How To Report Do Not Call List Scofflaws To The Proper Authorities

Reader Brian says that he’s getting weird scammy calls about “lowering his interest rates” and would like to know what he should do about it.

Brian says:

The recorded message said I urgently need to talk to someone about my credit card. It then assured me that there was no problem with my accounts, but I need to talk to someone about lowering my interest rates. All very serious business. It then said my options were to press 1 for a rep or 2 to be removed.

My phone number has been on the do not call registry for years. I’ve tried telling them that before, and they just hang up. So this time, I asked for information about the company. The rep said I had to join their services to get that. So I asked for a manager. The rep said “ok” then hung up on me. The only information I have now is the phone number, and a company name of “Card Services” or “Card Service”.

Can you clarify what rules they’ve broken (auto-dialers, pre recorded messages, grossly misleading messages)? What can I do better to get myself removed from their call lists? Pressing 2, threatening with the do not call registry stuff, etc doesn’t work.

Well, without knowing which company is calling you, its not possible for us to tell you for sure which rules they’ve broken. Basically the rule is this: If a company doesn’t have a business relationship with you, it can’t call you. If it does have a business relationship with you it can call you, unless you tell it not to — at which point it has to stop calling or face a fine of up to $11,000 per call. It doesn’t sound like this outfit is selling anything legit — (What kind of company makes you sign up before they tell you what you’ve bought?) So it’s definitely time to start reporting them.

First, since you’re on the “Do Not Call” list, you should report them. You can do that here.

Secondly, you could contact your state’s attorney general or department of consumer affairs to report a possible scam. If your attorney general has a “fraud hotline” you can call it and see if they are interested. It’s possible that other consumers like yourself have reported the same company, particularly if they are as shady as you say they are.

Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to take the time to figure out who exactly is calling you and file a lawsuit against them, that’s about all you can do.

Comments

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  1. Letsgohokies says:

    I got the same call. When I called about it, the guy started giving me their little spiel. He was sort of wording like he was calling on behalf of one of my credit card companies. When I asked which one the call was about, he asked me which cards I had. That is when I told him to fuck off.

  2. snoop-blog says:

    Yeah nobody will give you any information that would lead back to their company anymore.

  3. the_gank says:

    glad to only use my GC # everywhere I go now…just 2 clicks and they’re forward blocked and will hear “this # has been disconnected msg”

  4. rdm says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been recently getting “car warranty expired” calls (for a car I don’t own anymore, natch) and could not for the life of me figure out why they just started – I switched my phone number a few months ago and no doubt forgot to list myself on DNC again.

  5. rdm says:

    @the_gank: That’s what is really irritating about the car warranty calls – they are not going through my GC and I flat out do not give out my real number at all. Ugh.

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    What percentage of complaints are followed up on?
    What percentage of complaints result in fines?
    Does the consumer who reported even know if there’s an investigation?
    I assume the fines go to the government, so the consumer has very little incentive to report and the violators have very little reason to stop.

  7. TouchMyMonkey says:

    You mean I can get Chase to stop calling me, even though I have an account with them, and they have to listen? Kewl.

  8. Indecent says:

    Our secretary reports all telesales people that harass us (a surprising number of them that repeatedly call back after she tells them to remove us).
    So far, we get complaint verification back on about 50% of them (via USPS mail). The others…who knows?

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    @Indecent: I’ve never heard of anyone actually getting a reply!

    What is the complaint verification look like? Is it an autogenerated “we have received your complaint” or does is it in some way specific? Does it indicate if action has been taken? Perhaps you can scan and insert into a thread reply or submit to consumerist?

  10. snoop-blog says:

    I’m getting calls on my cell now and even when I tell them, (seeing how it’s against the law even without being on a list) they never seem to care.

    Now I just tell them that “I’m like 14, and I just got this number like a week ago.” that usually takes care of them, and keeps them from calling back.

  11. clementine says:

    What is gc and gc #? I’m drawing a blank when I am reading the posts from above.

  12. marks2l says:

    @SkokieGuy: Not only have I gotten replies, I even got a check for $100 from the PA A.G. as part of a settlement with a DNC violator!

