Viral emails warning that cell phone numbers will soon be made public, that telemarketing companies will begin placing sales calls to cell phones and that customers will be charged for these calls are not true, Attorney General George Jepsen and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein advised today.
“Emails that claim that cell phone numbers will ‘go public’ this month are simply false,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Neither the government nor the cell phone companies have any intent to release cell phone numbers to telemarketers. Federal law prohibits telemarketers from using automatic dialers to call cell phones, which effectively prohibits telemarketers from calling consumers’ cell phones without consent.”
Attorney General Jepsen continued, “While consumers can certainly choose to register their cell phone on the national Do Not Call Registry, no consumer should believe an email warning that their cell phone number will soon be handed over to telemarketers or that their service plan will be billed for such calls.”
“This myth resurfaces year after year, causing unwarranted consumer anxiety,” Commissioner Rubenstein said. “Happily, it’s one consumer danger that is NOT real, so cell phone users may rest easy, and avoid acting upon any threat or warning about cell phone numbers going public.”
There is only one Do Not Call Registry. It is operated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with information available at DoNotCall.gov. The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. To register online, go to DoNotCall.gov; you will be required to respond to a confirmation email. Once registered, telemarketers covered by the Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the registration date to stop calling.
Marketers with whom you have conducted business within the last 18 months are generally exempt from Do Not Call requirements, as are tax-exempt and nonprofit entities; political campaigns; businesses contacting about an existing debt, contract or payment; businesses that started within the past year; prerecorded messages or emergency calls needed for health or safety; organizations with whom you have given prior consent; or entities with which you have a preexisting relationship.
If you have already registered a cell phone number, or another telephone number, you do not need to re-register. Do Not Call registrations do not expire. Once registered, a telephone number stays on the Do Not Call Registry until the registration is cancelled or service for the number is disconnected.
The FTC investigates complaints about potential Do Not Call violations; complaints can be filed with the FTC through DoNotCall.gov. The state Department of Consumer Protection also accepts and investigates complaints about potential violations of Connecticut’s Do Not Call law. Complaints can be made at www.ct.gov/dcp or at 1-800-842-2649.
Assistant Attorneys General Sandra Arenas Charles and Phillip Rosario, head of the Consumer Protection unit, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.
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