Meet The People Behind The Car Warranty Robocallers

We know how much you just loooove those car warranty robocallers, so we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to introduce you to the folks the FTC says is behind the robot army.

Meet Christopher, James, Damian, and Maureen. They are allegedly behind the three companies responsible for 3 billion robocalls.

From Fox News:

Meet the main players behind the alleged scheme:

- Christopher D. Cowart, 47, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., owns Transcontinental Warranty, a Delaware company based in Fort Lauderdale. A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Cowart likes to read, travel and play golf in his spare time. He also maintains a Facebook page and uses a LinkedIn profile to advertise his latest business ventures.

- James A. Dunne, 36, of Daytona Beach, Fla., owns Florida-based Voice Touch with his wife, Maureen. Dunne has a checkered legal past, including charges of filing a false report of a bomb that landed him six months in jail in 1991. He was most recently arrested in 2001 for indecent exposure, but those charges were later dismissed.

- Maureen E. Dunne, nee Maureen Geisen, is James Dunne’s wife. Little information can be found pertaining to her.

- Damian P. Kohlfeld, 35, of Valparaiso, Ind., is the owner of Network Foundations, which is based in Chicago. Kohlfeld allegedly supplied the technical know-how for the alleged telemarketing scheme employed by all three companies. The Arizona State University graduate has more than a decade of experience writing software and building computer networks. His latest hit, according to the FTC, was a “spoofing” device that tricked caller ID systems.

They’ve all denied wrongdoing, but the FTC seems fairly certain that they’ve got the right people. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says consumers have already started to notice that the calls have stopped.

“I have never seen an issue that resonated so much,” Leibowitz told FOXNews.com. “When I was at my daughter’s soccer game, people came up to me and said, ‘Thank you so much for stopping these guys.’ It resonates because this is all about protecting Americans’ privacy.”

Have you gotten any car warranty robocalls lately?

Behind a Massive Robocall Scam, Four Human Faces [Fox News] (Thanks, Justin!)
(Photo:betaart.com)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Well, it could be worse. They could be doing gross things to food.

    I’ve actually never been robocalled by car warranty companies or anything. All the calls I’ve gotten are from companies I do business with, and it’s usually relevant!

    • kbarrett says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: All you had to do to get one was to give AAA a working cellphone number during a roadside assistance call.

      I got mine within ten minutes of giving the AAA operator the number of a trac-fone cell that I kept in the glovebox for emergencies only.

      • rkaufman says:

        @kbarrett: Is that seriously how they did it? Explains SO MUCH.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @kbarrett: I’ve given AAA a cell phone number during a roadside assistance call, and I’ve still never gotten robocalls from auto warranty companies or insurance companies.

      • Nytmare says:

        @kbarrett: Yeah you got one while your rarely used phone was turned on, but how many times did they try calling before then, while it was off?

        • kbarrett says:

          @nytmare: I buy a new tracfone once a year and put a one year card on it, charge it up, and throw it in the glove box in a plastic bag with the charger and the battery removed … emergency use only.

          I never use it to call anyone.

          The first time I had ever used that phone, or even turn it on after activation and loading minutes, was to call AAA.

          Draw your own conclusions.

      • RandomZero says:

        @kbarrett: I’ve got family members who have gotten these calls. In Canada. None of them are even CAA members, and at least one does not and never has owned a car.

        • kbarrett says:

          @RandomZero: It’s possible that this was all a gigantic coincidence … but when I hear hoofbeats, I don’t look for zebras.

          It is possible the tow company sold my number … or that the number was recycled from a previous owner … I just reported what happened to me.

    • seattleperson says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Yes, it could always be worse. All the Consumerist stories could end with “then the CSR murdered my family and burned down my house”. So let’s not hold this story to some bizarre standard and instead evaluate it for what it is, which is that people are getting repeated robocalls calls and it’s incredibly annoying and disruptive. I work from home and I have decided to stop answering my landline as most of the calls are robocalls. I’m happy to see that some action is being taken.

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @seattleperson: Slightly off topic, I recommend not having a land line at all. Four years and running here, and we get along just fine.

