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FTC Targets Massive Car Warranty Robocall Scheme 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the hopefully-with-bombs dept.
coondoggie writes "Robocalls are a scourge, and the Federal Trade Commission today took action against one outfit by asking a federal court to shut down companies that have been bombarding consumers with hundreds of millions of allegedly deceptive robocalls in an effort to sell vehicle service contracts. According to the FTC, the robocalls have prompted tens of thousands of complaints from consumers who are either on the Do Not Call Registry or asked not to be called. Five telephone numbers associated with the defendants have generated a total of 30,000 Do Not Call complaints. Consumers received the robocalls at home, work, and on their cell phones, sometimes several times in one day. Businesses, government offices and even 911 dispatchers also have been subjected to the calls, the FTC said." Reader powerlord points out that another such company, not named in the FTC filing, raised the ire of thousands of internet-goers, who struck back by rickrolling the company's voice mail and digging up personal information on the company's president.
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FTC Targets Massive Car Warranty Robocall Scheme

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  • How about.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:05PM (#27975425)
    How about making it so all telemarketers have to register a certain caller ID that say would be (C)*insert name of company here*, then it would be trivial to block all corporate calls. Thus making it easy to have a caller ID filter to purchase to block all telemarketer calls. This would be a lot easier than the do not call list, more effective and wouldn't censor anyone.
    • Re:How about.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bstreiff (457409) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:08PM (#27975451)

      How about making it so all telemarketers have to register a certain caller ID that say would be (C)*insert name of company here*, then it would be trivial to block all corporate calls. Thus making it easy to have a caller ID filter to purchase to block all telemarketer calls. This would be a lot easier than the do not call list, more effective and wouldn't censor anyone.

      These people are already blatantly ignoring the Do Not Call list. Why would they bother to give a legitimate caller ID string?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        ...Because its a lot easier to convict them and a whole lot easier to find out what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. With a do not call list, its possible that they accidentally dialed the wrong number, didn't have an up to date version, etc. Then the mess that is the do not call list adds to the problem.

        A simple string would take all excuses away and make it simpler for the FTC to do its job.
      • Re:How about.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pawstar (930281) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:20PM (#27975539)
        ... because the phone company would have to provide the legitimate string. Simple solution, make it illegal for phone companies to spoof caller id.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hyppy (74366)
          Caller ID can be spoofed by the end user. There are products out there that you can buy to do it, though the names escape me at the moment.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            To elaborate on what the AC posted. The phone company knows who makes calls, but the end user doesn't. The phone company just doesn't care and won't respond to complaints unless they are forced to by the police or government. The police won't get involved unless they get complaints from the phone company. The government won't get involved unless...

            Notice a trend here? These have been my personal anecdotal experiences anyways.

            • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:02AM (#27976417)

              The phone company should care, but does not. They get paid per usage and they simply do not care what the usage is.

              All the circuits are theirs - they know who every single line belongs to. They sure don't miss a beat when it's time to send out the bills, do they? This number made these calls, and here's your bill. They have this information in their database - it's necessary for billing. They're great at that part, aren't they?

              But they'll turn a blind eye when someone dials out from 111-222-3333 claiming to be 333-222-1111. No problems there sir, just so long as you pay your bill. Fucking jerks.

              The only reason someone would spoof their caller id is if they are up to no good. These fucking robodialers do exactly that because they know they're annoying people. They know it, or they'd be more up front about what they're doing. Listening to that smarmy asshole at Auto One trying to justify his business practices is disgusting. If you're so on the up-and-up, Mr. Tabb, then quit spoofing your outbound number, you jackass.

              And the phone company is their direct accomplice.

              Not difficult at all to have their system screen out spoofed calls:

              if(outbound_number!=customer_number)
              {
              disconnect_line();
              play(busy_tone);
              }

              There you go, I won't even charge a consulting fee.

              Now go do it, phone companies.

              • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

                by choco (36913) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:54AM (#27976587) Homepage

                I don't know about the USA, but can say that this would be completely impractical in the UK.

