FCC Targets Illegal Sale of Toll Free Numbers

Following the emergence of a black market for valuable toll free numbers, including catchy vanity numbers, sources say federal authorities are cracking down on the illegal sales of 800 numbers.

Insiders say to avoid being caught in an undercover investigation and facing hefty fines from the Federal Communications Commission, anyone interested in obtaining an 800 number should deal with reputable service providers such as Qwest, or AT&T.

The FCC does not play a role in the assignment of numbers to subscribers. However they do set and regulate the guidelines under which 800 numbers can be used and obtained. According to the FCC, hoarding and warehousing numbers is prohibited and punishable with severe fines.

Along with hoarding, the outright sale of specific toll free numbers is likewise illegal. Some crafty entrepreneurs have attempted to skirt the regulations by “leasing” or “renting” numbers. But industry insiders say the crackdown on illegal use of toll free numbers is aimed at this practice too.

The demand for 800 numbers is at an all-time high. Finite supplies of available 800, 888, 877 and 866 numbers are plummeting. Making the situation worse, insiders report that the much-anticipated launch of the new 855 numbers may be held off until 2011. Meanwhile more than two-thirds of available numbers have been taken off the database and millions of subscribers registered for numbers each year.

According to the FCC, toll free numbers are becoming increasingly popular for business and personal use. The supply of retired numbers is low because toll free numbers are so effective in helping businesses thrive. Toll free numbers increase market reach, enhance customer confidence, establish recognition of brand image, and sustain businesses during times of a weak economy.

Growing concern about the limited stock of 800 numbers is creating an even higher demand. The FCC cites toll free service as a “proven” marketing tool for increasing and sustaining business. In fact, studies show that telephone orders can increase up to 60 percent and word of mouth referrals can rise by 200 percent. American adults report that they make an average of 60 toll free calls per year.

63 Responses

  1. good point

  2. Why does the FCC have to be in everyones business?!?!

  3. Someone has to regulate things – duh.

  4. The fcc has trolls looking for this stuff or what?

  5. If you do something stupid like that you deserved to get caught.

  6. Amen.

  7. Wait a sec. I lease my toll free. Are you saying I should be buying one instead?

  8. The FCC has no business in toll frees. Isn\’t this a free market!?

  9. Seems awfully shady to me…

  10. Well it’s an interesting idea, but I would not trust my freedom to a line trick if your worried about a phone tape. Use an encrypted phone link.
    The standard encryption in your digital cell phone does not qualify. As a matter of fact a cell phone is one of the worse things you could use for “Private” conversation. Not only can some one automatically route a copy of your call to another receiving party. They know within 100 feet where you are this is without your phone having A GPS chip. If your phone is GPS enabled “they” can know your location down to 10 feet.

  11. How do you use the free service

  12. Wisdom begins in wonder.

  13. The hardest thing in the world to understand is the laws

  14. The hardest thing in the world to understand is the laws

  15. Speaker Verification has been around for years, and has been successfully deployed at quite a few financial institutions (Charles Schwab immediately comes to mind). This is not new technology — Nuance has had it working on numerous telephony platforms for at least five years. So I’m not quite sure why RSA is tooting their horns about this.

  16. How do you use the free service

  17. It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.

  18. These are only Japan based manufacturers. American companies have made no such agreement.

  19. my number 1. my debt collectors have been calling me alot lately

  20. thanks, informative!

  21. One thing you can give and still keep: my word.

  22. My PDF Download extension works fine with FFx 1.5

  23. To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

  24. thanks, informative!

  25. Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

  26. Can anyone vouch for Tip #1? Because it would be damn awesome if it works.

  27. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

  28. It’s not that 800 #’s are doomed, it’s long distance calling is doomed. 800 #’s are just a reverse way of paying for a long distance call. Instead of you paying for the call, the person you are calling pays for it.

    This is normal anyway, as prices come down and competition it just makes sense that national long distance (within a country) be done away with and the companies focus on other services to make money.

  29. So…lets all call the RIAA free 800# and then report minor piracy reports. Like things that can never be proven.

    Example: A friend of mine, I think he might have downloaded a copyrighted song at some point. His name? Tom Smith. I don’t know where he lives or anything. No I don’t know his phone number.

    Imagine them getting 20,000 of those calls.

    OR

    Is this weight watchers? No? Sorry wrong number.

  30. All it says is “For stimulating conversation call this number”, and then it hangs up on you.

  31. I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

  32. Fish and visitors smell in three days.

  33. I once had to call eBay… what a nightmare. I wish I’d never found their number, as the “service” was so horrible and the experience even worse.

    Nonetheless, this is a great resource to have handy – I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

  34. Fish and visitors smell in three days.

  35. He who can, does. He who can’t, teaches.

  36. I like PAYPAY’s number )

  37. A word to the wise ain’t necessary — it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.

  38. Anything similar for the uk?

  39. I really wish that I could get the 800 number of my horrible hosting company. Man.

  40. it is better to stay silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

  41. When godaddy first listed their phone number i was like… OMG its not 800!!! then i thought.. Via cell phone it’s alllll the same.

  42. Could one of them introduce a product that connects you to a human being when you call?

  43. To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

  44. For those unfortunate times when you forget your cellphone at home and need to call a taxi (Or some other business), you can use Goog411 to make free phone calls from a payphone…

  45. A wise man does not need advice and a fool won’t take it.

  46. Phone call for Al…Al Coholic…is there an Al Coholic here?
    Wait a minute…
    Listen, you little yellow-bellied rat jackass, if I ever find out who you are, I’m gonna kill you!

  47. Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.

  48. it’s a pity, advertisements say that 0800 numbers are free and when you start to use you realize that it’s not! And nobody told you before that if you call from mobile, you have to pay, from skype – to pay… it’s not fair!

  49. […] February 13, 2010 · Leave a Comment Insiders say to avoid being caught in an undercover investigation and facing hefty fines from the Federal Communications Commission, anyone interested in obtaining an 800 number should deal with reputable service providers such as Qwest, or AT&T. Continue here to get full story. […]

  50. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)FCC Begins Crackdown on Illegal BehaviorsTo FCC […]

  51. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)FCC Addresses Illegal Sale of Toll Free […]

  52. […] Illegal Toll Free Sales? Posted on December 9, 2010 by smsgov The FCC does not play a role in the assignment of numbers to subscribers. However they do set and regulate the guidelines under which 800 numbers can be used and obtained. According to the FCC, hoarding and warehousing numbers is prohibited and punishable with severe fines. Be careful, do your research, and you will be fine. Get the full story here to better learn how to protect yourself. […]

  53. […] Following the emergence of a black market for valuable toll free numbers, including catchy vanity numbers, sources say federal authorities are cracking down on the illegal sales of 800 numbers. Learn more information to protect yourself here. […]

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