Friday, December 28, 2012

DirecTV's Penchant for Spurious Telephone Calls

I am receiving telephone calls from DirecTV on a weekly basis for a few months now.  They usually call on Friday afternoon and let it ring only three times.  Just about enough time for me to get over to the phone, but not enough time to catch it before they hang up.  I discovered that it was them by returning the call, or looking it up on-line by Googling the number.
This week I actually got the call before they hang up. Well, sort of.  A woman identified herself and the fact that she works for DirecTV, and then she hung up.
I can't figure this one out.  They do not leave any messages either.
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?

I filed a request with DirecTV to have me removed from their call list.

Friday afternoon call from DirecTV as usual even though I requested to be removed from the list.
This time I caught the call in time.  They are marketing an upgrade in service.  I told her to remove me from the calling list.

AT&T Account Obfuscation

I finally get to add AT&T to my "hall of shame" or should that be "shame of hell".  I have four AT&T accounts. Here in Nevada I have a DSL internet connection. Lately it has been running very slow. In fact, it is running between 200-400Kbs, with intermittant periods were it is either not working or working slower than the rate I just specified.  This is way below the advertised level of service.

My first action was to try to get the service fixed to operate at its advertised speed.  After a few phone calls and a very long wait my line was tested by the technician and he said I was running about 500Kbs which is considered satisfactory by them. So much for that idea.  That is audacious that they consider that level of service satisfactory. I can only marginally get email, certainly nothing with video and pictures take a while.

My next attempt was to increase the speed of the DSL connection. I was told two months ago when I changed to AT&T DSL (that was the only service they offered here) that I could increase the speed and pay only for the higher service rate, but no additional charge for the change of service.  Well, wouldn't you know, they now do not offer DSL here. They only offer U-Verse.  In order to convert to U-Verse I must buy yet another modem ($100 plus tax) and there is an initiation charge ($49.95) and the monthly service charge goes from $24.95 to $49.95. There was no promotional rate offered. True, this is supposed to be a higher baud rate service. You are supposed to get what you pay for. Sure.

I decided not to jump at the offer and check out the other alternatives.  I shuttered at the thought of going back to Charter Communications.  Please see my post on them here.  As it turns out I could go back to them for $29.95 a month for 12 months, but then I have to put up with a horror show.

I called back AT&T and asked them for the promotional rate.  They were now glad to provide me with a 12 month promotion at $24.95 for 6Mbs U-Verse service.  I don't want you to think that this was a slam dunk.  I had to wait on hold for 52 minutes before a representative got on the phone.  Also, as part of the switch-over I had to give them information so that they could do a credit check on me (see my post on NCTUE). I can only imagine what will happen with that.

I can't imagine that all this is going to work out quite as advertised, but, then again, only time will tell.
Tune in next week when the service is to go live.

Well, that didn't take too long to get screwed up.  I ordered the service about 40 minutes ago. I have now received an email from AT&T thanking me for electing paperless billing. I specifically told the customer service representative that I did not want paperless billing.  I also do not have the account number as the email only has the last four digit of that number.  I have called AT&T five times now. I have gotten nowhere so far.
I am now on my eighth phone call.  In fact, I am still on line with the service representative right now and have been on line with them for the last 40 minutes as they try to get the paperless billing removed.  As it turns out, they changed my mailing address to the service address. They seem to be incapable of entering my billing address into their system.  This is the same address that has been in their system for my DSL service.  This is unbelievable.
Okay, after another hour on the phone, and after having two supervisors get involved, they have concluded that they are incapable of putting in my billing address into the system and so they are leaving my billing as paperless.
Also, I have gone to the on-line location to register for on-line account service.  I am not able to register. It will not accept my account number and zip code. I have tried both the service address and the billing address zip codes. No success.
I have not tried to register for the on-line account service for my other AT&T U-Verse account on the hunch that maybe it was because the account was just opened today. Wouldn't you know, the other one which has been in existence for months has also not allowed me to register. What are they doing? Throwing useless computer code on the wall and hoping that it works and not bothering to test it.
For a company of this size to be this incapable of dealing with me is unbelievable.

I have written an email to the CEO of AT&T (see email below). Let's see what kind of a response I get.


Dear Mr. Stephenson,

I must confess that I am at a loss to understand the corporate strategy of AT&T with regard to the incredibly complex an inefficient customer service systems you have deployed within your organization.

I have four separate accounts with AT&T. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to interact with AT&T whenever I require service.  It is far more difficult than any other company that I have ever had to deal with.

Today, I upgraded to U-verse from DSL at one of my sites in Nevada. I have now invested over 5 hours of my personal time and that of your sales and customer support staff in trying to untangle the mess that has been created, layer by layer, with each additional employee that I am in contact with.

I started off the day with a DSL account. At this point I have no idea what I have.  I have attempted to find a telephone number or email address that might be appropriate to straighten out the situation.
I am befuddled by the maze.

