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Cell Phone Directory E-Mail Hoax

    This article covers, the following:
  1. Introduction - Is this e-mail real?  
  2. Sample - One such variety of the e-mail hoax for comparison purposes  
  3. Panic - What kind of panic has this e-mail hoax caused?  
  4. Future - Are there any plans for a cell phone directory in the future?  
  5. Register - Should I register my cell phone number with the Do Not Call registry?
  6. More Information - News, alerts, and additional information regarding this hoax

Is this E-Mail Real?

     I just received an e-mail from a friend which says that telemarketers will be calling me on my cell phone unless I register my cell number with the Do Not Call registry, is this true?   In a word, NO!  It is, in fact, a hoax that circles the Internet time-and-time again, especially prevelent in the later months of the year. It is spread by friends, family, and business associates who forward the e-mail hoax onto others thinking they are doing someone a favor. The forwarded e-mail only causes people to panic and rush to the government's donotcall.gov website in order to register their cell phone numbers. While you can register your cell phone number to protect against telemarketing calls, telemarketers are forbidden by FCC Regulations from calling cell phone numbers using automated dialers, which is standard equipment among telemarketers.

One Variety of the Cell Phone Directory E-Mail Hoax

From: [ Someone You Know ]
To: [ Everyone Else You Know ]
Subject: FW: For Everyone w/Cell Phones


In 31 days, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls. You will be charged for these calls.

Call this number from your cell phone 888-382-1222 or register on-line at www.donotcall.gov.

It is the national DO NOT CALL list. It only takes a minute of your time.

It blocks your number for 5 years. Please pass this on to everyone you know who may be interested.

     It should be noted that the website, www.donotcall.gov, and the telephone number, 888-382-1222, as contained in the hoax e-mail are actually correct and can be found on the official Do Not Call registry website.

What Kind of Panic Has This E-Mail Hoax Caused?

     Since the initial launch of the official Do Not Call registry at donotcall.gov in 2003, the FCC reports that new registrations average 200,000 a week. When this e-mail hoax first surfaced in late 2004, the FCC received almost one million new registrations in just the last week of November 2004 alone. The panic didn't stop there, in the first week of December 2004, the number of new registrations sky rocketed to two million. The official Do Not Call registry currently contains an estimated 70 million telephone numbers.

Are there any Plans for a Cell Phone Directory in the Future?

     Although wireless companies have been exploring the idea of a comprehensive cell phone directory, the intent was specifically to allow current cell phone users to connect to other cell phone users through a pay-per-use directory assistance, just as land lines currently employ by virture of calling directory assitance at 411 or 555-1212. However, many wireless companies have now abandoned the idea of participating in such a directory citing privacy concerns for its customers. There was never any intent by the wireless companies to publish cell phone numbers in a printed directory like the white pages or yellow pages, and would have only been used by authorized cell phone directory assistance operators. In addition, the comprehensive cell phone directory idea would also have been strictly an "opt-in" feature, i.e., the cell phone number owner would have to specifically request to be added to the directory and authorized the release of their cell phone number to others. More likely than not, if launched and not abandoned, the wireless companies would have charged you to have your cell phone number "unlisted", just as they do now with hard line telephone numbers.

Should I Register My Cell Phone Number with the Do Not Call Registry?

     The official Do Not Call registry at donotcall.gov allows for both hard line and cell phone numbers to be registered. You can also call 888-382-1222 to register your phone number. While registering your cell phone number is not necessary based on FCC Regulations currently in place that prevent telemarketers from calling you on your cell phone, doing so will have no adverse effects.

News, Alerts and Information Regarding this E-Mail Hoax

    For more news, alerts, and information on this e-mail hoax, please visit these webpages:

  • Official Do Not Call Registry
      Register your hard line and cell phone number. From the FCC.
  • Telemarketers Won't Ring Up Cell Phones
      Stay calm: You're not about to be bombarded with telemarketing calls on your cell phone. Read more about it in this article from USA Today.
      http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/ telecom/2005-04-17-cell-number-usat_x.htm

See also, these cross-references:

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