                For various complex reasons, major users in the UK (like call centres) frequently buy their incoming telephony and outgoing telephony from completely different companies. It's not uncommon to have several companies providing each. The incoming numbers used may not even belong to the call centre. It is increasingly common for these to be allocated and routed dynamically in real time.

                (This is exactly the service my company provides - to known, legitimate customers).

                There's no way that the outgoing Telco is going to be able to unscramble or keep up with this.

              • At my former company we got fed ANI *automatic number identification* which is a whole heap load different than what caller id is.

                We could not be spoofed, it just doesn't happen.

                No all caller id services are created equal. The fact that your local provider is more likely playing with it versus "evil long distance company". I guarantee that AT&T or whomever had it nationally past it on to the local. The local filtered it. What your getting as a spoof is probably some trick which passes through just t

            • MOD PARENT UP!

              First sensible comment. The state and federal governments have been doing NOTHING, for YEARS, about this scam. When I tried to report the scam, someone in the Oregon state government just laughed, happily telling me that the attorney general's office had gotten many, many complaints.

              During the years of the Bush administration, the government became extremely disfunctional, in my opinion.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It gets worse than simply ignoring the Do Not Call list. You see, in order to be compliant with government regulations, legitimate marketing firms need to purchase an annual subscription to the DNC list. They then need to purge from their prospect list any number appearing in the DNC list.

        Unfortunately, the government sells this list to anyone who asks; thus, Russian telemarketing companies sometimes buy the DNC list as a source of pre-verified, valid phone numbers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Toonol (1057698)
          That's close, but not strictly true. They are allowed to telemarket individuals with whom they have an established business relationship with, regardless of whether they're on the list or not. I believe that is defined as an order or a inquiry within the last 12 months. If they limit their calling to that subset, they do not need a DNC subscription.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I was referring strictly to cold-target marketing (that is, contacting people who don't have a prior business relationship with the company). Hence my use of the word "prospect" in "prospect list" - as in, a list of prospective clients.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Drathos (1092)

          I guarantee that all the loophole groups (charities, political groups, etc.) do that. Before signing up for the DNC, I almost never got called by them. Now I get several calls a day from them. And that's in addition to the "dead line" calls I now get.

      • There are issues with these calls even if they are legitimate.

        I can look up Jim Smith in the phone book and assume he has a visa.

        "Hello, is this Jim Smith"
        "This is Jerry calling from Mastercard. We see recent unusual activity on your Mastercard and are concerned that you may be a victim of credit card fraud. We see 14 purchases in the past 24 hours totalling $2200"
        "I understand your concern Jim, that is why we are calling - please calm down sir. Unfortunately, due to privacy laws and to confirm whom I am
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alex Belits (437) *

          NONE of those calls are legitimate. Credit card companies simply block the card and wait until the customer notices and calls them.

          • Re:How about.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by AuMatar (183847) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:41PM (#27975997)

            Wrong. I get called once every few months by my visa card due to something that sets off their software. It hasn't been real identity theft yet, but they do call you before shutting off the card. Shutting off the card is done if they can't contact you.

            But yes, it's safest not to believe it when someone calls you. I always hang up and then call the number on the back of my card to make sure I'm talking to the CC company. The last few times I did that they forwarded my call directly to fraud without going through voicemail, despite just calling the general customer support number- they must have had the phone number on the card flagged.

            • by cgenman (325138)

              Visa used to call me about gas purchases... I didn't have a car, but I'd fill up friend's tanks occasionally. I'd get a call asking if this was something I had meant to do, and I'd say yes. Or I'd miss that call, and have to call them back when I couldn't use the card.

              They always just instantly re-instated the same card, since there was no fraud.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

              Wrong. I get called once every few months by my visa card due to something that sets off their software. It hasn't been real identity theft yet, but they do call you before shutting off the card. Shutting off the card is done if they can't contact you.