  13. Skellbasher says:

    The lower your interest rates and car warranty calls come from places that are spoofing their caller ID. I’ve been submitting complaints for months on them, and I’d suggest that anyone else getting these calls do the same.

    Some info on this is here. Not my site or blog, something I found when researching these calls myself.

    [heatherwithaccountservices.com]

  14. craig9937 says:

    You can file a complaint with the FCC here: [esupport.fcc.gov]

  15. johnva says:

    @Skellbasher: I’ve gotten a bunch of those stupid car warranty calls on my cell phone. They were downright hostile when I chose the option to talk to a human and demanded to know who they were.

  16. CaptZ says:

    GC# – GrandCentral.com

    A number that can be used to route all your calls anywhere…..home, cell, or work, or all 3. You can also look at the call log and put anyone on a list that is marked SPAM, and they will recieve a messgae saying the number has been disconnected. I love my GC#. Saves me alot of time and misery.

  17. CaptZ says:

    Unfortunately, since Google took over GrandCentral….they are only taking reservations for numbers again…….good luck to thise who get one though.

  18. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    I’d bet my next paycheck that the call9s) came from Versadebt, the scammiest, scummiest boileroom telemarketer around. [consumerist.com]

    By all means, report them to the FCC [www.donotcall.gov] but it won’t do any good. I used to get these calls all the time, until I decided to see if I could get them to stop my own way.

    **** WARNING, overly long personal anecdote ahead *******

    The next time they called, I played along, giving plausible sounding fake answers to the “qualifying” questions, making her repeat herself numerous times, asking lots of questions of my own (but not the kind that might make her hang up), etc. Part of their scam is to “qualify” you with a bunch of questions, then they make a 3-way conference call to your CC company to “negotiate a better rate”.

    At this point, they stay on the line while you give the CC company your account number. I balked, going on about security, etc. Since I’d been cooperative and nice up to that point, she continued to try to close the deal, and got extremely aggressive. After about ten minutes of letting her “convince” me, we “accidentally” got disconnected while I was giving the (fake) CC number.

    She immediately calls back, I give her the runaraound for a while more, then end the call with “I’m so sorry, I can’t finish this now, my wife just got home”, and hang up. So, almost thirty minutes of their time wasted (mine, too, I suppose, but I wasn’t doing anything more important than having a drink and surfing the net anyway, and I kept doing that while we catted), and no sale for them.

    About a week later, they call back. I recognized the voice, and asked if it was her. (Note: If you ask for a name when they first call, they usually hang up. If you ask for it after looking like a good prospect, they’ll tell it).

    It was the same girl, and rather than play the whole game again, I started up a conversation about how she seemed so nice and it was a shame she was working for such a shady, scammy, rip-off company. I told her she could do a lot better than working for crappy commissions for a borderline criminal company, and that I suspected they probably treated her like crap, to boot. I wished her luck and said goodbye.

    I haven’t gotten a call back from them since.

  19. taylorich says:

    @clementine: Grand Central or Grand Central Number – [www.grandcentral.com]

  20. the_gank says:

    @clementine: GC = Grand Central (see grandcentral.com)…it’s a service where u forward all calls 2 ur cellphone ….free sort of and u can only register by invite only** read more on the site..basically, u have more control over ur calls…and v-mail….also check out youmail.com

    @rdm: Well, if you have a Windows Mobile smart phone, there’re several tools u can install on ur phone that blocks calls (more of a blacklists (DNC)) but at the phone level….and u can even opt out to give the callers busy tone which sort of irritates them..forever…BUT if u don’t have a Win. Mobile phone, then I guess u can go with DNC for now…. also 800Notes.com or so is another great resource…

  21. The_IT_Crone says:

    @rdm: We’re getting car warranty calls, car warranty junk mail, everything. It seems almost impossible to find out WHO they are so we can’t report them.

    Not to mention we’re getting about 10 calls a week from debt collectors from the previous residents of our house- who haven’t lived here in 6 years.

    I’m finally giving up and changing my number and re-registering for the DNC list. I don’t know what else to do.

