April 5, 2002
7:57 PM   Subscribe

If you live in Cali and have been getting bizarre hang-up calls from this number -- 954-623-4620 -- here's the skinny (scroll about a third of the way down). Telemarketing legislation, where are you?
posted by artifex (22 comments total)
I think I've even been getting calls to my bleepin' cell phone -- dunno how that's possible, but there you have it.
posted by artifex at 7:58 PM on April 5, 2002

It's weird you (re)posted this thread today, as I (re)posted the instructions for a free TeleZapper on my blog today here. Donations for reminding everyone of this great tip welcomed. :)
posted by jca at 8:28 PM on April 5, 2002

Sounds like it targets Spanish speakers. What's up with that?
posted by rodii at 8:32 PM on April 5, 2002

Hey jca, if that really works, I will be sending you a big tip. I work from home and rarely does more than about 30 minutes go by in the day without a call from "unknown caller". I rarely get up from my desk any more to even look at the caller ID. Still, it pisses me off and it's distracting...thanks for the tip!
posted by megnut at 9:52 PM on April 5, 2002

I get these all the time, 30 seconds of silence after which I hang up, and always from 954-something.
posted by mathowie at 9:55 PM on April 5, 2002

forgive my ignorance but... what is the point of the thing? why are they calling if they're not saying anything? if they're not trying to pitch something, how are they benefitting? i'm in toronto and have never heard of such a thing.
posted by dobbs at 11:32 PM on April 5, 2002

Honestly, I don't understand it either. I just know it's been happening to a bunch of people, myself included. I have no idea what their purpose is. Then again, half the email spam I get is likewise incomprehensible, so I don't think I'll ever understand any of this sort of "marketing." It's a pain in the ass. That I know.
posted by artifex at 11:45 PM on April 5, 2002

They are hanging up on you because they don't have enough people to handle all the calls. Say they have 100 people answering the phones -- they'll program the computer to dial 500 numbers, knowing that 80% of them will be no-answers, disconnected, or answering machines. If one of the connects and the computer detects a human voice, the call will be connected to the next available rep. If there's no rep available it will eventually time out and just hang up on whoever it called. Ideally they want that to happen rather infrequently; maybe whoever's dialing the calls just has it cranked up too high.

Excellent quote from the linked page: "Telemarkers has no respect customers' home numbers. Where did they get our telephone number? We did told Telephone Company that unlisted number on book. They have been harass us every hours and hours every days and nights. They have NO RESPECT US!! They woke us up. They cut our meal hours. They cut our movies hours. Our Caller I.D. thousand of unavailable and also when they pick up our answer machine then never leave message. They are JUST LAZY TO LEAVE MESSAGE!!!"
posted by kindall at 12:29 AM on April 6, 2002

I'm married, with a house and kids, so I used to get telemarketing calls constantly. It's down to a manageable amount now. I did this by doing two things.
1) ALWAYS,ALWAYS,ALWAYS immediately tell the caller to remove you from their list. This will do two things, it will hopefully stop them from calling you in the future, and the telemarketer usually ends the call there.
2) If you can do it get anonymous call blocking. It blocks all callers with caller ID blocked. This stops 95% of telemarketers from even reaching you.

Although for my money, the absolute worst are FAX spammers. At work, I have my own telephone number. Somehow, electronic parts companies think this is a fax number, and are constantly trying to fax me stuff. IT'S A VOICE LINE!!!!. So annoying because the fax machines just keep trying over and over and over and over.
posted by patrickje at 12:43 AM on April 6, 2002

Well, I'm constantly being woken up in the middle of the night and early morning by "fax spammers" on my voice line. I can't believe that still goes on. (It predates email spam and actually IS illegal.)

The other day I considered hooking up my old fax-modem and using *69 to redial the fax spammer (their fax machine usually will pick up) and send a 50 page document, say, one huge letter per page saying something like: G... O... ... F... U... C... and so on. :)

But the absolute worst is automated "recording" telemarketing calls. You can't tell them to put you on their DO NOT CALL LIST. They only way to block them is anonymous call blocking and/or the free TeleZapper trick I linked to above.

