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

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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.

Comments

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.

Problem is that I have to drop what I am doing to go to the phone to see on caller ID who is calling. This is distracting and time consuming. Not answering is not a solution to this problem!

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

I have registered with the DNC website and have been reporting violation, now all of a sudden when I try to report a number, it says the page cannot be displayed or the sever at complaints.donotcall.gov cannot be found because the DNS lookup failed?????? Anyone know what this means?

There may have been a temporary problem with the server. The site (donotcall.gov) is working now.

If they call me again I am going to say I WANT the "free" security system and then do everything I can to waste their time and money starting with giving them a fake address over and over wasting their time driving around and knocking on the wrong doors. I HATE these calls already. Its game on now.

Wonder if any way to stop the one ring call. These people call a let the phone ring once or hang up a soon the call is pick up. If one calls back, they start their business. This way they circumvent the Do No Call law stating that you call them. I don't call back, but if they keep calling I'll hide my ID number and give them a !@#$%^&*! 5 second rap and hang up.

2015. I got so tired of the 12 to 15 calls a day, although being on the Do Not Call Registry, that I made my own answering message. It states that I am a member of the DNC Registry and to remove my name from their calling list and do NOT leave a message. I am getting fewer calls and NO messages from these callers. My sister liked the idea and did the same thing.

I think I get more calls now than before I registered with the do not call list. We get 8 to 10 a day and of course a lot are the political robo calls which I understand can't be blocked under the do not call list. That law needs to change. We should not let politicians have a loop hole in the law when they are some of the most annoying. At the suggestion of users on another site, I have just purchased the Panasonic phone that blocks up to 250 calls, but with the number of calls we get, it will be full in a year. I have been blocking all the calls getting by my do not call registerymand still get about 3-4 a day. It is unbelievable.

I have been getting "scammer" calls for years on my cell & landline. I've reported to the DNC list and the FCC/FTC - to no avail. I feel nothing is being done because it would cost too much money to find these criminals. The FTC/FCC have bigger fish to fry. You can block all the calls you want but there are millions of "disposable" phone numbers so the scammers just use a different number every day.

This should be a major concern - if spammers can call anonymously, obviously the technology exists for terrorists to call each other anonymously. Is it too much money to deal with a national security issue?

Are there any protections beyond the DNC Registry for individuals suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia or other types of mental disease? Currently, there are a variety of exemptions within the DNC Registry that still allow for political, fundraising and other types of robocalls and telemarketing sales scams. Does the FTC have a position on this type of predatory practice? Could this be considered under UDAP? And if so, why hasn't there been rules implemented to allow for further protections?

If you get repeated calls from the same number, your phone company may be able to block that number. Ask if there is a fee for the service. 

If you get unwanted calls from many different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users, and find out whether the service costs money.

The FTC has sued hundreds of companies and individuals for placing unwanted calls. The FTC is leading several initiatives to develop technology-based solutions. The initiatives include a series of robocall contests that challenge tech gurus to design tools that block robocalls and help investigators track down and stop robocallers. We also encourage industry efforts to combat caller ID spoofing.

Not much, especially when scammers are factored in. My SIL ended up having to get custodianship — and even after that, could not effectively block the unwanted calls, because she worked and wasn’t around him every minute. Family member was scammed out of more than $10,000, and got on FBI’s radar himself shortly before dying — of the brain injury that had caused his poor judgment (which in turn the phone co had refused to take measures to help protect him from).

Forget any advice you get and just mess around with whoever calls you. No one is going to stop this or help you. You might as well have some fun with them and waste their time like they are wasting yours. If you practice you can get quite good at it. You know you're doing well when they threaten you or use profanity. The trick is to string them along and make them think you're interested. My record is 10 calls back to IRS scammers before the blocked my number. Most times the number called from is junk but sometimes they work and pick up. Most of those numbers are already posted on line with others previous experience. This will give you a leg up so you can get a story together before you call them back. Good luck, now off to mess with the spam I get.

Make sure that BEFORE using your air horn blast, you talk very quietly so that they turn up their volume and listen more closely... then BLAST THEM!!! ;)

I pick up the phone and either cut them off without a word or put the phone down and go about my business. I hear them trying to hang up but it takes them several tries to cut the connection so they can't use their phone for a short while.

Well done. Thumbs up!

