Padavan spokesman Peter Potter said the senator received calls from a couple of constituents who asked if the call list was legitimate. Padavan also received the message through his office's fax machine.The confusion led Padavan to issue a press release saying that it is illegal in most cases for telemarketers to call cell phones and that cell numbers can be placed into the National Do Not Call Registry in the same manner that land lines are entered into the list. Potter said that with the fast pace of e-mail, it is conceivable that thousands of people are getting the message every day. He added that it is "near impossible" to figure out who carried out the hoax without someone coming forward with information on who might be responsible. "There are a despicable few who try to perpetrate these types of hoaxes in order to create chaos. The best thing we can do is get out the word, arming ourselves with the best defense Ð knowledge," Padavan said.In Washington, Federal Trade Commission spokeswoman Jen Schwartzman had a different view on the intent of the messenger.She said the agency thinks that whoever sent out the information did not intend to cause malicious harm. She added that the FTC does not know who is behind the message, but the agency ran the missive through an internal Internet lab and found that the Web site cited in the message was in fact the FTC's Web site, which would indicate that the communication was not intended for fraudulent activity. It was part of a process the lab undergoes to detect "phishing" scams, which use a web address similar to that of a legitimate agency or company that coaxes recipients into divulging personal information used in identity theft and other fraud, she said. While the misinformation is not causing harm, it is creating unnecessary anxiety, according to Schwartzman. There have been more than 25 million new registrants in the National Do Not Call Registry since the beginning of December Ð the same time that the faxes and e-mails surfaced. Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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