Almost anyone with a mobile number today knows how annoying the constant calls from telemarketers can get. They invade your privacy and peace of mind, and are especially annoying when you were waiting for a real phone call. Here’s how they have been acquiring your contact information, and the best ways to you can get off telemarketers' list.
So, how does your phone number get on telemarketers' list?
You did not read the Terms and Conditions
Many mobile apps and online services, even seemingly innocent ones, have been built mainly to acquire and sell their downloaders and subscribers information.
When setting up these apps, you might already be familiar with the usual call to actions that ask of you to agree to “Terms and Conditions”. Like everyone else, you might tend to click “Agree” without actually reading them. These apps also usually seek access to your contacts under their “Terms and Conditions”. The owners of the apps can therefore easily unlock a trove of data found in everyone’s and anyone’s smartphones.
This information can easily get onto a telemarketers’ list easily, so long as they or their company can (and will) pay to get these information.
Signups, Sweepstakes and Social Media
Usually, anytime you provide your personal information to participate in contests, warranty registrations, or even in online services, that information can be in the hands of almost anyone who’s willing to pay for it.
The problem with ‘big data’ is that there are dedicated companies out there now who build technologies to scour the web and collect large amounts of information to sell them for a profit. These telemarketing companies could very well be getting information through such means too.
Third Party applications or Data Aggregation Platforms
Nowadays with the traffic and engagement on social media platforms, the process of extracting big data has only gotten so much easier. That personality quiz on Facebook? You most likely just enabled the app to pull the contacts of your friends and now, you are one of the many on the list and you need to take your phone number off telemarketers' list.
Many social media services provide the means to opt out and prevent your information from being shared with third parties. This could however, be time-consuming to do. Like many others, you probably did not switch off the settings that allow these data-hungry platforms from selling off your information.
Believe it or not, credit companies have also been exposing your information to third parties and is very likely the means with which your number ended up on a telemarketers’ list. These credit companies store lots of their clients’ data, detailing useful information like consumers’ financial habits, for example. These companies can sell this information to other businesses for a hefty profit.
What can I do to remove my number from telemarketers’ list?
- Be wary of who has access to your information
When installing any new apps on your device, always read the terms and conditions before you unknowingly agree to sell off your personal information.
Question the actions the apps prompt you to do as well. For example, does that utilities or productive app really need access to your contacts? Does that personality quiz on Facebook really need access to your location? Opt out of allowing the information to be accessed/shared if such an option exists.
Generally, always take precautions when signing up for anything online, whether you’re using your email address, social media accounts or your mobile phone number.
2. Register your number to a National Do Not Call service
This is probably the most popular recommendation to take your cell phone number off telemarketers’ list. Those who do not wish to receive telemarketing messages via phone calls or texts can apply to their national Do Not Call registry. It is usually a simple online process that can remove your phone number from telemarketers. Most telemarketers heed to these national regulations and that should reduce the proportion of the calls you’ve been receiving.
However, this only protects you from registered businesses and their sales calls. They cannot protect you from unregistered or illegal services’ calls or telephone survey calls, for example. Should you have given a business written agreement to be in contact with them (which you might have inadvertently done for their attractive discounts and membership cards), they will still be able to contact you too.
3. Download a “second phone number” app
Acquiring a fake or alternate mobile number seems to be the fool-proof solution to your worries in a world where it seems near impossible to protect yourself from businesses who are on the hunt for your personal information.
Download the Phoner 2nd Phone Number for Me (or click here for the Android version) for one of the best solutions out there. Now, you have the option to have multiple phone numbers to ensure so that your real phone number no longer finds its way to a telemarketers’ list.
Nip the problem in the bud by using an alternate mobile number for interactions via social media platforms, downloading apps, or even for those one-time verification code texts. You can then almost always be assured that you will stop getting phone calls from telemarketers to your private number!
You vs Telemarketers
With an understanding of the business practices in the ‘big data’ world we live in today, you can better equip yourself against having your personal information being traded so easily.
Though there is no 100% guarantee to get off telemarketer list, you can use a combination of the above techniques to reduce the likelihood of telemarketers reaching you and to ensure your phone number is off any other telemarketers’ list.