Your cell phone number is no longer unlisted
My cell phone is my only phone, which saves me quite a bit of money every month. Telemarketers don't have the number. Which is good, because I hate wasting airtime telling telemarketers what they can do to themselves.
Looks like I had better brush up on my insults.
According to the Seattle Times, a locally-owned company named Intelius is putting together a cell phone directory. It costs $15 to search for an individual's cell phone number. That's right - for $15, your cell number can be given out to anyone.
You might not have heard of Intelius before, but they are one of those companies that touts their services in background checks. You may have seen ads or received spam emails warning you to do a background check on your date? That's Intelius. They also purchased a small company that does a lot of background check work for employers.
Many states have laws that prohibit including cell phone numbers in a directory without the written consent of the account owner. In fact, prior efforts to put together a cell phone directory have been stymied by citizen's privacy groups.
So, how is Intelius getting their hands on these cell phone numbers to begin with?
Simple. They're buying that information from skeezy marketing companies with questionable tactics. Through careful data mining and third party purchases, Intelius is cobbling together what they hope with be a lucrative money-making directory. Think that entering a drawing for a prize at a local business is a bad idea? It is - your information is frequently gathered and sold to third party marketing firms.
Apparently, the database is still full of incorrect information, and no refunds are given if the information offered on the search is incorrect. That's a classy business model for you.
The Seattle Times reporter who covered the story has a blog post on what to do to prevent Intelius from listing your cell phone number.