We get at least 20 calls per day that show up on the caller ID without a name and with either no phone number or a number with a New York metro area code. We usually don't bother answering such calls anymore. ("If it's important, they'll leave a message.") When we do answer, there's often no one on the other end. Other times, it's a tzedaka organization we may or may not have heard of.

If you have had this kind of experience as well, how do you deal with it? Is there any way to get the number of such calls to decrease?

One organization calls repeatedly and insists that I pledged to give a donation. I'm sure that I never did, but they may have misconstrued one of my responses during one of their "can we send you an envelope for your pledge of $N" pitches. How can we get them to remove us from their books?

  • I have the same challenge! Did any of the below solutions help?
    – RCW
    Commented Nov 23, 2010 at 23:17
  • I just kept to my policy of not making commitments over the phone. I don't recall a change in the call volume. We ended up moving away to a community that doesn't happen to have a popular community phone directory, so our new number isn't on the lists yet.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 3:36
  • 1
    You could also try this: dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/11/…
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 3:49
  • I don't think that "Is this kind of experience typical" is on-topic, so I've removed it. (Besides, I don't think that most of the answers dealt with it) If you disagree, by all means -- it's your question, after all.
    – MTL
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 4:47
  • 1
    Oy, Nebach, Isaac. 20 calls per day? Give me your number. I'll call you only once, and when you see "DanF" on your caller ID, please answer it and donate your tzedaka to me. Aren't you glad I solved your problem??
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 18:26

10 Answers 10


I worked for one of the larger companies that called for various charity organizations.

The only way to get them to stop calling would be following this script:

  1. Caller: Hi, Mr. Moses, I'm Binny Weiss calling for Yeshivas Mir Tash...
  2. You: Who's Mr. Moses?? I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.

If you just say no, they will likely be calling you again. If you say maybe, they will surely be calling you again. If you say yes, they will definitely be calling you again. The only way that they won't call again is if the number is disconnected or it's a wrong number.

The bonus is that if we found a wrong number calling for any of our campaigns, the number would be removed from all of our lists.

  • 4
    Tzvi, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the excellent insider advice! I look forward to seeing you around.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 28, 2010 at 17:23
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    Thanks. If anyone has any other questions about the tzedakah-telemarketing world, I'd be happy to answer.
    – Tzvi
    Commented Mar 28, 2010 at 17:35
  • Is there a concern of lying? Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 18:31

We tried all the suggestions given above and they didn't work for the most part. The phone just kept on ringing. I tried this once and it worked so I use it with the persistent ones and it seems to get them off the phone quickly.

Caller: I'm calling from__to thank you for your donation of $___..... Me: Thank you for calling! You've saved me a phone call. I'm collecting for tzedaka X, a most worthwhile tzedaka, and I know that you would just love to donate. Can I put you down for $54.00? Caller: Err, I'm calling about... Me: Not $54.00? Then I'll put you down for $36. What is your address so I can send out a reminder to you? At this point I get a dial tone.

  • 2
    My father tried this method and had similar success.
    – Bas613
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 13:54
  • There's an old Calvin and Hobbes strip in which Calvin answers the phone with "Hello, I'd like a large cheese pizza," and hangs up, concluding the strip with "I like making people's days a little more surreal."
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 6:43
  • Is there a concern of lying? Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 18:38

Caller: Hi, Mr. Moses, I'm Binny Weiss calling for Yeshivas Ahavas Kessef...

You: Mr. Moses? Oh, you want my father.

Caller: Yes. Is he in?

You: No.

Caller: When will he be back.

You: In 5 to 7 years.

You'll likely be removed from the list!!

  • Lol, yeshivas ahavas kessef, +1 x 100 (if I could) Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 14:33
  • Is there a concern of lying? Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 18:38

We get a large number of phone calls from Tzedaka organizations as well. My policy is not to pledge over the phone, but to suggest they send mail and I will think about it, though I am careful not to agree to any pledge. I think the local police sent me a letter saying I pledged over the phone when I did not. I also would love it if there were a way to stop getting the phone calls, though I assume they get the number from the local phone lists or other organizations we have donated money to.

