The note warned readers to put their cell numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, which aims to protect consumers from telephone marketing and is managed by the Federal Trade Commission.
Concerned that millions of phone numbers would be sent to ruthless telemarketers, Jackson forwarded the e-mail to more than 20 others.
Thus an urban legend was perpetuated.
Since late 2004, variations of the same e-mail have spread through cyberspace, but wireless providers say they have no plans to release cell-phone numbers to telemarketers.
Rochelle Cohen, a spokeswoman for Cingular, said the urban legend could stem in part from a misunderstanding of the wireless 411 service that the wireless industry was studying.
"The wireless 411 service does not exist at this time," Cohen said. "The service being explored would simply provide wireless customers with the option of making their phone number available to directory- assistance callers."
Even if such a directory were created, calls from telemarketers would not start rushing in, said Rosemary Kimball, a spokeswoman for the Federal Communications Commission.
Most telemarketers use "autodialers," which are prohibited under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act from being used to call "wireless services, and any other numbers for which the consumer is charged for the call."