I wanted to update you on some information I found in regards to the problems I was having with harassing phone calls last week. Consider this my personal public service announcement!
After I called the FTC and Verizon on Thursday I didn't get anymore calls. All day Friday went by without getting any calls until almost 5:00PM. Of course, it happened when I was in the bathroom. No message left, but I decided to get the phone number via *69. Then I decided to try and call it. My call went to a print shop in Florida! I told the woman why I was calling and that her phone number had been "spoofed". She wasn't aware of any issue and didn't even know what spoofing was. I explained to her that someone else was using her phone number to show up on caller ID so that they could call people for illegal purposes. She was shocked and said she would have to tell her husband about it. She was very nice about it and thanked me.
I decided out of curiosity to type her number in to a search engine. Holy cow! Her phone number along with several others have been used over and over again to hound people. It led me to a site called "Pissedconsumer.com". The main purpose of the site is to register complaints with companies, but there were quite a few with issues over this scam. Unfortunately not a lot of the people realized it was a scam. They thought it was a legitimate company called "Health Enrollment Center". IT IS NOT!
There are several scams going around that are run in a similar manner that I thought I would also make you aware of. One of the older ones is a recording telling you that "you can lower your credit card interest rate" and sends you to a menu to talk to a customer service representative. I finally got rid of this one a while back by waiting to talk to a representative and chewing them out royally. Another one is a call you get from someone claiming to be "Windows Support" or "Microsoft Support". When I challenged this guy, he got very indignant with me and swore at me!!! I haven't gotten one of those in a while either. I guess if they suck you in though, they will actually ask for access to your computer and totally mess it up. I personally find it hard to believe that anyone falls for any of these, but they do, everyday. That's why these scumbags keep doing it.
How to fight back? Good question! All of these calls are originating outside of the US and using the spoofing software to make it look like they are calling from here. Because they aren't actually from the US, law enforcement can't do a thing about it. But there is nothing that says we can't be mean and nasty to them when they call. I personally will be making horrible (and I mean horrible) comments to any future callers. I'm not going to go in to what I'm going to say, but I've got a whole list of things I've been working on. A late friend of mine used to play a game with telemarketers and he would start asking them all kinds of questions that he knew they wouldn't be able to answer. He said they would usually get exasperated and hang up. My all time favorite was a friend who used to get all kinds of telemarketer calls at the office she worked at. She figured that if they thought nothing of wasting her time, she thought nothing of wasting their time. She would tell them that "Harold" handled anything like that and would they please hold. Sometimes they would just hang up then, but some of the more persistent ones would agree to it, and she would put them on hold, INDEFINITELY! The best part of this was they would eventually hang up, but then try again later--and when they called back they would ask for Harold! This clued her in immediately that they were a telemarketer, so she would put them on hold again. I thought this was one of the most ingenious things. And "Harold" is hanging out somewhere with Keyzer Soze laughing his head off ;)
Something else I wanted to warn you about too--beware of the call that comes through where the caller ID is your own number! I've not personally had that happen, but I know of someone else who did and apparently this isn't all that unusual either. They are using some sort of software to do this as well.
Once again I just want to emphasize, DO NOT give out any information about yourself to these people. They are trying to gain credit card numbers, social security numbers and anything else they can get their grubby little hands on so that they can ruin your credit and perhaps steal your identity or your money.
Please feel free to pass these posts along to anyone who you think might be able to use this information. This is annoying beyond belief. After reading some of the complaints I consider myself lucky, some of these people have been getting literally 60 calls in an hour from these losers, unbelievable! I've actually thought of telling the next one that calls and asks for me that "she's dead, she had a heart attack running for the phone" just to see what they say. If anything new happens with this, I'll be sure to post about it. And if you have found a way to get it to stop or have anything to add as a way of perhaps stopping this, please post it to the comments. Thanks!