Carson woman inundated by mechanized hang-up calls. | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson woman inundated by mechanized hang-up calls.

JIM SCRIPPS

A Carson City woman who says she has been receiving constant hang-up calls for more than a year thinks the only way to stop them may be to change her phone number – and she may be right.

Linda, who asked that her last name not be used, picks up the phone as many as five times a day only to hear the mechanized click of a computer ending the connection.

Telemarketing companies often program computers to call numbers in an area code where they will be operating. The concept is to find out when residents will be at home so that telemarketers can save time by limiting their calls to times when the potential customer will be home.

At the request of Nevada Bell, she has tried keeping track with a caller identification device. The identification device allows the incoming call to be displayed before being answered, but the caller remains anonymous and the calls continue.

“They say if I come down and make a report they might investigate it,” she said. “Without the caller threatening me, they probably won’t do anything.”

In Nevada, officials say, there are only a few potential remedies to stop hang-up calls short of changing a telephone number.

Nevada Bell spokesperson Jennifer Whitty said the company only controls telephone connections. She suggests an “anonymous call rejection” option the company offers, but that would block all anonymous calls.

“All we do is supply the phone lines and the service, but we are in no way responsible for content,” she said. “She can work with local police and have calls traced if worse comes to worse.”

The state Attorney General’s Office can do little more than the phone company, said Diana Powell, a legal secretary with the consumer affairs division.

“Nevada does not have a ‘do not call’ law,” she said. “We only get involved once the fraud is committed.’

The Better Business Bureau suggests a little-known remedy that is open to all telephone customers. Write to the Direct Marketing Association at P.O. Box 9014, Farmington, NY 11735. If consumers send their names, addresses and telephone numbers, they will be taken off most telephone marketing lists within 90 days.

If that doesn’t work, keep a log of times and dates of suspicious calls, and register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The commission is the body that controls all telemarketing licensing in the country.

After a year of increasing frequency in hang-up calls, Linda said she suspects somebody might be monitoring her schedule, noting when she is home and when she is away.

“I wonder if they are are picking on other Carson City homes,” she said. “They might be going for patterns.”

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