We’ve heard about scammers who call up consumers and pretend to be utility company workers, demanding immediate payment. And as we head into the winter, when many people might be endangered by an interruption in heat, the Federal Communications Commission is warning folks to be especially wary of such calls. [More]
Spoofing — the practice of sending out fake caller ID information to disguise the caller’s real identity — is legal, so long as it’s not done to deceive or harm anyone. Reporters, victims of domestic abuse, human rights organizations, all legally use spoofing to protect their locations or sources. This sort of trickery is definitely not allowed when it’s deployed just to make harassing phone calls to your ex. [More]
As federal safety investigators continue to investigate the first fatal crash allegedly involving Tesla’s autopilot feature, a preliminary report found that the vehicle was speeding before the collision. [More]
Consider yourself warned: Scammers are taking advantage of the recent news that Amazon is selling access to Comcast services, faking calls from the cable company to steal money from unwitting victims.
You’d think that being the senior U.S. Senator from Missouri would help Claire McCaskill get better service from her cable company, but you’d be wrong. As this recording demonstrates, the legislator has just as much trouble as the rest of us trying to get anything resembling decent service from her pay-TV provider. [More]
One might think that if a company wants to have a conversation with their customers, once they’ve got them on the phone they’d stay on the line long enough to actually talk to them. But that wasn’t the case for one Consumerist reader, who said a Verizon rep hung up on him when informed that the customer would be recording their call. [More]
If you think you’re evading the constantly tracking eye of the Internet by using throw-away email addresses and obscure screen names to register your social media accounts and other apps, you’re probably wrong. A new study demonstrates how simple it can be to correctly identify someone using otherwise anonymous data. [More]
California law requires that, before any party involved in a phone call can record the conversation, all parties must be made aware they are being recorded. Violations of that law can get quite costly; just ask Wells Fargo, which has to ante up $8.5 million to close a state investigation into the bank’s repeated invasions of privacy. [More]
Show me someone who supports robocalls, and I’ll show you someone that has very few friends. Which is why it’s baffling that the Senate has yet to act on a bill introduced last fall that would close a loophole allowing the government to make debt-collection robocalls. But you know who does support robocalls? The student loan companies that are currently trying to convince Congress that these invasive annoyances are really for our benefit. [More]
When you respond to an ad promising untold wealth if you start an at-home business, someone in a call center will contact you and try to extract your credit or debit card number. There needs to be a credit card processing company involved to run that transaction, though, and the company that did so for the Tax Club work-at-home scam operation has now settled up with the Federal Trade Commission for its role in the scam. [More]
IRS phone scams, where the perpetrators call up victims and demand that overdue taxes that they don’t owe be paid by prepaid debit cards, are cruel schemes that vacuum millions of dollars out of the pockets of people who don’t know any better. The only way they could be worse would be if they actually endangered victims’ safety while wasting law enforcement time and taxpayer money. They’ve figured out how to do this. [More]
Now that 2015 is done and we finally learned that Luke Skywalker is actually Faye Dunaway’s daughter (and sister!), it’s time to take off the party hats, sweep up the confetti, and do the walk of shame forward into the uncharted territory of the year to come. [More]
Even in an age when everyone has Caller ID on their cellphones and landlines, when more than 200 million numbers are listed on the national Do Not Call Registry, our phones are still inundated with unwanted auto-dialed and prerecorded calls. And though state and federal regulators regularly shut down illegal telemarketing operations, it can seem like a game of Whac-A-Mole, with new robocallers popping up to replace the old ones. [More]
A few weeks ago, shoppers at a California Target received an unsettling surprise when the unmistakable sounds of professional coitus aired loud and clear over the store’s PA system. While an investigation into the incident continues, the retailer believes the pornographic audio originated from an outside source. [More]
The entire future of the internet may now depend on some plastic retainers. Specifically, two competing versions of those clear plastic alignment systems adults sometimes get instead of braces. And if that sounds weird — which to be fair, it really is — well, welcome to the strange, utterly pervasive world of IP law in a digital century.
So your phone company calls you and says there’s a new plan that can save your on your phone bill, or maybe to let you know that you’re being overcharged for your current service. So you go ahead and switch to the more sensible plan, only to find out weeks later that you’ve actually been switched over to a new service provider you’ve never heard of — and to a plan that costs more than your old one. This was a reality for dozens of people who complained to the FCC about a Michigan-based company that now faces a potential $2.4 million fine. [More]