The Federal Trade Commission today reiterated that despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future, and that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones.
The truth about cell phones and the DNC Registry is:
- Contrary to the e-mail, cell phone numbers are NOT being released to telemarketers, and you will NOT soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cell phone.
- There is NO deadline by which you must register your cell phone number on the Registry.
- Federal Communications Commission (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 national associations representing telemarketers have stated that their members do not intend to start calling consumers’ cell phones.
- There is only ONE National DNC Registry. There is no separate registry for cell phones.
- The DNC Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. You must call from the phone number that you want to register. If you register online, you must respond to a confirmation e-mail.
- While the telecommunications industry has been discussing the possibility of creating a wireless 411 directory, according to the FCC, even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to cell phones would still be illegal, regardless of whether the number is listed on the federal government’s Do Not Call Registry.
In addition, according to the industry:
- Your number would not be included in a wireless 411 directory unless you wanted it to be (i.e., you will have to “opt-in”); and
- The wireless 411 directory would not be available in a printed, electronic, or Internet list for telemarketers. In other words, a list of numbers on the wireless 411 directory would not be made available to telemarketers.
For More Information
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 http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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