Stop Selling My Cell Phone Records

You'd think that YOUR cell phone records would be considered privy information for only you and your cell phone company to access. Think again. Now there's a fast emerging business that sells your information to anyone willing to pay a quick $100.

How? Crooked companies have taken to calling your cell phone companies, pretending to be you in order to glean information about your account. It's called "pretexting" and there are no strong laws in place to protect you from it.

For just 100 bucks, these companies will provide to anyone a report of all the incoming and outgoing calls from your cell phone, or toll calls from your regular phone. Anyone, without your permission, can view a list of people you talk to, their phone numbers, and the length and time of the call.

This information is deeply private for most of us - but can be used by stalkers, nosey neighbors, and political or business opponents to do us harm.

While cell phone companies have no legal incentive to stop this practice, Consumer's Union is leading the charge to demand that Congress take action to protect consumers like you and me.

Join them now to call for laws that will make it illegal for anyone to buy or sell your phone records, or to pretend to be you in order to get them.

Dear Decision Maker,

Right now, for as little as a $100 my personal phone records are vulnerable.

I urge you to enact tough new legislation to prohibit the release, acquisition, and sale of private calling records and to require strong new carrier safeguards to prevent unscrupulous parties from accessing that information. It's simply not enough to prohibit pretexting because there will always be those who will flout the law. It's critical that phone companies implement strict internal security measures so that those who try to pretext won't be successful. I am rightfully concerned that stalkers, identity thieves, and data-brokers can access information I believed was kept private and secure by my telephone company.

A meaningful solution to the now well-publicized problem of "pretexting" and other unscrupulous or illegal means of obtaining third-party private phone records requires:

- Explicit prohibition on "pretexting" and the sale of wireline, wireless and VoIP phone records.

- Strong enforcement powers for Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, including tough criminal and civil penalties for unlawfully obtaining or selling phone records and failing to safeguard customer's records.

- Mandatory consumer notice when calling records have been requested or provided to any party.

- Strengthened mandatory phone company obligations to implement more stringent internal safeguards to prevent release of private records, with tough penalties for noncompliance.

- Prohibitions on phone company release of their customers' phone records without the express written consent of the customer.

Finally, it is critical that any new federal safeguards not preempt more stringent state laws and regulations protecting consumers' calling records.

Thank you for protecting my personal privacy!

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