  22. BigPapaCherry says:

    @clementine: Second, I was wondering the same thing. Anyone know what GC or GC # is?

  23. BigPapaCherry says:

    @BigPapaCherry: Little too late, sorry, page just refreshed.

  24. ChuckECheese says:

    @rdm: My experience with the car warranty calls:

    When I moved to another state over a year ago, I used my new home’s address to register my car and obtain a driver license. I had not actually moved into the house yet, and wouldn’t for a couple weeks. I had not given the new address to anybody yet, and had not done a change-of-address either.

    However, when I moved in, there was already a car warranty notice in the mailbox, addressed to me, with my car’s information on it. The only place that had my address was the DMV.

    I called the DMV and explained it to them, making the point clear that somebody was selling DMV information to spammers and junk mailers. They insisted I was wrong. I don’t think I am.

  25. Julia789 says:

    My boss gets these calls at work. He forwards the voicemails to me and says “Please Handle” and assumes the warranty on the Mercedes is up.

    He also forwards emails he stating there is a problem with his bank account, and he just needs to fill out his social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, bank account number, and a major credit card number to verify his identity so they can “protect his account from an attempted identity theft.” Yep, those get forwarded to me with a “Please Handle” note as well. In fact, sometimes he doesn’t even use vowels anymore. It will just say “Pls Hndl” at the top of the email.

    It amazes me a man with an MBA could fall for this crap. I was surprised to learn that others in the office had already fallen for similar scams. Funny how the super-smart wealthy guys are falling for this stuff, while their lowly assistants are shielding them from it. No matter how many times I pull him aside and say “this is a scam” he forgets.

    I haven’t always been able to save him, however. He also forwards some of the emails to his wife, and she dutifully fills out the forms.

  26. Jabberkaty says:

    I’ve been getting these on and off for awhile. Did the same thing. I’d also *69 or do the other thing to trace their number (another number code, can’t remember it offhand, but the operator told me what it was, just ask) and report them to the DNC Reg… Same MO as these people, can’t remember the name they gave for the biz, I’ve got it down somewhere.

  27. tkozikow says:

    I have been getting these calls for over a year and they get past Call Intercept from Verizon and I can’t use Call Block for some reason. It is true that when you select option 2 and then ask any question the call is terminated, but option 1 to go on their Do Not Call list is a joke and really seems to make sure you get another call since it is a “live” number.

  28. CarlR says:

    I’ve submitted several complaints over the last few weeks to [esupport.fcc.gov] and have actually received confirmation via USPS with a printout confirming all the info I typed in online. I don’t have any idea if any action was taken though, and probably never will.

    If you are curious, you could go to [whocalled.us] and look to see if anyone has any additional information, based on the caller ID number or the callback number they give at the end of the call (for the robo-callers).

  29. Marshfield says:

    I got both the lower your interest AND car warranty calls lately. It’s amazing to me that they can manage so many calls without getting shut down. What is the point in having laws on the books if there’s nobody that is able or willing to enforce them? Both these places are clearly in violation of numerous state and federal regulations.

  30. MaelstromRider says:

    If it is versadebt, there is hope if you’ve got a bulldog AG. [ago.mo.gov]

  31. QuantumRiff says:

    @snoop-blog: Last company that did this to me was for an “expiring auto warranty” that expired 3 years ago! I called back the number, and got a recording that this number does not exist. I remember from setting up our companies phone system that it is illegal to “spoof” your caller ID (you may make it hidden, but not use a different number that you don’t own) but was unsure how to go about reporting it..

  32. airhed13 says:

    I’ve been getting the important credit blahblahblah call a couple times a week for a couple months, now. I’ve always hung up before I got to the part where the recording says to press a number to speak to a representative.

  33. cmdrsass says:

    @craig9937: It won’t do any good.

    I kept getting calls like this with a slightly varying MO – sometimes about an “account”, or “auto warranty”, or “interest rate”. When pressed for information they would give generic sounding company names like “Financial Services Company” and fake phone numbers. I can’t force the scammer to tell me the truth about their company.

