its a hoax....
Hoax unleashes flood of sign-ups on national do-not-call list
By Jerri Stroud
Of the Post-Dispatch
Story continues below adA widely circulated e-mail implying that cell phone numbers will be made available to telemarketers next year is a harmless hoax, but it apparently has led to a spike in registrations on the national do-not-call list, a spokeswoman for the Federal Trade Commission said Friday.
"We have seen a tremendous spike in registrations in the last two weeks," said Jen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for the FTC, which maintains the national list.
The FTC can't tell whether the numbers being registered are for cell phones, pagers or land-line phones, she said. "But it's probably safe to assume that many of these are in response to these particular e-mails."
The e-mails say that customers could start receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls on their wireless phones after Jan. 1 unless they sign up with the national or a state do-not-call list. The e-mails generally have a link to the list, Schwartzman said.
"While the e-mail is untrue, it's not malicious," Schwartzman said. "It seems to be just linking to our legitimate site."
The agency saw do-not-call registrations jump to more than 2 million last week and about 1 million two weeks ago, Schwartzman said. Before that, the agency was seeing fewer than 200,000 numbers registered in an average week.
The mobile phone industry is discussing a national database of mobile phone numbers, but it won't be published or made available to third parties, said Silvia Manrique, a spokeswoman for Cingular Wireless LLC.
Customers would decide whether they want to be listed in the database, which would be used for a wireless directory-assistance service.
"If you wanted to be included in the 411 database, you would have to take action," Manrique said. "People who did not want to be listed wouldn't have to do anything."
"The e-mail has created some confusion that we've had to correct," said John Duty, a spokesman for Nextel Communications Inc. The company has provided information on the proposed service on its Web site, www.nextel.com
Verizon Wireless issued a statement Friday calling the wireless 411 database "a dumb idea" because consumers don't want their cell phone numbers published or shared without their knowledge.
Sprint Corp. hasn't made a decision on whether to participate in the wireless information service, said a spokesman, Dave DeVries.
Qsent Inc., a company based in Portland, Ore., has been designated to maintain the wireless 411 database, but no date for launching the service has been established.
A spokesman said wireless companies may start allowing customers to opt into the database in the spring. Late next year, cell phone numbers could be included in the database used for calls to 411, or local directory assistance. Qsent has set up a Web site with information about the proposed service, www.wireless411service.com
Find out more
To learn more about the government's do-not-call list, go to www.donotcall.gov/
or call 1-888-382-1222.
Missouri's do-not-call list doesn't include cell phones. More information is at www.ago.mo.gov/nocalllaw/nocalllaw.htm
or by calling 1-866-662-2551.
Reporter Jerri Stroud