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Consumer Advisory: Terry Goddard Advises Consumers on Cell Phone Protection

(Phoenix, Ariz. – December 23, 2004)  Attorney General Terry Goddard today advised Arizona consumers not to worry about receiving telemarketing calls on their cell phones if they missed an alleged December 15 deadline to sign up on the federal Do Not Call list.  The Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list is available at any time for consumers to register their cell phone numbers. 

“This is one of those urban legends, and the deadline simply does not exist,” Goddard said.   

In recent weeks there have been a number of e-mails warning consumers of a “cell-phone directory” being launched in 2005 that could lead to widespread use of wireless phone numbers by telemarketers.   

An Oregon company is organizing a wireless-phone directory in cooperation with six of the seven major wireless phone-service companies. The directory is called the Wireless 411 Service, and it is scheduled to go online in Spring 2005. 

Goddard offered the following facts about the 411 Service Directory: 

  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act enacted in 1991 prohibits telemarketers from using autodialers or pre-recorded messages to contact a wireless phone. 
  • Consumers must ask to be listed in the directory through their cell phone service company. 
  • No specific action is required of consumers who don’t want to be part of the directory. 
  • The company organizing the Wireless directory is not planning to publish a phonebook.  Phone numbers will be given on an individual basis. 

“Federal law already protects consumers using wireless phones from telemarketers through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,“ Goddard said.  “However, I recommend taking the added precaution and adding cell phone numbers to the “Do Not Call” list.”   

If a consumer is interested in registering a cell phone number on the Do Not Call List, visit the Arizona Attorney General’s Web site at www.azag.gov for more information and links to the Federal Trade Commission.  

Goddard also recommends the following steps to consumers to ensure privacy: 

  • Do not give anyone permission to publish or distribute your cell phone number. 
  • If you decide to place a cell number on the Do Not Call list, only use the FTC’s site or number to do so.