Sunday, August 21, 2005

Baby, Don't You Get My Number

Cell phones. Years ago it was a status symbol for "movers and shakers" (and the bulky things were also affectionately called "bricks".) Now, they are everywhere with special ringtones, carry cases, ear-pieces, levels of internet access and even video playback. In 2000, Cahners In-Stat Group market research firm released a study on the growth of cell phones. They predicted that over half of young people age 10 to 24 would own a cellular phone by 2004. One year past that, it seems that there are more cell phones in homes than computers.

Now, with that in mind, we take you to the Do-Not-Call list. If we could avoid calls from frozen food salespeople, home loan telemarketers or even magazine sales people, we would. Back a few years ago, the idea of a national list of numbers that the federal government could protect from these calls was created. Many states started lists and many discontinued them, giving them to the feds to add to their list. Wonder where your state stands on Do-Not-Call lists? Check here.

Well, those wacky people who used fake lists to get your home phone number to sell off to telemarketers are back. A nice little email has been sent around (I'm sure you may have seen one but if not you will sometime soon) that urges you to sign the Do-Not-Call list for your cell phone by September to block it for 5 years or suffer the consequences. Sure, you can sign up with the same list you did with your phone by calling 1-888-382-1222. But, there is not a 31-day, September or December 15th deadline. Telemarketers are already prohibited by FCC regulations from calling cell phone numbers with automatic dialers. Yes, a 411 phonebook is being created for 2006 but is not going to be given out as it will be there just like directory assistance is on your regular phone. Here's some information on that from the Federal Trade Commission. Here's another link about the issue.

My guess on why they are pushing these emails? I think there are a few reasons for it. I think there are those that either believe getting more names on the list will make them safer and seem like a bigger force to reckon with. I also think that a collection of names like that would be the hacker's "holy grail" and creates quite a target. There is also something in the back of my mind saying, "You read a spam email and by responding to what it says is giving into spammers." All I know is that these emails are a great way to scare people into giving out information and that just unnerves me.


LoraLoo said...

I actually had that email forwarded to me more times than I can count. The unsuspecting consumer probably fell for that quite a bit... scare tactics are quite effective.

Fred said...

I haven't seen that email yet.

But, I do affectionately remember the brick phones. I had one during Hurricane Andrew (1992); when hooked up to my car, it was the only thing most of us had to tell the outide world we were still alive.

Ken said...

I got that e-mail as well, and it does alarm me to see the number of people that are willing to give their personal information to people they don't know or trust.

The federal and state do not call lists are more than sufficient, and the regulation that forbids predictive dialers from contacting a line where you will be billed for the incoming call should be enough - you would think.

Unknown said...

I signed up on the state and federal level so I am not worried, plus i do not answer calls from people not in my phone address book..unless I recognize the number such as one of the companies I work for in NYC..but people such as my husband that read their junk mail might be duped..

Unknown said...

I don't answer the house phone. I don't answer blocked or numbers that aren't already on my phone either.

So you'd better leave a damn message if you want me to call you back.

Oh, and I used to be a telemarketer for MCI. I freakin' rocked that job! Try hanging on me. I dare you! =P The people just couldn't. Hah! I used to talk to them like they were my homies from back in the day.

HI Martin's Mom!

New White Keds said...

I always, well almost always, learn something when I read your blog. You rock!