|How to Stop Unwanted Calls to Your Brand New Cell Number|
|Written by Angela Farrer|
Intro: Although most cell phone companies now allow the transfer of an old number to a new account, some of us still opt for getting a new cell phone number when we decide to switch cell carriers and upgrade our phones. This decision can be for a number of different reasons. Maybe your old number is being flooded with telemarketer calls despite your measures to stop them, or maybe you have former friends and flings who have the old number and you would prefer that they are no longer able to contact you at all by phone. A new number can at least fix the second problem quickly. However, a new number for you may be an old one for someone else; it is not unheard of to start getting calls and texts from strangers looking for the person who used to have your new cell number. This exact problem happened to me when I got an iPhone for the first time and opted for a new number. While it can be irritating, there are a few specific steps you can take to stop it.
Step 1: When you get a call from a number you don't recognize, answer it. It may be tempting to ignore the number you don't know and let it go straight to voicemail, but this will only prolong the problem because the caller is likely to keep calling back. When the caller asks to speak to so-and-so whom you've never heard of, simply say "You have the wrong number." Be polite but firm. Most people will apologize and never call again. A few may ask further questions, and a good response is: "This is a new number for me; it does not belong to so-and-so anymore." If the caller is still persistent, say something along the lines of: "I'm sorry I can't help you; please do not call this number again" and then hang up. Never give out any information about yourself, including your first or last name. The vast majority of people call your new cell number by honest mistake looking for the former owner, but there are still some nutjobs out there and no one can be too careful.
Step 2: Place your new number on the National Do Not Call list right away. You may get a few calls with recordings meant for the former owner, and this registry will usually filter them out after about the first month with your new number. If you are still getting calls from companies that leave recordings after the first 30 days, go to the Do Not Call registry's website and fill out a complaint form. Be sure to include your number, their number, the time the call came in, and a note saying you are getting these calls meant for someone else who used to have your number. This registry also does a fairly good job at keeping spam and junk texts away, which is a definite concern if your new plan does not include unlimited messaging.
Step 3:Opt out of junk texts right away. If the Do Not Call list does not filter out all unwanted spam texts to your new number, reply to each one with a "Stop", "No", or "Unsubscribe" message. Most of these companies are legally obligated to take you off their spam text list once they receive an unsubscribe message from you. If you are getting texts similar to the above-mentioned calls from people looking for the former owner, send them a message that this number no longer belongs to that person. Just as with calls, the majority of normal people will stop.
Step 4: Block stubborn strange callers. If you have tried the above measures and are still getting calls and texts meant for the former owner, consider adding a feature to block these incoming numbers entirely from your phone. An example is AT&T's Smart Limits, although it does carry and added monthly fee.
Tips: Prevent further unwanted calls by keeping your cell number to yourself as much as possible. Only give it out to family and trusted friends. Skip offers from certain accounts you have that ask for a cell number as an "added security measure"; these can include Blogger, Facebook, Gmail, Paypal, and several others. Although these sites do have privacy measures in place, none are completely impervious to a determined hacker. If you absolutely must verify your Facebook account with a phone number, do it with your old cell number a couple of weeks before you will be canceling your old cell phone account. Set the FB mobile contact to Only Me as an added precaution even after the old number is cancelled. Do not fill out any online offers or contest entries that require a phone number; many of these companies sell your information to third parties who will then start bothering you with unwanted telemarketing calls.
Warnings: If you are unlucky enough to start getting harassing, threatening, or obscene phone calls at your new cell number, start keeping records of the incoming numbers, the times and days of the calls, and what the caller is saying. Contact your local police department either in person or by calling their listed non-emergency crime-reporting number and explaining the situation. Most major law enforcement agencies have at least a few specialists trained to deal with electronic harassment; they can take the needed steps to locate the caller and issue him/her a warning that may lead to arrest if the calls do not stop.