harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

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harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby clevername » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:50 pm

For several months now I've been getting phone calls from a fraudulent company calling themselves "card services" or something, offering to reduce the interest rates on my credit card debt. (I have virtually no cc debt anyway, and even if I did they are obviously phishing for credit card numbers.) Sometimes when they call I don't pick up; sometimes I'll pick up just to tell them to take me off their list. Nothing works. I've filed a number of complaints with the FCC, FTC, state attorney general office, and other three letter agencies, to no avail.

Recently I got a call and I told the "telemarketer" (read:scumbag thief) to take me off their list and stop calling me. He called back and left a threatening voicemail which has me moderately alarmed. Besides filing more complaints and considering changing my phone number (which I'd rather not do) is there anything I should be doing? I don't know how much of my personal information they have, if any. I don't know if they know my name or address or anything like that beyond my phone number. If anyone has any advice or experience in this matter, please chime in.

And for the record, as if this needs to be said on this forum, never give out personal or financial info to unsolicited callers.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby jaytheman » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:07 pm

Go check you credit scores. If someone has stolen your identity, it would be natural for the credit collectors to harass you.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby JPH » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:08 pm

That's terrible. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I doubt they really want to hurt you. Does your phone system permit you to block the number? Since you seem to be able to ID their call, I see no reason to answer and engage them again. You have already demonstrated that they will not stop the calls on request. You could consider asking for their information or the name of their supervisor, and let them know you plan to file complaints. They are unlikely to cooperate, but if they recognize that you might be able to harm them they might back off. Good luck.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby wtxdxer » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:12 pm

Regardless who you complain too they will not stop calling. I finally got tired of these scammers and added caller ID to my phone a few months ago. Then I installed a free program called PhoneTray Free on my computer and ordered a modem off of eBay for about $20. PhoneTray allows you to "Zap" certain numbers and/or caller ID names. I have mine set up to play the telephone company "disconnected" recording. They use auto dialers so I'm hoping they'll detect a disconnected number and remove me from their list. The problem is they use fake numbers to call you and change them continuously. If I'm at my computer when a call comes in that I don't recognize it I click the "Zap" button and they're gone. It's actually kind of fun zapping them!

PhoneTray Free is at http://www.phonetray.com/phonetrayfree.htm

For my cell phone I use Mr. Number and have it set up to only allow numbers in my phone list and local area code.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby rustymutt » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:14 pm

Call Blocker services
At the Very Least, Work Hard, Do Your Best, Know the Truth and the Facts and Always Be Honest!
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby NAVigator » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:17 pm

I have also been getting countless calls from "credit card services". Mine are automatic recorded messages that start out "This is a courtesy call...". Eventually you can press some number to talk to a rep or press 9 to "opt out". I have pressed 9 constantly. This is crazy. I am in the Do Not Call Registry, but this outfit ignores it. I'm not sure what to do about it.

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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Muchtolearn » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:23 pm

I have the same thing. I googled the number it came from and others discussed it. If you speak to them, as I ahve, and ask them to remove you from their rolls, they hang up on you. If you call the number you get a full inbox. The only action to take is to go to the Co Not Call site and file a complaint as many have done, including me.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby damjam » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:48 pm

Yeah, I get the calls also. The first time they called I sort of panicked. I thought they were a debt collection agency or a debt relief agency. Thinking there must be something wrong I pulled my credit files. Nothing.
The call back and leaving a nasty message also happened to me. A different cold caller got me on the line and I said "I'm not interested, thanks," and hung up. The cold caller called back and was very aggressive, he told me I was rude, blah, blah, blah. We you can only imagine my response. The nerve is unbelievable!
I just ignore the calls. I now have caller ID.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby downshiftme » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Yes, I have been harassed by this same group. They do not acknowledge the existence of a do not call list. They will not transfer a call to a supervisor who can help with the do not call list. The live operator I talked to yelled at me for wasting his time if I didn't want the service and threatened that the longer he kept me on the line the higher my bill would be. He told me they do not keep a do not call list and do not honor any legal do not call list. He started asking impertinent personal questions about my grooming and girlfriend. Clearly this outfit believes they do not have to comply with any do not call rules and appears to have no fear whatsoever of enforcement actions.

