Cellphone users who are in a panic thinking that their mobile phone numbers will be released to telemarketers and other third parties can rest easy-- this persistent rumor is unfounded.
A forwarded email that began circulating in 2004 and is still arriving in inboxes today urges recipients to list their cellphone numbers with the federal Do Not Call Registry within a certain deadline; otherwise, the numbers will soon be released to telemarketers and other unwanted parties. According to the authenticating website Snopes.com and information from the Federal Trade Commission, this information is false.
Laura Merritt, Verizon Wireless public relations manager for the region, also confirmed that cellphone numbers will remain private.
"Verizon Wireless is very protective of our customersâ€™ privacy. Not only are we not sharing our customersâ€™ numbers with telemarketers, weâ€™ve aggressively gone after telemarketers who have engaged in illegal activity," Merritt said.
She added that since 2004, Verizon Wireless has brought more than 20 lawsuits against wireless spammers, telemarketers and other groups, and like several other communications companies, has won permanent injunctions against individuals and companies who have engaged in illegal activity regarding cellphone numbers.
There is no official cellphone directory. Although there are some online cellphone directories in existence, users must sign up and voluntarily provide their information either to use them or be listed on them.
Even though cellphone numbers will continue to remain private at this time, it is still a good idea to sign up for the National Do Not Call registry to prevent most telemarketing calls to either your home or mobile phone, if you have inadvertently given your mobile number to a business from which you no longer wish to receive calls. There is a state Do Not Call registry as well. There is much overlap between the federal and state registries, but signing up for both should ensure the most protection possible from unwanted calls.
Those who do choose to sign up for the state or federal Do Not Call lists need to keep in mind that while joining these lists should prevent most telemarketing calls, there are some exceptions and you can expect to still receive the following: calls that you request; calls made by a business to existing customers or to consumers who have done business with the company in the past year; debt collection calls; calls from tax-exempt charitable or fraternal organizations and veterans organizations; and calls made on behalf of political groups or candidates.
To register your number on the state's Do Not Call list, call 1-888-777-3406 from the number you wish to register or visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx.
To sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry, visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.