Interesting Find

Your Cell Phone and Telemarketers

From the “Do Your Homework” files...

Originally, I was appalled by the news sent to me in the following email:

Subject: Fw: Cell phone numbers go public next month...


REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.............

REMINDER... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.


Even if the message is saved on your phone, you will be charged for the minutes to listen to it.

.......To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:....... 1-888-382-1222 ........

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.


You can also go to: to register.

But then I quickly did my research and found out that, thankfully, none of this is true! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to protect cellular consumers, making nearly all telemarketing calls to cell phones illegal. You can confirm this at It seems that hoax and “scare tactic” emails like this have been around since early 2006.

But the email I received did serve a very worthwhile function for me. It made me realize that many people still don’t know they can opt out of many telemarketing calls (primarily to their landlines) simply by registering at the National Do Not Call Registry or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Besides your landline, I highly recommend you also register your cell phone number (why not, it’s free?).

The National Do Not Call Registry started in June 2003. Back then, it was a bit of a pain to register and you had to renew your registration every few years. Now things are a lot easier. First, once you register a number, it is permanent. Second, both the website and phone number process has been streamlined. I prefer and recommend you use the phone number, 1-888-382-1222. You must be calling from the number you want to place on the do-not-call list for registration to be successful. The entire process takes about 25 seconds. If you use the website, you have a two step process which includes confirming your choice via email...yuck. If you can’t call the number from the phone you’d like to put on the list (e.g. Google Voice numbers), then you are forced to use the website. Total time and effort is around 5 minutes.

Either way, the National Do Not Call Registry is well worth taking advantage of.

Now if they could also block the harassing phone calls I get that are intended for Robert Mooring. Seems Robert has been passing my home office phone number off as his for a few years and he owes people money. I regularly hear from collection agents looking for him. So, if you know Robert’s real phone number, please pass it along to me. I’ll make sure to place him on their DO CALL list!

Protect Yourself With Passwords

Personal identity theft is a huge and growing threat to our online lives. It can literally ruin us. Imagine losing your home or a bank account because someone was able to assume your identity. Pretty scary.

We've all seen movies where the technologically-advanced bad guys gain access to an electronic vault or use a supercomputer to break into a computer program which then allows them to siphon funds, undetected, into a Swiss bank account. It's sexy stuff for the movies, but its mostly flights of fancy that are very unlikely to occur to you or me. Unfortunately, there are real personal identity threats with real consequences out there. The most common threat is called social engineering and it's painfully easy to fall victim to it. You may have already fallen into its trap.

For this article, we'll stick to one facet of social engineering...capturing passwords. We'll do so because most personal identity theft starts with an ill-gotten password.

Your password is the key...and the bad guys want it. Yet many surfers just don't see the connection between an insecure web password and real world theft. For example, do you think the password to your email account is no big deal? I'd bet that same password can be used elsewhere on the Net to access your far more lucrative (and vulnerable) accounts.

Ever since there was the Internet, there were websites that needed passwords. They may look innocuous enough, but I strongly suggest taking the establishment of a new account seriously. Unfortunately, you can't trust every website to do what is right. As an example, if I wanted to socially engineer users for their personal identity, I could simply set up a website with promise of free products or a chance to win something. I'd make the site free as long as you signed up for an account. What would I ask for? Your email address and a password to access the site. Of the many passwords people enter, I might get a 3/4 'hit rate' using that same password on various other sites where that person used that same username and password combination. Perhaps they even use the same password for their bank account. Sound like you?

For this reason, my passwords and usernames change with every site I am visiting. I won't tell you my scheme, but if you don't have one...get on it immediately!

Here is a list of excellent articles related to passwords and why you must protect!
SilverMarc's Blog Posting
G-Archiver Program Steals GMail Passwords


Apple Does It Wrong?

I am an avid reader of Wired magazine going back to its very first extremely "loud" neon-ink edition. I am also a very big fan of Apple, Inc. So, when I came across this article, I found the title so intriguing that I just had to read it. I hope you will too.

How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong

Let me know your thoughts!