I can't believe there's so much spam in our lives. How much time and energy would we get back if we didn't have to deal with all that crap? Phone spam... Fax spam... Postal spam... Email spam... The list goes on and on...
posted by jca at 1:42 AM on April 6, 2002

According to some sci-fi writers, someday we'll have tiny nanoprobes that'll jack into our visual cortexes and then we'll have peripheral vision spam.
posted by artifex at 1:55 AM on April 6, 2002

Oh god, how long before we get automated cold calling in the UK? I get telemarketers all the time as well. They always ask for 'Mrs Lewis' (my bf's surname), which in itself I find quite insulting.
posted by Summer at 3:56 AM on April 6, 2002

The reason why telemarketing continues is because it works. Even if you piss 98% of the people called, 2% respond and that still means $$$ (these percentages are hypothetical; I have no actual data). What we need is a way for frustrated people to unite; let's say a mass boycott of all telemarketing/spam companies. We need a blacklist, a place to post the worst offenders and have a community of people either boycott their product or write letters to the company. If the blacklist was popular enough, I'm sure companies like "Sprint" or "AT&T" would not want to appear on it. In other words, we need the other 98% to not only be annoyed but to do something that would hurt them financially.
posted by jacknose at 5:55 AM on April 6, 2002

Summer (and anyone else in the UK who hasn't come across these yet), we registered with the Telephone Preference Service last year and the spam calls have more or less dried up. The Mailing Preference Service does the same thing with junk mail. Both are free services.
posted by ceiriog at 6:28 AM on April 6, 2002

Thanks Ceiriog. I don't understand why spam faxing is illegal but junk mail and telemarketing isn't.
posted by Summer at 7:29 AM on April 6, 2002

Junk mail doesn't bother me too much, except for those annoying Yellow Pages invoice scams. More people need to be made aware that the name Yellow Pages and the walking fingers logo are public domain, meaning that any shady outfit can use it to fool you into thinking you are paying for an advertisement in your local phone directory. That is beyond scummy.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:40 AM on April 6, 2002

I just use a cell phone. I have been burnt by fuckers switching my service too many times to want a landline anymore. But, if you do have one, ask your phone company to make your service configuration password protected, so that no one can switch you to $0.35 per minute long distance and toll callling like they did to me a ways back. That way, when some carrier calls the phone company and tries to switch you, they will be gaffled.
posted by adampsyche at 7:47 AM on April 6, 2002

Contact the direct marketing association and request that your number be added to the no-call list (or removed from the call list, whichever way it works).

I did this about six years ago. It was revolutionary. I get almost no telemarketing calls. I get almost no addressed junk mail.

Indeed, the only telemarketing I get is from local charities, who don't belong to the DMA, and the rare call from my bank wanting to run a survey on me.

The only addressed junk mail I receive is from VISA, trying to give me yet another card.

It's a wonderful change from before. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 AM on April 6, 2002

I used to get calls all day long until Stalbach provided a link for disconnected tones. (it's about 9/10ths of the way down the thread) The telemarketers would call twice to be sure they got the right number, after about a week of double calls they all stopped. Amazing! I put the tones on my answering machine, waited a few seconds then left a normal message so my family didnt get worried.
Thanks Stalbach!
posted by sadie01221975 at 9:35 AM on April 6, 2002

One of the reasons that telemarketers can get non-published numbers is because they use polling like techniques of adding one to the last digit in the phone number. Sure 555.1235 may be unlisted but 555.1234 isn't. Adding one turns your list of chumps who filled a "Win a Car" card at the mall into a whole new group of chumps.

Worse, non-listing is a pay for service. There's something just wrong with that. Its like they hold your privacy hostage. "Yes we can save money, effort, paper, etc by not listing you, but considering how important that is to you it'll cost you 2 bucks."
posted by skallas at 7:23 PM on April 6, 2002

You know... I've been getting this too, and I'm nowhere near Cali... I'm way over in MA. Been getting calls at 10:30am (it's *always* at 10:30am) with nothing but dead air on the other end. I've tried holding on; nobody picks up. And they never leave a message. The *69 (call return) and *57 (call trace) are powerless against it, which is why I suspect it's a telemarketer.

I *really* want to find out who's calling and how to contact them. That way I can tell them to stop, and if they don't, I'm entitled to $500 each time they call. However, I've resorted to putting the error beeps on my answering machine for now.

I'm really just pissed off because they keep waking me up. Working closing shifts as much as I do (often not getting home until midnight)... well, if I'm home at 10:30am, it's because I'm asleep.
posted by CrayDrygu at 1:27 AM on April 7, 2002

Privacy Manager is my friend. Since I got it, my spam calls have plummeted to almost zero.

If a call still gets through and I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. If it's important, they'll leave a message on the voice mail.

The telephone is in my house for my convenience only, and for no one else's.
posted by chuq at 7:54 PM on April 8, 2002

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