A ‘versatile’ way to get around the Do Not Call list

Some companies can be very sneaky these days. Especially when they buy lists of consumers’ phone numbers from companies that falsely claim those consumers had given written consent to get sales calls despite being on the National Do Not Call Registry.

According to an FTC settlement, Versatile Marketing Solutions (“VMS”), a seller of home security and monitoring systems, did just that. 

VMS bought phone numbers from “lead” generator companies that blasted illegal robocalls and fake home security survey calls to identify homeowners who didn’t already have a security system installed in their homes. VMS then called those people to sell them home security monitoring services despite two important facts: their phone numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry, and none of them had given VMS written permission to call. VMS knew that the companies from whom it bought the phone numbers were engaged in illegal activity because, when VMS made their calls, many people responded that they had been contacted illegally. Despite numerous complaints, VMS continued to call these illegally generated leads, resulting in millions of unwanted calls to consumers on the National Do Not Call list. VMS also called people they had called before and who had asked not to be called in the future.   

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what to do:

  • File a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry. If you get a sales call after your number has been on the list for 31 days, complain to www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222; it’s toll-free.  
  • If you answer a telemarketing call, don’t give out your personal or financial information. Treat your personal and financial information like cash. Don’t divulge information about whether you own your home, what you have in your home, alternate phone numbers, your birth date, social security number, or credit card or bank account information.
  • Hang up on any robocalls. If you answer a robocall, don’t respond to any automated instructions. In particular, don’t press any numbers, even if they say it is to get more information. Doing so may be taken as “consent” to use and sell your phone number to another company.
  • File a complaint with the FTC online or by calling 1-877-382-4357 or TTY 1-866-653-4261.
Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity


This is fantastic information! Thanks for making it available to FTC subscribers.
This explains why the 'callers' who are charlatans tell me that they have done 'nothing' illegal. And there are many times when it is the SAME person who has already called me several times.

Except that reporting these to the FTC doesn't work. I've been reporting the same company for nearly a year now and I'm still getting weekly calls from them. I can't get them to stop!!!!!

Can you tell me why I have to disclose my SSN when I register for DO NOT CALL lists. I feel very uncomfortable about this. Do I have to?


No! You never need to provide your SSN to register for the Do Not Call List. Visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register. On the website, you only need to provide an email address and phone number.

I just recently signed up and it asked for my ss# too and I gave it. I wonder if we signed up on a bogus site?

I just signed up and I didn't have to give my social security number. I would put a security watch on my credit.

You most certainly signed up on a bogus site! I just signed up yesterday and there was no mention of SS#. Actually, to register for the DNC list you can call FROM the phone you want put on the list 1-888-382-1222 and follow the prompts! Easiest way.

What about political organizations that pass your email address from organization to organization?

Unfortunately charities and political organizations are exempt from the do-not-call law.

During election seasons I am forced to diconnect my land line from the wall. Way to many calls that I have no interest in. I know who I will vote for and I don't need to be questioned about my choices.

I have been on the DNC registry since it began. I check regularly and make certain I am still on there.
When I get these Calls (A LOT!)I dont say anything, or hit any number. I just hang up.
I have filed innumerable complaints over the years. When you get 3 calls a day, and file a complaint on each one, and NOTHING ever gets done... what is the purpose? DNC does no good, and these same callers go on and on and on.
After I have been reporting these same calls for 8 years.. why should I waste my time anymore? it does no good.

DNL is only helping reduce calls from maybe 5-10% of legitimate businesses, the other 90%+ of the people calling you are a) illegal/fraudulent businesses or b) entities those DNL law do do apply e.g. government and charities. This is why we need to protect our own phone-lines with devices such as call blockers.

Like VMS, there are several others out there, including government agencies and charities that invade the privacy of US citizens every day. This is why consumers need to take control of their own phonelines using products such as call blockers. Call blockers are inexpensive devices that can block unwanted calls permanently. For example, in Amazon, there is a cheap call blocker device (e.g. T-Lock N2 version selling for $60) that can block up to 1,500 unwanted phone numbers -- this device has helped thousands of citizens protect themselves against companies like VMS.



