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April 25, 2007 9:40 AM   Subscribe

The phone is ringing, and I don't recognize the number, All Caller ID says is, "NAME UNAVAILABLE". Please help me figure out who is calling and what they want (about whocalled.us) Reviews: Wired's Kevin Poulsen, Lifehacker, O'Reilly Radar's Tim O'Reilly, ZDNet's Phil Windley, BoingBoing's David Pescovitz, and Yahoo's Christopher Null
posted by acro (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also 800notes.com
posted by acro at 9:41 AM on April 25, 2007


U.S. national 'Do - not - call' list
posted by acro at 9:43 AM on April 25, 2007


(previously at ask)
posted by acro at 9:45 AM on April 25, 2007


what... the... hell...?!?
posted by slater at 9:48 AM on April 25, 2007


Wow.
posted by peep at 9:50 AM on April 25, 2007


I don't get it...
posted by davehat at 9:50 AM on April 25, 2007


This post is very strange for a variety of reasons. But one of them is that I've personally been crank called several times by one of these guys (Kevin Poulsen, and I wasn't the only one by a long shot) back before he went to jail for various phreaking activities.
posted by Manjusri at 9:53 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is really good, no? We don't have stuff like this in Sweden to battle the war of phone terror.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2007


I like whocalled.us, too, but this post just seems...loud. Too many links to basically the same information. Maybe it's just me, but with posts over a sentence in length, I like at least some of the text not to be a link.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:02 AM on April 25, 2007


This post is about a website, whocalled.us, which allows people to input the caller-id-revealed phone numbers from strange or unsolicited calls, see if those numbers are also calling other people, and comment upon the calls. The FPP is a collection of links of other places where people have found the website and commented upon it. HTH.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:02 AM on April 25, 2007


Yeah, we figured it out. We just don't like it (speaking for myself and the rest of the WTFs).

The post would have been just as good with only the first link.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2007


I cleaned up the post a bit.

I found a great use for this just this week, when some douchebag survey company started calling me every night at 7pm. I'm on the Do Not Call List, so it's the only telemarketer that's bothered me in months. Turns out they have a long history at whocalled.us.
posted by mathowie at 10:06 AM on April 25, 2007


this is just about the most quintessential definition of "noise" that I can conceive of. (I'm sure someone will top it, but for this microsecond in time it is noisy noise)
posted by edgeways at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2007


THNX.
posted by acro at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2007


OK, so now I've switched off some firefox skype extension thing on this (borrowed) PC, I can finally see how the site works...

The Dove Foundation sound like a bunch of pricks.
posted by davehat at 10:19 AM on April 25, 2007


To think, all this time I've been finding out who's calling me by answering the phone. Like a sucker.
posted by Wonderwoman at 10:21 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


"To think, all this time I've been finding out who's calling me by answering the phone. Like a sucker."

hehe... my thought exactly.. I look at the number, if I'm curious I answer..

I guess I should have:

1. Looked at the number
2. Wondered who it was
3. Booted up the computer
4. Booted up Firefox
5. Clicked on this link
6. Searched for the number
7. Waited on a slower than shit web site
8. Found out who it was
9. Attempted to find a call back number
10. Called to ask that they not call


posted by HuronBob at 10:28 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Back 6-7 years ago, when I was working from home and still had a land-line, there were a few months where I'd get a weird phone call every few days. It'd go:
Me: Hello?
Them: May I speak with Jerry?
Me: That's me.
Them: ::CLICK::
or, alternatively:
Me: Hello, this is Jerry...?
Them: ::CLICK::
The call would come at any time of day, different callers every time, and they'd hang up before I could say "Please don't call here anymore." The best I could figure was they were meta-telemarketers -- that is, they were mapping out the best times to call me to sell that information to actual telemarketers.