This does not work,a company that was sued by the government but not required to pay the suit has called me every day at least once ,sometimes after 9 pm as well.I am on their do not call list as well.the company is Alliance Security

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Contact your local congressmen and senators to demand that they create and generate a law that requires all telecommunication and internet providers to flip on the tracking switch which would prevent people from "spoofing" their numbers so they can be tracked. This would prevent many telemarketers if they know they can be tracked down when they ignore the DNC list and be sued.

Yeah it is that simple, I spoke with verizon, comcast, cablevision, sprint higher level techs and they all agreed this is what would be required for me to be able to trace the numbers that call me using VOIP technology which is often used to spoof the number they are calling from showing a different number on their caller id.

It gives no information on how to identify any telemarketer who has "Unavailable" in your phone's caller-ID registry. Until that is done you can't register a complaint. hence this info is worthless.

My service provider tells me the FCC mandate they can no longer offer selective call rejection. Why ?

Please contact your service provider about your question. If the service provider is responding to a mandate from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) the provider should be able to tell you more.

I am sick of this...I have better things to do with my time than answer telemarketing calls and I certainly have better things to do then to report at least 6 calls every day that have called me even though I am ON the do not call list and have been for nearly a year now. Plus these health care calls are off the hook and are not held to the donotcall rules they can call you all they want non stop and they do just that..in the past 6 months I have 356 phone numbers blocked mostly from healthcare sales agents...they are relentlessly harassing me and I have no way to stop it...I am so fed up with Obama care I could SCREAM!

My question is with regard to the companies that HIRE these scofflaws. Why is it that they are not held accountable?

Ahhh but they are see FCC 13-54 aka VICARIOUS LIABILITY. Now, go get 'em!

I got a new cell phone with a different company and the next day I started to get calls from also from numbers that are all 'zeroes', others show up as 'unknown number'. Other number will say," this is an 'un-working' number that can't be connected". I don't know what that means and the "000-000-0000' number means ?

Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake or “spoof” caller ID information. They can make it look like they’re calling from a different place or phone number. Scammers use this trick as a way to get around call-blocking and hide from law enforcement. They hope you will be curious and pick up. Don’t fall for it.

These callers could be calling from anywhere in the world. We wrote about these kinds of tricks before — like when scammers pretended to be the IRS and faked caller ID so people thought it really was the IRS calling.

Is there an FTC forum we can contact to ask specific questions about telemarketing violations? I have been going after telemarketers in court but every once in a while, something comes up I need help with..thx

The FTC doesn't have a question and answer forum. You can file a complaint about a fraudulent telemarketer or call at FTC.gov/complaint.

Your best strategy would be to read the law as written, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. § 227). I used to do collections and customer service, and I don't know if anyone in the building even knew the rules about who we are and aren't allowed to call.

The latest trick by these telescum is for a "lead generator"telemarketer to ask for permission for their clientsto call. As I read the TCPA and TCR the permission given to the lead generator cannot
"transfer" over to the company and is therefore not valid and you can still go after the client for TCPA violations. Does anyone know anything different than this?

I've rec'd many calls. This is how you solve these calls, wrote to your state senator and include a copy of these postings. That's it but you have to follow through.

I have a list of 7 #s that I kept over the last week but when I went to the FCC website they only take one number. I left the other six in comments, but who knows.

Credit card scam from 631-638-5741
Same small set of people answer when that number is called but answers under different names hahahahahaha

This whole "do not call" was good for several years. The last 2 years it's been a joke. There is no end, no solution. Now you have to pay someone money to make it stop. They use to call (spoof) from my local area code, no it's from all over the country. Fix the phone system so they can't spoof numbers. What the FCC for?

I too am on the DO NOT CALL list but still get so many telemarketing calls from home security agencies and auto warranty companies....I finally started making a list of the numbers and putting them into a blocked contact folder on my phone so that those numbers don't get through. If anyone really needs to get in contact with me they will leave a voicemail and none of those annoying callers ever do!

The FCC sells blocks of area codes which has the no call numbers to companies supposedly for the use of these numbers not to call. This list is the no call list. But they are using it to actually use the numbers to call. This no call list does not work!!! The govt is making money off of it .

Hello people....after getting abused on my home and cell phones everyday, maybe as many as ten times a day. I now simple go through the process and have them send either a home protection, window and door installer or a solar panel gentlemen to my home. Whatever they are selling. When the person comes I politely ask them to leave!!! LOL Makes me feel good!!!!!!

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