I think it is poor customer service by telephone companies that they allow this kind of flagrant notorious harassing behavior and claim they have no way to stop it. I believe this could be stopped quickly if telephone companies wanted it to stop.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby clevername » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:52 pm

I'm going to the police tomorrow to file a complaint with them. This has to stop. I can't block the numbers bc it's a different number each time. I do get legit calls every now and then from non local numbers so I can't just stop picking up every unknown call I get. I'm on the do not call list and files complaints with every 3 letter agency I can think of, so the police and/or FBI is all that's left. I'll post updates if anything develops.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby clevername » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:55 pm

damjam wrote:Yeah, I get the calls also. The first time they called I sort of panicked. I thought they were a debt collection agency or a debt relief agency. Thinking there must be something wrong I pulled my credit files. Nothing.
The call back and leaving a nasty message also happened to me. A different cold caller got me on the line and I said "I'm not interested, thanks," and hung up. The cold caller called back and was very aggressive, he told me I was rude, blah, blah, blah. We you can only imagine my response. The nerve is unbelievable!
I just ignore the calls. I now have caller ID.


What did he say when he called you back? Was it threatening at all? If so, did anything come of it or was he just blowing smoke? The voicemail was very threatening and I'm somewhat concerned.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby scrabbler1 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:57 pm

NAVigator wrote:I have also been getting countless calls from "credit card services". Mine are automatic recorded messages that start out "This is a courtesy call...". Eventually you can press some number to talk to a rep or press 9 to "opt out". I have pressed 9 constantly. This is crazy. I am in the Do Not Call Registry, but this outfit ignores it. I'm not sure what to do about it.

Jerry


Every month or two I get one of those annoying robocalls from "This is Amy from credit card services and this is your last chance to lower your interest rate....." and the last time I got one of those I actually hit "1" to speak to a rep. I told him to put me on their do-not-call list. Probably won't do any good but it was worth a shot.

I would too be pretty annoyed if I got one of those calls from a live person who then thought I was rude for talking back to him.

I do not have any callerID or other fancy technology except for an answering machine.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Steelersfan » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:17 pm

I get enough of those from all sorts of phone numbers I've stopped answering calls from outside my area code if the person isn't in my cell phone contacts. Since that's the only phone I have, it's easy. If I had a land line I'd add caller id to do the same thing.

There's no way to stop them as far as I know. Kill one and two others take its place.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby ann_l » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:31 pm

Check to make sure your state has a do-not-call-list or otherwise allows a private action against them. If they do not, contact your state representatives to get this. Register for this. Print out the screen showing your registration on the federal and state do-not-call lists.

When they call, act extremely interested in their services and get their name and address (this can be hard)

Sue them. Collecting might be hard, though.

I hope you reported the guy who harrassed you. That's a different story altogether and the cops might've been more sympathic to harrassment/terroristic threats.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby damjam » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:34 pm

clevername wrote:
damjam wrote:Yeah, I get the calls also. The first time they called I sort of panicked. I thought they were a debt collection agency or a debt relief agency. Thinking there must be something wrong I pulled my credit files. Nothing.
The call back and leaving a nasty message also happened to me. A different cold caller got me on the line and I said "I'm not interested, thanks," and hung up. The cold caller called back and was very aggressive, he told me I was rude, blah, blah, blah. We you can only imagine my response. The nerve is unbelievable!
I just ignore the calls. I now have caller ID.


What did he say when he called you back? Was it threatening at all? If so, did anything come of it or was he just blowing smoke? The voicemail was very threatening and I'm somewhat concerned.


The cold caller called me names. Nothing threatening really, just puffery.

If the call you received was threatening, I hope you kept the message. I would contact the police and file a complaint.
Supposedly you can sue these companies if you are on the "do not call" list and they persist. I imagine it's difficult and costly, but I really don't know.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Boglenaut » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:37 pm

I tried everything. Now, I just hit "1" and when a person answers I just sit the phone next to the TV and say nothing. They just hear the TV. They cannot argue if no one is there. They run on thin margins, and if everyone wasted 30 seconds of their time, they would collapse.