    I followed up with a formal complaint to the FCC and eventually got a letter back saying that they did not have enough information to do anything about it and wouldn’t bother investigating.

  34. krispykrink says:

    I usually just ignore calls with a caller ID I don’t recognize. But, whenever I feel like playing I answer with “Homicide”.

  35. The_IT_Crone says:

    @ChuckECheese: I believe you are completely correct about the DMV, or in our case the city government center.

    The Warranty-is-Up-scam-a-thon started less than a month after we bought a new (used) car. Suddenly we were getting “your ford focus’ warranty is expiring” notices like a rainstorm. The only ones who knew about the car were the individual that we bought it from and when we registered the title -it wasn’t even insured yet.

  36. snoop-blog says:

    @krispykrink: Another good one is “so and so county sheriffs department…”

    Or “Thank you for calling the law offices of ….”

  37. Shadowman615 says:

    I tried to file a complaint there and with the FTC (I think) before when I got a marketing call on my cell phone. I got a reply email saying, in so many words, that they didn’t really give a rats ass. They don’t have the time or ability to get involved in individual disputes, it seems.

  38. cmdrsass says:

    @cmdrsass: FTC not FCC obviously

  39. Jubilance22 says:

    @the_gank: I have a Windows Smart phone. What the programs to use?

    I’ve been getting the warranty calls at both home and work, and I have no idea how they got my work number.

  40. mike says:

    Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to take the time to figure out who exactly is calling you and file a lawsuit against them, that’s about all you can do.

    What type of lawsuit can you bring?

  41. mike says:

    @snoop-blog & krispykrink: My voicemail says “You’ve reached the Department of Defense…” since I actually *do* work for the DoD.

    One time, I picked up the phone, not looking at the Caller ID. I asked them who they were, what company they represented. Then I strongly informed them to not call my number since it’s a DoD line and it’s a felony to solicit calls without going through contracting.

    She hung up rather quickly.

  42. the_gank says:

    @Jubilance22: check out [www.gap.com]

    or [www.freewarepocketpc.net]

    or if u just google for call block softwares for Win Mobile devices, u’ll find tons of them… btw, use those softwares at your own risk… :-) I have used the first one and it works great…

  43. the_gank says:

    @Jubilance22: jeez…the pls. disregard the gap link… it should be this link instead…this is what Slickdeals and browsing other blogs does to u…. it should be this instead… [www.mobiletopsoft.com]

  44. the_gank says:

    @Jubilance22: check out [www.dashwire.com] if you are a tech junkie like me… :-)

  45. @Indecent:

    The proper word is telewhore.

  46. howie_in_az says:

    @CaptZ: As an added benefit, if you’re with TMobile you can register your GC# as one of your MyFaves numbers. Anyone calling you through GC then uses MyFaves minutes, which are free.

  47. craig9937 says:

    If you file a complaint with the FCC on the link I posted above, they do send you a USPS letter acknowledging the complaint and the start of a formal complaint process. I’m not sure where it goes from there but I’ve gone through this recently and will have to keep you posted.

  48. PriceIsWrong says:

    To those having an issue with the car warranty people, I managed to get some information out of them and finally reported them to the BBB a couple weeks ago.

    I just reported them to the FCC as well.

    General Warranty Services Inc
    282 Main Street
    Salem, NH 03079
    781-569-1100 Anthony Depaolo (Claimed to be Co. President)
    [generalwarrantyservices.com]

  49. midwestkel says:

    At my work we get calls like that saying our auto warranty is about to expire then it ask if we want to talk to someone or get taken off the list.

    No matter how many times we press take of list it still calls us. If we try to talk to someone they say they are from the warranty department and if you ask what company they hang up.

    Also I stayed at a Red Roof Inn and used my cell phone as my contact and I have been getting calls saying that I filled out this and won free trips. I never filled anything out and have not gotten calls like this ever before I stayed at the Red Roof Inn.

  50. I get these calls, and you can’t really report them because they fake the caller ID to display disconnected numbers or overseas numbers.

