On Do Not Call Registry but your phone still rings? Here’s why. - WSMV News 4

On Do Not Call Registry but your phone still rings? Here’s why.

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A News4 I-Team investigation has found an industry built on selling personal phone numbers of certain demographics, that acknowledges in documents that what is sold likely contains numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

The investigation also found that your age also makes you a hot target, especially if you are about to turn 65 years old.

Turning 65 in August, Steve Massengill said his phone has never rung more from robocalls or telemarketers, especially offering insurance.

“You just spend all your time constantly blocking numbers,” Massengill said.

What particularly frustrates Massengill is that he signed up for the Do Not Call Registry in 2003.

Peggi Bordash, 73, said she too signed up for the registry years ago.

“We're at the point now where we don't answer the phone. Very annoying,” she said.

Selling personal data

A News4 I-Team investigation found companies, often called lead generators, that sell people’s names, phone numbers and addresses to telemarketers and salespeople.

The lead generators can sell specific demographics wanted by a salesperson and group them together in bundles or “leads.”

The News 4 I-Team contacted several of these lead generators, inquiring about purchasing phone numbers throughout Middle Tennessee.

In one conversation, an employee of a lead generator offered to sell the phone numbers for 2,381 people in Rutherford County that were turning 65.


RELATED DOCUMENT: Do Not Call Registry exemption form


The I-Team specifically asked for that because of what we received from a lead generator in the process of inquiring about buying phone numbers.

At the bottom of one of their emails was a link that read, “Have you tried our turning 65 list?”

The companies know that when people turn 65, they were eligible for Medicare supplemental insurance.

We also obtained a document that a lead generator provided that a qualified company or salesperson must sign in order to purchase the numbers.

The document reads that the numbers provided have not been screened against the national Do Not Call Registry and very likely contain telephone numbers included on such registry.

“It defeats the purpose if they're going to get the numbers and call you anyhow,” Massengill said.

Does the Do Not Call Registry not work?

Ian Barlow, the coordinator of the national Do Not Call Registry, said the registry continues to do the job it was intended to do.

However, he said that it is up to telemarketers and salespeople who buy the number to make sure they’re not calling those on the registry.

The Federal Trade Commission charges qualifying companies and salespeople if they want to purchase the Do Not Call Registry for the area in which they’re calling.

The purpose of charging for the numbers on the registry is so that industries can compare the numbers they want to call against those on the registry, and remove the people who do not wish to be contacted.

“These companies are being relied upon to do what's right, but obviously in some cases, that's not happening,” asked the News4 I-Team.

“Right, just like every law in America, there are people who violated it,” Barlow said.

The News4 I-Team is in the process of reviewing the best apps and methods to block these calls and will report our findings next week.

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