        • downwithmonstercable says:

          @GuinevereRucker: Same here. I’ve never had a landline, just my cell.

        • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

          @GuinevereRucker: what would you recommend for someone like me, where the topography of my neighborhood means that none of my neighbors can get a decent cellphone signal? (and it’s not like we live in a rural area, we live in a well-populated area in South Charlotte, NC)

          • GuinevereRucker says:

            @gStein: In that case, go with a land line for much cheaper than a cell phone, and try to live without a cell!

            My point is that *most* people don’t need both – YMMV, of course.

        • KarlB says:

          @GuinevereRucker:
          Not having a land line is no protection against robo-callers. I got the car-warrantee call about 20 times over on my cell. (And oddly enough, each call was “the last call you will receive” about my imaginary warrantee.) I expect they use randomly generated phone numbers.

          • GuinevereRucker says:

            @KarlB: I got maybe two calls from telemarketers in the past year total.

            Not having a land line is a good start, but the other secret I have is… be poor! No one wants to call you when they figure out you don’t have money :)

            I actually had a telemarketer hang up on me when I told them how much I made once.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @seattleperson: Chill! I was joking! Geesh.

  2. MikeF74 says:

    Not lately. Thanks FTC!

    • ztoop says:

      @MikeF74:

      I just got a call from Dan the carpet cleaner. For the first 5 times they didn’t even spoo fa complete phone number, just 9 digits with area code.

  3. ThinkerTDM says:

    Yes, I have gotten some robocalls, just yesterday. I’m not sure what they were trying to sell me, as they were speaking in spanish.

    • corellia40 says:

      @ThinkerTDM: A friend of mine just put in a landline Tuesday (6/9). On Wednesday, we went out to lunch and then stopped back at her house for a few things. During the maybe 10 minutes we were there, she got an auto warranty call. She’d had the phone for less than 24 hours.

      English, though.

    • Quinn Conklin says:

      @ThinkerTDM: For a while i had the same thing every day at noon or close enough i would get a robo call in Spanish on my cell phone. Eventually the bot just gave up and lunch became peaceful once again.

    • cadieface says:

      @ThinkerTDM: my boyfriend and i get those spanish calls about once or twice a month. what’s weird about it is, he’ll get the call and then immediately afterwards, i’ll get the call. we have totally different cell #s and everything. creeps me out a bit.

    • korybing says:

      @ThinkerTDM: I got a robocall car warranty scam just a few weeks ago on my cell phone. It was strange because I have never gotten solicitors on my cell phone before, and I was pretty sure I was on the Do Not Call list. After I got that call I went and signed myself up again (or for the first time?). It was really strange.

      We do have AT&T calling on our landline somewhere around once a week (the worst was twice a day for awhile) trying to get us to switch. The weird thing is the landline isn’t supposed to work. We never signed up for service (we use our cellphones), and the crappy phone that is in our apartment was placed there by the landlord, since it originally was supposed to ring when someone buzzed the front door of the building (that doesn’t work whatsoever). I don’t know who is paying our service since we still get a dialtone, but it sure isn’t us.

  4. rpm773 says:

    Besides the robocallers, I’ve seen a number of TV commercials for similar services from what appears to be multiple companies. I think 3rd party warranties have been around forever, but why the viral ad campaigns all of the sudden?

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @rpm773: companies probably thinking of any way they can increase margins, considering the economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      @rpm773: @rpm773: Given the economy and uncertainty about the long-term viability of some carmakers, folks are indeed hanging onto their cars a little longer. A legit and inexpensive extended warranty actually could make some sense. A shame these folks were so obnoxious.

    • trunkwontopen says:

      @rpm773: @rpm773: Yeah, theres one out on TV right now that has a famous NASCAR driver on it.

  5. Rodrigo Flores says:

    It’s absolutely true that the robocalling has stopped. I haven’t gotten one in more than a month; I used to get them two, three times a week.

    • mtarget says:

      I got them 2-3 times a day some weeks.@Rodrigo Flores:

      • Jeremy82465 says:

        @mtarget: Im with you on this one, 2-3 times a day easily. I think the worst I had it was 11 calls from the same number in sequence in the same day, then they tried 2 different ones. I have been saved from this telephone hell known as robo-callers and I for one am grateful!

