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14 January 2009 @ 12:01 pm
A Warning: A Fraudulent Business  
Every so often, I get random recorded calls from people wanting to sell me things. I don't give them money. Usually, I hang up on them. I'm on the "Do Not Call" registry, which makes it particularly annoying -- even if they're a specifically excluded group like a charity, newspaper or political lobbying organization, none of whom are required to honor the "Do Not Call" registry.

Today, I tried to get one to leave me alone. I got a recorded call from "Mike's Carpet Cleaning", and hit the "talk to a person" button. After some very hard-to-hear greetings, I said I wanted to be put on their "do not call" list. I was immediately hung up on. I hit the internet, hoping to give them some bad press. It turns out, there appears to be no such business. Other people have been called by them and gotten a variety of questionable-sounding information about a business that appears not to exist (there's a Mike's Carpet Cleaning in Walnut Creek, possibly defunct -- this caller is not that business). I immediately thought, "oh, like a Phishing scheme, but on the phone, you'd give them a credit card number for a deposit." My very perceptive wife pointed out that actually, a carpet-cleaning business would be an excellent front organization for burglars.

So if you're on the "Do Not Call" registry and still getting calls from businesses, don't just avoid paying them because they're being inconsiderate. Do it because there's an excellent chance that they're completely fraudulent, and you're likely to be (literally) robbed.

Somebody out there is either attempting to run a phishing/burglary business by being a telemarketer (a fine vision of Hell), or is hired as a telemarketer, at minimum wage, *by* a phisher/burglar, which would indicate that they'd make better money by turning their employer over to CrimeStoppers.

On a related note, I'm happy that the internet now allows looking up various caller-ID'd return phone numbers to see who has received spammy or fraudulent calls from them. I don't do it routinely, but it's exactly the kind of thing I think the internet should be good for.
The Water Seekerplymouth on January 14th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I quite regularly get calls on my work cell that something to do with my auto financing is about to expire and would I like to refinance. It is always the "second warning" even though I've gotten at least a couple of dozen of these calls. The one time I clicked through to the "talk to a person" option I got a "we are experiencing heavy call volume please wait" message and after waiting a few minutes I gave up. Nowadays I just let all calls go to voicemail unless it's a caller ID I recognize.
Anthonyterpsichoros on January 14th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
I got exactly the same call, several times, to my work cell. (Selling extended warranties.) The outfit appears to be some sort of scheme in Georgia. I sent a complaint to the FCC, and *just* got the response - since it's a business phone, it's not illegal.

The number called from was 770.680.5600, the message left an 800 number which I didn't record.

It seems that it would not be illegal for a phone/internet provider to flood that number with calls advertising a service which the business at that number had purportedly contracted for.
The Water Seekerplymouth on January 14th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
yeah, it probably was the same warranty thing. that sounds right. I don't really pay a lot of attention since it clearly doesn't apply to me. I just wish they'd quit bugging me. A couple of the calls came in late at night when I was asleep and I had to shut the ringer off.
Vvvvexation on January 15th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
Not illegal? Really? I was under the impression that if it's an unsolicited call from someone you've never done business with before, then it is illegal.

As for the number they called from, that probably was faked. Every time I've tried dialing these people back, the number they'd called from didn't actually exist.
Noahangelbob on January 15th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yes. A lot of the online reports of them say the same -- the number's faked. Also, a surprising variety of these things often come from the same few faked numbers.
JohnGgomijacogeo on January 14th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
I get them too. I had fun with them a while back, I got through to an operator and listened to the spiel:

them: So may I please have your name?
me: Don't you already know it?
them: Excuse me?
me: Well, you called me about my warranty, you have to already know who I am.
them: Uhhhh, they don't give us that information...
me: So you don't know who I am?
them: No. I just do data entry.
me: Do you know what car you're calling about?
them: No sir, I don't, but if you'd, uh....
me: Is it about the Subaru?
them: (perking up) Yes sir, it probably is, now if you'll...
me: I don't own a Subaru
them: Umm, let me transfer you to my

Now it might be coincidence, but they haven't called back.
JohnGgomijacogeo on January 14th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
Dang, gotta remember that angle brackets get swallowed. The last line ends with *click*.
IANALqueen_elvis on January 14th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've gotten that scam call two to three times but with an LA number. I highly recommend reporting them to 1) the FCC and 2) their phone company. You can also scream at the live person, but who knows how much control that person has.
Noahangelbob on January 15th, 2009 12:48 am (UTC)
Well, as soon as it became clear I wasn't going to order carpet cleaning (literally, within about 5 seconds), they hung up on me. So I doubt yelling at the live person will help.