This is the most common version of the email warning:
Cell Phone Numbers Go Public this month.
REMINDER….. all cell phone numbers are being released to
telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales
calls. …. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS.
To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:
888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will
only take a minute of your time.. It blocks your number for
five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you
want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone
number. HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON … It takes about 20
This email message is essentially a HOAX. The Federal Communications Commission’s ’rules & regulations’ PROHIBIT the use of mobile phone numbers in telemarketing and other solicitation schemes. DON’T BOTHER RE-SENDING IT OR FORWARDING IT ON TO YOUR EMAIL LIST as that is simply a waste of “air time” on the Internet already overcrowded with false “warnings” of one sort or another.
Analysis: This rumor has been circulating continuously since September 2004. Despite a small grain of truth at its core, such as the actual ’888′ toll-free phone number for the National DO NOT CALL registry, it’s mostly false, misleading, and outdated.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Yes, you can add your cell phone number(s) to the National Do Not Call Registry, but it’s not necessary.
- No, you won’t suddenly be at the mercy of 10,000 telemarketers if you don’t.
- You SHOULD renew your DO NOT CALL numbers every FIVE (5) years. If you don’t remember when you started, check the ON-LINE Do Not Call Registry.
Contrary to what’s claimed in these emails, cell phone numbers are not about to “go public.”
FACTs: A few years back several of the major wireless providers announced a plan to establish a universal cell phone directory, but the plan did not consist of simply publishing everyone’s cell phone numbers for the world to see, nor were the numbers to be “released to telemarketers” as claimed. A directory listing was to be made available only via telephone, only to those who dialed directory assistance and paid a fee, and only with individual wireless customers’ consent.
The “directory” idea has been moot since 2006 when the wireless directory plan was permanently shelved. I’m not aware of any similar proposals currently in the works, but then, I’m not the CIA either.
The Federal Do Not Call Registry
The Federal Trade Commission does allow mobile phone (cell phone) users to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry
(the same registry already in force for landline home phones), by either registering on-line or calling 1-888-382-1222. It may not be necessary (for mobile numbers) because according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, telemarketers are already prohibited from using automatic dialers to call mobile phones, but millions of cell phone users have signed up anyway to ensure they’re protected from unwanted calls, “just in case.”
Contrary to what most versions of the rumor-emails claim, there is no 31-day, 16-day, or 8-day deadline for adding cell phone numbers to the Do Not Call list, indeed, there is no deadline whatsoever, and there is no known “directory” in production or a directory about to be released.
If you receive such an email, DO NOT FORWARD it to other email clients thinking you’re doing them a favor. You are only contributing to additional and continued clogging the email system.
For those who have been victimized by telephone solicitors… you have help waiting.
National Telemarketing Victim Call Center
Located in downtown Los Angeles, California: toll-free 1- (888) 990-1988 or www.ntvcc.org/ Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm