Scamming, Slamming, and Spamming… your technology requires due diligence!  
     
  Along with your email and website security issues, two new security warnings have recently been released, advising we all turn our attention to something we think of as “low tech”… our phones!  
 
Many chain email notices have warned that in a few weeks’ time, cell phones will become the target of telemarketing advertisers, and each of these sales calls could rob you of minutes from your cell plan, and cost you money for the advertiser’s use of your cell phone.  Since telemarketing to cell phone numbers is already illegal under Federal statutes, this is unlikely, but certainly possible.  Regardless of the veracity of the email warnings, there is something worth doing about the potential problem.
 
 
The government’s answer to scam telemarketing is called the “Do Not Call Registry”, and now is the time to take advantage of what this effort can provide, by signing up to have your cell phone and home phone numbers added to the “Do Not Call” list.  There are two, convenient and easy ways to do this.  Using the actual phone you wish to add to the Do Not Call Registry, you may call 1-888-382-1222, and register that phone.  You must, however, make a separate call for each phone you wish to register, and you must be calling from the phone number you wish to register, in order for the registration to be applied.  The alternative, which allows you to include up to three numbers in a single session, is to visit http://www.donotcall.gov, and use the web registration process.  This requires only a valid email account, to which the Do Not Call Registry website will send a confirmation email for each phone registered.  These emails each contain a link, upon which you click your mouse to complete the registration process.  It’s easy, it’s quick, and it only takes approximately 31 business days for the telemarketing companies to get your Do Not Call entry on their lists.
 
 
Another phone-based scam that’s presently reappearing near you involves calls to area codes 809, 876, 204, and others which cover the Caribbean countries.  This scam has generated a plethora of "urban myth" emails, too.  These area codes are assigned to offshore phones that are totally unregulated, and a call to one of these area codes may subject you to ridiculously high per-minute call charges on your phone bill.  The 809 area code, for instance, is assigned to the Dominican Republic, and the companies which operate within the area are exempted from U.S. regulatory statutes on phone billing.  This means they don’t have to inform you of the ridiculous charges you’re going to be assessed, and these can range as high as $25.00 per minute!  Yes, that’s twenty five dollars per minute on your phone bill, for a single call!  If you receive an email, a fax, or a phone message that states there is urgent news or some emergency reason to call them back at an 809, 876, or 204 area code, ignore it, trash it, or better yet, report it!  The difficult part, with this one, is that many phone numbers within these area codes are legitimate, and do NOT have ridiculous fees associated with them.  Just use common sense, and don't return a call unless you're sure of the origin of the request.