Man Tells Fax Spammers To Go Fax Themselves… And They Comply

Pat is our consumer action hero of the week. He writes:

For weeks now I have been receiving fax calls on my house line, a number I’ve had for over twenty years and now ported to VOIP; somehow, at some point, it got included on a telemarketing fax CD.

I get them 3-4 times a day, each repeated 3 times, starting at 6 AM. Being awaken by the cheerful chirping of a fax when answering the phone isn’t my cup of tea: Nobody calls me at six, so when it rings I always think there is some kind of emergency!

I finally decided to do something about this problem, and using the caller ID number as starting point, Google kindly provides me with the main number and name of the offending company.

The receptionist was not so receptive to my request: Seems they have many employees, and no interest in tracking down who is sending what, because they are very, very busy. Goodbye.

OK. Fine by me. One great advantage of my VOIP provider (Primus, for anyone who cares) is that their base package includes many interesting features, including the possibility to redirect any number to another. Thirty seconds later, I had the fax number redirected to the receptionist’s number.

Since the redirection happens at the exchange, it will of course be a bit more difficult for them to track down the origin of these new, annoying calls than if they had been willing to listen to my complaint. They had their chance, and blew it.

I call this forcing corporate responsibility.

Get it? Now all the fax spammers are sending faxes to the receptionist at the company that bought the guy’s telephone number, the receptionist that said they were too busy to remove his number, using the fax machine they’re too busy to remove from their list. It’s like a delicious irony cake wrapped in irony ice cream and topped with chocolate irony sprinkles! Let’s see how long it takes for them to remove that number now. Congrats to you, Pat, you are our consumer action hero of the week!

Comments

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  1. That … is truly

    Awesome!

    I have a HUGE grin on my face!

  2. AdvocatesDevil says:

    HAHA! My hero! But what is the name of this company who is faxing you??

  3. Tank says:

    brilliant. bravo.

  4. DeleteThisAccount says:

    I am in awe of this solution.. I wonder if Callvantage has this option?!?!

  5. MelL says:

    Or if the company has a 1-800 number, their cost goes up and up…

  6. zigziggityzoo says:

    that’s AMAZING. We should cross this with an EECB and epic amounts of magic would happen.

  7. lolababy says:

    That is sort of amazing.

    But what an odd feature for VOIP. I can’t think of any examples right now, but the “redirect my calls to someone else” seems like it might have potential for mishaps/abuse.

    • CarnageSIS says:

      @lolababy: Seriously? Call forwarding has been around forever. VOIP, POTS, and cells all have call forwarding options.

      This is the first instance I am aware of it being for a specific number, which is cool. You could always make sure important calls could find you, but telemarketers wouldn’t be forwarded to your other number as well.

      I very rarely, if ever, us my call forwarding, but I do pay enough attention to notice it listed as an option on every voice plan I have ever seen.

      Either way at this poing we are well past the worry of abouse/misuse as most like every possible exploit of this feature has already been explored.

    • MrEvil says:

      @lolababy: Its called call forwarding, a common feature on voice lines. Most cell providers have it included with your cellular service (some have a /min charge though). You can have calls for xxx-xxx-xxxx redirected to any other number in the US.

  8. lolababy says:

    But, in all seriousness, HIGH FIVE.

  9. howie_in_az says:

    I’ve been giving out my GrandCentral number to everyone lately. GC has the ability to mark calls as spam, then play a number disconnected message.

    • Xerloq says:

      @howie_in_az:
      GC can still forward your calls to other numbers, just takes a bit of work.

      You have to add the telemarketer’s number as one of your own, then have telemarketers calls redirected to that number in GC Caller settings.

      It used to be easier, you could redirect any number to any other number in caller settings, but I find it much more fun to redirect all telemarketers to one telemarketing company, and rotate ‘em once a month or so.

      • rlee says:

        Odd. The only numbers I can forward to are ones where, when I first add it to the forwarding list, I can answer at the number and enter the digits displayed on my GV web page to confirm. So the best I can do in cases like this is automatically route their calls to /devv/null. Not quite as satisfying, somehow…

  10. loserflame says:

    awww… now *I* want to start getting fax spam!

  11. rixatrix says:

    Seems a bit misdirected – rather than punishing the person who’s actually faxing you, you’re making the receptionist’s life more miserable.

    Sort of like stealing someone else’s parking space when someone’s parked in yours. Is it really retribution or just the forwarding of bad karma?

    • Gopher bond says:

      @rixatrix: I see it as akin to a company sending you a box of manure every day. You call them up and ask them to stop and they say they’re too busy. So instead, you reject the delivery and the mail carrier returns it to the company (only a day older and stinkier).

      I see no ill-intentions or malice on the part of the person who never wanted the box of manure.

    • harlock_JDS says:

      @rixatrix: well the OP did try and track down the person doing the faxing. Since the receptionist wasn’t too interested in helping out the OP gave her some motivation to do so.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I can hear that “Real American Hero” music in the background.