Xabier, thank you for posting the number here. I will add it to my list of fraud numbers linked to fraud so that people who buy the t-lock call blocker know about it!

I also get from 3-5 calls from credit services each week, also for time share sales. I have filed complaints but I notice that the numbers change each time, so there is no way that these people can be trapped. By the way I have gone the route of politely asking them not to call that I'm not a good lead (have no debt, have no timeshare), but still I get the calls. I have also tried putting them on terminal hold, still they call. I can not use a call block because I run a business out of my home and I cannot have my clients and prospects deterred in any way. Any help would be appreciated.

I am receiving annoying calls from all these random numbers 313-483-8665, 415-466-2093, 725-265-9984,836-457-88197 (even a 11 digit number), 381-208-4624, I wished they would stop, they just wont.

There have been a number of successful lawsuits on this subject. A home improvement contractor for Sears called a woman who said "No, and please delete my name from your list." But they called her three more times. She filed a complaint, and the result was that Sears was fined a lot of money and the woman was awarded six figures for her aggravation! Hey, they can call me three times for that kind of money....

I had to place my number back on the list here although I hadn't taken it off. Somehow it had been removed. I put it back because a tellemarketer for some power supplyer called and I hung up after I told her Im on both state and federal do not call regestry lists. She called up and said she can call anyway because she has a right to offer this discount and started to swear and threaten me. The number is 917)383-1019. from down south from the accent. What valgur and anoying behavour. I hope you nail them. I am going now to also report it to my state dnc reg. Thanks,I had recieved less calls since I firsst registered but strangly they started again. Please look into how my number was taken off.

I feel like there's no hope for stopping illegal callers who just use calling cards and throw away cell phones. I get a call at least once a day from someone telling me it's 'the last day to lower my interest payment.' It will never be the last day it seems. This has been going on for months. Now I am getting these same calls on my cell phone. When I start to say, "do not call..", the hang up. I looked up the number 714-551-6939 (and other numbers that have called me)on the White Page reverse call website, there are many others complaining about this same caller. I end up missing legitimate calls now because I don't know who to screen anymore.

Here are some strategies I use for scofflaws who ignore DNC:
-- Ask if they can hold for a minute, then set the phone down until they hang up.
-- Pretend I can't quite hear them so they speak louder and louder. No matter how loudly they yell, I tell them I can't quite hear them. This one can be a lot of fun.
-- Pretend to be interested, but when they ask for any kind of commitment or information, ask them to clarify, explain, give me more information, or just run it by my again. Repeat until they hang up.

I'm hard of hearing and cant understand what is being said on my phone, so I don't have any "minutes" phone plan, just data. But every once a while some telemarketer tries to call me. When that happens, I just pick up, yell/scream or blow a air horn or whatever, then hang up. It usually works. I guess they think they stumbled on a deranged individual or a murder in progress or something and don't want to be involved (especially if illegally calling). So far I've been really lucky that I very rarely get calls - but then again - I've kept the same phone number for many years. I recently got a video phone and the old number was used by somebody else

Payback: I have Verizon FiOS. I can go online and block up to 10 numbers; helps some. The new thing I do is utilize the call forwarding feature; but SELECTIVE call forwarding. Take Card Services phone number, enter it as the phone number to forward the call to; and then enter the same phone number to 'forward calls from specific numbers"; what this does is forward the caller from that number, back to the caller! He he! BE SURE the radio button is checked for Forward Calls from Specific Numbers. Now... you can only do this with one number; or add up to 10 numbers to be forward to Card Services; who cares; keeps your phone from ringing.

This won't work if the caller's phone number is spoofed, as it usually is. It just leads to a number that is not in service. Also, as described elsewhere in these comments, telemarketers are now using the caller's phone number as the number that appears in the caller ID.

Bravo sphinxrb! I love your suggestion with the call forwarding! We've got Verizon too, but going to see if there's a way we can do that with our home phone. We get calls repeatedly and usually I simply don't answer, but now we have a great weapon to fight back with your idea! Gives new meaning to the phrase 'what comes around, goes around'.

