• United States

Don’t call me

Jul 15, 20032 mins

* The National Do Not Call Registry - and a new scam

I recently registered my home and office phone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNCR). This government service, organized by the Federal Trade Commission, was created in response to an overwhelming tide of public annoyance at the practices of telemarketing firms.

The registry allows people to register their phone numbers so that telemarketers must refrain from calling them; the exceptions are “political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors or companies with which you have an existing business relationship,” according to the NDNCR’s FAQ.

The NDNCR has already spawned a new scam: people claiming to put victims’ numbers on the list for a fee. It would be kind to include a warning in your next security newsletter to employees warning everybody that any such attempt to garner phone numbers and fees are fraudulent. There is no charge for registration.

Telemarketers are required by law to update their lists at least every three months. Violation of the Do Not Call registration can lead to fines if the victim complains. In addition, the FTC alerts everyone that even exempt telemarketers are required to remove your number from their call lists immediately upon demand.

Remind your users that no one should ever agree to supply credit-card information to any stranger who calls soliciting donations by phone; all legitimate organizations will ask for permission to send paper documents with details of their location and other information about their organization. Granting credit-card details to unidentifiable strangers over the phone is simply asking to be robbed.

One other quick note: the registration process uses e-mail. For each phone number supplied, the NDNCR Web site sends you an e-mail message with a coded URL that confirms the addition of the number. It asks you to print the message. Personally, I find it easier to keep track of all my online transactions simply by saving them with a descriptive name as a TXT or HTM file in a directory called [d]:ArchivesOrders (where “d” is the disk drive letter). It’s easy to print those on demand or to include them in an e-mail message if I ever need to return a defective product or for any other reason relating to the transaction.