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      @Rodrigo Flores: I’m down to about 1 a week, and it’s just the carpet cleaning service call. If I happen to be at home, and answer, I just sucker them along as long as possible until they either get tired of me, or identify me as a robotroll, and hang up. The more that I do that, the less they seem to call.

      No more warranty or credit card calls though.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Rodrigo Flores:

      I still get them at work; mostly from the credit card debt people. I don’t even know if they are targeting a specific person; I hang up the second I get them.

  6. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    Breaking News:
    Louisville Sluggers Sales Through The Roof

  7. Skaperen says:

    I still get some calls with absent or forged caller ID. I don’t know if it is these guys, or not, because I never answer unless I fully recognize the caller ID info and it is someone I would talk to. Occasionally I look the numbers up on Google which usually leads to one or more of the “who is behind that number that called me” web sites. The “lower your credit card rate” scams are still the leader (though the car warranty scam almost reached their level a month or so ago).

  8. I Love New Jersey says:

    A Delaware corporation and a Chicago based firm, hmm. . .

  9. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Just the other day I got a robot call, in the exact same style as the car warranties, trying to sell me health insurance.

    Well, actually the really funny part is that I didn’t receive it. A party line for the IT dept. here at work received it. Where do I work? A Hospital. I think i’m convered on the health insurance front, thanks.

    So… I really hope someone didn’t take inspiration from these jackasses and decide to start selling health insurance the same way.

    • kingofmars says:

      @WiglyWorm: I can say if the car warrenties have slowed, because I got a new number. But I have a bank of phones at work, and have gotten health insurance calls after the car warrenties started to die off. They also name drop Obama, and will sometime switch it up with a mortgage scam.

      • BeastMasterJ says:

        @kingofmars: Hey, I got one of those health insurance calls too.

        the company sounded intentionally generic: “Heath Services Inc”, which when googled, just comes up with distributor of various hospital supplies, and is probably not the company that made the call.

  10. nicolebuckingham says:

    It’s not just about the calls people! These people are scammers! My dad was a victim! The car “warranty” they sell is a bottle of cheap engine oil and a list of stipulations so thick, the warranty is useless. Luckily before my dad opened the bottle he came to me for help when he realized that he’d paid hundreds of dollars for a bottle of oil. I was able to get his money back…but I’m still traumatized from the hassle.

  11. colineff says:

    you know i have gotten those calls. thing is i live in Canada.

  12. vladthepaler says:

    i get robocalls daily, leaving messages on my answering machine specifically for someone i’ve never heard of. Are they car warranty calls? I haven’t bothered listening to one.

    • cpaforrent says:

      @vladthepaler: Me too. Emma Thompson is who the automated voice constantly asks for. If I’m Emma Thompson, I should press 1 for an important message. These calls come into my voicemail on a phone that’s always turned off (ported the number to a cell phone to save $$ over maintaining a separate office landline until I can notify clients of the change to cell-only).

      Today I received a new message on that cell from “Rebecca” with an outfit promising “unlimited, unlimited, unlimited income” as an E-Associate of theirs.

      So I went to the site she gave on the message and it says “Learn the Secret That’s Keeping Cell Phone Companies Up At Night & How You Can Make Money From It”. I guess the secret is the answer to “Who are these %#@& robo-callers?”

  13. nucwin83 says:

    So… when does the lynching begin? Or at the very least, a class action lawsuit? I want my $0.02 check!

  14. Julia Rosenfield says:

    I have the deep urge to look up their home phone numbers and start dialing them 1000 times a day! :-)

  15. nucwin83 says:

    “But Cowart says he was “undeniably misled” by Dunne, because Dunne told him that the caller information provided to Transcontinental was for consumers who registered to be solicited.

    “We were told that it was co-registration data,” Cowart told FOXNews.com. “We gave him a test and he delivered. We had no reason not to believe what was said.””