Can't wait to start setting this up on my phone. Guess it's time to 'share' the love with those annoying calls!

Thanks again sphinxrb! Absolutely brilliant!

Another way to prevent the annoyance of these calls is to save the number to your contact list and then assign a "no ring" ringtone to the number. It doesn't stop them from calling, but you don't hear the calls. Peace, finally!

The FTC doesn't care about this at all. If they did, they would do the below.

1. Change penalties from civil to criminal for telemarketing violations.
2. Mandate that all telcos MUST have noborobo available for customers to use.
3. Mandate Implementation of anti-spoofing systems on all POTS and wireless carriers

With the NSA collecting so much data , I am sure they would be able to track this down in less than a month and have it fixed, but alas...we are the ones that are stuck with being harassed and it won't stop until the above is implemented and someone high up in the bureaucracy starts getting harassed on their personal line.

I got 5 calls from this company in May 2014; the lawsuit didn't work.

I have been receiving these calls for years. I started blowing a whistle in the phone on Card Services and it did help. However one day I received 13 calls, from the same guy,in a row each time blowing the whistle and that he was breaking the law. The most disturbing call from Card Services showed up on Caller ID from my home phone number. Today I told them that I was on DNCL and he told me it didn't apply to them because they worked for the banks who issued my credit cards and when I signed the contract I authorized them to call me. I sincerely hope he is wrong.

Here's the thing: registering your phone in the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all.

Calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities,and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. This is because of jurisdiction limitations of the FTC and the FCC. 

However, if you ask a company with which you have an existing business relationship to place your number on its own do-not-call list, it must honor your request. You should keep a record of the date you make the request ansd you can always report violations to the National Do Not Call Registry to the FTC.

I also received a call today that Caller ID showed as MY home phone!
It was a Robo-Call that we've received several times -- "Hello, this is Rachel/Heather, (this time it said Rachel) there is no emergency about your credit card, but you do need to call me immediately about a money-saving opportunity."

I hung up at this point, & called my carrier. YES, it IS illegal for any company to lie about their identity on Caller ID. (& robocalls are supposed to be illegal also.)
YES, there is very little that can actually be done once your # gets out there.

I complained that I have been getting many calls recently, despite being on the Do-Not-Call List since its inception, as well as having a private #. I check every few months to make sure our numbers are still there.

The main thing I learned is that your carrier has other lists they can be sure you have been either removed from or added to in order to make your # even more private.

It seems that the number of scams has risen drastically lately, all masquerading as legit. Most pretend to be "surveys" or a company you already do business with so it's legal to call.

I have noticed an increase in the # of strange Caller IDs -- things like "Unavailable 1" -- because I can't block a 1-digit phone number! FYI: Today this was the Microsoft scam.

Here is another #518-278-0333 for "card services". have been sworn at, hung up on. this # is listed to Hudson Communications, Clifton NY-they claim they no longer own this # and can not give out info. They are preying on the elderly here in Fl. My Mom is 83 with dementia, I can't stop her from answering these calls and she is always afraid she owes someone money. Have reported with "Do not call registry" laughable, have a call to Attorney General in NY and FL, again laughable, How do we stop this??? Our provider can only block local calls. Over this past year have received at least 500 phone calls!!!

When the exceptions "swallow the rule", the DNC List is no longer effective. Get a call blocker from Amazon, especially one that holds up to 1200 numbers. I know it is working when I hear one ring only, then silence. Dinner hour is now reclaimed !!! :-}

Does the FTC actually do anything? I have submitted dozens of complaints over the past two years and I still get just as many robocalls, illegal sales calls, etc. I've never been contacted by the FTC, and I get the same numbers calling me time after time, even after reporting them.

What does it take for the FTC to actually do something and act against a telemarketer? I am about to stop reporting them because I feel like my reports are going into a black hole since nothing ever happens.

What does it take for the FTC to actually do something and act against a telemarketer?

A political contribution from a rival telemarketer.
Suggestions to AARP to help us are more likely to have an impact.

