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FTC Consumer Alert

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Keep Your Email Address Unlisted: There Is No "National Do Not Email Registry"

Have you heard radio advertisements or seen a Web site or email that claims to offer a "national do not email registry?" Don't believe the hype, according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attorneys who are experts at fighting spam email.

Recently, the FTC reported that a national do not email registry would not be effective at this time for a number of reasons, including the high risk that it would result in more in-box clutter because illegal spammers would use the registry as a "do spam" list. The FTC advises consumers not to submit their email addresses to any organization that claims to be creating a do not spam list.

If you have already submitted your email address to a "national do not email registry" that promises to reduce the amount of spam you receive, you may be the victim of a scam. The FTC is concerned that some sites could be part of a high-tech scam to trick consumers into disclosing their email address or other sensitive personal information. The site may be a ruse to collect valid email addresses to sell to spammers. The result could be even more spam for consumers who sign up for the "registry." Or, it may be even worse - some scammers have collected information through bogus Web sites that mimic those of legitimate organizations, and then use the information to commit identity theft.

Should you get an unsolicited email claiming to represent a "do not email registry," an organization to stop spam, or even the FTC itself, forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov. If you believe you have been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, then visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.

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 www.ftc.gov or 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 complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

August 2004
button link to The National "Do Not Call" Registry button link to ID Theft Data Clearinghouse button link to SPAM info