      @rixatrix: Maybe, maybe… but then the receptionist is handling an increased volume of calls as a result, so the business is slowed down and starts costing more. He or she is but a casualty in a war… tragic but necessary.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @rixatrix:

      It’s the receptionist’s job to help direct the call to the right person. In this case, the moron who’s faxing you.

      She didn’t want to do her job being the representative of the company?

      Fine.

    • P41 says:

      @rixatrix: That’s interesting logic, except for a few things. One, if the company doesn’t stop calling, it’s harrassment and illegal. Two, it’s not like he’s sending it the receptionist’s home number (like they’re calling his), rather the work number where the receptionist is being paid and shouldn’t really be miserable at all. Third, if it did make the receptionist’s life miserable, then really what it shows is that even though it’s the receptionist’s job to handle these kinds of things, the receptionist thinks it’s ok for them to make HIS life miserable, so shouldn’t have any complaints.

      So your parking spot example is wrong because taking the next spot takes some innocent person’s spot. Instead, what if an employee of the business next to your home parks in your spot and the receptionist doesn’t care, but you’re able to convince the employee to park in the receptionist’s personal spot instead? OP really isn’t causing any problem, only redirecting it to someone more guilty.

      I doubt there’s any way to see a log of the call redirection, in order to have another laugh when you get it to stop. Maybe call the receptionist back in few days and ask if they want help tracking down the fax calls?

      Bryanoak: your response isn’t as sinless, read the post on statutory damages. Most junk faxes have a ‘we may have gotten your number by mistake, here’s how to correct’ blurb (that’s a complete lie) but it’s there because profitability suffers when they get sued. If a company doesn’t stop faxing, court judgments tend to get their attention quickly, and the cash in your pocket will make the whole experience more pleasant.

    • yikz says:

      @rixatrix: If the receptionist is too busy to solve the problem, I think she deserves a dose of what that company is dishing out. Frankly, I’d like to see it happen for a week or two, and then see if they fixed it… if not, find out the CEO’s line, and send it to him. Then send him a nice letter (snail mail) explaining their inability to stop their own behavior.

    • quail says:

      @rixatrix: I believe that the receptionist would be more willing to get his number removed from the list after discovering what a hassle it truly is to get faxes calling the wrong number.

      My only issue is that how many receptionists are on duty at 6 a.m, when the faxes are sent? If the guy’s on the west coast and the faxes are coming from the east coast, then yea. Otherwise it kind of falls flat. But at least his phone doesn’t ring with an incoming fax.

  12. esd2020 says:

    Since you already tracked them down, and since it seems they’re in the US… wouldn’t it be more fun to sue them for statutory damages of $500 *per junk fax*?

    • Gopher bond says:

      @esd2020: Hmm, I dunno, his solutions seems quite satisfying. Sometimes cash is so hollow.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @esd2020: plus, since he’s not actually receiving any junk faxes, only the calls, does that still count as a junk fax?

      • SacraBos says:

        @timmus: Boy are you missing out. junkfaxes.org has several people that have successfully sued and won damages. It’s isn’t a slam-dunk, and takes some effort, but it does work. I’ve also helped get a FCC forfeiture against Carolina Liquidators for their junk faxing. Good times.

        I live in Texas, and the Texas AG pretty much made American Blast Fax squeal like a pig, and the Fed hit Fax.com pretty hard. So I don’t get any anymore… In fact, if you get a fax from a 214-702 or Addison, TX exchange, you might want to drop dime to the Texas AG about it, as well as the FCC.

        Major kudo’s Pat. VoIP rules.

    • FLConsumer says:

      @esd2020: I believe so… and most VoIP companies’ systems have great call logs, it’d be quite an easy case. SUE SUE SUE… see if that gets your # off their lists… otherwise, profit!

  13. Jonbo298 says:

    So full of awesome right there

  14. *grin* OK, they probably won’t connect what is happening and why, but it IS funny. Funnier if you could have gotten the company’s marketing dept. number, though.

  15. MercuryPDX says:

    I call this forcing corporate responsibility.

    I call it genius. :)

  16. bryanoak says:

    Interesting approach. I used to get bombarded at my home office with faxes from an assortment of difference companies including local restaurants, doctors offices, etc. If they ignored my request to remove my number, I simply waited until after office hours and faxed them 50 sheets of black paper along with a note to remove my number. Sometimes it worked.

  17. dasunst3r says:

    Yes… that company can go eff… err.. fax… themselves. Brilliant title!

  18. ben_linus says:

    Pat, Mr. Consumer Action Hero of the Week,

    you deserve a gold star. Pure genius move all around.

  19. maztec says:

    Box of manure every day would be nice, could have one heck of a good garden. Plenty of fertilizer!

    Hmm, so, this forwarding of number – I assume it lets him choose what incoming numbers are forwarded? Or is he forwarding all of his legitimate faxes now? Which would seem silly.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @maztec: “Box of manure every day would be nice, could have one heck of a good garden. Plenty of fertilizer!”