I received a robo call yesterday from Rachael at Card Member Services. The uniqueness of this call was that it came from my own phone number (according to caller ID) to the same phone number (my phone number) I tried to report this to the FTC via their website but my complaint was not accepted because of the phone number discrepancy (numbers were the same) Number was obviously spoofed but the FTC website does not understand something that simple. My suggestion would be to work on your website so that it does accept unusual inputs and not only what it expects to receive. Maybe in another decade they will figure this out.

I to have been called by someone using my own phone number.

This SO CALLED "DO NOT CALL LIST" is not good enough. I want political calls stopped. Come on FTC get it done. Please!!!!!!!!

I also hate fakes, frauds, liars, scammers, illegal telemarketers etc. who loves them? well maybe their friends and family but most of the decent folk are sick of dealing with them. I am not suggesting anyone go as far as I have gone in chasing down the repeat call offenders for free. yes its the ftc job but they need help = we get the calls personally rarely does a scammer call the ftc trying to scam/annoy them. normally I just stay on phone til I drive scammer crazy and they hang-up. I just saved someone getting a call by wasting as much of scammers time as possible. while i also write info of whats said and trying to do a net search on number and anything they tell me. I have in the past put my own money at risk 1k and invested weeks in hunts to get correct address locations of illegal telemarketer organizations. even had dxxxx card fraud department(thankyou) help me in locking my card acct from any charges during a giving week but collect data on any request to access/charge on card to obtain info so I could give the ftc agent more info. i have upset a scammer so bad he left a nasty message on my answering machine and oops used his home phone in winterhaven. when i called the phone number back the next day his wife answered i said i received a call from this number and was wondering if it was a wrong number or was someone trying to reach me i use to live in sarasota bla bla chatting with her? it took a few minutes for her to realize the mistake and switch to playing company employee saying soanso was out of office but 1st few minutes of conversation had already blown that. so yes i sorta scam the scammers to obtain info. hey i didnt create the 1st contact they did. i regularly check incoming numbers, report fraud behavior and all around annoy them back. maybe some day there will be a dontwasteyourtime calling list scammers will share with each other and my number will be at the top. til then happy hunting dont be a victim be proactive.

Nothing works. Credit card company have even tried the numbers that show, they are never in service, they hang if if I tell them I owe nothing, and they hang up if I start to say I am on the Don't call list,. They call daily either to our home phone or to our cells.

I fail to understand why people get so worked up over a stupid no call list. The simple solution is not NOT ANSWER THE PHONE. If you don't recognize the number and/or no message was left, they probably had no good reason to call in the first place. I goo a step further and keep the ringer off at all times hence, no obnoxious ringing. Most people I know uinderstand this and email me and I love it.

I'm with you Crabby Milton...I also fail to understand how people expect scammers to follow the law and not call them because they are on the Do Not Call List. I don't answer calls that show up as "unknown", "unavailable" or any type of 800#.
If the phone is answered then the scammers are going to keep calling.

Some of us like me have 4 teen agers, and many potential clients who call our number, so we cant just stop our lives and our livelihood by turning off the ringer? Why should anyone have to do such a ridiculous thing? The reason people are all bent out of shape over the DNC is because it IS a joke and the calls are up ten fold these days. EVERY dy I get at least 12 calls from automated systems.

I recieved a call concerning my credit card and caller ID number was my home phone number. I don't have any credit cards. Why is this allowed and how do they get away with it. I just hung up but concerned they can put fake numbers into caller IDs

I get 3 to 4 calls a day from mortgage companies, construction, companies, and energy companies. I even received several calls from a guy claiming to be from the Government. He had a grant for $9,000 and offered to deposit it into my bank account.
At first, I told the callers I was on the DNC and that I would be reporting the call. I received a lot of different responses, but there was one thing they had in common; they did not care. An owner of a construction company said he would NOT check the DNC list. It took too much time and limited the number of people he could call. If he did that, it would not be cost too much and would good for his business. He said the FTC is a joke. They do not do anything about people who violate the DNC rules. He can continue calling anyone he wants. The worst thing that could happen is he may get a call from someone at the FTC to “slap his hand” and tell him to stop or remove a single person from his list, but they would NOT change his practice.
I reported several of the calls I received, thinking the FTC would act on my complaints. I even spoke to them a few times. I called them after I received the call from the owner of the construction company who said the FTC was a joke and would not do anything.
I still get the same number of calls. The amount of times I wrote a formal complaint and called the FTC did not impact the number of calls I receive on a daily basis. The DNC worked in the beginning when everyone thought there would be a penalty from the FTC. Now it appears they only see it as a bluff, so the DNC appears to be fake and no longer works.
During my last conversation with the FTC, I was only advised not to speak to the callers, just hang up. That appears to be the only option. The complaints and calls to the FTC do not work. Now I just check the caller ID to see if I recognize the number. If I don't, I press one button to pick-up and immediately press another to disconnect the call.