I report it to Do Not Call as well.

Keep in mind the caller IDs are fake anyway.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby eschaef » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:42 pm

I used to receive these calls, though they were always robotic so I never had to deal with someone yelling at me. I was successful in filing a complaint to the National Do Not Call Registry and have not received further calls. https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx?panel=2
Good luck!
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby tuckeverlasting » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:00 pm

I do get legit calls every now and then from non local numbers so I can't just stop picking up every unknown call I get.

Why not? If it is legit/important, they will leave a voicemail. Once you answer, they know they have a live number. I never answer a call from a number I don't recognize.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby magellan » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:31 pm

tuckeverlasting wrote:If it is legit/important, they will leave a voicemail. Once you answer, they know they have a live number. I never answer a call from a number I don't recognize.

That's what I do now as well.

The sad truth is that this problem will continue to grow and probably eventually become every bit as bad as email spam. The cost to telephone someone is approaching zero and that makes the economics of spam/scam phone calls attractive for these miscreants.

The FTC is mostly powerless to do anything because the scammers tend to operate offshore using spoofed numbers and/or stolen telephone account access credentials. Similar to email spam, every once and a while the FTC and/or FBI scores a solid blow, but the criminals just reconfigure and restart their operations anew.

Everyone should understand that caller ID is not robust and a scammer can make whatever they want appear on your caller ID when they call you. They could even code things so your caller ID always reports a local area code and exchange or even the name/number of a relative. Caller ID can't be trusted. Period.

It's essential that you NEVER trust the source of an incoming call. If your bank or credit company calls, let them leave a message, then visit your bank's website or google it to verify that the callback number is legit. Once you know it's legit, you can call back and be assured that you're actually talking to your bank or credit card company. If you can't verify the callback number, just call the bank or credit card company using their published number and explain the situation.

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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby ilmartello » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:38 pm

1. Sign up fo the do not call list

https://www.donotcall.gov/

2. Check your credit report for free to make to sure there are no delinquent accounts that you may have because of identity fraud.
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3. Keep a record of all calls. Depending on what state you are located in, you may be able to record the calls without the consent of the other party.

If you can tie this back to a specific corporation, use an unused weapon of the little guy that most peopel overlook. It's called small claims court.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby tuckeverlasting » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:51 pm

I usually the Google the numbers that call without leaving a voicemail. They invariably turn out to be some kind of scam or at the least, selling something. There are a number of sites like "who calls me?" to help figure this out.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby aja8888 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:17 pm

My suggestion: Dump your home phone. You probably don't need it anyway. Just use your cell phone.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby tuckeverlasting » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:27 pm

aja8888 wrote:My suggestion: Dump your home phone. You probably don't need it anyway. Just use your cell phone.

All I have is a cell phone, and I still get these calls. I am careful about giving out the number too, but lists of possible phone numbers can be generated by computer.

Edited to add: I give out a fake phone number everyplace I feel the real one doesn't matter.
Last edited by tuckeverlasting on Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Saving$ » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:36 pm

I am on the NO CALL list, and am very careful about giving out my number (don't fill out things for drawings, don't sign up for free stuff online, etc.) but get these calls also. About 2-3 day that I knew of (ie I was home to answer the phone or that the machine picked up) from the credit card people. Usually I just hung up, but one time decided to punch the buttons to try to talk to a real human and get myself off their list. I was very polite, asking to be removed from their list and that they no longer call me. The reply was lewd, vulgar and unprintable - I've worked on construction sites and thought I had heard it all until this call... I was truly shocked. It motivated me to complain to every outfit I could, but that did no good.

Recently, my phone company decided to charge me more for my plain old telephone service + ring master, than for a phone line with "options," so I switched to the phone line with options to save money. This got me caller ID, which as a real boglehead, I was too frugal to ever pay for earlier. Now that I have caller ID, I am shocked at how many calls come in during the day that hang up on the answering machine (ie no message). Must be 50+ per day, and I'm still on the no call list. Almost all of them are from blocked numbers. These credit card services calls always come via a blocked number also.

