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Computer Privacy Annoyances by Dan Tynan

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TELEMARKETING, JUNK MAIL, AND FAXES

Don’t Ask, Don’t Telemarket

The Annoyance:

I get more calls from telemarketers—or their auto-dialer machines—than from people I know. I’m sick to death of it. How do I make it stop?

The Fix:

Here’s something that actually seems to work: sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List. Since it launched in June 2003, more than 85 million Americans have signed up. You can add your name and number to the rolls by visiting http://www.donotcall.gov or calling (888) 382-1222. You’ll have to wait three months before your request officially takes effect. Telemarketers that violate the Do Not Call rules can be fined up to $11,000 per incident (to file a complaint, visit https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx). As of June 2004, the FTC had received more than 550,000 complaints about companies violating the list, though it had taken action against only one telemarketing firm thus far.

Do Not Call Does Not Work

The Annoyance:

OK, I signed up for the Do Not Call list (DNC). Yet I still get calls at my place of work from charitable organizations and other businesses. What gives?

The Fix:

Unfortunately, the Feds also built in a number of exceptions to the DNC. For example, the list only covers home numbers, not businesses. Political or charitable organizations and people taking surveys are also exempt. You can try adding your business number to see if telemarketers will remove it anyway (seemed to work for me). You can also use the Direct Marketing ...

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