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June 15, 2007

Do Not Call Registry and VOIP

I received a call from (859) 212-1501 this afternoon and it turns out to be a prerecorded message in Spanish. A quick internet search reveals that it appears to be a telemarketer using VOIP which can ‘fake’ the caller ID. Is there anything that can be done about this? Is there anything already being done? I’m very careful about giving my number out so how did they get it? Random dialing? Here’s my response from Verizon (my cell phone provider)

Dear archshrk,

I am sorry that you received this unsolicited call, Mr archshrk. My name is Jan, and I am happy to assist you.

For Verizon Wireless, the security of your account information is assured. We do not sell or exchange your account information with anyone. I am sorry, I cannot tell you how they got access to your number, unless they go through blocks of area code prefix combinations, placing these pre-recorded calls.

You also have the option to be registered on the National Do Not Call/Solicit List for 3rd Party Marketers. If you would like to take additional action to remove your name from advertising databases, you may call the National Do Not Call registry at 888-382-1222 (TTY 866-290-4236) or visit the www.donotcall.gov website.

To be removed from promotional mailing list please write to the Direct Marketing Administration at the following address:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO BOX 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Mr archshrk, we appreciate your business and thank you for using Verizon Wireless products and services. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail.

Sincerely,

Jan
Verizon Wireless
Customer Service

The suggestion that I register on the DNC list is good but can only help if the company placing the call is a US company. Despite the Kentucky area code, the call is originating over the internet and the CallerID is entered manually. Therefore, the call could be coming from any computer in the world. If it’s a company outside the US then the DNC Registry is useless. Now mobile phones don’t typically have any features that allow you to block specific numbers. On a land line, this is merely annoying but on a mobile phone, this costs you money. Since virtually all coverage plans charge you per minute in some way (700 minutes for $40/month) these unsolicited calls from what appears to be a bogus prize scam are stealing money from the people they call.

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