Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

August 12, 2013
Getting rid of robocalls: More tips, tools to get them off your phone

In Sunday's column on how to thwart robocalls, we talked with Aaron Foss, a New York software entrepreneur who's developed a solution he calls "NoMoRobo." The software, which uses standard phone features, is expected to become available to consumers - free - in early September.

Here are some additional anti-robocall suggestions from readers and the Federal Trade Commission:

Paul Schiffmacher of Southern California said he gets lots of calls from solar panel installers or contractors or home remodeling contractors. When he sees an unknown number on his phone's Caller I.D., he has a standard procedure: Pick up the phone and say nothing. The robocaller, hearing no voice contact, will automatically hang up.
Schiffmacher said he doesn't have to waste time on the phone and believes it helps prevents callbacks from the same number.

As mentioned in the story, a number of consumers have volunteered their anti-robocall solutions to the FTC, which has them online in a video.
"These tips might not work for everyone, but the good news is that they're working for some people," said FTC consumer spokeswoman Kati Daffan.

Also, the FTC reminds consumers that when a legitimate telemarketer (yes, there are some) dials your phone, he or she must promptly provide the following:
The company name, the purpose of the call (ie. they're selling something, not simply making a "courtesy call"), a description of what they're selling and any restrictions to the goods being sold. It's known as the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Another way to reduce the number of telemarketing calls is to place your phone numbers (cell and home phones) on the National Do Not Call Registry. It does not prohibit calls from political groups, charities and telephone surveyors. To register, call (888) 382-1222 or go online.

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Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at cbuck@sacbee.com

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.



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