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I've had our phone numbers on the registry for years. I believe adding the numbers may have reduced the telemarketing calls, but many telemarketers ignore the Do Not Call Registry. I have been filing a complaint through the FTC National Do Not Call Registry website whenever I receive such calls. I fill out the Submit a Complaint form after receiving such calls in hopes that if many others are submitting complaints regarding the same calling number that the telemarketing company will be fined for its disregard of the regulations that apply to them.
Lately, though, I've been finding that a large number of such calls are from "spoofed" numbers. E.g., today I received a robocall with a spiel that began with "This is Rachel at Card Holder Services". The spiel ended with a note that this would be my final notice, but I've been receiving such telemarketing calls from "Rachel at Card Holder Services" for months, each ending with the reference to a "final notice". The only option at the end of the spiel was to hit 9 to speak to someone. The person remarked about my desire to reduce my credit card rate; I said "No, I want to be removed from the calling list". I asked very politely, but the person immediately disconnected. I called the number that appeared as the calling number on my cell phone. After several rings, I received a recorded message typical of what you would find on someone's personal voicemail. I figured the telemarketer had spoofed the calling number and didn't leave a message, but a short while later I received a call from the person who had that number who was wondering who had called him and why. I told him about the telemarketing call and said I suspected when I heard his voicemail that a telemaketer had spoofed his number. He understood and mentioned he finds telemarketing calls annoying as well. The area code and first 3 numbers of his number matched those for my cell phone, likely because the telemarketer by using a number that would seem to be local to me would be more likely to have someone answer the robocall. Some people may avoid the plague of telemarketing calls by only answering numbers they recognize, but I use my cell phone for work and can't tell by looking at an incoming number whether it is a work-related call or an annoying telemarketer, since I can't know the number for everyone who may call me on a work-related matter and those calling on work-related matters may be in other parts of the country. Nor can one even reliably assume today that an area code reveals the geographical area of the caller.
As long as a significant percentage of people buy whatever a telemarketer is selling, telemarketers won't stop calling no matter how annoying most people find such calls. But someone would be exceedingly foolish to provide a credit card number and other personal information to some unknown caller offering to reduce one's credit card rate in return for providing such information to the caller. Since I've been getting such calls for months, I can only assume that a significant number of people do so, though. When I know the caller is ignoring the Do Not Call Registry, I assume that the caller's business practices are dubious at best. And certainly when the calling number has been spoofed, it would be prudent to assume that the caller is a scammer who may use any credit card number you provide for his own nefarious ends or sell it to others.
According to the FCC Caller ID and Spoofing page a telemarketer must:
Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, violators can be subjected to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the rules.
So what can you do in such cases? I filed a complaint for the above mentioned call via the FTC Do Not Call Registry complaint form. You can also file a complaint through the FCC's consumercomplaints.fcc.gov site by submitting a Phone Complaint. For the "Phone Issues" field, you can select "Telemarketing (including do not call and spoofing". It only takes a few minutes to complete the complaint forms and I filed a complaint in this case there as well.
Will filing such complaints do any good? The Rachel With Cardholder Services’ Coughs Up Refunds article published on January 19, 2015 on the ABC News site notes:
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer watchdog, has reached a settlement with a collection of companies it says used that ploy. And now a special administrator is preparing to mail out checks to victims.
The total amount available to repay consumers is $700,000. The FTC says it is mailing out 16,590 checks this week. Each check will be for $42.95 and must be cashed within 60 days.
But that article also notes:
In fact, after the FTC took its first action against “Rachel,” investigators were frustrated when the calls continued, likely placed by other sketchy companies.
I'm not looking for a remuneration for the disruption to my work and wasted time from such calls, but I would like to see companies that ignore the Do Not Call Registry and use spoofed numbers fined and, hopefully, put out of business. I hope that others will also file complaints and that an accumulation of such complaints will lead the FTC or FCC to track down at least some of these companies and take action against them.
As I usually do in such cases, I reported the calling number to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's National Do Not Call Registry website, since my home phone number is in that registry, thus telemarketers shouldn't be calling my number. Unfortunately, many telemarketers ignore the list, apparently feeling that nothing will be done to them if they ignore the list. Perhaps that is true; I don't know how limited the FTC's resources may be for pursuing such companies. I can only hope that if enough complaints are filed for a particular number that the FTC will investigate and at least fine a few of them, though I'd like to see such companies put out of business.