I truly wish there was something that could be done about this. It is outrageous that I pay for a home phone, and they use something I pay for to harass me.

I now also get about 1 spam call month and 2 or so spam texts/ month on my cell. I have no idea how they get the number, but imagine that soon it will be like the home phone. Really makes me angry.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby gurujji » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:41 pm

with VOIP service, i turned-off all INCOMING, for a particular phone-number.

this is my throw-away phone number, which i give it all unknown to me. anyone who i don't interact daily/weekly , they get throway-phonenumber !

have other phone-numbers, with outgoing/incoming ability. but it's only known to my friends/family.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby irishraj » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:50 pm

I also recieve these calls from " card member services" on my cell daily. Each time it's from different number from different state. Call the number back and the mailbox is full. They will never give you the name of the company. In fact they hang up on you when you ask. If they think your about to tell them to put you on do not call list, they hang up. There is no way of tracking them and no way of getting them to stop calling. They are scam artists. You here the automated voice saying its kathynfrom card member services, so you think it's one of you CC companies. I wonder how many people they have scammed.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby aja8888 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:58 pm

Between me and the fencepost, I firmly believe the "do not call list" is a joke......The scammers will become like SPAM e-mail.

Only when the phone companies give users the ability to block unknown incoming numbers, will we have a chance. Notice how good the Gmail SPAM filter is?
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby cheese_breath » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:59 pm

I'm constantly getting robocalls from them on my land line. I have an old fashioned answering machine on this line so as soon as I hear it's them I either walk away and delete the message later or pick up the phone and hang up immediately depending on how I feel. It really doesn't matter what I do since it's a robocall, they get any feedack on my action. It's a pain in the neck.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby HomerJ » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:17 am

Maybe invest in an airhorn and blow it into the handset next time they call?

:shock:
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby CABob » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:22 am

NAVigator wrote:I have also been getting countless calls from "credit card services". Mine are automatic recorded messages that start out "This is a courtesy call...". Eventually you can press some number to talk to a rep or press 9 to "opt out". I have pressed 9 constantly. This is crazy. I am in the Do Not Call Registry, but this outfit ignores it. I'm not sure what to do about it.

I am of the opinion that pressing the "opt out" choice may not be the best idea. When you do this they at least know someone listened to the call to this point. I think that just hanging up will leave a question as to whether a live person, answering machine, or something else will more likely make them go away. I have no evidence to support my opinion however.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Mudpuppy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:36 am

If you can identify the caller sufficiently enough, you can file a lawsuit against them in small claims court. There are several people who make a "hobby" of doing this. I'm sure a few run websites if you search around a bit. The downside of filing a lawsuit is they now know more about who you are and it won't be enough of a financial sting to stop them from doing the same to others.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Mudpuppy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:43 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:Maybe invest in an airhorn and blow it into the handset next time they call?

:shock:

Or have a recording of an old analog modem to play once you get a live person....
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby tractorguy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:06 am

These are like spam. And, like spam, if you give them any indication that you are going to listen for more than 5 seconds, you get more calls. I made the mistake of listening through the recorded message and responding to "punch 3 to stop getting calls". Now I'm getting them daily.

Highly annoying.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby R-Man » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:29 am

Submitting a complaint to the FTC for receiving a call when you are on the "do not call" list is a joke. The FTC makes the complaints available to local law enforcement agencies and it is up to the local agency to access the complaint list and take action - good luck with that.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby johnubc » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:37 am

after repeatedly asking them to remove me from their list, and also telling them that I am on the do not call registry - and still getting calls - what I now do is this:

I go through the motions, and answer their questions. I tell them that I have about $20K in debt on three credit cards. They will then ask for one of the credit card numbers. I tell them that the card is upstairs, I need to go find it. I then go about whatever it was that I was doing. Sometimes, I have them on speaker phone. Every few minutes, I will get on and say, hold on, I am trying to find it. I have had them hold on for as long as 33 minutes, waiting for me to return with the card. I figure if I waste enough of their time, eventually, they will remove my number.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby trico » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:43 am

To solve this problem, I use my land line for my internet connection. I only communicate thru email. So my line is always busy, unless I disconnect from the internet to make an outgoing call. I have a cell phone I use to talk with familly and freinds and I don't give the number out to anybody but freinds. This has solved the problem of unwanted calls, and has been working for me for over 2 years now.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby nisiprius » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:49 am

Is this "Rachel," by the way? I get a lot of calls from Rachel from Card Services. I used to get regular calls from "the chimney service" but that does seem to have stopped.