              Your experience is limited. Banks can and do shut your card down and then call you. I've had it happen a number of times when I've made online purchases - large ones late at night and foreign ones (DVD orders for non-domestic DVDs). They block the transaction, then they shut you down for any new transactions and then 8 hours later they robo-call you to tell you they shut you down and that you should call them back.

              In the many cases where it has happened to me it has been excessively stupid because I use

          • Re:How about.... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by v1 (525388) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:48PM (#27976037) Homepage Journal

            credit card companies (banks) watch account habits and WILL call you if you do something weird. My manager got a call last year from his bank asking if he was in the USA. There was someone at an atm in hong kong in the process of trying to guess his pin number.

            They don't verify anything really, they just plain cancel the card and will send you a new one with a new number. There's no reason for them to verify you ARE who you are, they're more interested in verifying the OTHER guy ISN'T you and cutting it off ASAP. Since they have your number and you're agreeing with them there's a problem, they don't need any more incentive.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        ...Kinda like spammers forging From: lines...

    • Re:How about.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Divebus (860563) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:50PM (#27975725)

      Anything which makes unwanted bells go off in my house by remote control is an invasion of my peace and quiet. Get some laws passed that allow the victim to hit #5 on their phone to charge the caller $5.00, then I'll be happy. If someone WANTS these calls, that's fine. Don't push #5. Most people don't want these calls and the victims should be able to instantly make these groups feel the pressure back in a big way.

      Groups like The American Teleservices Association [ataconnect.org] (rebranded to remove "Telemarketing" from their name) and The Direct Marketing Association [the-dma.org] talk U.S. Congressmen into passing laws which enable annoying, invasive and often fraudulent activities from this lowlife "industry". It's an industry to the extent that people get paid to ring bells in my house but jeez - earn a living some other way. Annoying everyone over the phone [I believe] is not an "industry" as the lobbyist associations claim. If there was money in ringing your doorbell and hitting people with buckets of paint ten times a day, I'm sure there would be a lobbyist group for that, too. Oh wait... that's PETA.

      • by SL Baur (19540)

        If someone WANTS these calls, that's fine. Don't push #5. Most people don't want these calls and the victims should be able to instantly make these groups feel the pressure back in a big way.

        The US cellphone system is as broken as SMTP (the cost of delivery lies on the recipient). If I had an option to charge US$ or block every call that I had not explicitly white listed, I would use it.

        Your first statement is so nice, I want to repeat it.

        Anything which makes unwanted bells go off in my house by remote control is an invasion of my peace and quiet.

        Amen! Brother Slashdotter.

        • by Divebus (860563)

          You are NOT new here, are you #19540? Tnx for the comment.

          It shouldn't take this long to figure out there's a pattern of abuse going on. Here's an alternate idea: let people dial something like #11 during a call which records the connection as an annoyance in a database. If a pattern of annoyance develops from a particular source, a red light lights on the FTC directors desk and he calls out the black helicopters.

          Nah... I'd rather have the $5.00.

      • by pentalive (449155)

        Yeah! you hit 5, your bill is reduced by $5.00 and the caller's bill is increased by $10.00 the other $5.00 is for the phone company. You can hit 5 about once a second until the other guy hangs up.

    • by pentalive (449155)

      I just got a call today that said "Car Warranty.." on the caller ID. I did not pick up.

  • These bastards have been calling my place of work for months. I always hit 1 and wasted their time for a few minutes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      OK, that's great about the warranty and stuff, but what I really want to know is... what are you wearing?

      • by SL Baur (19540)

        +1

        I suppose I should have asked the person I talked to what color of underwear she was wearing ...

      • Re:Hurray! (Score:4, Funny)

        by unlametheweak (1102159) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:13AM (#27976183)

        Telemarketer: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service.
        Sienfeld: Gee, I can't talk right now. Why don't you give me your home number and I'll call you later.
        Telemarketer: Uh, I'm sorry we're not allowed to do that.
        Sienfeld: Oh, I guess you don't want people calling you at home.
        Telemarketer: No.
        Sienfeld: Well now you know how I feel.