Hey maybe we should use the call forward feature and have it sent to our Senator's office. Maybe when they get annoyed enough they will do something..... or not.

Ironic while reading these entries I revived yet another scam call. I get on average 5 scam calls a day. It's been going on for years. The do not call list does absolutely nothing. Think about it, scammers are practicing illegally to begin with, so obviously they don't follow the law to begin with. It is time for the government to step in and stop this. Stop allowing sales of temporary phone numbers, make phone companies liable for the use of their business, there are so many issues that need to be addressed here. I'm sick & tired of the invasion in our home through our phone. Thousands or millions of US citizens are tired of the same.
I'm not talking state by state laws, I'm talking federal offenses and put a stop to this. They are criminals and should be treated as such.

My calls have INCREASED since I went on the do not call list I report the violations for years. Still get the same calling people. Now, they block the number so I do not know who is calling.

The FCC is seemingly powerless against these calls. They do not hesitate to allow phone companies to charge more fees and taxes. They are owned by the providers and have nothing to do with consumer protection any longer.

As for the robocallers, I blast 'em with an air horn. I hate doing that to someone who probably can't get a better job, but sooner or later they talk to each other and will phase out your number.

I had a repeat caller who started asking me for dates! I changed my voice mail to say,"Hello, this is Station WBBB! You're on the air! Please speak your name clearly and state why you think you should be today's lucky winner! That stopped the calls.

What most of these calls are doing is forwarding your call to a call center to grab your call for what ever purpose? I will post a list of the numbers.

Very good post,thanks

Well DNClike I said before, if you don't recognize the number, then and they don't leave a message, then they didn't have a good reason to call. Sadly, you can't turn off you business phone so I'm only speaking of your personal phone. If you don't want to take my advice,just live with it or just hang up on anyone you don't know or want to talk to. BTW, keeping the ringer off at all times is great for annoying relatives too. :)

I told a telemarketer to put me on the do not call list, and he laughed and said the only way he won't call back is if I change my phone number. Why are we hostages to these creeps?

I blocked one spammer last week, only to be harassed by another this week...must be on a call this guy list? Do not call list doing no good! if I block from my phone I get messages every time that a number has tried to call but was blocked! what is the point? Verizon blocks it from everything, but only a few for free Im told.

Most of the calls are from spoofed numbers. My Prism Century link lists numbers that call. Some of them are all zeros, but others are numbers that I can call myself and ALL of them are spoofed. I called the phone company and they said they do it out of Canada so they can't catch it. I even had one call that showed up as my own phone number calling me. Spoofed.

Most of the calls are from spoofed numbers. My Prism Century link lists numbers that call. Some of them are all zeros, but others are numbers that I can call myself and ALL of them are spoofed. I called the phone company and they said they do it out of Canada so they can't catch it. I even had one call that showed up as my own phone number calling me. Spoofed.

Despite being on the no call list and making complaints I am still getting calls. I do not give out my number and I want to know why? 7 or 8 a day the same numbers. Can't you stop this?

The FTC is pursuing a variety of technology-based solutions to combat illegal calls and practices. For more information, see National Do Not Call Registry.

Let me put it this way. If you have a sign in front of your house that states "NO SOLICITING", that's no guarantee that it will stop some goof from knocking at your door to be a pest. Just don't answer or tell them no thanks and chances are they'll leave otherwise, if they are nuts, just call the police. What can they do to you over the phone if you don't answer it? Again, if you don't recognize the number then don't answer it and the option of turning off the ringer is there as well. I think that's good common sense in all of this. But if you go to all of the trouble of trying to get on a list, getting mad if some idiot ignores it, or writing your congress man, perhaps you deserve annoying things when the solution is so simple.

