How to Get on the National Do Not Call Registry

by Leigh A. Morgan
Four support phone operators at workplace. Pretty asian businesswoman and her team working in a call center in a company.

You're just about to take a bite of your dinner when the phone rings. Suddenly, you're stuck listening to a pitch from a persistent telemarketer. How annoying! The good news is that it's possible to reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive.

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Here's how to stop spam calls by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry.

What Is the National Do Not Call Registry?

The National Do Not Call Registry, also known as the do-not-call list, is a database of phone numbers maintained by the federal government. Signing up for the national do-not-call-list doesn't block phone calls, but it does tell telemarketers that you don't want to be bothered. Reputable companies will remove your telephone number from their call lists.

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Step by Step, How Do You Get on the National Do Not Call Registry?

To sign up for the Do Not Call Registry online, visit DoNotCall.gov and follow these steps:

1. Click “Register Your Phone.”

2. Click "Verify Here" if you're not sure if you already registered your phone number. If you know you haven't registered, click "Register Here."

3. Enter up to three telephone numbers, such as your home phone, your cell phone and your spouse or child's cell phone.

4. Enter your email address twice.

5. Review your contact information to make sure it's correct.

6. Click "Register" to complete the process or "Change" to edit your information.

You can also call (888) 382-1222 and follow the prompts to add your telephone number to the registry. Keep in mind that the Do Not Call Registry only prevents sales calls. After you register, you may continue to receive calls from charitable organizations, debt collectors, political organizations and survey companies.

Additionally, companies are allowed to contact you if you've done business with them recently. For example, if you order something from a local bookstore, you may receive a call from an employee who wants to follow up on your purchase or make you aware of a special offer. They don't have to stop calling you unless you ask them directly.

What Happens If I Still Receive Calls While on the Registry?

If you receive an unwanted sales call more than 31 days after registering for the Do Not Call Registry, visit DoNotCall.gov. Click "Report Unwanted Calls" and complete these steps:

1. Fill in your telephone number, the date you received the call and other information about the call.

2. Provide the telephone number of the caller and the name of the company, if you have it.

3. Give the FTC your name and contact information.

4. Add your comments, if any, to the text box at the bottom of the screen.

5. Click “Submit.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Do Not Call Registry Prevent All Unwanted Calls?

No. It's only designed to prevent sales calls, so you may still receive requests for charitable donations, calls from survey companies and other unwanted calls. Additionally, scammers don't care about following the law, so they may continue to call you.

Are You Allowed to Add Your Cell Phone Number to the Do Not Call Registry?

Yes. You can add a landline or a cell phone number.

Does the Do Not Call Registry Work for Business Phone Numbers?

No. The Do Not Call Registry is for consumers, not business owners. If you own a business, other companies may contact you about their products and services.

Do I Have to Register for the Do-Not-Call List Every Year?

No. Once you sign up for the Do Not Call Registry, your number stays on the list for as long as it's in service. The FTC won't remove a number unless it's disconnected and assigned to someone else. If your telecommunications company disconnects your number and then reconnects it under your name, you may have to sign up for the registry again.

What Happens If My Area Code Changes?

Occasionally, phone companies have to assign new area codes due to an increased demand for phone numbers in a specific area. If your area code changes, you don't have to register for the Do Not Call Registry a second time. The FTC will update your existing record.

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