Fraud on the Line: Avoiding “Do Not
Have you received a call from a company inviting you to preregister
for the national "Do Not Call" list? What about a call asking to
confirm your registration on a "Do Not Call" registry? If so, you may
be the target of a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC), the federal agency that is creating the national "Do Not Call"
The FTC does not allow private companies or other third parties to
"pre-register" consumers for the registry. Web sites or phone
solicitors that claim they can or will register a consumer's name or
phone number on a national list - especially those who charge a fee -
are a scam. Registration on the new national "Do Not Call" registry
will be free. The FTC says that once a consumer signs up with a "Do
Not Call" registry, there is no need to confirm personal information.
And the government will not call anyone to put them on a "Do Not Call"
According to the FTC, consumers will be able to register directly with
the FTC, or through some state governments, but never through private
companies. The agency is gearing up to accept registrations beginning
in July 2003 from consumers who want to register online and who have
an email account. For consumers who want to register by phone, a
toll-free telephone number will be available. Phone registration dates
will be scheduled by state during July and August. The FTC says
summertime registrants should notice a downturn in telemarketing calls
starting in October.
The FTC warns consumers to be wary of scams related to the registry.
Many consumers who want to get fewer telemarketing calls already have
signed up with a state "Do Not Call" registry, the Direct Marketing
Association's Telemarketing Preference Service or individual company
"Do Not Call" lists. But consumer protection officials say that
rip-off artists have begun to take advantage of the popularity of
these services to trick consumers into giving up personal information,
such as their Social Security number, bank account number, credit card
number or telephone calling card number.
Here's how the scam works: someone calls claiming to represent a "Do
Not Call" registry or the FTC. The phony registry "official" asks for
your personal information, supposedly to verify that you want to be on
the "Do Not Call" list. The caller is a con artist who could use your
personal information to run up debts in your name or otherwise steal
your identity. Some con artists are pushing a similar scam through
The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection says consumers can avoid these
- Keep information about your bank
accounts and credit cards to yourself - including the numbers -
unless you know who you're dealing with.
- Never share your Social Security
number with a person you don't know.
- Don't share your personal
information if someone calls you claiming to represent a "Do Not
Call" registry, an organization to stop fraud or even the FTC
itself. If you get such a call, either hang up immediately or write
down the caller's organization and phone number and report it to the
FTC at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP, or to your state attorney
For more information on how to reduce
unwanted telemarketing calls, visit
www.ftc.gov/donotcall. If you believe that your personal
information may have been compromised, visit
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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