I keep getting phone calls from automated telemarketing systems even though I registered my number on the do not call list.. Can I look these numbers up on the Internet to find out who these people are and report them?
This question was answered on July 3, 2008. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
When the government announced the creation of a national “Do Not Call” registry ( http://www.donotcall.gov ) as a means to reduce the number of telephone solicitations, many cheered their efforts While creating this system helped in the beginning, the bad guys have been constantly looking for loopholes to get around the system Some are moving their operations off-shore and using inexpensive Internet based phone technology to continue to harass you In these cases (and at this point they are rare), the do not call list is a treasure trove of real numbers for those that have no intention of observing the US regulations U.S based firms are skirting the law by setting up elaborate “affiliate networks” that exploit the provision in the system that allows businesses with a “previous business relationship” to contact you up to 18 months after the last contact, payment or delivery of a product or service Some have even setup complex contest offers in shopping malls and sporting events to get people to essentially sign away their rights to the Do Not Call registration Others are using call blocking so you can’t figure out who they are and where they are calling from Legally, those conducting surveys, non-profit organizations or political solicitations are permissible even though you registered your number on the Do No Call list The latest scam is posing as an organization that is taking a survey in hopes of opening the door to a solicitation by asking if they can call you back Another area where they can still bug you is at your business The Do No Call list is designated for consumers only, so business-to-business calls are still going to occur and that may include your cell phone You can enter your personal cell phone number in the DNC registry, but if it’s a business cell phone, it’s not covered by the DNC regulation There are a number of Internet resources for determining who is calling you when the caller ID shows up, but be very careful where you go There are many websites setup that will charge you to determine who a phone number belongs to, even though you can get what you need for free I prefer sites where others have gotten the same call as you (based on the caller ID number being the same) and have already done the homework for you Checkout sites like http://www.CallerComplaints.com and http://www.800notes.com to quickly determine if you are getting the same calls as others and what they have determined them to be Another way to fight the automated telemarketing companies is to put a special tone that sounds like the “disconnect” sound at the beginning of your voice message greeting This will tell an automated system that the number has been disconnected via the tone and to remove it from their list, but humans will hear your answering message and realize that it is valid You can download the “disconnect” sound file by doing a google search and downloading You can report anyone that you think is violating the DNC registry parameters by clicking on the “File A Complaint” link at http://www.donotcall.gov .
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Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on July 3, 2008