The Checkout

Perpetual Spam

Two popular e-mails--both false--are making the rounds again, prompting cautionary warnings from federal officials.

Earlier this month, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) issued an alert about a spam e-mail purportedly from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "This scheme was originally unleashed in 2004, but it is currently resurfacing," the IC3 said. The e-mail claims that your account has been denied insurance from the FDIC--in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and federal, state and local governments--because of suspected violations of the Patriot Act. To get the insurance reinstituted, recipients are asked to click to the provided link to verify their identity. The e-mail says that if the recipient fails to complete the identity verification, the FBI will be notified, and government officials could pay a visit to their home. The e-mail is a hoax.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is once again disputing e-mails that warn consumers that their cellphone numbers may soon be released to telemarketers unless they register those numbers on the national Do-Not-Call list in the next few days. "Contrary to the e-mail, cellphone numbers are NOT being released to telemarketers, and you will NOT soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cellphone," the FTC said. The agency added, "there is NO deadline by which you must register your cellphone on the registry."

Another government agency, the Federal Communications Commission, already bars telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cellphone numbers. Since automated dialers are standard in the industry, that means most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers' cellphones without their consents, the FTC said.

Even so, if you're worried about telemarketing calls to you cellphone, you can always go ahead and register your number. More than 125 million phone numbers are on the Do-Not-Call list.

By  |  June 28, 2006; 10:22 AM ET Consumer Alerts
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I understand that the FCC says most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers cellphones without their consents. So, I have two questions. One: what does "most" mean? Two: what about cellphones whose phone number used to be a landline? I receive telemarketing calls periodically on my cell (used to be a landline) but not on my husbands cell (number was generated for cellular service). What gives?

Posted by: Curious | June 29, 2006 11:31 AM

Why is the FCC rule on autodialers, etc. always quoted to include " dial cellphone numbers...", when the rule applies to ALL TELEPHONES??

And to add to Curious' comment...
There are NO EXCLUSIONS FOR ANY TELEMARKETERS written in the FCC's autodialer rules.

So, with such strict regulation by the FCC, and with the FTC's "revolutionary" DoNotCall List, why is everyone still being beseiged with telemarketing calls?...

All the supposed "regulations" by both the FCC and the FTC are nothing short of a bad joke!

These 2 commissions DO have the resources, the technology, the supporting bodies, and the clout to put an end to it all... What they don't have is the motivation to use what they have.

(If they actually cared about all this, the whole discussion would already be a thing of the past.)

Posted by: Devil's Advocate | June 29, 2006 8:52 PM

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