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Communications Spam

'This Is Your Second and Final Notice' Robocallers Revealed 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-sir-madam dept.
nbauman writes "A New York Times consumer columnist tracked down the people who run a 'This is your second and final notice" robocall operation. The calls came from Account Management Assistance, which promises to negotiate lower credit card rates with banks. One woman paid them $1,000, and all they did was give her a limited-time zero-percent credit card that she could have gotten herself. AMA has a post office box in Orlando, Florida. The Better Business Bureau has a page for Your Financial Ladder, which does business as Account Management Assistance, and as Economic Progress. According to a Florida incorporation filing, Economic Progress is operated by Brenda Helfenstine, with her husband Tony. The Arkansas attorney general has sued Your Financial Ladder for violating the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigated Your Financial Ladder, but the investigator went to 1760 Sundance Drive, St. Cloud, which turned out to be a residence, and gave up. The Times notes that you can type their phone number (855-462-3833) into http://800notes.com/ and get lots of reports on them."
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'This Is Your Second and Final Notice' Robocallers Revealed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:41PM (#42997093)
    These fuckers relentless harassed my grandmother in her final days despite my efforts to put her on the do not call list and working with her telephone company to try to identify them.

    Take all their money. All of it. Take it all and put it into something that helps the elderly.
  • FFS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:48PM (#42997149) Journal

    Why is it that the attack-dog AGs of the world are ready to go when somebody runs wget contrary to a site's terms of service; but people like this are allowed to operate unchecked?

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:50PM (#42997167)

    Kind of extreme.......well, maybe not. My father is elderly and it's like he's under assault by these low life scum. There are so many organizations that live off of these kind of scams. I'd like to see drastic action taken.

  • Based in Florida (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Huntr (951770) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:51PM (#42997183)

    To the absolute surprise of no one.

    I think fraud is simply in Florida's DNA. I mean, what is Florida in the early to mid 20th century, if not "buying swampland for cheap?" Now, it's the height of US insurance fraud, medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, and identity theft, in addition to the drug smuggling and human trafficking that comes along with major ports of entry into the U.S. It's a crazy, crazy place and reality is far removed from the Mickey Mouse and orange juice that Discover Florida is selling.

    And before you blow me up, know that I say all this as a long-time Florida resident...

  • Re:FFS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhamNguyen (2695929) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:53PM (#42997199)

    I would guess that it relates to a certain way of thinking about the world, where everything an individual does on their own is a criminal matter, and everything a person does for a company is a civil matter.

    It probably also relates to the "just doing my job" mentality where something becomes less morally objectionable merely because you're doing it as part of a job.

  • Follow the wires (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:56PM (#42997225)

    but the investigator went to 1760 Sundance Drive, St. Cloud, which turned out to be a residence, and gave up.

    But the telco has to know where they are sending these calls. Either a landline, digital service or IP address. Either give it up to the authorities or become a co-defendant in the fraud case.

    You download one stinkin' Lady Gaga song and they can find you. Why not now?

  • by david.emery (127135) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @05:02PM (#42997265)

    I sent my Senator (Mark Warner (D) Virginia), who sits on the relevant committee, a constituent request asking if anything ever happened as a result of filing "Do Not Call" violations. They sent me a Privacy Act form (so they could query the registry using my personal data.)

    And that was the end of it. I never heard back.

    On a related note, I think the FCC should make Caller ID both required and un-forgeable. (An individual could still choose to not have his Caller ID revealed, and that would be indicated on your Caller ID display.)

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @05:20PM (#42997377)

    Too quick, too painless. People like this need to suffer, death isn't a sufficient deterrent. If your life sucked as badly as theirs, you may even welcome it. The only way to discourage this form of bottom feeding is suffering, lots and lots of suffering. Letting them live, visibly scarred, and in full view of the public may demonstrate that while we will dispose of murderers and rapists, trolls will live as a warning to others in what may as well be an eternity of torment.

  • Re:Based in Florida (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @05:21PM (#42997383)

    You've identified one form of selection while missing the even more obvious one: Florida, south Florida in particular, is retirement central. As such, is it any surprise that Florida is a location where this sort of thing is happening, given that the elderly tend to be most susceptible to it and the elderly tend to migrate to Florida for retirement? That fact alone would account for the medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, and identity theft that you cited.

  • Re:FFS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @05:26PM (#42997407) Homepage Journal

    They do not scam large corporations with deep pockets.

    Basically, a good scammer knows to not scam marks that can cause him trouble. You can scam a million people with no resources to fight you and be fine. But go against one mark who does have the resources and you're toast.

    Humans might be the top of the food chain in the animal kingdom, but we are the bottom of the food chain in the society we have built. Corporations, criminals, politicians - every parasite in existence preys upon the common citizen first and foremost, because we are the easy targets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @05:29PM (#42997431)

    There is a lot of money in violating the telemarketing rules. One illegal voice broadcaster was paid over $6 million by just one customer in only 10 months [1]. Large fines against violators are often uncollectible and ignored by scofflaws [2]. Violators often engage in money laundering and brag about their “bulletproof” broadcasting facilities that can’t be traced [3]. I personally received over 300 prerecorded telemarketing calls in some years, and I was able to track down the people behind only a tiny fraction of those calls, despite my concerted efforts in recording calls, filing lawsuits, subpoenaing phone company records, and hundreds of hours of my own time. Anyone who tries to find the source of these illegal calls will find the vast majority lead back to shadowy, untraceable names such as Transfers Argentina, Asia Pacific Telecom, TeleEurope, and Castle Rock Capital Management. Trying to track down a text message spammer is a similar exercise in futility.

            Many studies have show that massive penalties don't work as a deterrent because perpetrators never plan to get caught. What does work is increasing the likelihood of getting caught.

    [1] See declaration of Roberto C. Menjivar at 30 (totaling the amount paid to Voice Touch by National Auto Warranty during a 10 month period at $6,013,500). Document 42 in FTC v. Network Foundations, LLC., No. 1:09-cv-02929 (N.D. Ill. 2009).

    [2] See Order of Forfeiture, File No. EB-02-TC-120 (released Jan. 5, 2004) (finding Fax.com liable for the maximum fine of $11,000 for each of the 489 fax violations, for a total fine of $5,379,000).

    [3] Menjivar decl. at 20–22.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @06:21PM (#42997823)
    I have found a way that gets me off of these lists. All of the automated calls, sooner or later, connect you to someone whose job it is to take down your information so that they can get your money. I always indicate that I am interested. Then when I start talking to someone, I ask questions indicating that I am interested but don't quite understand what they are offering. If I have time, I keep them on the line as long as possible before telling them I think they are the scum of the earth for being involved with such a scam. If I don't at least have time to talk to a real person, I don't answer the phone. It's interesting that after I talk to someone, it is month's before they call me again. A live person costs them money. They don't like it when you talk to a live person and don't "buy".
  • by CncRobot (2849261) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @07:52PM (#42998503)

    What if Dish Network could call you every week to ask you if you wanted to switch off cable?

    I solved a similar situation, a long distance company kept calling me. One day I had some time to burn, sorry for them. Within 2 minutes the guy knew he wouldn't have a sale. 35 minutes into the call his supervisor came on to make sure everything was ok. I finally let him go at 50 minutes. Every time he attempted to hang up I asked "Are you hanging up on me?" which I guess is illegal according to the FCC. I believe I got put on a special list to never call again because aking to not be called by them the 7 times before didn't work but this trick did work.

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