Stopping Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

Dear New Yorker:

One of the foremost priorities of the Office of the New York Attorney General is to provide consumers protection against invasions of their personal privacy. More and more frequently, consumers are complaining about privacy matters, particularly from telemarketers.

Oftentimes, these consumers are simply looking for advice on how to stop telemarketers from continually intruding into their family homes and private times.

Unfortunately, other than disconnecting your telephone, there is no one sure way to completely shield oneself from these calls. There are, however, many federal and state laws enacted to give consumers the ability to stop unwanted privacy invasions by telemarketers.

First, telemarketers are limited to calling potential customers between the hours of 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. local time of the consumer. Also, federal law requires telemarketers to keep lists of consumers who have requested not to be called. These are called "Do Not Call" lists.

It is our goal to provide this tip card to educate consumers on how to use this law to their advantage.

If you would like more information about ways to protect your personal privacy, if you would like to report a telemarketer that has violated their Do Not Call List, or if you would like tips on protecting yourself from telemarketing fraud, call our consumer helpline at (800) 771-7755 or visit our web site at

Keep Records: When you receive an unwanted telemarketing call, ask for the name of the company that the telemarketer is calling for and the name of the caller. Record this information along with the time and date of the call.

Tell any unwanted telemarketer to put you on their "Do Not Call" list; Federal law requires most telemarketers to keep these lists and prohibits them from calling anyone on their list for at least 10 years.

Contact the Attorney General's Office if you believe a telemarketer has called you in violation of their "Do Not Call" list.

Demand to be removed from telemarketers' lists by writing to the Direct Marketing Association's Telephone Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, New York 11735-9008.

Consider having your name unlisted or unpublished in the local telephone directory. Oftentimes, telemarketers get their lists from this source.

Call (888) 5OPT-OUT to have your name removed from the consumer credit lists provided to telemarketers by credit reporting agencies.

Consider restricting the use of shopper/discount cards issued by supermarkets and other stores. Sometimes the information about your buying habits is sold to marketers.

Consider getting Caller I.D. on your home phone.

State law prohibits telemarketers from using devices to block identification information from appearing on a consumer's Caller I.D. box.