—>Reader Brian says that he's getting weird scammy calls about "lowering his interest rates" and would like to know what he should do about it.
The recorded message said I urgently need to talk to someone about my credit card. It then assured me that there was no problem with my accounts, but I need to talk to someone about lowering my interest rates. All very serious business. It then said my options were to press 1 for a rep or 2 to be removed.
My phone number has been on the do not call registry for years. I've tried telling them that before, and they just hang up. So this time, I asked for information about the company. The rep said I had to join their services to get that. So I asked for a manager. The rep said "ok" then hung up on me. The only information I have now is the phone number, and a company name of "Card Services" or "Card Service".
Can you clarify what rules they've broken (auto-dialers, pre recorded messages, grossly misleading messages)? What can I do better to get myself removed from their call lists? Pressing 2, threatening with the do not call registry stuff, etc doesn't work.
Here is the letter I e-mailed to (email@example.com) Today...
I would like to report that we are getting an increasing number of phone calls that sound like scams form several different parties. The one we received today 03-28-11 was from a person who sounded like a woman. She was very hard to understand. But it sounds like she said her name was Shawn Watkins. She claimed to be a Process Server and supposedly was looking for a Sandra Sims. She made threats about Mrs Sims being hauled into Court for a matter that she was not clear what it was suppose to really be about. She gave a case number, as all of these types of calls do. The number was 275596 and the Phone number she left was, 866-675-4055. It is very obvious that they knew they were not calling Mrs Sims, since our name is Bishop and we are listed in the Phone Directory. We get these calls often for names and people we have never heard of. I never answer these calls or call them back. Because the result of talking to these people is just more calls and they usually just make me mad for a long time after talking to them with their rude and deceptive behavior. They try to use these lies to get people to call them back and then who know what kind of Scam they will come up with if you talk to them! This is getting Ridiculous! Can you do anything to stope this? I have uploaded an MP3 Audio file of the message, you can download the file at, ftp://bishopco.homeip.net/pub/Phone-messege-Shawn-Winters-Process-Server-for-Sandra-Sims-866-675-4055-claim-275596-Sterio/Phone-messege-Shawn-Winters-Process-Server-for-Sandra-Sims-866-675-4055-claim-275596-Sterio.mp3
National Do Not Call Registry
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
THE NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.
Attention sellers and telemarketers: Go to https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov to subscribe to the National Do Not Call Registry.
If you are an exempt organization, and you wish to scrub your call lists, you may subscribe, but are not required to do so.
Pursuant to its authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the FCC established, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a national Do-Not-Call Registry. The registry is nationwide in scope, applies to all telemarketers (with the exception of certain non-profit organizations), and covers both interstate and intrastate telemarketing calls. Commercial telemarketers are not allowed to call you if your number is on the registry, subject to certain exceptions. As a result, consumers can, if they choose, reduce the number of unwanted phone calls to their homes.
You can register your phone numbers for free, and they will remain on the list until you remove them or discontinue service – there is no need to re-register numbers.
The Do-Not-Call registry does not prevent all unwanted calls. It does not cover the following:
Subscribers may register their residential telephone number, including wireless numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call registry by telephone or by Internet at no cost.
Consumers can register on-line for the national do-not-call registry by going to www.donotcall.gov. To register by telephone, consumers may call 1-888-382-1222: for TTY call 1-866-290-4236. You must call from the phone number you wish to register.
Telemarketers and sellers are required to search the registry at least once every 31 days and drop from their call lists the phone numbers of consumers who have registered. For more information, see: Industry
In addition to the establishment of a national Do-Not-Call Registry, there are other amendments to the Commission's rules implementing the TCPA that may reduce the number of telemarketing calls to your home:
Filing a Do-Not-Call Complaint
In addition to complaints alleging violations of the national do-not-call list, you may also file a complaint against a telemarketer who is calling for a commercial purpose (e.g., not charitable organizations) IF:
How to File a Complaint
You can file a complaint by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, by fax to 1-866-418-0232, via our electronic complaint form at http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm, or mail. For the FCC to process your complaint you must either fill in the electronic form completely or otherwise indicate:
If mailing a complaint, send it to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer Private Right of Action
Information for Business
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to give consumers a choice about whether they want to receive most telemarketing calls. As of October 1, 2003, it is illegal for most telemarketers or sellers to call a number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Who May or May Not Call?
- How Does It Work?
- FTC information and documents
- Definitions (Organizations, Authorized Representative, Certification, Subscriptions, EIN/SSN, Area Codes)
- Subscription Renewal Information
- Email Addresses
- Assistance / Help Desk
- Limits on use
- Accessing telephone numbers and downloading files
- File formats (Flat text, XML tagged)
- Exempt Organizations
- Paying by Direct Debit/Electronic Funds Transfer
- Subscribing to Area Codes
If you are behind in paying your bills, you can expect to hear from a debt collector. A debt collector is someone, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to someone else. Lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis are considered debt collectors, too.
What You Need to Know
You have rights: Federal law requires that debt collectors treat you fairly. In short, that means:
- A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax, but may not contact you at inconvenient times or places – for example, before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m – unless you agree. A debt collector may not contact you at work if the collector is aware that your employer prohibits it.
- If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people only to find out your address, your phone number, and where you work.
- A debt collector may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact about you.
- A debt collector may not lie or mislead anyone when collecting a debt.
The FTC at WorkDebt collectors generate more complaints to the FTC than any other industry group. In its lawsuits alleging illegal debt collection practices, the FTC has been able to ban some debt collectors from the debt collection business forever, and has gotten millions of dollars back for consumers.
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- Dealing with Debt Collection - Money Matters from the Federal Trade Commission
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- How To Report Do Not Call List Scofflaws To The Proper Authorities - The Consumerist
- Q&A: The National Do Not Call Registry
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