    Riiiiiiiight. You had no clue that the numbers transferred to you might be folks who were on the DNC list or were cell phone numbers (a no-no in itself with regard to robocalls)… but yet your employees wouldn’t tell the prospective customer the name of the company they worked for, other than to say things like “Warranty Services”. Yep, totally innocent.

  16. the_gank says:

    We should all call their home, cell and office numbers like 5 times per day and let’s see if they like it.

    I’m just saying…. I believe in the philosophy of take and recv…

  17. OminousG says:

    I just got a call today that has a google record of selling auto insurance, except this time it was offering me life insurance. o_0
    Still have it recorded on my voicemail.

  18. girlleastlikelyto says:

    The car warranty robocalls have stopped (I used to get several a week, to both my land line and cell), but now I’ve gotten a couple of mortgage refinancing robocalls.

  19. Mr4Runner says:

    Christopher D. Cowart’s personal cell phone number is 954-980-1394. Have fun.

  20. Cruc says:

    I haven’t gotten the car warranty calls lately, but I’ve received several robo calls at work trying to sell credit card debt “reduction” services. (FWIW, my work number is a US government number that is unpublished. Alas no, I’m no secret agent or anything, just a data center grunt but its unpublished anyway.)

    Everytime I pressed “one” to speak to a representative and tell them to tell me more about them and thier company in a remotely authoritative voice, they hang up immediately, the cowards. (Last caller ID number was 214-221-9430….apparently according to google, I’m far from the only one getting calls with this seemingly spoofed ANI.)

    • traeblain says:

      @Cruc: That number worries me as the area code is semi-local. I may mistake it as someone I know calling from a strange/new phone…every time. (I don’t pay attention to things like that very often.)

      • rhys1882 says:

        @Cruc:

        No robocalls from auto warranty companies for me for a while now. Thank god. But I got a call from a similar credit card debt reduction company. They offered to get my APR reduced on all major credit cards. It was automated with a menu, 1) to speak to someone, and 2) remove from the list. So I hit 2, let’s see if I get another call.

  21. Megalomania says:

    Just because the calls stop after people are arrested doesn’t mean they’re responsible for them. Not to imply that these people aren’t guilty as sin, but all that means is that whoever was behind them has stopped for one reason or another. If the police arrest a random person for murder and the same MO never pops up for another victim, does that mean they got the right guy?

  22. chucklebuck says:

    I get a call every day from a company trying to buy my nonexistent timeshare or sell me a timeshare. They kinda just mess with you when you ask to be taken off the list, so I Advance Call Managered them into eternal busy signals.

    However, anyone wanting to mess with 786-347-6129 or 443-345-1636 (which conveniently started calling me with the same pitch once I told the first number to remove me), you will have my eternal gratitude.

  23. Josh Mayfield says:

    Well the calls we’ve been getting must not be from these people because they still call us 2-3 times every day. The caller ID info is apparently spoofed (it’s a 12-digit number beginning with 25 instead of a regular 10-digit number), and they usually only let it ring once or twice then hang up. And our VOIP provider doesn’t let us block specific callers, only “private” callers, so people who spoof get through.

  24. Daniel Parmelee says:

    They all sound like real winners to me.

  25. Anonymous says:

    No Car Warranty ones, but one with the same MO asking if I wanted to lower my Credit Card interest rate. Once you get a human on the line and ask “which card” they reply “any of them” and refuse to tell you who gave you the number. Asking for the name of the company netted “Cardholder Services” or some such generic name. Asking for address/phone number of the company got me a “Would you like to talk to my supervisor? hold on just a second” and then they terminate the call. I would wager the call center did the Car Warranty calls too.

  26. JaideepG2002 says:

    Mine have stopped within the last month actually… It’s nice b/ they got my work desk # some how and I would always get calls on a daily basis..

  27. toddkravos says:

    car warranties stopped a few weeks ago
    we still get calls for:
    Health Insurance
    Credit Card Rate Reductions
    Mortage Rate Reductions
    NCO financial (collections company)
    and
    Men calling wanting to make an appointment for a “massage”

    Why the massage?
    When I got TWC digital cable, I got the phone with the package. They gave me the phone number that once belonged to this hooker -> [www.news-herald.com]

    Needless to say, the voicemail box is still full.