That's my theory, anyhow.
posted by LordSludge at 10:30 AM on April 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


One thing that stands out from the comments at whocalled.us, the large number of 'empty line' calls... speculation that it's perhaps "a bot trying to determine when people are home, so other telemarketers can call."
posted by acro at 10:31 AM on April 25, 2007


jynx?
posted by acro at 10:32 AM on April 25, 2007


the large number of 'empty line' calls

Sometimes this happens when the autodialer mistakenly decides that you're an answering machine or has overdialed for the number of marketers available to send a call to.
posted by IronLizard at 10:46 AM on April 25, 2007


Jerry, THEY ARE FUCKING AFTER YOU DUDE! I'd sleep with one eye open tonight. You're in my prayers.
posted by Wonderwoman at 10:48 AM on April 25, 2007


I setup an asterisk voip setup for a toll-free line, man that was great. You can lie to caller ID, but you can't lie to ANI. For all intents and purposes, on that line I was the phone company. I need to set that up at my house one of these days.
posted by Skorgu at 10:54 AM on April 25, 2007


Skorgu... how about that hacked linksys router with asterisk... I'd buy one...
posted by acro at 11:01 AM on April 25, 2007


The Dove Foundation ARE pricks! They do not deserve their non-profit status. After they called me, I filed complaints with the FTC and Oregon State Attorney General. Nothing will happen because they do have official non-profit status, but I couldn't do nothing.
posted by peep at 11:07 AM on April 25, 2007


Me: Hello?
Them: May I speak with Jerry?
Me: That's me.
Them: ::CLICK::


Or maybe, in the future, you're turned into raw bits on the network, and future you figured out how to travel back in time, but only as a voice on the other end of the line. Sadly, just a single sentence takes every ounce of strength future you has, so, you can't get past asking for yourself.

Fortunately, you have a hot sidekick trapped in the network with you. Together you fight crime.
posted by drezdn at 11:16 AM on April 25, 2007 [6 favorites]


>Nothing will happen because they do have official non-profit status

Its mind-blowing that the DNCList doesnt apply to non-profits. More jesus on the telephone I guess.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:50 AM on April 25, 2007


Whocalled.us - Community sleuthing is cool. Hope to see more of this wisdom of the crowds.
posted by stbalbach at 12:00 PM on April 25, 2007


Agree with Dove Foundation = assholes. They were ringing our line once or twice every evening for several months, even though we've been on the Do Not Call list for years. I wish the telemarketing laws had some teeth... in my experience all of the complaint avenues with the Do Not Call administrators, FCC, FTC, and state regulatory agencies have been a waste of time.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:42 PM on April 25, 2007


I have been receiving calls here at work (average of 50/year) since about 2000 looking for the same person (not me, obviously). When there's caller ID info it's almost always for investment/financial services companies, mostly in the NYC metro area. You can usually tell they're in some boiler room operation by listening to the background chatter.

In one case the caller got abusive with me on the phone. Since I had the caller ID and the company information I was able to get our corporate security team (it's a big company) to stop them from calling me. Unfortunately, there are dozens more that took their place.
posted by tommasz at 12:43 PM on April 25, 2007


A database like whocalled.us as an asterisk extension, like 'press *44 to report telco-spam' could be useful... Caller ID is increasingly useless... Alternatively, phone companies could sidestep the issue by offering it..?
posted by acro at 1:14 PM on April 25, 2007


Agree with Dove Foundation = assholes. They were ringing our line once or twice every evening for several months, even though we've been on the Do Not Call list for years.

Same here. They're calling the line we use only for Tivo to call the mothership -- the attached phone doesn't even ring, but I see it on the caller ID. Over and over they call, over and over they hear a two-year-old screaming "LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE!"
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:55 PM on April 25, 2007


As long as I get a hot sidekick, I'm cool.
posted by LordSludge at 5:27 PM on April 25, 2007


I’m on the National Do Not Call List. Why are you calling me?

Dove is a charity and as such is exempt from the Do Not Call legislation...

How can I remove my phone number from your call list?

Simply email us your phone number and your request to have it removed from our call list and we will take care of it right away. Click Here to Email Us...

posted by mediareport at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2007


How can I remove my e-mail from your spam list?

Simply call us with your e-mail address and your request to have it removed from our spam list and we will take care of it right away. Pick up the phone and dial...

posted by LordSludge at 6:09 AM on April 26, 2007


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