The Truth about Cell Phones and the National Do Not Call Registry

For Release

If you’ve received an e-mail telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by telemarketing calls as a result of a new cell phone number database, rest assured that this is not the case. Telemarketing to cell phone numbers has always been illegal in most cases and will continue to be so. In response to recent e-mail campaigns urging consumers to place their cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission issue this advisory to give consumers the facts.

One e-mail making the rounds says:

“JUST A REMINDER...In a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale 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. PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS...”

Another version claims:

“The Federal Trade Commission has set up a "do not call" list. It is called a cell phone registry. To be included on the "do not call" list, you must call from the number you wish to register.”

Here’s what you need to know about the National Do Not Call Registry program:

  • FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
     
  • The federal government does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Personal cell phone users have always been able to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry — the same Registry consumers use to register their land lines — either online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register. Registrations become effective within 31 days of signing up and are active for five years. There is no cut-off date or deadline for registrations.
     
  • Business-to-business calls are not covered under the Registry.

For More Information

To learn more about the National Do Not Call Registry and the rules that enforce it, visit the FTC at www.ftc.gov or the FCC at www.fcc.gov. For more information about a planned “wireless 411” directory, visit http://www.iq411.com/wireless411/index.shtml.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Contact Information

Media Contact:

Jen Schwartzman
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674
 

Staff Contact:

Rosemary Kimball
Office of Public Affairs
202-418-0511