Some just want to be untelephoned by strangers, by telemarketers, by anybody. But while the couple's unlisted phone number has kept irate readers at bay, it has not eliminated computer-generated calls from telemarketers. It is no coincidence that the spread of unlisted numbers parallels an unprecedented rise in telemarketing -- by charities, sweepstakes promoters, magazines, credit-card companies and, above all, by long-distance telephone carriers. But today, they use commercially available data bases that apparently contain some unlisted numbers. The direct-marketing industry says it goes out of its way to avoid using unlisted numbers.
Some of the large marketers say they remove likely unlisted numbers. To test just how unlisted certain unlisted numbers are, The New York Times asked two companies that compile mailing lists to each prepare, from a variety of computer data bases, a mailing and telephone list of affluent people on Manhattan's Upper East Side and Upper West Side who own luxury cars.
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After a computer search of the two lists, compiled by the Fred Woolf List Company and Database America, The Times could not identify any unlisted numbers. Both companies had been told that the lists were for an article on unlisted numbers. WE also asked private investigators to find, using only a computer and a modem, the unlisted numbers of various phone company executives as well as J. More than a dozen investigators declined to participate, however.
Only Gerald F. Kelly of Price Waterhouse, who tried but could not find Mr. Salinger's number, agreed to have his name used. Indeed, the private detective who found the unlisted number of Mr. Notebaert of Ameritech does not want his name used. Like many of those who declined to participate, this detective believes articles about privacy make more difficult the legitimate search for information, including the investigation of insurance claims and the preparation of print or broadcast stories about Government or corporate wrongdoing.
Most privacy breaches come not from private detectives or computer hackers, say, but from consumers themselves. Wittingly and unwittingly, and often without an alternative, they reveal their unlisted numbers on what are, in effect, public records. Like many successful people, Mr. Notebaert, the phone company executive, has voluntarily listed a great deal of information about himself in a lot of places.
The detective who found Mr. Notebaert's unlisted number looked at the executive's own entry in Marquis Who's Who for clues. Notebaert's address and unlisted number. Notebaert's unlisted number crept into its data base, which holds more than million records.
EVENTS & ENTERTAINING
Ted Wemhoff, marketing manager, suspects it might have come from a credit-reporting agency. CDB Infotek, which says it has electronic access to 1. But the nation's three leading credit-reporting agencies -- TRW, Equifax and Trans Union -- say they are puzzled, too, because they also take precautions against using unlisted numbers.
Some companies, though, make it their business to gather up unlisted numbers. Survey researchers like the Gallup Poll and Harris Poll worry that with so many households unlisted, their interviewers will reach a statistically unrepresentative sample if they call only listed numbers. So Survey Sampling, the Connecticut information provider, puts together unlisted numbers. It starts with what is publicly available: the first three digits of phone numbers, listed in the White Pages, that define particular geographic sections within each area code.
It then buys blocks of two more digits from Bellcore, the research unit of the seven regional Bell companies, which often cooperates with survey researchers. Survey Sampling then uses a random number computer program to complete the last two digits. This approach leads to a higher yield of phone numbers in actual service, as opposed to cooking up a list with just a random-number generator. Survey Sampling says it does not sell its numbers to outside parties and, indeed, destroys the numbers so households are not phoned twice.
Using a Survey Sampling list of unlisted numbers, a Pittsburgh market research firm phoned a representative national sample of households to conduct a survey on, of all things, annoying calls.
How to do a Reverse Search for People, Addresses and Phone Numbers
The survey, commissioned by the Federal Trade Commission, was conducted during Christmas week last year. Reese Brothers, the marketing firm, found that the households were most likely to get unsolicited calls from long-distance companies looking for new business. Coming in a close second were calls from local charities. The growing availability of caller ID services may increase the number of unwanted calls, privacy experts say.
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Many consumers have responded by signing up for an anti-caller ID service, which prevents a number from being displayed at the other end. But that has led to anti-anti-caller ID, or call rejection, a feature that blocks callers from getting through who refuse to have their numbers identified. At least 34 states offer some form of caller ID, but only 17 offer anti-caller ID.
Nine have anti-anti-caller ID. THE F. But in the rules it approved last week, it bowed to some of the concerns of privacy advocates, saying it would allow state regulators to let customers use anti-caller ID services automatically on all calls, instead of on a call-by-call basis. As the new technologies get closer to reality, however, the freedom to exchange information is sure to clash even more with the right to be left alone.
There's No Cracking His Code.
Salinger is almost as famous for being a recluse as for his writing. Even his neighbors in Cornish Flat, N. So it was with some apprehension that Gerald F. Kelly, supervisor of the investigative arm of Price Waterhouse, agreed to try to find the unlisted phone number of Jerome David Salinger. With a little computer digging, an investigator can find someone's address, sometimes a Social Security number and sometimes a phone number, even an unlisted one.
A college reference might send an investigator to alumni records; a Social Security number might lead to a billing address for a credit-card purchase; bad debts might lead to records for tax liens and bankruptcy proceedings, all of which can provide phone numbers. Information America, based in Atlanta, is especially good at what is called "asset location," the tracking of planes, buildings or stocks whose owners are required to be listed as a matter of public record by business statutes in various states.
Despite checking all those services, Mr. Kelly came up dry. Salinger -- a non-saloonkeeper, a non-lawyer and, apparently, a non-borrower -- is a non-person as far as the nation's public recordkeepers are concerned, except for a few intriguing facts. Use Note, the perfect online tool for reverse phone lookup to find an unlisted phone number of any person you are looking for.
Reverse Phone Lookup to find Unlisted Phone Numbers
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