I've given up. I don't know what to do other than hang up. After exploring various alternatives that's the one that infuriates me the least.

Being on the federal Do Not Call list does not work; they are scofflaws. They use forged Calling Number ID. I have been unable to get them to identify their company. "Press 3 to be removed from our list" doesn't work. Asking to be removed doesn't work. Regularly reporting each incident as it occurs, using the file a complaint web service does not work.

The telephone company claims that they cannot identify the source of these calls because "they are being made from a computer and using a false number." I don't believe them and have completely lost my temper twice trying to work through the telephone company. (It definitely not does not do either me or the poor rep any good to have me screaming "I don't believe you! I don't believe you! I don't believe you" into the phone).

They are scofflaws. It is my considered opinion that the phone companies, the FCC, and FTC either do not care or are unable to stop them. Probably some of each.

The phone company always advises me to call the police. Unfortunately that's where reality steps in. Are these calls truly harassing? I wouldn't like to waste the local cops' time trying to convince them that I am scared or feel physically threatened by Rachel.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby soaring » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:55 am

aja8888 wrote:My suggestion: Dump your home phone. You probably don't need it anyway. Just use your cell phone.


While the majority may have cell phones it isn't for me and my land line is only $12.50 + tax and cell ph can't beat that price anyway.

Lucky for us our phone rings about 2-3 times a month that it is not someone calling us specifically.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby cleosdad » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:04 am

nisiprius wrote:Is this "Rachel," by the way? I get a lot of calls from Rachel from Card Services. I used to get regular calls from "the chimney service" but that does seem to have stopped.

I've given up. I don't know what to do other than hang up. After exploring various alternatives that's the one that infuriates me the least.

Being on the federal Do Not Call list does not work; they are scofflaws. They use forged Calling Number ID. I have been unable to get them to identify their company. "Press 3 to be removed from our list" doesn't work. Asking to be removed doesn't work. Regularly reporting each incident as it occurs, using the file a complaint web service does not work.

The telephone company claims that they cannot identify the source of these calls because "they are being made from a computer and using a false number." I don't believe them and have completely lost my temper twice trying to work through the telephone company. (It definitely not does not do either me or the poor rep any good to have me screaming "I don't believe you! I don't believe you! I don't believe you" into the phone).

They are scofflaws. It is my considered opinion that the phone companies, the FCC, and FTC either do not care or are unable to stop them. Probably some of each.

The phone company always advises me to call the police. Unfortunately that's where reality steps in. Are these calls truly harassing? I wouldn't like to waste the local cops' time trying to convince them that I am scared or feel physically threatened by Rachel.

Yeah Nisi Rachel calls me all the time. I thought I was her favorite. Tim
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby chipmonk » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:31 am

I use Google Voice, which did initially require me to change my phone number. It's free and has a number of great benefits, such as voicemail transcription and the ability to route calls from any phone or multiple phones to my number.

One of the nice features of Google Voice is the ability to easily block specific callers, whether by individually identifying them as spam or by using a database of spammy numbers collected by other users (you can choose).

Secondly, I simply don't answer the phone when it's from a number I don't recognize and I don't expect a call. If it happens to be someone who actually wants to get in touch with me, they can leave a message. This seems to be a habit that's mostly relegated to younger people, whereas older people seem to consider this impolite, probably because they haven't lived most of their lives with voicemail and caller ID and many other ways of getting in touch instantly.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Random Musings » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:55 am

I don't get very many (maybe one or two a month), but my wife and I just hang up immediately.

I like the airhorn idea - but it would have to be a quick blast and then just hang up immediately. Only problem with that might be that number might be "passed around" to newbies as some form of initiation.

