Consumer Beware: Your number made public
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When you call and 800 (855, 866, 877, 888) or 900 telephone number, you number could be disclosed to the party you’re calling and could be recorded in a database sold to telemarketers. The California Public Utilities Commission wants consumers to know that some companies listing 800 or 900 numbers are now using Automatic Number Identification (ANI) which is approved by the Federal Communications Commission. When you dial their number, ANI equipment can automatically add your phone number to their customer database and companies are not required to tell you if they have ANI. Companies with ANI can then use your phone number to get your address, income level, items purchased, and similar information from other marketing databases. Or they can sell your number to telemarketers who can then pitch their products and services to you. Never assume that an 800 or 900 number is a toll free call. If the number uses ANI, you may reach a recording advising that you will be called back collect. Or you may be told to call a 900 number. In either case, the call will be billed to you. If a person answers an 800 or 900 number, you can advise them that you do not want your number, name, or address kept in his or her company records. You may want to make it clear that you do not want this information rented or sold to other companies. You may also advise them that you do not want the company to solicit future business from you.
To complain about a company using ANI, write to:
Office of the Attorney General-Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944244-2500
Or, call 1-800-952-5225
You may also contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at:
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)
1919 M Street NW Washington, DC 20544
If you suspect that your name is on a direct marketing list and want it removed, write to:
Telephone Preference Service
C/o Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 1559
Carmel, NY 15012