Truth About Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry

Telemarketing to cell phones is illegal, says FTC

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Must Cell Phones be Registered on the Do Not Call List?. Getty Images

If you've 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, rest assured that this is not the case.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), telemarketing to cell phone numbers has always been illegal in most cases and will continue to be so. In response to recent email campaigns urging consumers to place their cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, the FTC and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) want consumers to know the facts.

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One email making the rounds says:

"JUST A REMINDER...In a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale 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. PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS..."

Another version claims:

"The Federal Trade Commission has set up a "do not call" list. It is called a cell phone registry. To be included on the "do not call" list, you must call from the number you wish to register."

Here's what you need to know about the National Do Not Call Registry program:

  • FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers (robocalls) to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
    • The federal government does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Personal cell phone users have always been able to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry - the same Registry consumers use to register their land lines - either online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register.
      • Business-to-business calls are not covered under the Do Not Call Registry.

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