Cell phone numbers going public?

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

WASHINGTON -- You've probably heard the rumors that your cell phone number is going public.

So far, that's just not the case. But now, there might actually be something to it.

A bill called the Mobile Information Call Act of 2011 has been introduced in the U.S. House by a Nebraska representative.

H.R. 3035 would allow businesses to auto-dial consumers for "informational" purposes.

As of now it's illegal for companies to use automatic-dialing systems to call people on their cell phones.

Some companies say that prevents them from delivering important information, such as fraud alerts or safety recalls, especially since more people are giving up their landlines for cell phones.

Opponents of the bill say it's too broad, that allowing robo-callers to dial cell phones would open the door to bill collectors and political calls. Calls to cell phones from telemarketers would still be illegal under the bill.

Fredric Bellamy with the Arizona Consumers Council calls the bill unnecessary. He says it's consumers who would wind up paying.

Most people pay for a certain number of minutes, whether it’s a prepaid phone or a contract cell phone.

"They're paying for a certain number of minutes and allowing robo-callers to use up some of those minutes isn't exactly what most people had in mind when they signed those contracts,” Bellamy said.

At this point, H.R. 3035 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, meaning it still has a long way to go before it’s voted on, if it makes it that far.

We’ll continue to monitor this bill, but in the meantime you can track the bill yourself.

Experts say it also doesn’t hurt to register your cell phone along with your landline on the Do Not Call Registry.