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A scam using a sham to wham consumers

Talk about adding insult to injury…and to the joke that is the Do Not Call registry.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just issued an alert that scammers posing as FTC agents are emailing consumers. The phony emails, FTC logo and all, warn consumers that their Do Not Call registrations are expiring. The messages prompt recipients to click on a web link to “re-register.” Click that link, and the scammers snare your unlisted landline or cell number. Or they’ll install malware or spyware on your computer.

Two things:

  • Do Not Call registrations never expire, according to the FTC. You can update your numbers, but your registrations with both your state or the National Do Not Call Registry are permanent.
  • Do Not Call registrations are a waste of time.

That’s right. Do Not Call registries, both national and state registries, are shams. Not because of the registries themselves, but because caller ID spoofing technology has rendered the registries useless. Scammers can use robo-dialers, burner apps and even disposable cell phone numbers to make any number pop up on your caller ID. It doesn’t really matter if your number is registered. The bad guys will just burn a bogus number and get through to you.

That’s why I always say never answer a call you do not recognize on your caller ID, even if the area code is familiar, and never answer a call that reveals your own number on your caller ID. That’s just a trick to raise your curiosity and get you to answer. Even if you answer and don’t fall for a scam, you have acknowledged to the scammer’s automated system that yours is a legitimate number (remember, these calls are electronically and randomly generated). They will sell your number to other phishers, scammers and telemarketers on mass mailing lists. The unsolicited calls will skyrocket.

The less you answer calls you don’t recognize on caller ID, the more they will eventually taper off and stop. It may take a while, but the calls will diminish if you stay disciplined.

So don’t answer that call — and don’t bother with a Do Not Call registry.

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