Consumer Alert: Viral Do Not Call Register email

Viral email with misinformation on release of mobile numbers to telemarketers & associated mobile charges

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.

Here is a version of the current email being circulated:

"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."