The DNC list does help reduce 'legitimate' telemarketing. However, it opens you up to criminal scams - both domestic and overseas.
Domestic - a fly-by-night complies a list and resells it as 'authorized for calling' to companies that then use it. They are breaking the law, but the seller disappears with the money.
International - How does a telemarketer know who is on the list? They buy the list - the first 5 area codes are free, and the entire national list costs $16,228. A criminal can buy this entire list and resell it to hundreds of foreign scammers that call for free through the internet.
Finally - a fake company can buy a block of unused phone numbers from the phone company (for use in setting up a new business) - and sell them to telemarketers to use as 'spoofed' caller ID with robodialer computers or to foreign criminals.

Yes - the phone numbers we are being called from are 'spoofed', and the calls don't cost the criminals anything, not even time until you answer and get connected to the scammer.

The only telemarketing that is reduced by the DNC list is 'legitimate' calls from companies that obey the law, and don't get sold a bogus illegal list !!

The good news is - if you are on the DNC list, you know that anyone that calls (except non-profits, surveys, and politicians) are automatically criminals and you can ingore or insult them as you please.

I've been receiving calls from Alliance Security (VMS ???) twice a day - every day for the last 2-3 months. I filed a complaint with the FTC but to no avail. I'm often in a lot of pain so when I FINALLY fall asleep, I get a call from them 2-3 hours later. Then I can't fall back to sleep. I tried turning my ringer off & a close friend almost broke down my door because when I didn't answer the phone after a few hours, she thought I might be dead. So that didn't work! They always call early in the morning 8-9am then around 4:30-5:30 in the afternoon. About 3 times a week they also call in the evening 7:30-8:30pm. These start out as robocalls & then it sutomatically transfers to a live person. I've now spoken to them twice. After the first couple of weeks I talked to the live person, told them I already have a good security system & that I'm in the DNC registry. However they continued to call. After 2 1/2 months I again spoke to a person. Even tho the number is blocked on my caller ID, I acted like I was interested & tried to get any info from him. He would only give the name of the company (Alliance Security think VMS) but not a phone number or any other info. Then I told him the same thing re: DNC regitry, already have alarm system & he just laughed, told me my alarm was useless (I'm with ADT) & that he could call as much as he wanted & there was nothing I could do about it. I like the idea of a loud whistle or airhorn. Don't think it would stop any calls, but it might be a bit entertaining... put some fun in my life!
A few times a week I also get calls to lower my mortgage interest rate. I'm 69 & don't have a mortgage. I also get calls re: problem with my credit card interest. Pay them off every month so no probs. there either. Still get the calls anyway. In the last couple of weeks I've even rec'd. calls twice from a lady claiming to be from the IRS that they were trying to contact me re: legal action against me. I've dealt with the IRS in the past (probs. with my ex) & know they NEVER contact you by phone. They just freeze your assets & wait for you to contact them!
Its now 6pm & so far today I've received 8 robocalls - 2 from Alliance. THE DNC LIST & FTC ARE USELESS!!! Even tho they settled with VMS Security that hasn't stopped them - they're still at it. Fines aren't enough. Jail time would be more effective. Let them suffer the way they're making others suffer.

I just got a call from "Card Services" and pressed 9 to speak to a live operator just so that I could tell them off. Spoke to a woman with strong Indian accent who asked what card I would like to lower the interest on. I replied that I didn't have any credit cards and just wanted to inform her that I was on the do not call list and would be reporting this call and hung up on her. The phone number had the same first 6 digits as my cell phone. I think besides reporting to the do not call registry (pretty useless seeing as how they can now make any caller ID show up on your phone) I'll be getting one of those dollar store emergency air horns to use on them. Good luck to someone from India suing be for their blown out eardrums.

They get around the do not call list by calling from diffrent numbers same company it least that is what they are doing to me daily it is from a company called Home Protection they are on my nerves

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