  • I once got a call from an organization and pledged a nominal amount. A day later, I realized I had just sent them a donation (the check had cleared, so I know they had gotten it). I ignored the pledge letter (I was a bit angry they hit me up again right after making a donation) when it arrived and did not get any other notices from either them, the police or anyone else.
    – Dennis
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 16:25

We all get a large number of phone calls from Tzedaka organizations. We mostly don't answer the phone when a number or name we don't reconize shows up on the caller ID. That cuts out alot of requests, but I think for the most part the calls continue untill someone answers the phone and either gives or not. I find a bigger problem are the people who show up at the door collecting for organizaions or for themselves. I find very annoying the people who first ask for their organization and then for themselves personally. I find it much harder to turn someone down face to face. In the end I usually give these people a very small amount ($5 cash). The people at the door are never satisfied but I feel better that I didin't have to choose between dueling organizations that I never heard of.

  • 1
    In our city, where shluchim are very common, I have seen signs on a number of people's doors to the effect of: "All tzeddakas will be given $5. Individuals will be given $10" or some variant. I don't know if it will help the double-dippers, but does seem to help avoid haggling over amount, something I find extremely distasteful.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 15:22

I also tell callers that I never pledge over the phone. And I usually only offer 1 dollar at the door. They usually take it. But then again, I live in Brooklyn, and things are probably different everywhere else.

May one be deceptive in order to stop these types of calls? Seems questionable to me. Perhaps if the caller herself is acting deceptively it would be OK.

One should also keep in mind the gemara in Baba Bathra 7b:

ההוא חסידא דהוה רגיל אליהו דהוה משתעי בהדיה עבד בית שער ותו לא משתעי בהדיה

Where a "Hasid" was held accountable for building a gate that prevented charity collectors from doing their thing. Although it seems that this was only an issue for a "Hasid" and not for mainstream Jews, it is still brought down for all of us to learn from. So we need to try and find a balance.

  • 1
    I tell callers the same thing. Oddly, in the time since I originally asked this question, the issue has slowed down a great deal, for some reason.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 2:29
  • Barry, a physical doorway and gate blocking it is very different than not picking up the phone. As it is, we must place "filters" over our excessive use of communication technologies since we can only handle so much. It is too easy to set up a program to call and the telemarketer only picks up if you pick up. That is the latest strategy for "Phone shnorring." If they do not have the decency to have the receiver in hand when I say "Hello" then I believe that not picking up to begin with is an acceptable practice.
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 9:24

Sometimes I receive this kind of call to the office, I just tell them that this is an office and they hang up.

  • 3
    Try this at home too.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 7:25

Tell them to send you an envelope with their brochure in the mail, and note that they spoke to you, this way, if they are legitimate theyll follow through, if not they wont


It's almost impossible to get the phone to stop ringing, no matter how hard you try, short of disconnecting the phone.

I saw one of the first answering machines being invented in Moshav Elazar in the early 70's. I should have paid the high price for it then! Now, an answering machine is cheap and B"H, they are around, because they are one of man's greatest inventions. Two even greater invention are your brain and emotions. There's absolutely no need to ever answer your phone immediately regardless of who calls. (Well, unless it's a real emergency!) Ignore the ringing, and let the machine do the work for you.

The point is, why should you let any caller control your day and your life? Whenever you want, play back all the shnorrer messages, and decide which ones you want to call back and donate to. Even if you do that, insist that they mail you info, and check it out with a rav or other community maven. There are loads of imposters and ganovim around.


Caller: Hello! X...

Called: Hi sorry for keeping you on hold.

Caller: ..


Caller: Hello! X..

Called: Hi sorry for keeping you on hold. I can take your order now.

Called: I didn’t or-..


Every once in a while you may get a legitimate call, and this will backfire- but you should figure it out.


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