  51. I get these calls and if you say anything remotely questioning (who they are, what company, etc) they just hang up. its a spoofed #. I’d *LOVE* to report them, but it seems impossible to.

  52. frayne says:

    excerpt from my conversation with lady at “card services”:

    me: this number is on the federal do not call registry
    her: well, obviously it isn’t or i wouldn’t be calling you

    jerk.

  53. PriceIsWrong says:

    @midwestkel: The hotel has a ‘Resort Rewards’ linked to them, for advertising special deals and a points system. I think they are called Wyndham Rewards now, though they used to be Triprewards. I get the calls here and there for both, though I do use the hotel one.

    I just reported the Auto Warranty one to the FCC and BBB though. Here’s the info I got out of them so anyone else that needs to complain can do so:

    General Warranty Services, Inc.
    282 Main Street
    Salem, New Hampshire 03079
    [generalwarrantyservices.com]

  54. ldnyc says:

    I get both the “lower your interest rate” and “your auto warranty is about to expire” call on my cell phone and office phone several times a day. The irony is that I do not own a car at all and haven’t in about 15 years (and it was registered in NJ at my parent’s address back then). I always send any number I don’t recognize direct to voicemail and the bizarre area codes are always a tipoff it’s them. Occasionally I will answer and press 2 to be removed, but that does nothing, of course. It’s also amusing that every single message they leave says it’s the last notification I’l receive! If only!

  55. Mollyg says:

    I got one of these auto warranty calls. I told them that my name was on the Do-no-call list and asked for a supervisor. I aksed the supervisor the name of the company and the phone number (info which they legaly must provide). It did not surpise me that the company name was fake and the phone number was to a sex line.

  56. brokebackwallet says:

    For those having problems with telemonkeys ignoring DNC list:

    Buy a Nokia smartphone (E/N-series, some 3/5/6 series phones are smart too, just make sure they run Symbian Series60) and buy Blackballer/Blacklist/whatnot. See http://www.my-symbian.com for call blocking apps.

    Theres similar apps for Windows Mobile, I just dont know anything about them because I have never touched WM.

  57. HogwartsAlum says:

    @krispykrink:

    AH HA HA HA HA HA!!!

    Can I borrow that one?

  58. snoop-blog says:

    @HogwartsAlum: I’m pretty sure he borrowed that one from Bob and Tom. Here’s the link to the whole call, and it is pretty funny.

  59. HogwartsAlum says:

    I haven’t gotten any of the warranty calls or credit card calls (I don’t have a credit card), but at work, we get the copier scammer calls. Those are the ones where they say,”Hi, this is customer service on the copier.” They try to get you to give them info and then they bill you for an insanely expensive cartridge you won’t get. Then they dun you for the money, claiming that “You agreed to purchase this.” If you ask them what company they are with, they hang up.

    Now they are trying a new approach: the friendly salesperson. [in chirpy voice] “Hi! My name is Leona and I’m calling with the customer service on the copier!” I just hang up on them.

  60. HogwartsAlum says:

    @snoop-blog:
    Cool! Thanks. :) I’ll watch this when I get home since I have no speakers on my work computer. :P

  61. @ChuckECheese: “I called the DMV and explained it to them, making the point clear that somebody was selling DMV information to spammers and junk mailers. They insisted I was wrong. I don’t think I am.”

    It’s been DMV policy in many states to sell all their data to data brokers (ChoicePoint, ACxiom, etc.) for years.

    So, yea, it’s an inside job alright.

  62. cadieg says:

    i work in an emergency department and for some reason, we get a ton of telemarketer calls. answering the phone “emergency department, this is X” really shuts them the hell up. :D unless it’s a recording…. :(

  63. @ChuckECheese: …to follow up…

    See [www.washingtonpost.com] for an example.

  64. snoop-blog says:

    To the calls that are done by recordings:

    I like to tell them that I am recording, and when they say I don’t have their permission, I inform them that during the pause between their auto-dialer and human response, I too played a recording that said by staying on the line you give permission to be recorded for whatever reason. Fight the machine with a machine!!!! If they can do it, why can’t I?