I think anyone who would answer such a call and provide a credit card number to the caller is either a fool or extremely naive, since providing credit card information to an unknown caller may provide an opportunity to a scammer to use that information to use the credit card information for nefarious purposes. But since I've frequently received such calls, apparently such telemarketers/scammers find a fair number of people willing to do so.
I received a robocall with a spiel about an opportunity to receive $3,000 in free groceries with no option to have our number removed from the company's calling list. I could only hit a button to speak to a representative, which I did. I asked for the name of the company and was told it was "Senior Assistance" something. When I complained about the company ignoring the do not call list, I was told that I had opted in to receive such calls. I've heard that excuse before, which I regard as bogus, since I don't opt in to be contacted by third parties when I register any personal information with companies or organizations. Companies that ignore the do not call list likely often tell employees to use that excuse to placate people who call and complain about their annoying telemarketing calls.
When I used *69 to get the calling number, I found it was 323-281-1384. At 323-281-1384 / 3232811384 at the 800notes site which provides a directory of unknown callers where people can report such calls, I found other people on the Do Not Call registry complaining they also received such calls.
I filed a complaint at the National Do Not Call Registry Submit a Complaint page as I usually do when I get such calls. I can only hope that enough other people file a complaint there that the Federal Trade Commission may take some action against the company, though I'm doubtful that action will be taken, or, if it is that any fine would be stiff enough to make ignoring the list untenable for the company.
I found many others reporting such calls from 407-476-5700 over the last few months at 800notes Directory of Unknown Callers 407-476-5700. I found postings there from others on the government "Do Not Call" list and postings from people stating that requesting the company remove their number didn't put an end to such calls.
Unfortunately, some telemarketers ignore the list. If they do, you can file a complaint at the complaints page. You will be asked to provide the number that was called, the approximate time of the call, and the calling number, which you may be able to get by Caller ID or by hitting *69 on your phone immediately after the call has ended to get the time of the last incoming call. You will also be asked to provide the name of the company, if you know it.
I received an automated call today telling me I hadn't responded to prior offers to reduce my credit card rate and this would be my last chance. I hit "1" on the phone to speak to someone. When I asked for the name of the company I was told it was "Branch Card Services", which is probably not the real name of the company for which the telemarketer or scam artist I spoke to works. When I asked where the company was located, he immediately hung up. I hit *69 on my phone and found the number from which he was calling was 971-220-1771. I then went to the National Do Not Call Registry website and filed a complaint, since my phone numbers have been on that list for years. A company that ignores the list is subject to being fined by the government for ignoring the "do not call" list.
When I looked up the number on the Intelius reverse phone number lookup site, I found the location for 971-220-1771 listed as Gresham, Oregon. Of course, such companies can employ Caller ID spoofing techniques to hide the true number from which they are calling, so the number you obtain from Caller ID or *69 isn't guaranteed to be the number from which the call was placed.
You might wonder who would be foolish enough to provide a credit card to someone who calls when you have no means of verifying the caller's identity and no way of knowing if he isn't just a scam artist collecting credit card numbers to sell to others or use himself. Obviously, such calls must work, though, since I often receive them. I can usually get the person on the other end of the line to give me a company name, all of which have sounded rather dubious. Sometimes, I can even get the person to give me the location from which he or she is calling. In one instance, when I told the person that I shouldn't be getting such calls because I'm on the "do not call" list, she asked me how she could get on the list; I told her to go to donotcall.gov.
If you need to know the long distance carrier associated with a phone line, you can dial 1-700-555-4141 from the telephone you wish to check. You will hear an announcement telling you the name of the carrier.
And according to the sprint gives out customers data when you call article posted on digg, you can call 1-877-785-8414, which is a Sprint customer service line, put in any Sprint customer's phone number and get the full name and street address of the account holder. The number you are calling from doesn't matter.
You can determine the long distance provider for a phone line by calling 1-700-555-4141 from the telephone you wish to check. You will hear an announcement telling you the name of the carrier.
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