      Yes, but unfortunately, you eventually reach a saturation point at which the box of manure realizes diminishing returns.

  20. Necroscope says:

    “Now all the fax spammers are sending faxes to the receptionist at the company that sold the guy’s telephone number to them”

    No….

    All his calls are going to one company that faxed him. Most phone systems have this mysterious ability to redirect incoming calls. It is often refered to as ‘call forwarding’.

  21. Jabronimus says:

    Fuck. Yes.

  22. ideagirl says:

    that is just….brilliant. kudos.

  23. Now if only there was something I can do about the telebot calls I get that it may be too late to extend my automobile extended warranty.

  24. ccouvillion says:

    Hopefully he is only directing the incoming calls from them, back to them, not all calls.

  25. SkokieGuy says:

    I think this is fabulous but two questions:

    1. If the OP forwarded his calls to the receptionist number, how does he receive ANY calls? Can VoiP allow forwarding of selected calls only (i.e. just fax calls?).
    2. When you forward, if the receptionist has caller ID, will it display her own number (as call originator) or the OP, (as the forwarding number)?

    • Gopher bond says:

      @SkokieGuy: Both questions are answered in the post. VOIP can redirect any incoming number to another number, i.e. not all calls are forwarded.

      The re-direct occurs at the exchange so the receptionist won’t receive either the originator number or the destination number, evil.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        @testsicles: Thank you for addressing my perhaps sloppy reading of the post.

        So I now get that is not directing all calls, just the one inbound call from the evil faxing company, and they don’t know who it is.

        So I don’t understand the comment at the end of the post about “Let’s see how long it takes for them to remove that number now”? They don’t know what number to remove, do they?

        It ‘punishes’ the company, but does it accomplish anything else?

        • Suttin says:

          @SkokieGuy:

          The OP isn’t receiving the evil faxing company’s spam faxes, so I’m sure the OP doesn’t care anymore.

        • cashmerewhore says:

          @SkokieGuy:

          It accomplishes awesomeness.

          If they are soliciting, I’d think he has grounds to sue since they are calling before the permitted time of 8am (or is it 9…It’s been about 10 years since I sold my soul and did outbound telemarketing…). Regardless of timezone, the dialer can not call you before a certain time IN YOUR ZONE. We could never get ahold of customers in Hawaii or Alaska.

          (And before anybody thinks I was really evil, I worked for Highlights for Children, and about 60% of the calls were magazine renewals. The other 40% and their stupid policies were enough for me to quit after 3 months and lose out on the remainder of my $1250 sign on bonus…)

          • Gopher bond says:

            @cashmerewhore: “I worked for Highlights for Children,”

            Totally tits! Did you get to see the new Goofus and Gallant before it went to press? I’d love to have a signed copy of original artwork.

            P.S. I hate the new version.

            • cashmerewhore says:

              @testsicles:

              Being in the callcenter, no. But it is published in town too. I did get a free subscription to the magazine and would sit and color the hidden pictures when the dialer was slow.

              Aside from being telemarketing, they tried to make it good by giving away amusement park tickets, football tickets, prize packages of the stuff we were selling….

              And I saw the new format recently: suck.

        • MyTQuinn says:

          While I think the OP could eventually get himself in trouble, it’s very satisfying to read a story like this.

          @SkokieGuy: It ‘punishes’ the company, but does it accomplish anything else?

          Sure… it stops the OP’s phone from ringing.

          @CarnageSIS: This is the first instance I am aware of it being for a specific number, which is cool.

          Select Forward has been around for along time. I used it back in the late 80′s, when unlimited calling was available only within a small geographic area. We would setup “hop” lines, that would effectively allow us to call across the state for free.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @SkokieGuy: That I don’t know. I imagine with some elbow grease, one could figure out which exchange and then get customer service and maybe get some information on the origin call. It would be funny if after days of work to get the number to stop, they finally figured out it was their own fax machine.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @SkokieGuy: Most voip providers have a feature called Selective Call Forwarding, which allows you to forward calls from certain numbers while the rest carry on to you as normal.

      That’s the best thing I’ve read all week! My new hero!!!

  26. Corporate_guy says:

    Now to redirect telemarketing calls to the phone numbers of their respective CEOs.

  27. Mfalconieri says:

    That was awesome. Nice job!

  28. pb5000 says:

    I had a general fax machine on my desk for a short time. When the advertised fax would finish printing I would dial the number on it (ie if it said call 800-something for a $99 trip to Disneyworld, I’d call the 800-something) and fax their ad back to them. Since the number was usually to a call center, and the fax machine speaker was loud enough for me to hear them answer, I’d usually get some fun responses before the hang up. Since the job for me didn’t last long enough (promoted to a desk with no fax on it) I have no idea if it worked.

  29. B1663R says:

    oh my god! That is Brilliant, simply genius!

  30. akacrash says:

    I hope at some point they hook up a fax machine to see who’s calling and someone can say..

    “Oh my god! It’s coming from INSIDE THE BUILDING!”