Hence, I'll just hang up immediately.

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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby nisiprius » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:10 pm

soaring wrote:
aja8888 wrote:My suggestion: Dump your home phone. You probably don't need it anyway. Just use your cell phone.
These people are scofflaws. They are using forged calling number ID's. That's illegal. They're calling people on the Do Not Call list with whom they have no business relationship. That's illegal. Robocalling cell phones is illegal, too, but why would that stop them?

I admit that I don't know why Rachel doesn't call me on my cell phone, and I'd be curious to know the explanation of why not, but I think the explanation is "just lucky I guess." Or maybe calls via the cell phone network are easier to trace? Anyway, I believe she will as soon as she figures out how.
One of the nice features of Google Voice is the ability to easily block specific callers, whether by individually identifying them as spam or by using a database of spammy numbers collected by other users.
Rachel doesn't ever call me twice from the same number.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby chipmonk » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:20 pm

nisiprius wrote:
soaring wrote:
aja8888 wrote:My suggestion: Dump your home phone. You probably don't need it anyway. Just use your cell phone.
These people are scofflaws. They are using forged calling number ID's. That's illegal. They're calling people on the Do Not Call list with whom they have no business relationship. That's illegal.

This may be true, and it may be upsetting, especially to those who are accustomed to a carefully regulated and controlled telephone network... but it's just a fact of the modern world. It's a symptom of an otherwise largely beneficial process by which our communications networks have become much more open and less subject to centralized control.

It's now fairly easy to set up a VoIP-based private phone exchange which can spoof outgoing caller ID and mask the origins of its calls. Not unlike the ease with which spammers can send unwanted email on the decentralized email network.

nisiprius wrote:Calling cell phones is illegal, too, but why would that stop them?

I admit that I don't know why Rachel doesn't call me on my cell phone, and I'd be curious to know the explanation of why not, but I think the explanation is "just lucky I guess." Or maybe calls via the cell phone network are easier to trace? Anyway, I believe she will as soon as she figures out how.
I get spam calls on my personal cell phone and work cell phone, and sometimes spam texts too. I just block them. To the extent that scammers/spammers target land-lines more, it's probably because land-line numbers are more commonly published in phone books and directories while cell numbers are not.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby shorttallguy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:33 pm

I've been getting these for over a month now on my cell phone. Often multiple times a day. They seem to change the number they come from every week or so, but it always leaves the same credit card services message. I did once pick up and hang on to talk to a person after they called me multiple times in one hour. Like others report, I just got hung up on when they realized I wasn't buying. I googled trying to find any help, any actual company I could tie it back to, but all I found were many other complaints. I've pretty much just accepted the curse at this point, its easy enough to ignore the calls but a pain to have to delete all the voice mails they leave. I am still not clear if they are identity thieves or if its a bogus credit repair service, I'm guessing it's plain old thieves, not that it matters much.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby PaddyMac » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:58 pm

Those calls were enough for me to investigate options from the phone company for our landline home line. We switched plans, and now have a plan from Century Link that can pretty quickly block all calls from the "last number" that called you. So when we get a spam call, we press a number, enter our password, and press another number. Not too time consuming. We keep a post-it note by the phone so we don't forget. The credit card calls stopped immediately once we entered their number on our block list.

We also don't answer calls if it's not convenient. As someone said, if it's important they will leave a message.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby clevername » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:42 pm

I went to the police today to file a complaint. They confirmed what I already knew, and what has been discussed on this thread: it's whack-a-mole, ignore them, check my credit, etc. I've got a paper trail going now so if these guys get popped I'll be able to press charges. Hooray.

I haven't received any more calls in the last 24 hours though, which is odd. The guy I interacted with yesterday persisted in calling me back several times, leaving voicemails, etc. Part of his spiel was him ranting about how he's going to give my number to every spammer in the country! And yet, silence. I'm thinking maybe his supervisor intervened because it can't be good for "business" (stealing) if they harass their marks into calling law enforcement and such. Discretion is probably key in their operation.