    • Re:Hurray! (Score:4, Funny)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:28PM (#27975589)
      I almost miss getting telemarketing calls. It was kinda fun to have someone that you can mess with and insult in most disgusting ways without feeling the least bit bad about it.
  • by blakedev (1397081) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:11PM (#27975485)
    Whenever I'm having a bad day I can just wait for their call and keep yelling obscenities and laughing like a twelve-year-old. In fact yesterday morning I got one and greeted with "PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS lol."
  • by Tmack (593755) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:14PM (#27975497) Homepage Journal
    One for my personal Cell phone back in march, two for my business cell in march and april. The calls clearly violate FCC regs by being completely automated, no mention of the company name, calling numbers already on the DNC, etc. The first call I opted to talk to a rep, when he connected and mumbled the name of the company, I asked his name and the company name, and he hung up. Second call I told them I was on the DNC, that I was filing a complaint and to make sure I was on their DNC as well. Third call I told them they were in violation as I was already on both the national DNC and theirs, the rep again hung up on me.

    If you get one of these types of calls, just go Here: http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm [fcc.gov] and fill out the form. In a week or two you get the print copy mailed to you of your filing.

    Im glad they are acting on these @holes.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Same here, on my cell phone for a vehicle that doesn't exist. So I reported it to the government via the website. I'm not positive, but I suspect it was the same outfit that's the article talks about.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:49PM (#27975715)

      x2. I get alternating calls from these guys and a company that wants to help me lower my rates.

      That said, the best thing you can do is waste their time. It's like Groundhog day. Every time they call I get to try something different.

      Sure warranty my 1969 VW beetle. Click
      Oh I don't carry a credit card balance. Click.
      *FCC*. Click
      vs
      Oh my Gawd. I'm so glad you called. So yesterday I was out shopping and my credit card got declined. Have you ever had your credit card declined, trust me it sucks. So how much can you lower my rates. [Cut them off] So that's great. So when do you think that I can get this rate actually implemented. I'm planning on proposing to my girlfriend, do you have a girlfriend. I'm so in love, she's going to love her ring. I just put it on layaway with the last $500 on my Visa. You do lower the rates of Visa right? [cut them off]. So. Oh, you need my number. Damn it, my card is out in the car. Can you hold for ONE second. Please. [set phone down for 5 minutes]. Hey are you still there? Great. So my card number is, hey wait a minute. Are you sure this is safe. One of my friends, John, yeah he got his credit card stolen through his pants. Some guy had this magic reader that you just need to brush up against someone and it steals the credit card.

      See how long you can keep it going...
      -
      That said, Today I just left my cell phone at home. I came home to 5 missed calls.

      I've filed both companies with the FCC, but the calls keep coming. I can't wait for both of these to stop.

  • by Weedhopper (168515) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:17PM (#27975519)

    For a few months, I had the vehicle warranty scammers calling me on my PREPAID mobile phone. That's actually abated somewhat. Funny, because I don't live in the US much and I don't own a car.

    Now, I think the same group is calling with health insurance. Repeatedly.

    Oh, I've had a few calls from random "IT support" tell me that they're calling me about my recent computer problems.

    Someone needs to nail these guys to the wall.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:27PM (#27975583) Homepage

    A newly-registered corporation with a very similar name comes along and uses the same offices/machines/employees to carry on the work...?

    • by dmomo (256005)

      Oh. Good point. Everyone. Call it off. Don't bother. Kill Joy has just made a revelation.

    • by Pinckney (1098477)

      The FTC is asking the court for Temporary Restraining Orders that would halt the illegal practices while the cases proceed, impose an asset freeze on all the defendants, and put two of the corporate defendants under the control of court-appointed receivers. The agency also is seeking a permanent injunction that would force the defendants to give up their ill-gotten gains so they can be used for consumer redress.

