Consumers can sign up to block telemarketers

Washington (AP) -- Promising the gift of silence for people bedeviled by telemarketers, the government launched a national do-not-call list Friday intended to block phone sales pitches from nearly all sources.

The national registry, a project of the Federal Trade Commission more than a year in the making, was inaugurated at a White House ceremony led by President Bush. The commission estimates the list will block about 80 percent of telemarketing calls.

Consumers may sign up for the registry at www.donotcall.gov by providing the phone number they want protected and an e-mail address so they can receive a confirmation message, the FTC said. The only identifying information kept will be the phone number.

Telephone registration using a toll-free number -- 1-888-382-1222 -- is available in states west of the Mississippi River, including Minnesota and Louisiana. Nationwide registration should be available about 10 days later. Consumers must call from the home or cell phone they want to register.

The registry was welcomed by Nicole Haslinger, 32, of Aliso Viejo, California. She said she gets up to five calls each week from telemarketers pitching everything from refinanced mortgages to pizza, calls that sometimes wake her 15-month-old son.

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News source: CNN

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