Sham Site's a Scam: There Is No 'National Do Not E-mail Registry'

Have you submitted your e-mail address to a "National Do Not E-mail Registry" that promises to reduce the amount of spam (unsolicited e-mail) you receive? If so, you are the victim of a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency.

The Web site at "unsub.us" mimics the language, look, and navigation of the Web site for the National Do Not Call Registry, a legitimate free service of the federal government. The unsub.us site is not run or authorized by the FTC.

The FTC is concerned that the "unsub.us" site could be part of a high-tech scam that uses a deceptive Web site to trick consumers into disclosing their e-mail address or other sensitive personal information. This site may be a ruse to collect valid e-mail addresses to sell to spammers. The result could be even more spam for consumers who sign up for this "registry." Or it may be even worse – some scammers have collected information through bogus web sites like this one that mimic those of legitimate organizations, and then used the information to commit identity theft.

The FTC is advising consumers not to submit their e-mail addresses or any other personal information to any site claiming to be a "National Do Not E-mail Registry." The agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection says the best way to avoid scams like this one is to keep your personal information to yourself – including your e-mail address – unless you know who you’re dealing with.

Should you get an e-mail claiming to represent a "Do Not E-mail Registry," an organization to stop spam, or even the FTC itself, report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov or call toll free 1-877-FTC-HELP. If you believe you have already been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, then click on www.ftc.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.

The FTC is studying the feasibility of creating a National Do Not Spam Registry, and will issue a report in June 2004. At this time, there is no legitimate "National Do Not E-mail Registry."

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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