DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently I have received a large number of calls on my cellphone from what appear to be telemarketing companies. Most of the numbers (804-201-7506, 804-201-1021, 804- 201-4452, etc.) hang up when I answer, having said nothing.

Another number, (571-982-3641 for instance) has someone with a foreign accent attempting to ask me how I am and seems to be talking about insurance. When I ask them to repeat something, they, too, hang up.

I have attempted to return these calls to the calling number in order to tell them to put me on their “do not call” list and get the following message: “Welcome to Verizon Wireless. The number you have dialed has been changed, disconnected or is no longer in service.”

Does Sun Spots have any information as to how I can be getting calls from numbers that Verizon Wireless says are nonworking numbers, or any other information that might be pertinent to or about these type of calls? — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots googled the numbers you provided and found chat rooms full of complaints about them but no useful information. These call centers are often overseas and have no compunction about breaking U.S. laws. You will never get them to stop calling by asking to be put on a do not-call-list. But if you stop answering, they will go away eventually.

As for the nonworking numbers, some phones are set up to only make outgoing calls and not take incoming. When pay phones were more common, phone companies used to disable the incoming-call feature to thwart criminals using the phones. Or the telemarketers could be overseas and just funneling the calls through another area code.

As for the hangups: When you receive a phone call from a telemarketer, there is often a pause between when you answer and they speak. That is because they use a “dialer” (computer software) to make the calls. When the call is connected, the dialer notifies the next available representative to take it, but if there is no one available, it disconnects.

One of the beauties of cellphones is that they have caller ID. You can enter into your phone the names and numbers of those you wish to receive calls from so that when they call their name will pop up. If you do not recognize the number, or it is one of the known telemarketers, you can hit the silence feature on your phone and ignore the call.

Sun Spots realizes that for many people it is hard to let a call go unanswered. Perhaps people are more like cats than we want to admit when it comes to curiosity. But even if it won’t kill us, curiosity could be expensive. Sun Spots’ mother was on the list for the “grandma scam,” where a young person calls pretending to be a grandchild in trouble and requesting money be wired.

Even though Mom recognized the scam numbers and despite Sun Spots’s pleas to ignore them, she could not resist answering those calls. Fortunately she had no grandchildren so could not fall for the scam.

Please, readers, if you do not know the caller, hang up. There are too many scammers out there. If the call is legitimate, they will leave you a message and you can then return the call.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I did an inquiry to get my annual credit report from all three credit bureaus. All I got was one report, and now they are saying that I have already received my report.

I have nothing to compare it to, because the only one that gave me my report was Transunion. However I never got a report from Equifax or Experian. What can I do to get all three reports? Thank you. — No Name via email

ANSWER: You have to go back to annualcreditreport.org and request a credit report from each of the company’s individually. After you put in your name and address, it asks you to select which agency. After you get one report, repeat the procedure and get the next.

Financial experts recommend spreading out your requests to one agency every four months (which gets you all three free in one year) so that you’ll have a better chance of picking up unauthorized activity.

You must go to annualcreditreport.org, not the copycat websites.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]


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