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Cell phone numbers stay private

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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E-mails circulating that claim cellular telephone numbers will go public this month are false, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The commission, which is responsible for the administration of the National Do Not Call Registry, said in a statement on its website that no new cellular phone number database exists. “You may have received an e-mail telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by telemarketing calls as a result of a new cell phone number database, however that is not the case,” the statement said. “FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers.” According to the commission, since automated dialers are the industry standard, consumers can expect most telemarketers not to call without their consent. Consumers can still register their home and cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. After that, telemarketers have 31 days to remove the phone number from their database. While the amount of calls a consumer receives from telemarketers is usually significantly less, the commission states that there are some exceptions. Charities, political organizations and any company a consumer has bought from in the past 18 months are exempt from the ruling. If a consumer requests to be put on the company’s own do not call list, the company must comply with their request. Any company that continues to call could be subject to up to a $16,000 fine. The false e-mail began circulating in 2006, according to Cailin Peterson, communications specialist for the Northeast California Division of the Better Business Bureau. “The e-mail dates back to 2006 when all the wireless phone companies wanted to ban together to create a 411 service for cell phone numbers, where people could call and get someone’s number,” Peterson said. “People were saying they were going to sell their number to telemarketing companies. The directory still isn’t in existence and the whole idea dissipated in 2008.” Those who wish to place their home or cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry can do so via telephone or e-mail. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.