Telemarketers are barred from calling phone numbers placed on the list. Those that disregard the rule are subject to fines of up to $11,000 per violation.
There are loopholes -- charities, politicians, telephone surveyors and businesses that already have a relationship with a customer are exempt -- but signing up for the service will cut down on many unwanted calls.
Here's how to sign up:
Register on-line at www.donotcall.gov. You will receive a confirmation e-mail and you need to click on the e-mail link within 72 hours to add your number to the registry.
Or, call (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to register and follow the prompts.
The service is free. After five years, you must re-register.
Expect to wait about 31 days before calls decrease. After that, if a telemarketer calls you in violation of the rule, report it to the FTC at the above contact numbers. You will need to provide the date of the call and the phone number or name of the company that called you.
You can verify that your number is registered by going to the Web site and phone number listed above.