  65. Might as well have fun with the Telewhores.

    XYZ County Attorny’s Office, Chief Criminal Investigator ShoveItUpYourArse speaking.

    XYZ County Jail, Warden’s Office, we have room for 9 inmates, can I make you a reservation?

  66. wagnerism says:

    In my experience, it seemed that the live person had no idea which number the computer called.

    Have fun with that. Even if they have your number, they’re too busy trying to scam than to waste their time with any personal revenge.

    How can the credit card companies get involved? I’m sure that this scammy operation causes headaches for chargebacks, disputes and overextending their customer’s debt and killing the cash cow.

    Follow the money… I often wish I had a bogus credit card number – not to defraud – but to somehow trace back the merchant and identify the business/caller. Is there any legal way to get more information by baiting the hook a little better? I’d LOVE to get solid information on these people, trace back to their robot dialers, get a log and get them prosecuted for every single call made in a week’s time.

    Is there a credit card number you can give that won’t let the charge go through until you specifically allow the charge, but only after it is attempted?

  67. Julia789 says:

    @midwestkel: I think pressing the opt out button on these calls does nothing, or even worse, just alerts them that there is someone home and it’s a good number to continue trying.

  68. Julia789 says:

    People that don’t even own cars are getting these calls. They are random calls, hoping someone takes the bait. How many households have cars? How many households have cars whose warranty likely expired? It wouldn’t take long at all to find someone to fall for it.

    I’m sure if you called that some third-rate, third-party auto warranty company would answer the phone and sell you a crappy warranty on your car with dozens of restrictions making it basically worthless. They’d try to make you think it was the same company you got your original warranty from at the dealership. Or it could just be a flat-out identity theft scheme.

    Another one has a vague but official sounding recording stating it’s a collection agency, you have an unpaid debt, and you have one week to settle before they take you to court. I did some research on this one and found when you call, they ask for your social security number and all your personal information, including mother’s maiden name, to “look up the debt for you.”

  69. clearcut says:

    My strategy is to pretend interest long enough to hook them in, then have an emergency (“Oh my daughter just fell – she’s bleeding can I call you back?”) That’s enough to get a business name and number to report, then I request to be put on their do not call list. I log the call and report it to donotcall.gov. I have yet to receive another from the same scum bag.

  70. quail says:

    @snoop-blog: Good idea, telling them you’re 14 when they call your cell number.

    Must admit it’s disgusting. These ‘urgent’ calls about your credit card and the vast number of ‘your car warranty is about to expire’ mailers. I can just see all of the elderly who get pulled into these traps thinking their doing something necessary.

  71. quail says:

    @HogwartsAlum: The copier scam is an old one. It actually started off as a paper scam back in the 7o’s. Same M.O. Different product.

  72. jpdanzig says:

    Excuse me, folks, but isn’t it the case that you have to RE-REGISTER your DO NOT CALL status every few years?

    It could be that some peoples’ protection has lapsed in consequence…

  73. Morac says:

    I’m starting to get these calls all the time on both my home and cell phone. The calls start off with a voice recording telling you this is the “last chance” to lower your rates and to press 1 to talk to someone or press 2 to remove yourself from the list. Pressing 2 doesn’t remove you from their list, it just means they’ll start calling back more often.

    Pressing 1 gets you to a live person. I tried to ask the person to remove me from their phone list, but he hung up on me.

    Unfortunately it’s impossible to report these people to the Do Not Call complaint since they forge the caller id information. Trying to call the number that displays gets a message saying that the number has been disconnected.

  74. RMN says:

    Question:
    My cell phone number is in another state, which state’s attorney general or department of consumer affairs should I contact?
    The state I am living in or the state the phone number is in or both?

  75. SchuylerH says:

    @jpdanzig:
    Yes, a lot of people probably have forgotten that the registration needs to be renewed, including myself a few months ago.

    However, the fact that these twits forge caller ID, refuse to give out any business information until they’ve got your financial information and hang up on anyone who requests to be put on a DNC list maybe, just maybe, implies that don’t give a crap whether someone’s DNC registration has lapsed or not.

