Last updated: 9th May 2012
First published: 20th March 2009
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
The Australian Government does operate a Do Not Call register, but rumours that mobile phone numbers are about to be released to telemarketers is untrue
Consumer Alert: Viral email with misinformation on release of mobile numbers to telemarketers &: associated mobile chargesLike other warnings of this nature, the message contains no references to back up its claims. The lack of specific and verifiable details in the message is also a characteristic of such bogus warnings. For example, rather than include a specific date for the supposed changes, the message simply claims that they will take place "next month". If a concrete date was included, the message would obviously become outdated as soon as the date had passed. However, by vaguely referring to "next month", no deadline is specified and the message is therefore likely to continue circulating for months or even years to come.
The ACMA is aware of an email currently circulating providing misinformation about mobile numbers being made 'public' in the near future. It advises that as a consequence mobile users will be charged for calls made by telemarketing companies to their mobile service.
While the email refers to the Australian Do Not Call Register website, it appears to have originated in North America a number of years ago and has been intermittently circulating since that time. The reference to consumers being 'charged' arises from the different charging regime for mobile calls in the USA, where often charges are incurred by mobile phone users for calls they receive. This charging regime does not apply in Australia.
The Australian Do Not Call Register has strong mechanisms in place to protect the privacy of registrants. The numbers on the Do Not Call Register are never provided directly to telemarketers.
Consumers can list their Australian fixed line and mobile numbers on the Do Not Call Register, provided the numbers are used primarily for private or domestic purposes, on www.donotcall.gov.au. Consumers can also register by phoning 1300 792 958.
Under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006, telemarketers can check their calling lists against the Do Not Call Register. If a telemarketer calls a number on the Do Not Call Register, they may be in breach of the Act, and may face penalties.
The ACMA recommends recipients of the email delete it and not forward it on to other email users. A variation of this email was previously circulated during March/April 2009.
Pass it along...Variants of the US based hoax email have been circulating since 2004. In 2007, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US published information debunking the warnings as hoaxes.
REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.
REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.
.... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS
To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number
The Do Not Call Register has opened and individuals can register their home phone and mobile numbers. Registration is free.For information about registering phone numbers in Australia, refer to the Do Not Call Register website. Australian consumers who are bothered by telemarketing calls certainly should consider registering their numbers on the Do Not Call Register. However, sending on the misinformation contained in this email forward will serve no good purpose.
The register was established in response to community concern about the growth in unsolicited telemarketing calls. It enables Australians to list their fixed line and mobile telephone numbers, used primarily for private or domestic purposes to opt out of receiving certain telemarketing calls.