Do (Not?) Call Lists

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Canada’s do-not-call registry is being sold for next to nothing to international scammers who are barraging these households with phone calls, but are largely beyond the reach of Canadian law.

Two things don’t ring true to me about this story. The first is the implicit claim that, prior to folks registering for the do-not-call list, the scammers had trouble getting access to these people’s phone numbers.

That might be true for the unlisted numbers, but I would think that you could buy every listed phone number in Canada for a few thousand dollars.

The second thing that feels wrong about this article is that relative to any other list of phone numbers you could find, the do-not-call registry must be the least profitable one imaginable. Why would a scammer want to call a list made up of people who have made it clear they do not want to be solicited over the phone?

(Hat tip: Gord Wait)


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  1. J says:

    Perhaps there is some pitch the folks on the list are unusually vulnerable to.

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  2. $ says:

    just hang up

    NY’rs dont even say hello……

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  3. Brian says:

    My solution is simple: if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer. Most computerized calls won’t go into voicemail (at least from my experience). If it’s someone I know, I call them back!

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  4. Andrew says:

    They have the solution to this but want to make us pay extra as if privacy were some luxury:

    Call blocking. In my cell phone (I’ve abandoned land lines for there telemarketer abuses), I should be able to block at the local cellphone any list of numbers, locations, and identities I choose too. Just type in block ALL ‘unknown’ and type in each number I want into a blocked list.

    Besides that phones should be programmable to hide caller ID to every outgoing 800 number or to every number not in my contact list & so on…

    Why isn’t this available?

    The government needs to start serving citizens and not businesses as the current mess shows.

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  5. michael webster says:

    I concur with others who believe that you have missed the point – the people who put themselves on this list are signaling to the world that they fear that they are chumps.

    Anyone else can prevent being tempted by one of these con criminals.

    I predicted this outcome in August, 2007,

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  6. BRUCE says:

    I just take the call and put the receiver down. Let them talk. I truly hate the political robocalls. These tie up your phone line.

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  7. Jon says:

    I expect some fraction of the “do-not-call” list consists of vulnerable elderly, who signed up for the list (or were signed up by their children/caretakers) precisely because they would otherwise be easy marks for cold-call scammers.

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  8. Richard Linck says:

    I have my own “do not receive calls” list. It’s called “I con’t answer”, using caller ID.

    – R2L

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