Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Like so many emails these days you can't believe everything that comes into your inbox. A recent example of some of the half truths contained in well-intentioned emails includes the following which has been making the rounds on the Internet:
"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..."
This email first started appearing when it was announced in mid-2004 that the wireless industry was looking to implement a wireless 411 directory. The wireless industry however and laws in several states require any person's cell phone number that is listed in a wireless 411 directory, to only be included if that person's gives express consent. In other words, your number will not be included in a wireless 411 directory unless you say so. And if you're number is included, it would not be provided to telemarketers nor will the directory be handed over to those who may place annoying sales calls to your cell phone.
Keep in mind, too, that under federal law telemarketers are not allowed to place pre-recorded messages to cell phones and that many states prohibit text messages to cell phones.
The truth contained in the above email, however, is that consumers can include their cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. When the National Do Not Call Registry was established, it allowed individuals (not businesses) to enroll both their landlines and cell phone numbers on the Registry. To sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry, call 888-382-1222 from the number you want to register or go on line to www.donotcall.gov .
A similarly bogus email started back in 2001 told recipients that their credit report and the personal information it contains were going to be available to anyone, when that was not the case. In fact, the email combines two separate legitimate issues with simply wrong information.
This email is described in more detail on the PRC's web site at www.privacyrights.org/ar/optout_truth.htm . For more about phishing emails which attempt to lure recipients into providing sensitive personal information, see www.privacyrights.org/ar/phishing.htm .
For more information about the bogus email that claims telemarketers will get your cell phone number shortly, see the following:
- The Truth about Cell Phones and the National Do Not Call Registry , Fed. Trade Commission (04.15.05)
- Bogus E-Mail Worries Users Of Cell Phones, Washington Post  (12.10.04, Subscription Required)