    :p

    BTW, brilliant. Nicely done. Now if only I could do that to the people who are calling my cell repeatedly to tell me I won a free vacation (for a $500 processing fee).

  31. kateblack says:

    Pat rules.

  32. Difdi says:

    It’s a viscerally satisfying story. But it may get the OP into legal trouble. In many states, it is illegal to initiate a call without intending to complete it — That is, without intending to carry on a conversation. The law was drafted specifically to criminalize the use of wardialer software (software like what Matthew Broderick’s character uses early in the movie War Games).

    While redirecting a fax call at the exchange level is not precisely the same thing, it’s very similar to what wardialer software does. It may well be illegal in the OP’s state.

  33. Mike_ says:

    Many moons ago, I was bombarded with email from a Prodigy subscriber whose PC had been infected by a worm. Every time she connected to the Internet, I received a large batch of unwanted mail. I dutifully reported the problem to Prodigy’s abuse handler several times over the course of a few days, but the junk kept coming.

    I eventually got fed up, and configured my mail server to redirect the unwanted messages directly to the Prodigy abuse handler. “That should take care of it,” I thought.

    A few hours later, I got an extremely irate phone call from an upper-level manager at Prodigy. Apparently, what I had done was bad enough that he had already met with their Legal Department about me. He was furious, and he was going to make me pay.

    If I recall correctly, I told him the messages were originating on his own network, told him what he could go do with himself, and hung up. The messages stopped bouncing off my server, and I never heard anything else about it.

  34. This is the greatest thing I’ve heard it at least a week. Congrats to Pat.

  35. mrkniceguy says:

    That’s it.. I’m switching to VOIP. This is awesome. Way to go!

  36. MissTicklebritches says:

    Thanks! I needed some good news and a laugh today.

  37. Zanorfes says:

    Simply genius.

  38. metsarethe... says:

    They are just as guilty as the company sending the fax simple as that. This receptionist didn’t help but you’re not getting to root of the problem. Justify it how’d you’d like but bad way to deal

  39. HogwartsAlum says:

    That….is….AWWWESOOOME.

  40. ElizabethD says:

    Ahhhhh. That was satisfying.

  41. Dacker says:

    I…. LOVE… IT!

  42. snowburnt says:

    That’s a great idea! However, I think he could take the company to small claims court for this and make a pretty penny…isn’t it like $500/ offense?

  43. Ein2015 says:

    Made of Win

  44. RedSonSuperDave says:

    This is possibly the most epic thing I’ve read all week. My hat’s off to the OP.

  45. Amy Alkon says:

    I. Am. In. Love.

  46. nightshade74 says:

    Good show… I’ve been doing the same thing with
    some spam for years. I’ve got registered a personal
    domain for email. Everyone gets a unique email address.
    If I start getting spam from company ala main sleaze
    I lookup the domain contact info and any company emails
    I can find…..and turn the throw away email address into
    an email list… :)

  47. blockbustarhymes says:

    Definitely funny. Probably makes you just as bad as them as far as the law/morality is concerned.

    It’s funny cause it’s not me.

  48. RandomHookup says:

    If she’s really on her toes, she may actually forward the calls to her own fax machine and realize that the faxes are coming…from inside the building!!

    • QuiteSpunky says:

      @RandomHookup: Yes– if he forwarded the calls to the COMPANY’S fax machine– that might be even more hilarious! Still, this is truly awesome.

      • RandomHookup says:

        @QuiteSpunky: Pardon my ineffective pronouns. I meant that the receptionist could forward the faxes to her own machine when they come in — I’ve done it before, especially if the fax has auto redial. It stops the redials and you get your fax.

  49. He could’ve done it much better.

    He could’ve found out a secondary fax number for the company, then redirected those 6am faxes to that number. That’s much more annoying than redirecting the calls to a receptionist, who’s not gonna be at her desk at 6am.

  50. exkon says:

    Wow, that is pretty awesome man, KUDOS!!

  51. OMG!Nirian says:

    Bravo just Bravo my friend.

  52. After over a decade of internet exploration it is so rare anymore to stumble across someone that does so much awesome in such a unique way and with so little effort.

    If I had a Hall of Fame, you Pat, would be in the wing of first ballot HOFers.

    Bra-f’in-vo!

    • Xavoc says:

      @92BuickLeSabre: I used to get medical records faxed from somewhere in Mexico to my desk phone at work. I ended up just forwarding the number in the PBX directly to the fax machine, then I printed out a ransom letter using spare magazine letters and faxed it back to them with a copy of the data they sent to me warning that I would trim the hedges of many small villages, then rape the horses and ride off on the women (In spanish of course) if they didn’t comply with my demands to stop faxing me.

  53. Xavoc says:

    Dear Ben Poken,

    If you re-read the document serving as the basis for your blog post, you will understand that the company he is forwarding the faxes to, is the company that is sending him the faxes, not his VOIP provider.

    Please fix, kthx.

