You can add your home phone and your cellphone on the national do not call registry. But be aware that charities and political candidates are still allowed to call. And some brazen telemarketers may still contact you.
"The problem is that enforcing the rules on unwanted marketing calls is tough," said Margot Gilman, Consumer Reports. "Some unethical companies go ahead and call you anyway, even if you are on the Do Not Call Registry."
To help limit robo-calls, hang up and don't press any buttons. If you do, the auto-dialer registers that a real person answered and may keep calling. If you have caller-ID on your phone, report the robo-caller's number via the DoNotCall.gov website to the Federal Trade Commission.
"There's also a new free service called Nomorobo, which identifies and hangs up on robo-calls. Check with Nomorobo.com to see if your carrier has the simultaneous ring feature that enables the service," said Gilman.
While charitable calls still will get through, it may be worth asking the charities to mail their request and not to call you. They might just comply.
If you do manage to block most robo-calls, don't worry: essential alerts such as school closings and flight changes will not be blocked.