Do Not Call Registry

Category: Privacy

I keep getting emails from friends about adding my cell phone to a Do Not Call registry. Looks like a scam to me... Is the Do Not Call Registry for real, and if so, should I put both my home and cell phone numbers in it?

Do Not Call Registry

Stop Telemarketers With the Do Not Call Registry

Tired of calls from telemarketers? The US Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry is a legitimate online database where you can enter your phone number and stop the telemarketing calls. You can also call toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 and add your number to the Do Not Call list. If you register online, you can protect up to three US-based numbers from incessant telemarketing calls. If you register by using the toll-free number, you can only add one number per call to the FTC database. (Read on for Canadian and UK do not call registries.)

By entering your numbers into this registry, you are telling telemarketers covered under the FTC's regulations that you want to have your phone number (or numbers) removed from their calling lists. You can enter your land line number or cell phone number; however adding your cell number isn't really necessary. Cell numbers by law are protected against telemarketing calls generated by automated dialers. You probably rarely, if ever receive a solicitation on your cell phone. Companies that do telemarketing are required to check the Do Not Call registry every thirty-one days, and then delete from their calling lists any phone numbers in the registry's database.

Will entering your phone number into this database mean that you will never again be interrupted by unwanted calls in the middle of eating dinner or watching "Law and Order"? Well, no. Although the FTC's registry has limited a lot of the telemarketing, it is by no means a guarantee that you will never receive phone solicitations. Not-for-profits, political organizations and charities are exempt from the FTC's Do Not Call list. So are any companies you have done business with in the past 18 months. Also, you cannot submit business phones or fax lines to the Do Not Call database. Your Do Not Call registration will be effective for five years permanently (thanks a change that took effect Feb 2008), and violators can be fined up to $11,000 per incident. I always mention that to telemarketers when reminding them I am on the Do Not Call list, and I keep a list of the ones that call. Individuals can file a complaint via the FTC's Do Not Call website.

Do Not Call Scams and Hoaxes

And keep in mind, there are a number of third-party scammers and opportunists, not affiliated with the FTC, who are ready to prey on your desire to stop the telemarketing calls from interrupting your dinner. So how do you discern the legit Do Not Call Registry from the scammers? Be sure that you are on the official Do Not Call website before entering your phone numbers. Instead of clicking a link in an email, enter www.donotcall.GOV (not .COM) directly into your browser. And be wary of any phone calls that mention the Do Not Call Registry. The FTC is not telemarketing individuals to tell them how to stop telemarketers! The same goes for any emails from people asking you to pay a fee to get your number on the Do Not Call list. Registration on the FTC's site is free. Never give your social security or credit card info to any company that claims they can add you to the Do Not Call list. Watch out for any emails that have a "sky-is-falling" sense of urgency about them.

One of the most-circulated emails intended to initiate panic issues a dire warning of cellular companies releasing all of their customers' numbers to telemarketers by a certain date, and that you as a consumer, will have to pay for any incoming telemarketing calls to your cell phone. The email goes on to urge the recipient to add his or her cell number to the Do Not Call registry. This email thrives because it is half-truth, half-hoax. Cellular service providers are not releasing your cell number to telemarketers on any date. For further reading, see The Truth about Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry on the FTC website.

Other Do Not Call Registries

Several states in the USA operate their own Do Not Call database, sanctioned by the FTC. These state-run databases are either free, or charge a minimal cost to add your numbers to. The AARP's website (yes, that AARP) has a complete listing of all the state-run DNC databases available. For Canadians, there is no Do Not Call list, yet. But the CRTC is working on a system modelled after the system in the US. Here's the latest news on the forthcoming Canadian Do Not Call Registry. Residents in the United Kingdom are better off, since they can register at UK's Telephone Preference Service website. And a new Australian Do Not Call law went into effect in March 2007.

Peace and quiet in your home is a right, not a privilege. By registering with the authentic Do Not Call registries, and avoiding the charlatans, you can drastically reduce the number of annoying telemarketing calls and reclaim your quiet evenings at home.

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Most recent comments on "Do Not Call Registry"

Posted by:

19 Jul 2007

When,in spite of being on the federal no call list I still get such calls. Fewer perhaps but they still come. What do I do about ascertaining if they are in violations of the rules.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If they are not political organizations or charities, or a company you have a recent prior relationship with, they are violating the law.

