Arkansas Attorney General
In recent weeks, rapidly-circulating e-mails have warned of a new "cell-phone directory" being launched in January that could lead to widespread use of your wireless phone number by telemarketers.
The e-mail urges recipients to sign up to add their wireless numbers onto the federal "Do Not Call" list as soon as possible. While the e-mail appears to be well-intentioned and is not a scam, much of the information it contains is false.
The Arkansas Attorney General's office is issuing this consumer alert to clear up any confusion for consumers.
There is a wireless-phone-number directory currently being organized by an Oregon company in cooperation with six of the seven major wireless phone-service companies. That directory is called the Wireless 411 Service, and it is scheduled to go online sometime in 2005.
Some facts about that directory and about cellular-phone numbers include the following:
* Federal laws already protect cellular phones from most types of telemarketing calls, and the new wireless directory will have no effect on those safeguards.
* The only way to be listed on Wireless 411 will be to opt in to the service. No specific action is required of consumers wishing to be left out of the directory.
* The numbers in this directory will be given out individually as requested. The Wireless 411 directory will not be published, and the company says it will not share the directory with telemarketers.
* While the Wireless 411 Service is scheduled to launch in 2005, there is nothing significant about Jan. 1, the date mentioned in the warning e-mails.
* Verizon, the nation's largest wireless-service provider, has chosen not to take part in the wireless directory.
While it's not a bad idea to sign your wireless phone number onto the "Do Not Call" list, it's also not necessary. The laws regarding wireless phones and telemarketing protect you regardless of whether you take the extra step of signing up for the federal registry or not.
For more information on "Do Not Call" and rules regarding telemarketing, you can call 1-888-382-1222 or visit the Web site at www.donotcall.gov.