Consumer Alert: Viral email with misinformation on release of mobile numbers to telemarketers
The ACMA is reminding consumers that the viral email warning that ‘mobile numbers will be made public’ is a hoax.
The email started circulating around Australia in 2009 and tells consumers that mobile numbers will shortly be made public and that you will be charged for telemarketing calls that you receive.
Although the message refers to the Australian Do Not Call Register, the email appears to have originated from North America a number of years ago. The reference to being charged for receiving calls arises from a different charging regime in the USA where mobile phone users are often charged for calls that they receive. This charging regime does not apply in Australia.
The Do Not Call Register provides Australians with the ability to opt out of receiving most unsolicited telemarketing calls, and marketing faxes. Australians can put their telephone or fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register at www.donotcall.gov.au or by calling 1300 792 958.
The Australian Do Not Call Register has strong mechanisms to protect the privacy of registrants. Telemarketers and Fax marketers are only able to check whether a telephone number they wish to call or fax is registered or not. Registered numbers are never directly provided. Telemarketers and Fax marketers that make calls or send faxes to numbers on the Do Not Call Register face significant financial penalties.
A version of the current email being circulated is reproduced below:
‘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. Don’t just delete those calls otherwise you will find that you have been signed up for all sorts of extra services that you didn’t want or know about. Like special chimes, music etc.’