      I doubt the resources for such a scheme are trivial. So yes, this could make it impossible for them to finance a brand new corporation doing exactly the same thing. Maybe some of the lawyers in the audience can tell me if the above actions actually matter.

      • The assets are pretty modest. Underpaid, out of work people whom you pay late or forget to pay at all: office space you lease and forget to pay for: a phone bill you pay once, and then ignore, and if you're really industrial you buy one of these (http://www.sandstorm.net/products/phonesweep/) to war dial your entire target area codes and cut down on wasting employee time with faxes, computers, or phones that don't answer. (They're fascinating devices: the best wardialers I've seen on the market.)
    • by TheReaperD (937405) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:53PM (#27976075)

      Actually, they don't wait to get shut down, usually.

      I used to work for one of the top level (*cough*) product companies in this type of scam. I was too naive at the beginning of my employment to truly know what was happening. I learned really quick after the FTC paid a house call and quit the company. No charges were ever filed.

      In short, this is how the scam works: A company is selling suspect products, web pages, in my case (hey, it was the 1990s). The hire a shady parent telemarketing company who then sets up, or hires out, smaller boiler room telemarketing companies. These smaller companies are the ones actually placing the calls and rarely have much more than 50 employees. They sell the "product" and everybody takes a cut of the deal. The small companies are rotated out, as the parent post pointed out, with a similar company with the same office, equipment and employees under a new company name and official owner every 3-6 months. This is faster than the FTC and FCC can process complaint claims. When said government agencies question the upstream companies about the crooked deals, they point to the small boiler room company, now closed and with all it's paperwork destroyed, as the source of the criminal act and show the feds sham paperwork that states their "clearly legal guidelines that the rogue company clearly disregarded." Of course, everyone, at the managerial level, is in on the corrupt deal and are fully aware it's illegal. But, this shell game scam creates plausible deniability and prevents the government agencies from putting the top level companies out of business and their owners in jail.

      The owner of this "warranty" company in TFA sounds just like the boss at the company I used to work for and is likely just as guilty. The biggest problem is that this system works so well that you have to put some really suspect laws on the books to have any hope of going after the people really responsible as you can never prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were having proxy companies commit a crime for them unless they make a serious mistake.

      On a slightly related note: Why do government agencies never talk to the likely underpaid and abused file clerk(s) when they investigate a company? Why do they only interview the managers? The managers usually have a well prepared set of lies for the feds and self motivation not sell out the company. The file clerk(s), even if they've been given the company lie, will likely be more than willing to sell out the managers, especially if immunity and a cut of the fine are offered, and will have the documentation, if there is any, to back up any claims they make. (Guess what my position was at the web company?)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tuoqui (1091447)

        I think it's time to rethink the justice system.

        Innocent Until Proven Guilty = Only for living breathing human beings.
        Guilty Until Proven Innocent = Only for fictional corporate personhood.

        Make it more easy to go after the execs responsible for disregarding the laws and hold them responsible for the acts of the company they've signed off on. (IE. Sending their telemarketing to these suspect telemarketing companies for example).

  • Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ogive17 (691899) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:29PM (#27975595)
    I've been getting calls on my cell phone and my work phone (many other people in my office have been getting calls too). Funny thing is I have a company car that is only a year old, I doubt the warranty is running out, especially since my company BUILT the car.

    I actually called the number back to figure out what the scam was, the guy on the other side asked me for my auto information. I told him that since he called me up, he should already know what my information is. Then the guy hung up on me.

    I hope there is a public lynching.
    • by bendodge (998616)

      I told him that since he called me up, he should already know what my information is. Then the guy hung up on me.

      I had the exact same experience. How dumb do they expect people to be?

  • Please fuck them up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:37PM (#27975653) Journal
    And do it hard. You'll have every single person in Canada thanking you. You see, we, too, have a Do Not Call list. Highly publicized, and for a while, highly effective. Until the CRTC (it's like the FTC with a missing chromosome that drank lead paint as a child) decided to sell the list to anyone who would give them a piece of hard candy. This included every single spammer, scammer and fuckbot. A few months ago, everyone in Canada got barraged by these exact same calls. Our CRTC then said "durrr, well, they'se in the States, so we won't do anything about it beaver poutine Mulrouny."