  54. Craysh says:

    @Difdi
    This is a different case. He’s not initiating a call and intending not to complete it. He’s redirecting a call which is completely legal.

  55. Idomeneo says:

    Or why not just route the calls to a computer fax and just delete the messages like spam?

  56. Craysh says:

    What would be even cooler is if he could set up a grandcentral number, have it forwarded to that, and have that go to all the fax machines he could find in that “busy” company.

  57. chenry says:

    I would like to buy Pat a beer!

  58. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    This is BEYOND amazing!! Pat, you win many internets!!!!

  59. Woz says:

    I usually get a white piece of paper, take a thick black marker and color the paper entirely with the marker. Then I’ll make a few copies and tape them carefully together so that it will loop in your fax machine in a endless loop. They’ll run out of toner, ink, etc really quick.

    • LightLeigh says:

      @Woz: I was under the impression that “malicious” faxing (i.e. with the intent to run the fax machine out of paper or toner) is very specifically illegal.

      • digitalgimpus says:

        @LightLeigh: It is. Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

        There are several things wrong. Besides being unsolicited, by forwarding the fax won’t have the correct header (name, phone number).

        There’s also the weaker Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005.

        I wouldn’t attempt this trick without contacting a lawyers. This has federal offense written all over it. Those are the two laws I know off the top of my head. I’d bet there are others.

        • Bill610 says:

          I suppose that the federalization of “offenses” like this explains why we can’t catch Osama Bin Laden.

  60. baristabrawl says:

    LOVE IT! I do this with Grand Central Station. LOVE that I can redirect numbers.

  61. yogibimbi says:

    well, the call forwarding feature is simply a part of VoIP servers. oK, at least the one I know about, asterisk, but I reckon his VoIP company just offers the service their servers have built-in.

    oK, and I’ll be the 10089 th person to do so, but congrats, anyway; I wish I had some of that presence of mind;-)

  62. GadgetGhurl says:

    Effing brilliant!

  63. Absolutely brilliant.

  64. Chongo says:

    wouldn’t it be better to find the fax number of the company so that they literally fax themselves?

    • cashmerewhore says:

      @Chongo:

      No, because listing to the chirp of a fax machine multiple times a day is more annoying than getting spam faxes a few times a day.

  65. Darkkeyboard says:

    That’s freaking awesome. Seriously. Just awesome.

  66. timmus says:

    That’s a great idea! However, I think he could take the company to small claims court for this and make a pretty penny…isn’t it like $500/ offense?

    As nice as this sounds, I have never heard of anyone suing a fax spammer or do-not-call violator, aside from the once-in-a-blue-moon news story. Are people too lazy to sue or do the judges throw it out?

  67. ashamaniq says:

    Kudos to this guy!
    Nice job…

  68. Unspellable says:

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!

    Pat should be the consumer action hero of the year!

  69. MisterE says:

    I have a new hero. His name is Pat.

  70. cynep says:

    Now if I could only figure out a way to redirect spam email to senders email box, his cell phone in a form of abusive text message and to every known number in a form of a “numa numa” MP3 playback, I think that would qualify me for “one free interwebz”. If not, I’ll settle for Nobel prize.

  71. theubersmurf says:

    one word…

    win

  72. The_IT_Crone says:

    I don’t really have anything productive to contribute.

    Other than “I love you.”

    Sorry, but I felt it needed to be said.

    /I wish I could do this in other instances

  73. digitalgimpus says:

    I suspect this isn’t entirely legal. In particular since the intent is clearly malice. I’d brush over those old FCC laws.

    That said… this is freaking awesome. I just wouldn’t go to PMITA prison for it, or hire a good enough lawyer to keep me out. These companies I’m sure do enough business from gullible individuals that they can afford more than me.

  74. jimmydeweasel says:

    Beauty

  75. holographicProfessorMoriarty says:

    This sound similar to when the days when I first got dsl.

    A company that I was no longer working for never dropped me off of their email list which wasn’t really annoying until the company got a virus and I started getting hundreds of emails a day from them.

    I called them and politely asked for them to remove me from the list and informed them that they had a virus.
    Nothing had happened as of 3 days after ( and I had taken to manually deleting the emails daily to keep my work inbox clear ), so I called again not so nicely this time and still nothing was done.

    Well the advantage of dsl was that I could highlight large large chunks of the email spam that I was receiving and launch it right back at them daily ( and I forwarded everything to everyone on the receiving list ).

    Two days into doing that it all stopped. I guess they finally found time to correct the problem.

  76. Stearns says:

    Hooorah!

  77. nuggetz says:

    I hope the OP called them after about a week of forwarding to tell them that he is responsible. Maybe this way that can put 2 and 2 together and do something about it.

  78. arungupta says:

    Awesome…Extremely innovative use of technology to fight off uncooperative fax spammers…Serves them right. True hero!!

  79. YamiNoSenshi says:

    You win.
    1000 internets to you.
    And other internet savvy phrases for “you’re awesome”.

