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Will you get sales calls on your cell phone?

July 31, 2010 at 2:31 a.m.


By Alan Bligh

Have you gotten an e-mail forwarded to you by one of your friends lately saying that one day very soon the list of all cell phone numbers is going to go public and you will be spammed by unwanted sales calls?

Actually, it's not going to happen. There are some rumors that just will not die, and this is one of them.

Since at least 2004, there's been an e-mail making the rounds that says that all cell phone numbers are about to go public and be released to telemarketers. What's really going on?

Well, there is a national DNC Registry, and there's no harm in registering your cell phone number on it, but there is NO national release of cell phone numbers scheduled or planned. According to the website, snopes.com, this rumor started several years ago when some of the major wireless companies planned to create a 411 national directory. In the end, the directory never happened - but the rumor that it's out there and telemarketers will soon have access to it just won't go away.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, "Cell phone numbers are NOT being released to telemarketers, and you will NOT soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cell phone."

Be wary of ATMs

If you're hitting the road for summer vacation, there's more reason than ever to be on guard for skimmers, devices that thieves install on ATMs and gas pumps to steal the account data stored on the magnetic stripe of credit or debit cards.

In recent months, banks have reported a sharp rise in this type of crime, especially at gas pumps, where some crooks are using Bluetooth devices to make their job even easier. They can simply park near a station where they've tampered with a pump and then download the stolen data onto a laptop.

Why the surge in skimming? Organized criminal gangs from Eastern Europe have been coming to the U.S. to set up skimming operations and their primary target is the data stored on the magnetic stripe of your debit or ATM card.

What should you do to guard against the problem?

Use your debit card as a credit card or better yet, use cash - its fool proof protection.

Fake e-mails

Your BBB has received reports from local businesses that they have been contacted by e-mail regarding a consumer dispute.

BBB has determined these e-mails are fake and could be a phishing scam. One message referenced a BBB Complaint Case (#812091498 Ref #96-3157080-65033480-5-164) and came from "seatac@bbb.org," which is not an official BBB e-mail address.

The e-mail directs business owners to click a link to respond to complaints, however, it redirects to a website that is not valid with BBB.

Additionally, the case number listed in the subject line of the e-mail and the case number listed in the body of the e-mail does not match.

BBB Accredited Businesses as well as non-Accredited businesses have received these e-mails and multiple messages reference "Jason Harlow" as the consumer filing the complaint, however, other names may be used.

Businesses who receive these e-mails are encouraged to contact their local BBB before responding.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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