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Dealing with unwanted phone calls

Dealing with unwanted phone calls can be a frustrating experience. Follow these tips to learn how to prevent unwelcome interruptions and annoying tricksters.

1. Know how to recognize if someone has tapped your phone

Maybe you’re involved in a court case, or work for a high-profile company. Truth is, there are some folks who are often the targets of covert eavesdropping, even in their own home.

Signs that someone is eavesdropping on your telephone calls include the following:

  • Strange sounds coming from your phone, like static, squealing or scratching noises; sounds that come from the phone when it’s hung up; volume changes or other odd noises.
  • Interference on your home or car radio.
  • A telephone repairman shows up when nothing is wrong with your service, or no one called him.
  • Friends or business associates know things you didn’t tell them — like secret meetings, trade secrets, even personal information that they’d have no way of knowing otherwise.

2. Block the call-waiting service

Call-waiting can be a problem if you have to make a very important phone call and don’t want to be interrupted by telemarketers or Aunt Mabel while you’re on the line. Our advice is to opt out of this feature altogether.

3. Know how tricksters can circumvent your caller ID service

It’s quite easy for unwanted callers to get around your caller ID system. They can buy a device or service to install on their phone that will block their number on any caller ID system.

Another trick, which can be done from virtually any phone, says one private investigator, is for the sneak to dial the operator and tell her that he’s having trouble getting through to your line. Then the operator will dial the number for him, in which case the original caller’s number won’t be listed. Your best line of defence? Don’t pick up the phone when there’s anything other than a familiar name on your caller ID.

4. Reject unknown callers

Your phone keeps ringing, but all of the numbers are coming up as “private” or “unknown,” so you don’t want to answer — how annoying. There may well be a way to keep those calls from getting through to your line in the first place.

Ask your telecom provider whether it offers “anonymous call rejection.” It’s a service that allows you to send a recorder message to callers who block their numbers saying that your line doesn’t accept unidentified callers. There might be a charge for this service.

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