Cell-phone users, beware


THOSE annoying dinnertime calls from telemarketers were supposed to be banished with the advent of the national Do Not Call registry but now some new merchants of mischief are preying on yikes! unsuspecting cell-phone owners.

According to the Better Business Bureau of Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, marketers of phony auto warranties have taken to ringing up cell phones with automated calls that tell recipients that the warranty on their car is expiring and they need to renew coverage.

This new intrusion is proving not only irritating to surprised cell owners many of whom consider themselves fairly anonymous behind their electronic shield but it s also illegal, under Federal Trade Commission rules, for telemarketers to contact cell numbers whose owners may find themselves paying for the call.

And their pitch is bogus too. Attorneys general in Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, and Missouri are investigating complaints against a string of companies equipped with fake identities and untraceable numbers. that have nothing to do with real auto manufacturers.

Cell-phone users can fight back by rejecting or ignoring the calls outright and they can consider adding their cell numbers to the Do Not Call registry.

The action may not banish telemarketing scoundrels altogether, but it could keep them at bay until the authorities get their number.