Do-not-call scam circulating through e-mail
Cellphone providers are warning against a scam circulating via e-mail regarding the CRTC's recently implemented do-not-call telemarketing list.
The e-mail warns recipients that cellphone providers are releasing their customers' numbers to telemarketers, so they should expect calls that will inevitably waste their airtime. Recipients are urged to call one of two phone numbers purportedly attached to the national do-not-call list, which the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission launched on Sept. 30, in order to block such unwanted calls.
"All cellphone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls," the e-mail says. "You will be charged for these calls."
The e-mail suggests the release of number databases has been confirmed by Telus Corp. and urges recipients to pass the message on to their friends.
Telus, however, issued an advisory on Tuesday evening warning that the e-mail was "fraudulent and dangerous" and urged customers not to respond to it or forward it.
Spokesman Shawn Hall said the company has no intention of releasing wireless numbers to telemarketers.
"We have no plans to do that ever," he said.
Telus is working on determining the source of the e-mail. Marc Choma, spokesman for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, said a similar scam was run a few years ago in the United States when the country rolled out its own do-not-call list.
One of the numbers in the e-mail is in fact the CRTC's do-not-call contact number, but the other has been linked to telemarketing scams going back a number of years, Hall said.
The do-not-call list allows Canadians to add their phone numbers — both landline and wireless — to a database that is circulated to telemarketers. A telemarketer that calls a number on the list is liable for a fine up to $15,000.
While the CRTC requires landline providers to list customers' numbers in the phone book, it is illegal for wireless companies to release cellphone numbers without their subscribers' express consent.
Telus has polled customers as to whether they would want their wireless numbers published in the phone book but found the majority believed their contact information to be private.
"It came back rather resoundingly that people did not want their cellphones listed in the phone book, and we respect that," Hall said.