While the idea of having our cell phone numbers bombarded with telemarketing calls is horrific, the good news is that it isn't true. Cell phone numbers are not published publicly the way landline phones are; telemarketing to cell phones is also illegal.
Several phone companies been discussing the idea of creating a 411 database for cell phone numbers. Such a database already exists for other telephone numbers, which makes it easy for people you want to talk to to get your number. The assumption was that with such a database for cell phone numbers, telemarketers would also be able to quickly access the information.
Even if such a database is ever created (and at this time, companies say the concept is only an idea being considered), telemarketers could not legally make unsolicited calls to cell phone numbers. Most telemarketers use either automatic telephone dialing systems and/or pre-recorded voice messages.
However, it is illegal to use either of these methods to contact cell phone numbers, pager numbers, etc.
You don't have to be on the Do Not Call list to receive legal protection for your cell phone numbers. However, it's still a good idea to be careful about passing out your cell phone numbers. When you're signing up anything through the Internet, you should avoid entering your cell phone number if at all possible. In most cases, this information is optional - and you want as little of your personal contact information floating around the Internet as possible.
While you don't have to add your cell phone numbers to the Do Not Call list, adding your land line phones to the service is a good idea, especially if you're frequently harassed by telemarketers. Keep in mind that you have to be registered on the list for 31 days before you can make complaints about any unsolicited phone calls you have received.
Additionally, you need to remember that any company that you've done business with in the last 18 months is allowed to call you, as are non-profit organizations and telephone surveyors.
The down side of the protection that cell phone numbers have by not being publicly available is that it can make it more difficult for us to track down people who call us, particularly people who use their cell phone numbers to harass us. You can find these individuals using their cell phone numbers by using Reverse Phone Detective.