I think it is helpful to have a standard script ready for unexpected phone calls.
If it is obviously an unwanted call from a telemarketer or scammer, say nothing and hang up.
If unsure, ask:
- Who are you?
- Did I ask you to phone me?
- Where did you get my phone number from?
- What’s your phone number and address?
- What do you want?
Be prepared to simply hang up at any point, depending on their answer.
I no longer complete product surveys, except for reputable organisations such as Choice. I take care to protect my key identity information in all my daily transactions as much as possible using the ‘need to know’ principle. For example, why do I need to give my date of birth on just about everything. If I need to supply personal information where I think there is a good chance it will be data-mined or could possibly be used for identity theft, I have at the ready my alternative ID which consists of a fake date of birth, my name misspelt, a now-defunct mobile phone number, an email address specially set up for possible junk mail, and a non-existent residential address – obviously just for those occasions when you do not need or want to have further contact with the person or organisation.
It seems the ‘do not call’ register is not working as it does not apply to charities and is used as a call list instead. I made the mistake of helping my mother get her phone number on the ‘do not call’ list and it just made the problem worse. My silent number gets few unsolicited calls.