    So the Do Not Call list became "Cheap list of verified numbers for people who can give you money but whose government can't arrest you."

    So as the title says, please, when you find them, make an example out of them. Call them terrorists. We'll agree then look the other way!

    • So the Do Not Call list became "Cheap list of verified numbers for people who can give you money but whose government can't arrest you."

      I always figured it like this-- the Do Not Call list has certain exceptions [fcc.gov]-- political calls (of course), charities, and companies with whom you've done business (e.g., even though you cancel AT&T, they continue with the "please switch back" calls), non-profits, etc. There may be even more exceptions [ca.gov] (like local businesses within 50 miles of your home, etc.) for you

      • FWIW, Google Voice is essentially a poor man's call router. Totally free except for Google keeping a record of all your phone calls.
        I have never had a robo-call, or in fact any other unwanted call, get past the system and make my phone ring. Somedays I'll check the log of hang-ups and just smile.

  • by jenkin sear (28765) * on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:45PM (#27975701) Homepage Journal

    Holy crap, the FTC did NOTHING until more than 30,000 complaints were received. You'd think the threshold would be a hell of a lot lower. Your tax money at work- thanks assholes.

    • Agreed. What the FUCK took them so long?

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      Honestly, that doesn't bother me that much. The U.S. has more than 330MM people; 30,000 is less than 1% of 1% of that.

      What number do you feel is fine for acting on something this minor? 10,000? 1,000? 1% of 1% of 1%? If you have a hard number, how did you decide that? When the FTC director (or a relative) gets one of these calls himself?

      I'm sure a variety of groups could get 30,000 people together to do any number of things or file complains; anything from religious sects to lobby groups. I'd actually be

  • by notthepainter (759494) <oblique@@@alum...mit...edu> on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:47PM (#27975707) Homepage

    I always take the call. Listen politely and tell them that yes, I do want to extend my car's warranty. They ask for my VIN and I say I have to go outside to get it.

    Then I put the call on hold and get back to work. They actually often call back and I take the call, telling them that I'm still looking for my registration.

    Then I put the call on hold and get back to work.

    You don't want to be abusive to the person making the call. I have a friend who had no other job options and worked for firms like that. Often these people are either just trying to make ends meet, or just need a mindless job so they can concentrate on college. (My friend later went on to get his PhD.)

    By doing this they person making the call can't even get in trouble, you are doing exactly what they are asking you to do, and clearly that can take a 1 minute or two. But this does cost the company money.

    • That is very similar to what I do when I get one of those automated calls. You know, "We are selling xxx, if you are interested leave your name and a number we can reach you at at the tone." I always used to get these calls at work. I would give an easily remembered name and my work number. Then when they called back, "Oh, I'm sorry, he just stepped out. He should be back in 15 minutes." I got one of them to call back 3 times.
  • Vigilantism (Score:5, Interesting)

    Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal,[...] warns that consumers should "avoid breaking the law simply for revenge."

    When people feel that injustice has been done, then justice must either be provided or else the will make their own.

    Saying that vigilantism is always wrong or "against the law" is no use if no other alternative is provided to those with legitimate grievance. Unfortunately our legal systems have evolved, and continue to evolve, into artifices that deny their services to the ordinary person. The courts are a closed club, open only to those with inordinate amounts of money and influence.

    Faced with this growing reality, it shouldn't be surprising when people take matters into their own hands. The sad fact is that these web vigilantes didn't another more acceptable legal route because they knew full well how futile it would be. Little people often have to make their own justice nowadays.

    "The Internet is evolving, and is allowing for groups of people to do their own justice socially," says Mr. Silveira.

    And now they have the means to do it.