    • traeblain says:

      @toddkravos: I’ve had that fear every time I’ve been given a new number for whatever reason…

      You could always direct them to an address of a person you don’t like…

    • YourTechSupport says:

      @toddkravos: Oh joy. Apparently my previous phone number previously belonged a drug dealing latino transsexual, I’m not sure, I just pieced it together from voicemails and people not believing that I’m not ‘his bitchboy’ trying to c-block them.

  28. csdiego says:

    I’m still getting calls from numbers I don’t recognize that don’t leave voicemail (what I assumed were car warranty robocalls before) but I have no idea what they’re about because I don’t answer.

  29. Nicole Jordan says:

    At one time I got at least three a day. I put my cell phone number on the Do Not Call registry (there is a separate one for cellular phones) and I never received one again.

  30. Squeezer99 says:

    i’ve never gotten a robocall about a car warranty.

  31. Betsumei says:

    Still getting robocalls in Canada. :(

  32. H3ion says:

    I’ve received a number of calls from humans trying to sell me a robot.

  33. bagumpity says:

    Awesome! Now, if only we can get Rachel from Card Services up on the FBI Terrorist Watch List…

  34. Doug81 says:

    I got one offering to lower my CC interest rates on my cell phone today.

  35. rhys1882 says:

    I got a robo call from 866-469-3328 from a debt reduction company. I looked up the number at apparently its a number lots of people have complained about in the past for making calls for car warranties. I wonder if its the same company moved on to a new racket.

  36. buddyellis says:

    Interestingly enough, I just got one on my cell phone about 30 minutes ago from 715 254 0353

  37. Robobot says:

    These car warranty calls have ended… Only to be replaced with auto insurance, home mortgage, and life insurance robocalls.

    Now that I think about it I haven’t gotten any of those calls for nearly a week, but I suspect that could be due to being in areas with poor cell phone reception.

  38. Ayo says:

    Robo-warranty calls stopped, but now I get calls from an “Unknown Caller” id with no one on the other end. This is prob worse than the robo warranty itself.

  39. ZukeZuke says:

    Now that you mention it, I haven’t gotten any in over a month, home or work. Thanks FTC! (finally)

  40. Ayo says:

    Oh yeah, and i get credit card reduction rate calls as well.

  41. Moderne says:

    I just got a call from 866-469-3328. I didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the number, and after a google search it appears to be connected to the warranty scam.

  42. Hitchcock says:

    I’ve stopped getting the warranty calls, but I’m still getting 3-5 calls a day. Most now are pitching credit services of one sort or another, with at least one claiming to be card services, which is the name my real bank uses when they call me about unusual behavior on my account (I travel a lot).

  43. Nick Ford says:

    …Slightly worryingly, I had a card through the mail this weekend, the text of which was almost verbatim from the robocall – “The warranty of your new car purchased this year has expired, please call…”. It also had a nice big box titled “VIN Number” and filled with “VIN number goes here”

  44. veg-o-matic says:

    I’ve been waiting a while to have a situation in which I could legitimately use this word.. so here goes:

    Those car warranty calls I used to get have dropped off precipitously.

    Yeah, it’s technically incorrect. Wanna fight about it?

  45. Marce says:

    I’ve gotten a robot car warranty call as recently as the last month. At work. I did not give out my work number, so I find this highly annoying.

    No option to call someone, no one picked up. It made me want to stop answering my phone at work.

  46. Matt DeGoey says:

    I had some robocalls from these chuckleheads, at least 5 or 6 I’d say. Last one was maybe 6 months ago, give or take.

    Always the same thing, “second notice,” and all that jazz even when it was the fourth or fifth time they’ve called.

    Yeah, I’m looking to extend the warranty on my ’96 Accord EX with nearly 215,000 miles on it. I’m also the third owner of the vehicle.

    I’d just like to know which jagoff sold them my phone number.

  47. Paul Shelley says:

    I got a medical insurance robo call similar to the car warranty crap. This came in on an internal corporate on-call line that has never been published and has never received a phone call from an outside line.

    Anyone getting these?