I tend to shoot myself in the foot because I never quite learned the lesson that I shouldn't feed the trolls. If they ever call back I'll do my best to ignore them, but it'll be difficult not to engage and yell at them some more.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Rob5TCP » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:50 pm

I have two lines; one is my old number and I only use for outgoing calls. That is also the number I give when I have any doubts about whom gets that number. Consequently, that line gets 20-30 garbage robo calls a week. I never answer the phone unless I am in a mood to speak with a moron (who has a strange accent). I may play to find out the real name of the company. They do not care if you are on the do not call list because the odds of prosecution are almost nil. Also, their call back numbers are almost always spoofed to make it harder to trace. I call these companies robo whores (no offense meant to ladies of the night).

Filing a complaint can only help if hundreds and hundreds have complained about the same number (a rarity).

There are supposed to be new laws with greater penalties coming out. We shall see if they are effective.

In the meantime, these sites below will tell you what other callers know about these numbers:

http://800notes.com/ (probably the best site)
http://whocallsme.com/ (not bad)
http://whocalled.us/
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby OAG » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:38 pm

I was geting the "Card Services" call and never responded to them. All I did was hang up. They were calls to our one cell phone (we do not have any land or Internet Phones). We use a single credit card and pay it off each month so I knew there was no "credit card" problems. After about a month or so the calls just stopped.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby Mudpuppy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:38 am

Many, many moons ago, when I was but a larval mudpuppy, I worked the IT side of a legitimate telemarketer (of the "would you like to take a survey?" variety). I doubt the predictive dialing software has changed much over the ensuing decades since the underlying telephone system remains similar. The supporting software environment (databases, operator interface, etc) is wildly changed I'm sure.

Giving a recording of the phone company tri-tone signal will not remove your number. The software will mark it with a special disposition, but IT people can go in and unmark it so that the software will try it again. In fact, it's pretty routine to do so, even at legitimate companies. Immediately hanging up before being transferred to a person does not work either. The software recognizes this and puts you back into the redial list based on its configured "retry" interval. They *might* have the software configured to ignore your number after xyz negative attempts, but that's a configurable setting so there are no guarantees.

Limiting who you give the number out to does not always work. The phone company has a massive database of all valid area codes and prefixes (first three digits of the phone number), which are associated to zip codes. The software knows how to import this database so it will only call during legal hours (and yes, it is usually programmed to prefer dinner time in your local timezone since that's the most likely time to catch people at home). It wouldn't take much work to use this database to generate random phone numbers to test. In this day of online databases, they probably don't even have to bother to randomly generate anymore. They can just download lists gleaned from online yellow/white pages.

Putting yourself on the Do Not Call list does not work. In fact, my paranoid side suspects it makes matters worse. Legitimate telemarketers have to have access to the DNC list in database form, so they can import it into their dialer software so they do not call marked numbers. It wouldn't be hard for illegal operations to just import and use the numbers, knowing that they are likely good numbers because someone took the time to put them on the DNC database.

If you really want to mess with predictive dialers, set your answering machine greeting to something that seems like a person... "Hello? (pause) I'm not here (pause)"... The software listens for that pattern of a short speech burst (in a questioning tone particularly), followed by a pause and assumes that it has a live person. It will then connect your machine to an operator, where you can continue to have fun with them and just see how long you can string them along with the greeting. That's not very conducive to normal callers who want to leave you a message though. It also won't work with most cell phones since the major cell providers preface your greeting with a recorded message of their own.

Anecdotally, I've refused to add my numbers to the DNC list for the above reason. I also have a phone number with many repeating digits (which doesn't have any less chance theoretically of being randomly generated, except some programmers throw away random numbers with repeating digits as being not sufficiently random). I rarely have issues with illegal telemarketing calls.
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Re: harassing calls from fraudulent "credit card services"

Postby HongKonger » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:37 am

I find that with robo calls, picking up and then not saying anything works well. The message only begins when it registers a voice. If you don't speak at all it cuts off after about 15 seconds. Once I started doing this, the number of calls have gone down a lot.

For other calls, its easy for me here to just say 'sorry, I don't speak Chinese' to which their reply is 'Sorry. Wrong number'. ..and they don't call me again :D
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