Protect yourself from telemarketers

Posted by Tim Hillebrand on Dec 01, 2008

closeThis post was published 5 years 10 months 23 days ago which may make its actuality or expire date not be valid anymore. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

clip_image002Apparently the rumors about cell phone numbers being released to telemarketers is unfounded, and there is no deadline to register. However, I have been receiving quite a number of telemarketing calls and prerecorded messages on my mobile phones lately. In my opinion, telemarketers are the lowest life forms in the food chain and should be hunted down and exterminated. There should be a bounty on them.

Whenever I get a telemarketing call, I politely say, “Wow, that’s really interesting. I’d like to know more about it. I’m busy right now, could you please give me your home phone and tell me when you eat dinner so I can call you back?” Click. They hang up.

The FTC and FCC have provided a modicum of consumer safeguard with its DoNotCall program. Call 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to put on the do not call list. Or, you can go to www.ftc.gov/donotcall and register up to three numbers at a time. You will receive an email for each number and you must respond within 72 hours to complete the registration, which is good for five years.


However, this only gives you minimum protection. Non-profit organizations, political parties, and EBRs are exempt. I can’t tell you how much those automated campaign contribution calls annoy me and how little response they get from me. An EBR, by the way, is an established business relationship. This means that if you have had any business relationship with a company, they are free to call you. Strictly informational calls such as you get from your dentist reminding you of an appointment are exempt too.

Telemarketing firms are supposed to register and download a list of do not call numbers so that they can eliminate the do not calls from their calling lists. There is a fee, but If I were running the show, I’d charge them $100 per name for the do not call list and make it mandatory.

Now, if I were running a telemarketing company, I would simply turn it into a non-profit organization and pay myself a huge salary and have my bottom-dwelling employees call away with abandon fully sanctioned by the FTC.

What if you have a complaint against a telemarketer who you think may have broken the rules? You can file a complaint online by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/Complaint/ComplaintCheck.aspx. But, your phone number must have been in the registry for at least 31 days. Then you simply supply the requested information and submit it.

What could happen to a low-life telemarketer for breaking the rules? If you would like to read about a case in which a telemarketing company failed to give an accurate call back number so that consumers could complain, go to http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/scorpio.shtm. Each of the defendants in the case received a $530,000 fine, but they only had to pay a small fraction of it, and they were then free to continue with their dastardly deeds.

My best advice is do not give your phone number to anyone for any reason except trusted friends and relatives. It is amazing how quickly a phone number can be put on a list and sold to the telemarketing raptors. If you must complete a mandatory field in a form, use a fake phone number. Another piece of advice is to get a VOiP phone number and get rid of your landline altogether because your landline company will betray you by making your number available to telemarketers. I haven’t had a landline now for at least five or six years, and it feels really good not to be paying the phone company every month.

clip_image004I highly recommend MagicJack for your consideration. A MagicJack is a little box about the size of a box of matches with a USB plug that you can connect to any computer and start making unlimited free calls all over the United States and Canada. International calls are as little as one cent a minute. The box costs $29.95, which includes one month free, and a year of service. Subsequent yearly subscriptions cost only $19.95. That’s a year, not a month! Visit www.magicjack.com for more information.

I’ve been using my MagicJack for over a year now, and it works like a charm. You can plug any phone into it and use the phone just as you normally would. I have a wireless phone plugged into it that I can use all over the house and even out in the garden, is I don’t get too far from the base station. If your computer has a built-in microphone and speakers, you can use them instead of a handset, which I do on my laptop. If you have a headset, you can use that if you prefer.

There are no extra charges for all the expectable services such as call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting and voice mail. Directory assistance is free, not $1.99 a call. The voice mail service is amazing. When you receive an unanswered call, MagicJack sends you an email with time, date, and number. Then, as an attachment, you get the actual recorded message for no extra charge.

Good luck with the telemarketing piranhas. Don’t forget to register today. Cancel your landline and get a MagicJack.

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  • http://twitter.com/branflakez/status/1032780005 Brandee
  • rlichtefeld

    According to snopes, this is false:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/cell411.asp

  • Bob

    MagicJack works exactly as advertised. I went to Europe for to weeks, had my office calls forwarded to my MJ number and then just picked up voice messages in my email. Cost? Nothing. It’s a great product.

  • http://twitter.com/toddogasawara/status/1032889662 toddogasawara

    U.S. cell numbers being given to telemarketers today. Ugh. http://is.gd/9LRl

  • Xerloq

    What is your source for this info? I can’t find anything about it at the FCC site.

  • rlichtefeld

    I did some looking and this is what the FCC has to say about it:
    http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/truthaboutcellphones.html

    —Quote—-
    You may be one of many consumers who have received e-mails saying you’re about to be assaulted by unwanted telemarketing calls to your wireless phone. Rest assured that placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is — and always has been — illegal in most cases.

    Why the Confusion?

    The confusion seems to stem from recent discussions in the wireless phone industry about establishing a wireless 411 phone directory, much like your traditional (wired) 411 phone directory. A number of e-mail campaigns seem to suggest that if your wireless telephone number is listed in a wireless 411 directory, it will be available to telemarketers, and you will start to receive sales calls. In addition, some of these e-mail campaigns suggest that there is a separate do-not-call “cell phone registry,” which you must call to have your wireless phone number covered by the do-not-call rules. This information is wrong.

    Here Are the Facts:

    * At present, a wireless 411 directory is only in the idea stage.
    * Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be illegal. For example, it is unlawful for any person to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with express prior consent) using any automatic telephone dialing system or any artificial or prerecorded voice message to any telephone number assigned to a paging service, mobile telephone service, or any service for which the called party is charged for the call. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the number is listed on the national Do-Not-Call list.
    …..
    — End Quote —

  • doogald

    I agree with others – this is a known false rumor, and I suggest that you edit the post to make it a MagicJack post and remove the telemarketing rumor.

  • srvctec

    Yeah, you might want to get your facts straight before starting a thread like this. This is what perpetuates false emails and information. It states right at the top of the page you linked to that it’s not true.

    Let me quote it:
    “You may have received an email 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. Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers.”

    The info on MagicJack is great though. I’ve never heard of it, so that was enlightening. I agree, change your post over on Mobility Site forums, since that is how I arrived here.

  • http://800notes.com/ Julia

    The FTC made the DNC List permanent in June 2008: http://800notes.com/articles/News.aspx/q_WBAntQIADV-gjKoBG4-w

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