Minerva's Breakdown: Hung Up 

"Your first step is to make certain that you are actually registered on the National Do Not Call Registry."

Dear Minerva,

I keep getting non-stop telemarketer calls on my phone. They've even spammed my number so it looks like I'm calling others and even looks like I've called myself. I even had one use a dead relative's number, which was very upsetting. I've called my provider and they said all they can do is give me a new number, but what's to stop them from ruining that number?

—Sincerely, Hung Up

Dear Hung Up,

It seems that this is a bigger problem than ever. Your first step is to make certain that you are actually registered on the National Do Not Call Registry. That can be done at donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Once you have registered your number, you may still receive unwanted calls for up to 31 days after the day you register. After that 31-day window, most legitimate companies won't call you. If you still receive calls, note the numbers that come in and report them to the Federal Trade Commission at the above web address, as they are most likely scammers. Because of innovations in technology, it's much easier for scammers to impersonate numbers. Also, doing these things may not prevent some of the calls from continuing. Hang up on the calls and don't interact with either the automated systems or the people on the other end. Use your phone's call blocking feature as well. If you do decide to change your phone number, keep it as private as possible.

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