  48. Shaun Dakin says:

    It is too bad that politicians continue to exempt themselves from Do Not Call law.

    StopPoliticalCalls.org is fighting for the privacy of the American voter.

    1 – Creating a Political Do Not Call Registry
    2 – Testifying in the US Senate about robo calls (Sen. Feinstein’s Robocall Privacy Act)
    3 – Forcing states to enforce existing robo call laws (CA, MN, NJ, etc..)
    4 – Getting politicians to take a do not robo call pledge (7 have)

    Here is a quote from a member recently:

    “I’m a shift worker, working variable shifts. I depend on my sleep to be able to do my job safely and efficiently. I’m a locomotive engineer. Imagine the disaster were I to fall asleep, operating a freight train carrying hazardous materials in your neighborhood, due to fatigue from being awoken in my middle of the night on a continuous basis during election season. Please stop..”

    Learn more.

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO
    [www.stoppoliticalcalls.org]
    A non-profit fighting for the privacy of the American voter

  49. Anonymous says:

    Yes there people call our campus all the time and in spite of the fact that we all push “2” to stop the calls, they keep calling. I actually talked to a woman once and asked her what kind of car I had and she said that I had and Audi…nope I do not have an Audi so she is stupid. I told her to stop calling and the robo calls kept coming but they seem to have stopped now.

  50. Michael Hughes says:

    I got robocalled twice yesterday (on my cell), this time for a health care plan. Same as with the auto warranty jackasses — spoofed number (214 area code) and the operator hung up as soon as I asked to remove my number from their list.

    Found out this company is behind it, and they were already cited for breaking the law in 2004:

    Family Care Inc.
    a/k/a Family Health
    11111 Richmond Ave, Suite 200
    Houston, Texas 77082-6602
    Toll Free: 1-800-323-4057

    Another direct number is:
    281-567-9499
    And a guy named Dylan is at extension 2027, should you wish to have a conversation with him :-)

    I suggest complaining to the FCC as well.

  51. econobiker says:

    Add film producer to Damian P. Kohlfeld’s credits:
    [www.screendoorfilms.com]
    CREDITS
    Directed by John Versical

    Written by John Versical and Bryan Carmody (take note of Mr. Carmody you’ll see him below)

    Executive Producers Christie Carmody, John Versical, and Bryan Carmody

    Produced by Albert Grychowski and Damian Kohlfeld (her is our Network Foundations guy)

    Director of Photography Kimmer Olesak

    Production Designer Merje Veski

    Original score by Bryan Carmody (pretty involved)

    Title theme by Dustin O’Halloran

    Edited by David Lynch (is it really that “David Lynch”?)

    A related site to screen door films is:
    [www.screendoorlights.com] which lists Bryan Carmody’s contact PHONE NUMBER!!!oops

    And why do you care about Mr. Carmody?
    Brian Carmody is also listed via Spoke.com as:

    [www.spoke.com]
    Bryan Carmody
    Director of Business Development at Network Foundations Llc
    2440 Sw 56th Avenue
    Hollywood, FL 33023-4017

    And on Linkedin he downgraded his Network Foundations experience:
    [www.linkedin.com]
    Network Foundations, LLC – Chicago, IL
    Independent Sales Consultant – November 2005 – March 2008

    And guess who Mr. Kohlfeld has as coworkers?
    [www.spoke.com]
    Damian Kohlfeld
    Partner at Network Foundations Llc
    2440 Sw 56th Avenue
    Hollywood, FL 33023-4017

    CoworkersJoin to view all (8)
    Catherine Dennis
    V.P., Sales and O…
    Albert Grychowski
    Partner
    Bryan Carmody
    Director of Business…

    Another of Kohlfelds prior companies:
    [www.spoke.com]
    Damian Kohlfeld
    Director of Systems at Anobi Technology Corporation
    601 South La Salle Street 333
    Chicago, IL 60605-1725

    Anobi also shows up on Carmody’s Linkedin profile.

    What if I said that when the Kohlfeld robo call story broke last month that someone found out the above info? Wouldn’t it have been funny if someone called Mr. Carmody’s phone number and offered the voicemail a car warranty? Sure would have been funny…