identity of the offender: Omaha Steaks.

I did order a Christmas gift from Omaha Steaks in 2011, but I am sure I never gave the company permission to market to me by phone. Normally, I consent to email marketing so I can receive promotional codes for future orders, but I would never give a business permission to call me in an attempt to sell me products.

I went to the Omaha Steaks website and sent the company a message. I included my name, the number at which I was receiving the calls and a request that they stop the telemarketing efforts. I also mentioned that my phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got from Omaha Steaks. The company responded to my  email in about an hour and said, “We will be glad to honor your request to be removed from our phone list.” That was a week ago, and I haven’t received any calls from the offending number since. I appreciate companies that honor customers’ wishes immediately, and their action increases the chances they’ll keep my business. If I receive additional calls from Omaha Steaks, I’ll be sure to update this post.

If you’re receiving calls from an unrecognized number, try an Internet search to track down the source. If that doesn’t work, you can also try MSN’s reverse lookup tool. Keep in mind you may have inadvertently agreed to telemarketing if this is a company you do business with, such as a bank, insurance firm or credit card company. Politely ask the company to stop the calls. If they continue, warn the company you will move your business elsewhere if it can’t stop the telemarketing.

To protect yourself from telemarketing efforts by companies you don’t do business with, be sure to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. Put your home and cell phone numbers on that list. If telemarketers call you after your name has been on the list for 31 days, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission.

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