T Nation

Telemarketers

How exactly do they get your phone number?

I am moving and I was thinking of not getting a home phone line and just getting a high speed internet connection, since the only thing I use my home phone for is internet. But I was concerned that somehow the telemarketers would somehow get my cell phone number (which I would be using instead of a home phone). My damn answering machine gets filled with calls/hangups from the telemarketers every day, and I don’t want my cell ringing every five minutes with calls from these bastards.

hey bandito,
its not that the telemarketers have YOUR number. they have a machine that actually dials random numbers. i know this because sadly to say that i’m a telemarketer… but key word inboud meaning that you call me. i just know how they call you. hope that helps

I don’t have a home phone (for over a year now), just two cell phones. I’ve never received a telemarketing call on either of them.

I can’t remember if this law actually passed or it was in the works, and whether it was federal or just for my state, but they were thinking of making telemarketing calls to cell phones illegal because the owner of the cell phone gets stuck with the charges.

Here is a tip: Those “no one there” calls where all you here is a “click,” that’s a telemarketer’s computer calling to see if someone is at the number the computer just dialed. If you get such a call and happen to be at home, immediately push # as many times as you can. Supposedly, this will mess up the computer and it will delete your number as non-working.

Those random dialers are not aloud to call cell phones by law. They exclude those area codes. So you shouldn’t have any problems with that. BUT… where you can run into trouble with a cell phone is by giving out your number anywhere. Like when you open an account at your bank or credit card companies ect. They will sell your number. Which sucks!! These calls aren’t random because they ask for you by name and call every day till they get you. So, the people I know that don’t have a home line always give out fake numbers whenever they fill something out. If you do that, you’ll be fine.

You also can’t order from Pizza Hut without a home phone (technically).

Thanks for the responses. I’ll just give out a fake number whenever I’m filling out something that requires me to list one.

Also, the area code for my cell is the same as the general area code around here. How do the automatic dialers distinguish it as a cell phone? They obviously do, since I’ve had this cell number since 1998 and have never received a telemarketing call on it.

I have something called Privacy Manager (not sure if you have it where you’re located)… an Unidentified caller (which most telemarketers are) must go through a thing where they have to leave their name. Then I have to authorize it or the call doesn’t come through. Most of them don’t want to go through the bullshit, so I don’t get the calls. Well, maybe about one every 2 or 3 months.

It must be that they have a block of numbers that they know are cell phones.

 Up here in CT, they were setting up a list of people who wanted their phone numbers blocked from telemarketers. I went to the State's website and put my name down. It was supposed to take effect sometime in August I think?

 Apparently telemarketing companies became infuriated and tried to stop it, saying it was illegal to set up such lists, that it would cost jobs and hurt the economy, and that all people need to do is to hang up if they're not interested. Bunch of losers - you need to have no balls to call people around asking them if they wanna buy stuff. And that's some arrogance to try to stop such lists from being set up. If people are so interested in their products, and are not annoyed by their calls, why have is everyone complaining about them, to the point where the only way to stop the madness is by setting up these lists?

There is a “do not call” registry in New York state, and there has been some talk of doing it on a national level. Basically, you sign up to have your name removed from telemarketer’s databases. If telemarketers call you and you’re on the do-not-call list, they can eventually be fined (you gotta call in and file a complaint).

It’s been working pretty well, but there’s a loophole that our Governor allowed which is stupid: if they are trying to set up a face-to-face meeting, it’s okay to call whoever you want. A certain percentage of telemarketers are trying to get you to buy stuff that requires a face to face meeting, so it allows a lot of annoying calls to sneak in under the wire.

My understanding is that these computers get numbers from the white pages from across the US. The “random dialer” actually dials four or five numbers from the database randomly, and hangs up on three or four when one is picked up. I think that some automatically hang up after four rings. If you can set your answering machine to wait for more rings before it picks up, the number of telemarketing calls will go down. Also I have heard great things about the Telezapper. It sends a message to the dialing computer that tells it your phone has been disconnected, and it automatically removes your phone number from the database.

I do believe it is illegal to call cell phones, not only for telemarketers but also for creditors.

This is one of my favorite topics. Let’s see how much info I can get down before I get bored.

I used to be a telemarketer between high school and college (hey … the money was good). While it’s possible that they are randomly dialing numbers, it’s not very likely. It’s not statistically beneficial for them. There’s a benefit to being able to make someone comfortable by using their name (though it may piss some of you off). However, some of us called SC from within SC, which is difficult. There are stringent rules for what must be said, and you have to have a license. So in the case that we would run out of good numbers, we would randomly dial. But that wasn’t very often.

Anyway, the best days for us would be “New Movers” days. Those are the best lists of all to have. People are in a spending money mode, and have probably not been contacted 100 times by telemarketers yet. There’s a chance they are new to the area too. People pick these kind of lists up all over the place. MLS listings, deed sheets from the county courthouse. All over the place. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of matching an address to a listing in the BellSouth directory.

The best place to find out information about telemarketing is Junkbusters (http://www.junkbusters.org). Scripts for dealing with telemarketers, information about your rights. Hell, even information on how to sue them.

As far as your cell phone, it IS illegal for them to call you to make a sales pitch on it when using an automatic dialer. Read here:
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/47/227.html
(Section b.1.A.iii)

Also, in case you didn’t know, there is a National Do-Not-Call List being put into place by the FTC. You can sign up online in July, and it will be effective in October. Read more here:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall/index.html
But the problem … rumor has it the list will be managed by AT&T. Kind of like the wolf watching the henhouse, huh? Also, exempt parties will include charities, politicians. More on that later.

Just for fun, here’s a story about suing telemarketers.
http://www.panix.com/~eck/telemarket.html

Interesting tidbits from the FTC site about the national do not call list:

Who is covered by the national “do not call” registry?

Placing your number on the national "do not call" registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. Some businesses are exempt from the TSR and can still call you even if you place your number on the registry. (These include long-distance phone companies and airlines, and insurance companies that operate under state regulations.) But most telemarketing calls are placed by professional telemarketing companies, and they are not exempt, even if they are calling on behalf of an exempt company. The bottom line: Professional telemarketers cannot call you if you are on the registry.

There are other business that are not required to "go by the list." For example, organizations with which you have an established business relationship can call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase, payment or delivery - even if your name is on the national "do not call" registry. And companies to which you've made an inquiry or submitted an application can call you for three months. However, if you ask a company not to call you, it must honor your request, even if you have an established business relationship.

If you place your number on the national registry, you may give written permission to particular companies that you want to hear from. If you don't put your number on the national registry, you can still prohibit individual telemarketers from calling, one by one, by asking them to put you on their company's "do not call" list.

One more important point: Although callers soliciting charitable contributions do not have to search the national registry, a for-profit telemarketer calling on behalf of a charitable organization must honor your request to be put on its "do not call" list.

Convenient that the same politicians who wrote the bill are exempt from having to follow it, huh? Slimeballs.

Also, do not sign up through a third party for the DNC list.

From the FTC website:
The FTC will not allow private companies or other such third parties to “pre-register” consumers for the national Do Not Call registry. Web sites or phone solicitations that claim they can or will register a consumer’s name or phone number on a national list ? especially those that charge a fee ? are a scam. Consumers will be able to register directly with the FTC, or through some state governments, but never private companies