  76. rlee says:

    @howie_in_az: “As an added benefit, if you’re with TMobile you can register your GC# as one of your MyFaves numbers. Anyone calling you through GC then uses MyFaves minutes, which are free.”
    Does that work if you tell GC to pass through the caller’s number for your callerID? I suspect you need to have the GC number passed instead.

  77. chiieddy says:

    This call, along with the warranty is about to expire, comes in about once a week on our support cell phone number.

  78. krispykrink says:

    @snoop-blog: Yep. That was pure inspiration!

  79. krispykrink says:

    @linus: I’ve been in that position (USAF Police), back before caller ID and the Do Not Call Registry existed. Informing them of who they actually called got our number removed from their list rather quickly.

  80. bbb111 says:

    I agree that you will not get any useful info from the caller ID or any contact info they give you. Instead, I do a public service by keeping them on the line. After playing along a while (the length of that depending on what I am doing when the call comes), they always ask for the a card number or the 800 number on the back. “It’s on my dresser…I have to get it………………” and I put them on hold until they give up.

    @The_IT_Crone
    “Not to mention we’re getting about 10 calls a week from debt collectors from the previous residents of our house- who haven’t lived here in 6 years…”

    I had that happen with my new number when I moved into a house – The debtor was the previous owner of the the number, but he had lived on the other side of town. The number was reassigned only two months after he skipped out on lots of debts. Of course the debt collectors tried to get info out of me (some politely and some aggressively.) I got lots of info about the debtor from the friendly local video rental store that had by phone number already in the system. [this was before researching phone numbers was available on the net.]

    There were two months of 4 or 5 calls a week and then it faded over another couple of months. I took it as a project to learn about debt collector’s tactics and responses to various attitudes. [which later came in handy when my phone company started double billing me with two different accounts and then sent it to collections. The bills came from different departments that would not talk to each other. Even the executive office couldn't get them to talk to each other. A complaint with the Public Utilities Commission ended the problem (although for a few minutes the collection agency tried to tell me that they were not bound by the PUC - I faxed them the PUC complaint acknowledgment that stated the laws and they gave up forever).]

    @The_IT_Crone
    “I’m finally giving up and changing my number and re-registering for the DNC list. I don’t know what else to do.”

    If you haven’t given your number to too many people and didn’t print cards or stationary, then that is probably the best tactic. I just put up with it because I work at home and I refused to eat the indirect costs of changing the number again.

    “expiring auto warranty”
    I get these too – I just ask “Which car?” and they hang up because they cannot continue the fraud of pretending to be your warranty company.

    With all these scams, the odds are better to take a fresh call at the first “miss” in the phishing and phraud rather than try to save it. I isn’t your witty or shock comeback that makes them hang up, it is simply that you left their script.

  81. The_IT_Crone says:

    @jpdanzig: I’ve been on the DNC since 2004, and I checked today to make sure it was still valid.

    Yup.

    It doesn’t matter to them. Just like the handgun conceal/carry debate, CRIMINALS don’t care about the LAW.

  82. Shadowman615 says:

    @jpdanzig: You used to need to re-register every five years, but not anymore:

    From [www.donotcall.gov]
    Your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008. Read more about it at [www.ftc.gov]

    But as far as what you’re getting at, we’re not getting these calls because of any expired DNC status or because we forgot to list our number, or anything like that. There are simply some scammy organizations that try to get away with as much as possible. They’ll even call your cell phone with an autodialed recording, which is illegal even without being on the DNC list.

  83. johnva says:

    @The_IT_Crone: I hope there is some serious government enforcement against these people. They really need to make an example of them, or I fear that the telemarketing bans for people on the DNC list or even cell phones could become a joke.

  84. SacraBos says:

    @QuantumRiff: Listen carefully to the “no suc h number” response. I’ve heard some that were not Bell-provided no-such-number, but the scammers PBX routing you to that message to fool you.

  85. ChuckECheese says:

    @The_IT_Crone: Thanks for the link. Looks like that’s the case. Too bad for us.