  80. Rachacha says:

    Awesome idea. What the OP should do, is let the redirect go on for a couple of weeks so that they get really annoyed with it, and then call back the receptionist again and see if she is will ing to help have your number removed from the fax marketing list

  81. BigDogues says:

    This truly made my day. :)

  82. vandrook says:

    #1 why are some people surprised by the call forward option. This is pretty standard on most voip services (im optimum ct). Check out your services even if you have standard phone service. And lets get people going with the same idea with email spam. i have gmail and i know I can filter email to forward to any address. Maybe this could be a fun way to expand the idea. (Although a lot of spam emails are non-reply.

    I saw an article in wired(i think) about a year ago that gave a funny, similar attack on junk mail. The guy would take all his junk mail, fold it into the pre-paid reply envelope and send it back to the sender company…

  83. Judge_Smails says:

    We have unlimited long distance calling at work.

    If the junk fax has a return fax number, I’ll fax them a small stack of solid black paper.

    That eats up their toner fast.

  84. amandakerik says:

    its been a very long time since ive seen a fax, but dont they usually have the number theyre dialling on the front page or in the header

    forgive the lack of capitals and punctuation, my keyboard is in its death throws but i felt the need to comment.

  85. FrankReality says:

    I love it. About the only way to make this better would be to get the CEO’s phone number and route the faxes there.

  86. strider_mt2k says:

    Indeed, rich in irony.

    Beautiful!

  87. As much as I applaud this manuever

    (and I really impressed)

    I wonder what would happen if he redirected the calls to somebody other than the sender?

    Oops.

    What if that somebody was a somebody working for a company or government agency that could get pissy on the guy who did the redirect?

    Good idea. Actually a great idea. I just hope the outcome is positive.

  88. gmjhowe says:

    haha! good work.

  89. wagnerism says:

    I have an idea for a VoIP feature.

    When you get an unwanted call and hang up, you pick up the phone and dial a code that will cause the provider to put that number on a block list. Another idea is to put that number into an interactive voice response system to announce themselves like some providers do to calls without caller ID.

    It is probably not that effective against callers that spoof their caller ID.

    Does anybody have a number as a forwarding target that is an endless loop of “uh huh…. yes…. uh huh… yes” that will waste some of their time?

    The loop could also stall out those that can’t hang up.

    • Not Given says:

      I have a call block feature from my landline service. You have to put a local number in it manually to turn it on, but after that all you have to do is hang up and dial *60 then #01#, after you get the first one on there you can take the local number off the list. The bad thing is you can only have 10 numbers on your block list.

  90. DuncanBleak says:

    Love it!

  91. This is awesomely clever, even better if the software can redirect automatically only between the times of 5:50 and 5:10. :)

    • tabaks says:

      @pfblueprint:

      Oops, someone didn’t understand what happened here. Dude, he’s not redirecting HIS phone number, he’s redirecting ONLY those calls coming from THEM. So, any time is good!

  92. errr i meant 5:50 and 6:10. doh

  93. MrSmoofy says:

    This may have been said already I’m just to lazy to read through all the comments but legally if they do not stop faxing you after you request them not to you can sue them in small claims court and 99% of the time you win cause they are “Too Busy” to show up.

  94. SherwinSurveen says:

    OK – allow me to respond to a few comments and critics here.

    First, I’ll readily admit this was not a well-thought plan, but an
    impulsive response born out of anger and frustration.

    I make mail server adjustments daily, and some spam are blackholed,
    some are redirected, and a few get a bounce.

    However, I also did a redirect once, for a company that argued what
    they were doing was not spam: They simply could not understand, had
    no will to understand what is UCE. So I started redirecting to
    members of their management team. Soon after stating that they would
    continued sending, they stopped. Wonder why.

    So that established the ground for my general strategy: It had worked
    in the past

    In regard to the “poor receptionist” comments: No. Not “poor
    receptionist”. She was far more rude than I stated here – this is a
    family publication, right? I was polite, not blasting, stated an
    issue and asked for assistance in resolving it. I used the magic word
    too, “please.”

    I was essentially asked to go perform an anatomically impossible act,
    in form. So forgive me, but I will not show pity or misguided mercy
    here for someone who lacks even the most basic professional courtesy.

    Finally, on the issue of seeking legal redress: How much time would I
    need to spend in preparing, submitting the case, and being in court?
    I could have done that, and have calls coming in until the whole
    thing gets adjudicated. My time and my tranquility is worth more to
    me than money.

    If I had been a more forgiving man, I could have redirected the fax
    to itself to identical results. Better, I could simply have blocked
    the fax number at the VOIP server level and never heard it again – I
    have done that on many occasions for other troublesome callers.

    But I guess I am just an Old Testament kind of guy when you get on my
    wrong side.

  95. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    delicious.

  96. rixatrix says:

    As someone who’s worked as a receptionist in the past, I don’t think she has the power to fix it. She’s low level, and if there are just a few faxes in a smallish company of just 100 people, there’s still no way to figure out who’s sending what without sending out an e-mail and jeopardizing your own reputation as a competent front for the company.

