Nearly all of us have gone into a panic one time or another after hearing that cell phone companies are about to release our information to telemarketers. Find out the truth about this rumor, and how you can avoid getting scammed.
There is probably no item you keep by your side as much as your mobile phone. If you’re anything like me, it never leaves your hip.
And that’s exactly why, for telemarketers, it’s the final frontier. If they could just catch you at that number, the one that connects to you 24/7, you would be frantically declining free vacuums, discount trips to Cancun, and other absolutely irresistible offers for nearly all your waking hours.
It’s enough to give you nightmares.
No wonder, then, that people go into an absolute panic when they hear rumors, over email or on the news, that wireless service providers have suddenly decided to compile a “Wireless 411 Directory” of cell phone numbers, and release it to telemarketing firms.
This is a story that seems to reappear and circulate the internet every few months, fueled by scam artists trying (very successfully) to raise a stir or make a quick buck by exploiting people’s fears of telemarketer harassment.
The truth about cell phone telemarketing, however, might help you rest easy:
-The vast majority of telemarketing services use auto-dialers and pre-recorded messages,
which are prohibited from targeting cell phones (or any other devices
that require the consumer to pay for the call) by the Telephone Consumer Protection
Act of 1991, a federal law.
-Wireless service providers have never planned to share cell phone information with telemarketers, and will not include customers in any Wireless 411 directory without their individual permission.
-There is only one National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov), for cell and land lines. Anything else is a scam, or a sales pitch in disguise.
So cell phone telemarketing is illegal, and that is not about to change. Then where do all of these rumors keep coming from?
In fact, the “Wireless 411 directory for telemarketers” myth originated in an actual plan, proposed by wireless service companies several years ago, to assemble a 411 directory that customers could use to look up people’s cell phone numbers for a fee.
However, even this proposed directory (which, at the moment, seems to have been postponed indefinitely) would never be accessible to telemarketers, and would allow users to opt in and out very easily.
And that means that, no matter how persistently they might pester you at home, telemarketers will not be calling your cell any time soon, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to rip you off.
So answer your cell phone without fear. Sure, it might still be your mother-in-law on the other line, but at least she’s not allowed to sell you anything. And if she tries, feel free to sue her.