The truth about the Do Not Call Registry and cell phones

There has been a lot of confusion regarding and consequently scams around whether or not you should re-enter cell phone numbers in the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry (DNC), so the agency today issued some important clarifications.

First the FTC said 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 DNC registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones.

The DNC registry has accepted personal cell phone and home phone number registrations since it opened for in June 2003. There is no deadline to register a home or cell phone number on the Registry, the FTC said.

The FTC does not allow private companies or other third parties to register consumers for the registry. Websites or phone solicitors that claim they can or will register or confirm a consumer's name or phone number on a national list — especially those who charge a fee — are a scam. Registration on the new national DNC registry is free. The government does not call anyone to put them on a DNC registry.

The FTC says 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 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.

The Do Not Call registry became  permanent earlier this year.  The new legislation will let consumers avoid having to renew their listing every five years. Most states will continue to have their own registries, experts said.  

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