    “Hey guys, someone’s faxing this man and he doesn’t like it!”

    Seriously – would any of YOU respond to an e-mail of that nature?

    Not to mention, if it’s a purchased number, I doubt anyone is actually dialing it by hand. In which case there’s a good chance nobody knows or cares about the man who’s being faxed.

    Answer a handful of calls at any small time company and you’ll realize why she didn’t have the time to help this man on a conceivably un-fixable quest.

    Consumer justice is great to read about, but is a nation of jerks one-upping each other really justice? If I’m happy transferring my misery onto someone else instead of actually SOLVING a problem, does that make me a vigilante or just part of the problem?

    • Bill610 says:

      The receptionist may not have the power to fix it, but the receptionist is part of the business, and she’s the part of the business that interacts with the public. I’d think that she’d be able to find whoever was handling the mass fax program in the business, perhaps based on the number the fax was originating from? This is the nature of a corporation: because the corporation as a “fictitious entity” gets certain advantages, responsibility is also spread throughout the corporation.

  97. RStewie says:

    My hero!!

  98. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    I think it would be ironic… if everybody were made of IRON!

  99. satoru says:

    I recall reading a Japanese manga that in one episode poked fun at the culture around fax machines. In any case, his solution for junk faxes was to write “STOP CALLING” onto a large continuous mobius strip of paper and send them a fax.

  100. blackmage439 says:

    “It’s like a delicious irony cake wrapped in irony ice cream and topped with chocolate irony sprinkles!”

    They. Have. THOSE?!

    Seriously, this is one of the most outstanding stories I have ever read. This guy didn’t just “stick it to the man”, he gouged out their eye and replaced it with one of those little spiky bombs from Batman Begins.

  101. dancing_bear says:

    It is fundamental to the receptionists job to connect you to the party with which you are trying to reach. She failed to provide this most basic job requirement.

    Sure it is mean to forward the calls to her, but she should have done her job. Keep in mind the calls have been redirected to the offending company, at the best number the victim was able to find.

  102. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    I’d like to buy this guy a pint (beer)! Who cares about the receptionist, as she has free will and took the job for a company of nefarious and unscrupulous business practices (junk faxing…).

  103. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I had something similar to this happen to me when I got my Grand Central number. Apparently, whomever owned the number before me had been sent to collections, and I kept getting their bill collectors. >_<

  104. I recently had a really bad spam fax sent to my home fax machine. all it was was a black sheet, wasted almost all my ink. also, it was at 10 something at night. I did the only logical thing at the moment, sent them back a 20 sheet fax of black construction paper.

  105. tabaks says:

    This is THE Optimus Hadron Collider Prime! Gave me an instantenious righteous collider in seconds!

  106. Sugarless says:

    Excellent! I bet the receptionist found out which numbers were sending spam faxes.

    I used to get them too and decided to cancel my land line due to the volume of calls at 2am.

  107. torontoguy says:

    I have Primus voip, and that’s a good one.

    The comment above about making a ‘loop’ out of black paper with tape and faxing it endlessly is classic as well.

    A few of my own fav’s:

    -Here in Canada it’s illegal for collection agencies to call you on your cell. I tell them the number they have reached is my cell anyway and tell them to take it off their list. Same goes for companies and org’s that are exempt from our DoNotCall laws(The US one is much stronger with less exemptions).

    -You can always tell the telemarket that the person they are trying to reach has passed away. I used to work in a call centre like 10 yrs ago – and that was enough to feel like crap enough to make sure they went on the internal do-not-call list.

    -I have also heard about using pre-paid postage on junk mail for consumer revenge. Allegedly, you can tape the return envelope for a marketing offer onto a shoe-box and mail a brick back to the direct marketers office!

    Love to hear more of these…

  108. worsethannormal says:

    I have a colleague who did something similar. He was getting a lot of recorded “sales” calls on his home line. They were coming in several times a day from 3 or 4 numbers. So he got the numbers the recording were telling him to call and, using VOIP forwarding, forwaded the numbers to eachother. So Company A’s recorded sales calls go to Company B’s call call center, Company B’s recorded sales calls go to Company C’s call center, Company C’s recorded sales call go to ….

    You get the picture.

  109. frodo_35 says:

    Most phone systems have fax detection that redirects the call to a fax ext. The black page rules, ink costs a fortune but alot of bigger companys use a pc because of the junk faxes. I like the 1800 option best as it costs the offender $$.

  110. mariospants says:

    So, these phone calls… they happen only around 6AM? That would limit the irritation factor for the secretary, I would imagine. She probably only receives it on her voicemail.

  111. wiggatron says:

    Sweet. That’s like when someone speeds by you and cuts you off on the road only to then be pulled over by the cop sitting in the BP parking lot on the other side of the street. Sweet, simple justice.

  112. Nerys says:

    @Difdi

    Not entirely true difdi since he is initiating NOTHING. they are initiating the fax he is simply redirecting there fax “back” to them Ala Return to Sender.