Posted by:

Martin Green
19 Jul 2007

Bob, You may care to update your "Do Not Call Registry" article with the following?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Done, thanks!

Posted by:

24 Jul 2007

Bob,another related site Gives you information on who is calling you.

Posted by:

Richard L
24 Jul 2007

I have come to a dead end with reporting cell phone violations. I get several a week the majority are recordings in spanish, some with caller id 888-888-8888, and none of the give the required instuctions on how to get removed, being in spanish I would not understand.

When I do have a live person calling occasionally when I mention that they are calling a cell phone, they appoligize and hang up. Usually tho they argue with me on why their call is legal. I have not figured out how to report cell phone violations, since they do not have to be registered the normal DONOTCALL violation page will not work. Has anybody figured out how to do this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Get the name of the company when they call, then report them on the FCC website. Also notify your mobile carrier.

Posted by:

24 Jul 2007

I understand that politicals are not encluded, to bad, I really do not care to listen to the recorded hipe I receive from them on my cell phone. Is there any possible way to stop this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would notify the mobile carrier and see what they suggest.

Posted by:

24 Jul 2007

Thanks for the tips. I registered my cell phone number with the Do Not Call Registry, but now, instead of phone calls, I'm getting spam text messaging on my cell phone. Are text messages also supposed to be covered? Or how else can I stop these (which I pay for!)?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Contact your mobile carrier and ask them to block it.

Posted by:

27 Jul 2007

I can understand why a business that you have had a previous relationship with can have permission to call you. Even though I am the type of person that, if I want to do business with you again, I will contact you; you contacting me feels pushy and desperate for another sale.

On the other hand, I DO NOT understand why it is acceptable for political groups and charities to contact you. Some of us don't want to be bothered with that kind of stuff. The charities are like businesses; if I want to contribute to you, I will. Don't call me begging; that only makes NOT want to help. If your group can afford to waste money on postal mail spam and long distance telephone calls, then clearly you don't need money from me; you just need to manage your money better!

Same goes for politicians; I know what my position on the "issues" are and I know what candidates support those positions. I don't need you to call my house pushing your beliefs on me and trying to change my mind. Some of the recorded messages are very offensive, such as ones for or against very sensitive issues such as gay marriage, abortion, etc. They're usually recorded messages, so they have no idea who they're reaching.

Anyway, the point is, I feel no one should be exempt from the do-not-call list; if people don't want to be called, they don't want to be called, period! There ARE other ways to get in touch with people and some people are REALLY uncomfortable talking on the phone.

Posted by:

28 Jul 2008

At the top of it says 'Your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008. So, you may want to delete your sentence in 3rd paragraph stating it expires after 5 years.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Done, thanks for the update!

Posted by:

12 Sep 2008

One problem we have is getting recorded messages and having no clue who they are from or a phone number to report. Being on the Do Not Call list has not stopped these messages.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have Caller ID, you can Google the phone number. Various sites list nuisance callers, so you can report them.

Posted by:

James Thomas
22 Nov 2008

T-Mobile prepaid will NOT block spam text messages. I suggest that you provide as much info as possible in an FCC complaint. If there is prepaid wireless that will block this spam, post their names: perhaps i'll migrate my business to them!

Posted by:

Judy Tooley
17 Aug 2010

I'm supposed to have signed up for this and I still get text messeges that wipe out my minutes after I purchase them.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't think text messages fall under the "do not call" registry.

Posted by:

27 Oct 2010

According to the National Do Not Call List website, texts ARE covered the same as phone calls.

Posted by:

Richard Brown
07 Nov 2010

I've been getting spam texts thru my prepaid phone from T-Mobile 3-4 times a week even tho I'm on the do not call list. Each time they cost me about 90 minutes. If T-Mobile says they wont block them I also will switch companies.

Posted by:

10 Feb 2011

> EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't think text messages fall under the "do not call" registry.

Maybe they are now, I hope. says "you do not wish to receive these calls or text messages, you can register your cell phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry." says "autodialers and any artificial or prerecorded voice messages may not be used to contact numbers assigned to: ... a paging service, wireless phone service (including both voice calls and text messages) ..."

Posted by:

Michael Bian
30 Nov 2013

Great article. Thank you for sharing this one...

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