YOUR MONEY Don't Call. Don't Write. Let Me Be.
By DAMON DARLIN
The fears of the direct marketing industry came true. Once a do-not-call list was created, people did register, in droves.
The list was created in 2003, not as a way to protect privacy, but to remove a powerful irritant from the lives of Americans. The Federal Trade Commission, which administers the list, says that more than 137 million phone numbers have been placed on the list by people tired of interruptions during dinner or their favorite TV show.
The popularity of the do-not-call list unleashed a demand for other opt-out lists. A consumer can now opt out of the standard practice of their banks or loan companies selling their information to others. Other opt-outs stop credit card companies from soliciting consumers or end the flow of junk mail and catalogs.
While most of the opt-outs are intended to make life less annoying, they can also have the side effect of protecting personal information that can be misused by identity thieves or unscrupulous merchants.