Cell Phone do not call list. Urban Ledgends and other guff.

A mate of mine recently forwarded an email claiming that a directory of cell phone numbers will soon be published and presumably made available to anyone, including telemarketers. All recipients were encouraged to call 888-382-1222 and have their number added to the do no call list.

My first course of action when receiving an email of this nature normally involves a quick scan of the Urban Legends website know as Snopes.com. Sure enough the claims in this email came up as FALSE (see this page for full details) but as with all urban legends there is a grain of truth in the email (from Snopes): A national directory will be compiled, but numbers will be included on an opt-in basis. If a cell phone subscriber does nothing, the number will not be listed. When the directory is ready, it will be available only as part of the existing 411 directory service, accessed by calling in and asking for a specific number. It will not be published in a book or on the Internet. And it will not be sold to telemarketers.

The moral of the story is check with Snopes.com first before you forward any emails that contain wild claims to 100 of your mates. Sure, I always find it fun to ream this particular gent a new one when he messes up but if you add up the time wasted for all the recipients to figure out that the email is in fact false you might be quite alarmed. Let assume this fellow forwarded it to 8 of his pals (I see he did looking at the To: field of the email) If each of those people forwarded it to 8 of their friends and those to 8 of theirs then you can see we’re headed up that smelly creek for sure!

So let’s all make New Year’s Resolution Number 7: “I will check with Snopes.com first before forwarding any alarmist emails to my pals”

I think I’d like to create my own Urban Legend this year so if you have any ideas drop me a line. I also have a pretty good idea of whom the first recipient of this email will be in order for it to propagate around the Internet like a nasty dose of the Clapp!