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Home Bogus Warnings Hoax – Cell Phone Numbers Go Public This Month

Hoax – Cell Phone Numbers Go Public This Month

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on December 2nd, 2011

Outline

Message warns recipients that cell phone numbers are set to be released to telemarketing companies this month and that consumers will be charged for incoming calls from these companies. The message urges people to register on the Do Not Call list to have their cell phone numbers blocked from such calls. 

Brief Analysis

The claim that cell phone numbers are about to be released to the public is a long running hoax with no factual basis whatsoever. And the claim that consumers will be charged for sales calls made by telemarketing companies is also nonsense. Resending this false information will help no one. However, it should be noted that the National Do Not Call Registry itself is a real US Government entity and US consumers can indeed register their cell phone numbers if they wish.

Example

REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public this month. REMINDER….. all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls. …. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222 . It is the National DO NOT CALL list It will only take a minute of your time.. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number. HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON. It takes about 20 seconds RE-POST

Cell Phones Going Public Hoax

 

Detailed Analysis

Versions of this “warning” message have circulated continually since 2004, first via email and more lately via social media websites. According to the message, cell phone numbers are set to go public “this month”. The message claims that, not only will cell phone numbers be released to telemarketing companies “this month” but that consumers will actually be charged for sales calls made by these companies. The message suggests that, to prevent these unwanted sales calls, consumers should register their cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call list. It urges recipients to pass on the information to help others avoid these costly telemarketing calls as well.

The information in the message about the National Do Not Call Registry is factual. Consumers can add their cell phone numbers to the registry if they wish to do so. However, the claim that cell phone numbers are due to be released to telemarketing companies is untrue. And the claim that consumers will be charged for sales calls made by these telemarketing companies is simply absurd. These claims are part of a long running hoax that has circulated in the United States, Australia and Canada for several years. In fact, the supposed number release has been set to occur “this month” ever since September 2004.
Despite thorough debunking of the hoax by various media and government agencies, the hoax message continues to circulate. In January 2006, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement denying the claims in the message, which notes in part:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today reiterated that despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future, and that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones.

Then in September 2009, the FTC released the following statement again denying the claims in the hoax message:

NO TRUTH TO RUMOR THAT CELL PHONE NUMBERS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO TELEMARKETERS

 

Washington, DC — For several years there has been a rumor circulating, mostly by e-mail, that a nationwide directory of cell phone numbers will be made available to telemarketers, and that consumers will start receiving telemarketing calls on their cell phones.

 

There is no truth to this rumor. Cell phone numbers are not being released to telemarketers, and you will not soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cell phone. FCC rules prohibit the use of autodialers and prerecorded messages to call cell phones without the consumer’s consent. Thus, most telemarketers are barred from contacting consumers on their cell phones.

 

The e-mail spreading the rumor often suggests that consumers put their cell phone numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry by going on-line at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1- 888-382-1222. This is the correct contact information for the National Do-Not-Call Registry. Consumers may register their cell phone numbers as an extra protection against unwanted telemarketing calls, although most telemarketing calls to cell phones would be illegal regardless of whether the number is listed on the Do-Not-Call Registry.

 

For more information on the government’s Do-Not-Call Registry, go to www.donotcall.gov.

To learn more about the e-mail rumor, go to
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/truthaboutcellphones.html

Thus, the claims in this old hoax message are nonsense and forwarding or reposting it will help nobody. However, as noted above, US consumers can add their cellphone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry if they wish either via the Registry’s website or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone they wish to register. The claim in the message that numbers added to the Registry will expire in five years is incorrect. Registered numbers do not expire and will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when the consumer chooses to remove a number from the registry.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer