DEAR SUN SPOTS:  A few years ago I asked how to get rid of telemarketers and you gave a number to call to get on the “Do Not Call” list. I called them and was told I was already on the list and had been since 2009.

It seems as if I’m getting more and more calls, sometimes six or seven a day. This morning I got a call that could have been disastrous. I’m almost 90 years old and don’t sleep well at night so I tend to doze during the day. I had fallen asleep on the couch when the telephone rang and when I reached for the phone, I fell off the couch and couldn’t get up. I yelled and told the man on the phone (who had a foreign accent) that he had made me fall. Fortunately, my grandson was outside in the yard and he came in and helped me up.

I discovered the number this person used was a stolen number from the town I live in. Is there ANY way that  these calls can be eliminated, short of getting an unlisted number? I don’t want to change my number because some legitimate people do want to reach me. I pay my telephone bill for MY use, not for crooks.

Thank you for listening and for all the help you give to so many people. — Margaret, no town

ANSWER: I’m so sorry these calls are causing you so much turmoil. Your home is your sanctuary and especially at your wonderful age, you have earned the right to go about your daily life and have a siesta without being disturbed.

The DO NOT CALL list does have a purpose as it is supposed to stop sales calls from real companies. However, the calls you’re dealing with are another matter altogether. These are robocalls and this issue has been addressed in Sun Spots multiple times because readers like yourself need solutions. As a matter of fact, in May I addressed this issue and am re-printing my response below for your use. I hope this helps! If not, please write again and I will dig deeper.

I urge you to call your phone company and report that you are being harassed by these calls.

Have an answering machine and tell family members, friends, health care providers, and others to leave a message and you will return their call at a time that’s convenient for you. You are right; the telephone is for your use and you get to choose whether you answer it or not.

Another suggestion is to purchase a call blocker. These gizmos cost about $100 and connect to your landline. It does require caller ID service. The model I reviewed, sold by Whatever Works (WhateverWorks.com, 1-800-499-6757) has the capacity to block 1,500 different phone numbers and comes pre-programmed with 5,000 other unwanted numbers identified by the FCC and FTC.

It may be worth having one of these so keep this information on the back burner if you don’t feel you have enough relief from these crazy calls after you speak with your phone service provider.

Readers, if you have any advice to share on the topic, please write in.

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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