  • by feepness (543479) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:54PM (#27975755) Homepage
    Do you wish to look as happy as me? Well, you've got the power inside you right now. So, use it, and send one dollar to Happy Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield.

    Don't delay, eternal happiness is just a dollar away.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:01PM (#27975775) Homepage Journal
    Those calls are so much fun! When they call, I tell them that I want to renew the extended warranty on my 1974 Dodge Dart. And I don't take no for an answer. Everytime they say something about why they can't do that I reply as if they said yes. I keep asking them what the renewal fee is, and then "ok, so let's go ahead and renew the warranty on the '74 Dodge," etc. etc. Sometimes the calls go on for five or six minutes. It's exhilarating to actually get a telespammer to hang up on you!
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:12PM (#27975847)

    for a 1963 Opel Kadett.

    I told them I was planning a trip across Botswana, and I wanted to make sure the vehicle was covered.

    Those bastards hung up on me.

  • This is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir Holo (531007) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:12PM (#27975851)
    This is why I just cancelled my land line.

    Verizon has made money for years played the middle man in the arms race against invasive calls. They sell my name/number, then try to sell me *69, then sell them blocking, then try to sell me....

    Nuts to them.
    • Re:This is why... (Score:5, Informative)

      by BriggsBU (1138021) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:21PM (#27975889)
      Problem is that these guys are calling cell phone and such as well.
    • They do it on my cell phone, too, both personal and business. The phone company makes money either way for these business calls: if they didn't make money, they'd be much more aggressive about interfering with these services. Unfortunately, it's like the US Post Office and Land's End catalogs: they're happy to waste your time to collect a slightly profitable, bulk business fee from a reliable customer.
  • I got called on my *office* phone number over this.

    My conversation with them went something like this:

    Me: Who are you? (In the very gruff Steve voice)
    Them: Auto Warranty company.
    Me: Why are you calling me? (In a gruffer tone)
    Them: Because your car warranty is about to expire.
    Me: That's nice, but I don't own a car.
    Them: Um, er, does anyone else in your household own a car?
    Me: No and we don't live in the United States.
    Them: Um, er, we'll put you on our "Don't Call" list. (hangup)

    Of course the source

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:25PM (#27975915) Homepage
    i misread this as a "robocop" scheme, anticipating warranties to come with the ultimatum "you have 20 seconds to comply."
  • How about this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:39PM (#27975987) Homepage
    I'm in favor of the death penalty for making even ONE telemarketing call. Kill a few of them and maybe the others will get the message.

    Yes, this is a serious proposal. Anybody else with me?
  • These guys have been leaving voicemail on my SkypeIn number. I guess my laptop's car warranty has expired.

  • Piss off a Senator (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidD_CA (750156) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:43AM (#27976337) Homepage

    Did anyone notice that this didn't become an issue for the FCC until a senator bitched?

    Apparently he (?) got quite a few of these calls at home too, and alerted someone at the FCC about it. It wasn't until then that FCC took action.

  • His history spells it out clearly enough. The article in which he gives an interview offers up ALL kinds of denial that he was aware of this that or the other and ended up paying a small fine for the practices of his contractors. As far as I can tell, he's still doing it and still paying the contractors. He is aware of what they are doing and has not stopped using their services. And his previous criminal business history suggests that he is an habitual offender who doesn't give a rat's ass about pissin

  • by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:22AM (#27976511)

    I have often thought that someone needs to make a gizmo that you could install on your phone line that would automatically answer all incoming calls and say "Press *random number* to complete this call." If the random number is not pressed within ten seconds, or the wrong number is pressed, then the recipient's phones would never be allowed to ring.

    That should defeat robocalls.

  • SIT Status tone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tengu1sd (797240) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @04:38AM (#27977231)
    I was getting way to many calls on my cell number. Rather than be frustrated, I downloaded the out of service [wikipedia.org] tone and have it cued to quick playlist. When I get unrecognized calls now, I play the standard disconnect message. This has been way more effective than asking to be on the do not call list.

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