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Issue 90 - March 2009 - Page 1

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Do Not Call - Mobile Phones Going Public Hoax
  2. Mass Migration of Rays
  3. McDonald's Survey Phishing Scam Email
  4. Coconut Crab Photographs
  5. Highest Position In The World - Babu Sassi Crane Operator
  6. Presidential Determination Rumour - Palestinian Resettlement in US
  7. Children's Charity Job Offer Scam
  8. MTN Free Nokia Phone Hoax Email
  9. Operation Yellow Jacket - Speeding Ticket Frenzy Hoax
  10. Cindy Hogman (or Hogan) Prayer Request Email
  11. Abbey Bank Suspended Access Phishing Scam
  12. Email Forward: Help Identify Young Girl Caught in Tsunami
  13. Air Force One Tail Number Hoax
  14. Delta Air Lines Passenger Itinerary Receipt Malware Emails

Issue 90 Start Menu

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Do Not Call - Mobile Phones Going Public Hoax

Summary:
Circulating email warns that mobile phone numbers in Australia are "going public" next month and claims that consumers will be charged for calls made to them by telemarketing companies (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - Note however that while the claims in the email about the release of mobile phone numbers is untrue, the "Do Not Call" register itself is real and perfectly legitimate. Read commentary below for details.

Example:(Submitted, March 2009)
Subject: RE: MOBILE PHONES - Do Not Call Register!

This is legit

YOUR CHOICE...........

This is for Australian phone numbers!

REMEMBER: Mobile Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

REMINDER all mobile phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls.

YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS

Below is a link where you can enter your phone numbers online to put an end to telemarketing calls

https://www.donotcall.gov.au/




Commentary:
According to this widely circulated email warning, mobile phone numbers in Australia are about to be released to telemarketing companies. It claims that consumers will be charged for calls made to them by telemarketers.

However, these claims are untrue. According to a Do Not Call Register staff member that I contacted with regard to the email, the information does not originate with either the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) or the Do Not Call Register Operator. She notes that the The Do Not Call Register Operator has received a number of enquiries about the message and its origin is currently being investigated by the ACMA.

There are no credible references to back up the claim that mobile phone numbers are about to be released to telemarketing companies. And it is simply absurd to suggest that consumers would actually be charged for unsolicited telemarketing calls made to their mobile phones. If the claims in the message were true, there would undoubtedly be official announcements about the changes published on the ACMA website and elsewhere. Moreover, it is laughable to suggest that the media and consumer advocates would remain silent if a controversial plan was afoot that allowed telemarketers to charge the recipients of their unsolicited sales calls.

The Consumer Affairs Victoria Resource Centre has published a statement on its website denouncing the message as a hoax. Like 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.

In fact, as the following example illustrates, the email is simply a rehashed version of a long running email hoax that targets US cell phone users. Apparently, some prankster has simply altered the original American version of the hoax to fit Australian conditions.
Pass it along...

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
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.

While the claims about the imminent release of mobile phone numbers are untrue, Australian consumers can register their telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register. Users can register both mobile and fixed phones. The Australian Do Not Call Register was launched in May, 2007 and is the responsibility of the ACMA. Information about the Register on the ACMA website notes:
The Do Not Call Register has opened and individuals can register their home phone and mobile numbers. Registration is free.

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.
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.





References:
Australia Communications and Media Authority
Email: Add Cell Phones to Do Not Call List
The Truth about Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry
Do Not Call Register

Next Article

Issue 90 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Do Not Call - Mobile Phones Going Public Hoax
  2. Mass Migration of Rays
  3. McDonald's Survey Phishing Scam Email
  4. Coconut Crab Photographs
  5. Highest Position In The World - Babu Sassi Crane Operator
  6. Presidential Determination Rumour - Palestinian Resettlement in US
  7. Children's Charity Job Offer Scam
  8. MTN Free Nokia Phone Hoax Email
  9. Operation Yellow Jacket - Speeding Ticket Frenzy Hoax
  10. Cindy Hogman (or Hogan) Prayer Request Email
  11. Abbey Bank Suspended Access Phishing Scam
  12. Email Forward: Help Identify Young Girl Caught in Tsunami
  13. Air Force One Tail Number Hoax
  14. Delta Air Lines Passenger Itinerary Receipt Malware Emails