Let Google send you daily news updates to your email with Google News Alerts. Just put in key words like “Poker Tournament,” “George Bush Pretzel,” or “Moon Base” and stay up to date.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that “As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 7, 2003, 19.6 million telephone numbers had been logged into the registry.”
Wow. That’s more than the number of people that voted in the last California gubernatorial living. The total number is expected to reach 60 million.
Unfortunately, registering for the Do Not Call list doesn’t prevent all people from calling you. Politicians and charities are exempted from the ban. Also exempted are companies and organizations that have an “established relationship” with you. So you’ll still get a call from Visa offering insurance to pay off your credit card if you get killed. The only way to prevent these calls is to tell these companies to remove you from their call lists, mailing lists, email lists, third-party lists, etc., etc. Also, this Do Not call list doesn’t go into effect for a few months. In the meantime, you can contact the credit reporting agencies.
The FTC has set up a registry to block telemarketing calls. Sign up at DoNotCall.gov. The server might be slammed right now, though. Apparently they’re getting hundreds of registrations every minute. As of 5PM ET, they had 735,000 registrations. You can read more about the Do Not Call Registry at the FTC site.
You can also take steps to stop receiving junk mail at home: Junkbusters provides information and form letters to do this.
Another way to prevent telemarketing calls and junk mail is to send in those opt-out notices that your financial institutions provide. They often allow opt-outs by telephone, too. Credit card offers usually also provide a telephone number to opt-out of credit reporting agency spam lists. One phone call will take you off the lists of Experian, TransUnion, and the rest for two years. They’ll send you a form that you need to return if you want to make this permanent. So annoying, but worth it.
Now if I could only get the ACLU and ActForChange to stop sending me junk mail…