  86. The_IT_Crone says:

    @bbb111: I’d be a LITTLE less angry if it was the previous users of my phone number, but the HOUSE? That means that they KNOW another party bought the place, and are calling here anyway JUST IN CASE the previous owner is still living here. I can’t think of how they’d have the right name of the previous occupant even though it’s a different number. It’s just… dickish.

    I called my phone company and apparently I can have one number change per year for free. Schweet.

  87. shimane says:

    I run the National Political Do Not Call registry, working to bring back privacy to voters who receive 100’s of millions political robo calls each year. Why?

    Politicians exempted themselves from the law.

    That said, It is critical that you take action around these slime ball telemarketing companies.

    You must:

    1) Fill out the complaint form at donotcall.gov. Now. Everytime. Without data, the Gov can NOT do anything.

    2) If your state has a consumer dept and / or a do not call list fill out their complaint form as well. Again, data is the only thing that the govt can use.

    3) Ensure that you record EVERY PIECE OF DATA ABOUT THE CALL. Time, who, caller ID number, day, content of the call, everything.

    4) Go to a site like callercomplaints.com and fill out a complaint form their as well. This is a good site where you can see other complaints about the same company and number. The Govt. websites do not allow you to see into their databases.

    5) Sign up for Free at StopPoliticalCalls.org :)

    Regards,

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder
    StopPoliticalCalls.org

  88. wcnghj says:

    I’ve been getting the same exact call and have pressed 2 atleast 4 times!

    I reported them to the FCC and donotcall.

  89. dlab says:

    I’ve received these calls a few times and I always report them. Unfortunately, I don’t think it does much.

    The first time I reported one of those it took me about 15 minutes to put a name and address to the phone number that came up. When I looked up the address on Google Earth, I found the address was actually a vacant lot in a maze of empty streets that was obviously a still-unbuilt subdivision.

  90. kbarrett says:

    Record your calls.

    Capture the phone number tones their PBX dials to connect you to a sales person.

    Use that recording to contact their telewhores directly whenever you wish to screw with their heads.

  91. I’ve been getting calls from these twits for years now. Of course, I happen to be on a cellphone in Canada, and as far as I can tell we don’t have any laws right now that keep shady American companies from trying to scam me.

  92. trujunglist says:

    My advice is to string them along until they give you some call back information. Barring that, i would just scare the shit out of them by going one step further than “homicide” or “___ county sherrif’s dept”, I’d say something like ” SS fraud investigation department, can I have the phone number that you’d like me to trace?” and see what happens

  93. charodon says:

    I got several of these calls last month. When I asked the rep who they were, it was always a vague name like “Consumer Services” or “Finance Corporation.” I reported the numbers on my caller ID to donotcall.gov — but I began getting calls with numbers 11 digits long. I.e., they’re faking the caller ID as well as running some sort of scam. Without doing some sort of trap-and-trace on my incoming phone line there’s no way to identify these people. They don’t sound like they’re from offshore, though.

  94. charodon says:

    @TinyBug: At this point, they stay on the line while you give the CC company your account number.

    Hmm, so much for the idea of a do-it-myself sting operation.

  95. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @rdm: We’ve been getting these too on both our cell and our unlisted home number. Naturally, we ignored them, but just this week, we’ve received a letter in the mail from these a-holes. I shredded it without thinking, but next time, I’m going to save it and see what I can do to make trouble for these jerks. There’s no telling how many people they’ve ripped off so far.

  96. consu_consu says:

    I have tipped consumerist on this before. I got a nice ‘Thank you’ email. I have vonage, and I am pretty sure it’s a voip call, but Vonage are less than helpful in trying to figure out where the call comes from.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Actually, if the company who calls has masked their company name and/or the phone number from which they’re calling, you can report that violation directly to US Congressman Aaron Schock of the 18th Congressional District. Just make sure you have the time of day when the call occurred, the phone number that received the call, and whatever information showed on your caller ID screen even if it’s nothing. Here’s the Congressman’s phone number: (309) 671-7027

  98. Steve_K says:

    Exact same thing has just happened to me. I see your post was made in 2008, now it’s 2011, and nothing has changed. Hope we can find a way to put these jerks out of business.