  113. AgentTuttle says:

    I’m so happy, I could poop. This is so much better than my black paper faxthrax. STREET JUSTICE MO FO!

  114. moniqueE says:

    Now if the outgoing voicemail spammers that start out with “This is the second notice that your car warranty has just expired” would only call from one number, so I could do this.

    I need to find out if Vonage has this feature. If not, I’m switching!

  115. dantsea says:

    It is incredibly unlikely that a company engaged in violating federal law by sending junk faxes is going to pursue a criminal or even civil complaint in this case. It would be amusing as hell if they tried, but it won’t happen.

  116. WilliamBosacker says:

    While this is funny, it is very illegal and could get him is as much trouble as the company that is sending him the fax in the first place. BTW, VOIP doesn’t block your phone number, and call forwarding is done on behalf of your phone number. For those who are not aware, there are FCC regulations that make it a Federal crime to send an unsolicited fax to anyone. In some states, like CA where I am, you can sue the sender and receive $1,000 to $10,000 per instance, but you’ll need to do the leg work and document each violation.

  117. calchip says:

    My company is with Primus also. We have a vendor that we pay electronically. The payments always arrive before the grace period ends, but their wonderful automated system starts calling the day after the due date, and is incessant (calling 2 or 3 times a day.)

    About 6 or 8 months ago, I noticed the call-forward-if-from-this-number feature, and so any time this vendor’s accounts receivable department calls, it automatically forwards the call… back to the vendor’s accounts receivable department.

    I would love to listen in on one of those calls, where the person handling the outbound call gets connected to the person handling the inbound call… and see how long it takes one to figure out they are talking to one of their coworkers in the same call center.

  118. madfrog says:

    here’s an interesting tidbit that my sister passed along to me, although it only works on the regular phone and not fax machines: You know how you get those annoying voice activated sales calls? When you hear them start their rant, just hit the # key like 7 or 8 times and it drops you name/number from the computer. My understanding is that is scambles it or something to that effect. It works wonderfully and those annoying calls have all but stopped, I use it at work, too since I do answer that phone.

  119. CapitalC says:

    My favourite anti fax-spam solution (which doesn’t work for EVERYONE, certainly not the fax-warehouses which don’t accept incoming calls) was to make a copy of the inbound fax, tape it to the bottom of the first and fax it back to the offending spammer.

    Once the first page was through the machine, loop it over and tape it to the bottom of the second. Endless faxing!

    I found that those individuals never faxed me again.

  120. tworld says:

    Thanks for the idea, which I will try. I usually just keep my fax line to not receive faxes, unless someone calls first to ask me to turn it on, but your solution may be just the ticket for me too.

  121. mmmmna says:

    Resurrected by StumbleUpon….

    I’m figuring there are say… under 30 fax lines going out of such outfits as travel agents, each outfit has just one receptionist. Was going to say she’d be busier than a one armed paper hanger, but people everywhere need to do this, not just one person redirecting one fax at 6am (one fax is usually all that gets sent in one day, from my experience, usually with a few days off in the interest of appearing sincere).

    Next, if the receptionist manages to block incoming calls from the guy who wrote this article, who wins – the telcos? Would the sending fax machine get telco tones for ‘no longer in service’? I’ve never called into a callblock.

    OTOH, some of the sending systems are PC’s with multiple fax-modem cards, so no real paper gets printed, just a lot of stored incoming fax files, and then, storing any files are only if the sending machines are configured to answer incoming calls (not mandatory). Now, if the fax machines don’t answer incoming calls, then it is a race for the sending machine to try to get a line with a dialtone, before an incoming call starts ringing (which the fax machine can’t transmit into). Some effect, but sub optimal.

    Usually, a business needs a block of numbers, e.g., xxx-6000 for switchboard, then 30 extensions would get 6001 – 6030 (various block sizes are available, you get the idea). Do a little research, there are good telephone research websites out there, and I do not refer to AnyWho or ‘yourreverselookup’ type consumer sites. When you discover the sites to which I refer (and please – do not ruin it for everyone, don’t post the urls all over the place and make them go all membership and license-y), from them you get information that says whether the number is part of a block of numbers purchased by one company, still more research – was the block purchased by a reseller? etc. Once you get the data, repeating the research can go pretty quickly after a few repetitions (some of my former employers would get 3 faxes over one night, nothing the next night, then 2, a day off, then 5 over the weekend…). Once the research is done properly…. just reset your call forward to redirect into a different number into that company every few days. Why aggravate just a receptionist/secretary? I mean, she HAS to have a boss, right? And that boss has a vp over them, and the vp has to report to the pres, the pres oversees the sales group, and the marketing group….. there is 6 desk phones right there that need to be available for uses other than faxing during their business hours.

    For those really stubborn fax outfits, send them faxes from another fax outfit….

    As long as YOUR telco will tolerate your changes, you’re good to go.

    I wonder if there are any phreakers still about….

  122. waltja26 says:

    Fantastic! But all that irony made me hungry…