There is an email being circulated that has reached viral status, claiming that soon a cell phone, phone book will be printed, and that phone book will make everyone’s cellphone numbers available to telemarketers. The concern is that telemarketers will call cell phones and either we will answer and be charged for the phone time by our cellular provider, or the telemarketer will leave a message on our phones and when we retrieve the message we’ll be charged.

It is illegal for telemarketers to use auto-dialers to call wireless phone numbers. An auto-dialer lets the telemarketer spend time only talking on the phone, while a computer program makes the calls, and puts the caller on hold until the salesman is ready to talk. Very few, if any, aggressive telemarketers can do their jobs without auto-dialers.

Although I cannot confirm its legitimacy, there is a website that offers to give you the name of the owner of a cell phone number if you connect to the site, and pay a 99 cent fee. The website is “Intelius” – but please remember that I do not know if it works. I entered my cell phone number, and it correctly identified Southern Illinois as the origin of my number, and required me to pay to get the name of the person with the listing. Telemarketers probably won’t be interested in paying a dollar to get cell phone numbers.

The viral email referred to, states that in order to avoid having your cell phone number available to telemarketers, you have only a few days to register your cell phone with the Federal Do Not Call List. That warning is false. You can register anytime you wish by logging on to www.donotcall.gov, or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.

And one other website that I can recommend is www.snopes.com. Anytime you receive an email that you are not sure about, and would like to find out whether it is legitimate, log onto Snopes and you should get a clear, reliable, unbiased analysis of the accuracy of the email. I offer thanks to Snopes for making much of the information in this article available.

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