Keeping Phone Records and Numbers Private
Unwanted telemarketing or other calls are often received as a result of providing your phone number to the wrong parties, or others violating phone privacy laws and policies. Several federal and state privacy laws have been enacted to help protect your personal contact information and determine under what conditions someone may contact you. Records of calls made and received are often not accessible by outside parties, unless a federal or state agency deems it necessary for an investigation. Furthermore, there are methods you may utilize to protect your phone number and records from unwanted exposure.
The Telemarketing Sales Rule has been written to help prevent unwanted telemarketing phone calls to the public. This rule essentially states that a telemarketer may not call you unless it is in regard to official business you conduct with their representative company, you have given your express written consent for them to contact you, or you have requested information from them.
Phone records are also protected by federal laws, but the Patriot Act determined that officials may access them in the event of an investigation or threat of terrorist activity. In addition, the Act gives them the ability to wiretap into phone conversations via satellite to monitor potential terrorist plots and conversations over the phone.
Many telemarketing companies use autodialers to make "robocalls" to determine the best time to reach you. These autodialers will call your phone, but when you answer there isn't anyone there. The computer records the time that you answered the call, and a telemarketer will use this information to call you at an appropriate time in the future. Fortunately, this practice is outlawed by most states, so if you are receiving them be sure to notify your Attorney General's office.
Protecting Your Information
The first step to protecting your phone number and records is to enroll in the national Do Not Call Registry. This will prevent many unwanted telemarketing calls in the future. In addition, you may remove your phone number from social networking sites, industry forums and any online and offline directories you may belong to. Many times, telemarketing companies will buy your number from others, so preventing it from begin accessible in the first place is essential for preventing unwanted calls.
If you are receiving threatening or prank phone calls, you may always look at your caller ID or try dialing *69 to determine who is calling you. If the caller blocks their number, you may need to file a report with the local police station, or request that your service provider block the caller from calling you.
In order to protect and block your own phone number when calling another party, you can also dial *67 before dialing their number. This prevents your number from being displayed on their caller ID and allowing them to call you back.
In addition to federal and state privacy laws, you can implement these methods to help protect your phone number and records information in the future. However, if you are receiving illegal telemarketing or threatening phone calls from unknown parties, you are best served reporting them to the local authorities.