I would be happy to work with someone, anyone in your organization who can truly navigate the systems and people to get me to be a satisfied customer.

I can be reached at XXXXXXXXXXX or at the email address above.

Please have someone help me.




As a last ditch effort I decided to watch the video for starting the MyAT&T account which I am having so much trouble with.
There is an interesting detail in the video that I note. I have followed their instructions to the letter, but it still does not work on any of my accounts.
I did notice that the account number sample in the video had hyphens after each three numbers. I also noticed that on the real page for registering that I bring up on my computer there were no hyphens. So, I tried to add hyphens. They are removed from the box automatically when you leave that field for the next field. So much for that idea.

I am now trying to do a "chat" with AT&T for support.  So far, I have been waiting about 10 minutes and I have not gotten any response yet. After a real long wait I got a customer service rep who was clearly not a native speaker of English. She must have been servicing at least 5 other accounts simultaneously and she did not have a good enough grasp of the English language to really deal with me.  I did ask her to give me a phone number to call.  I have spent way too much time on this today. I would estimate that between the calls to get the service and all my attempts to correct the information that is wrong I have 5 hours into this. Enough for today. I will try calling the number tomorrow.
This is total lunacy that a company of this size can waste so many hours of so many people's time and spend so much of their own precious human resources to keep this circus going.



Note to self: I received a call this morning from the Office of the President of AT&T. They were very courteous and understanding and corrected the problem with my address and paperless billing. No problem, I hope. Time will tell now.


I have received many telephone calls (at least 6 calls and a few text messages) from a variety of people at AT&T with regard to the installation.

Today I received an email requesting me to participate in a survey.  I decided to participate in the survey to express my concerns about the quality of the services they have provided.

Upon taking the survey I realized that the only thing they were interested in was whether I could be marketed to for phone service. Plain and simple.  They did not want to know how my experience with them was for the services I just signed up for, or how they might improve their services or products, etc.

I sent the following email to them about the survey:

I want to take this opportunity to comment on a number of items with regard to my interaction with AT&T for the acquisition of the U-verse account and the survey I just completed.

With regard to the survey, I can appreciate that you would want to know certain things about your customers with the services that you have provided or potentially might provide. However, the survey was so transparent as to its objectives that it left me aghast with the blatant disregard for your customer's broader feeling, including comments and concerns over the services you provide and the way you have provided them.
At no point in the survey did any of the questions deal with the quality of the service or the process or the procedure by which AT&T acquired the service, nor the ability of AT&T to provide those services in a timely, courteous, and efficient manner.

I have been a customer of AT&T at this location for over a year. I have been and continue to be an AT&T customer at other locations. I had heard that I did not know what I was getting into when I signed up for your service.  I did not think that there could be any company that could be worse than the previous provider of internet service than the company I utilized previously.

I have now concluded that the operation of AT&T, for the most part, is far worse than anything that I could have imagined and I am currently seeking out another provider, even if the quality of the actual line service is not as good.

In your infinite wisdom of seeking the most revenue for the least cost I am sure you have greatly offended hundreds of thousands, if not millions of customers with the shoddy customer care that you provide.

It is companies like AT&T that are ruining the glory of the American experience and will eventually make us a second rate country.  Wake up!

1/23/13 call duration 68 minutes
I have today received a bill from AT&T for my old DSL service which I do not have anymore.
I called AT&T.  They have acknowledged that the bill is wrong and they are giving me a credit.  Also, they have realized that my billing for my U-Verse account was still with the wrong address and have been attempting to correct it. They are having difficulty doing that. I now realize that I did not receive my AT&T bill as the President's Office had promised. I have not received my "Gift Card" to offset the modem purchase either.  In order to not tie my time up anymore they will call me back when they figure out how to bill be at my correct address.

Another letter to the CEO of AT&T:

Dear Mr. Stephenson,

Attached please find my correspondence to you of 12/28/12 with regard to an issue with which I am having repeated difficulty in rectifying with AT&T customer support staff. I was so happy to get a call on 1/2/13 from someone from your office who fully understood the problem and said that it would be dealt with.

Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Not only was the problem not dealt with, it was made worse.  

I cannot continue to deal with this level of service. Please get the matter straightened out.



I received a telephone call from the Office of the President at AT&T with regard to my latest email.
They acknowledge that everything I said in my email is correct and that the computer system that they employ cannot accept my address.  The Office of the President will print out a copy of my bill and mail it to my correct address and this office will continue to do so into the future until such point as they are able to change their system so that it may accept my correct  address.  It is astounding in this age of technology that a company the size of AT&T is in this state of affairs. Shame on you AT&T.


Mr. Stephenson,
Attached please find my correspondene to you of 1/23/13 with regard to a continuing problem I am having with you and your organization. Each time I have communicated, you staff certainly seem nice and sincere, but, to date, I have seen no action whatsoever.  It is now over one month since my original email and I am afraid I am going to have to look elsewhere for a communications supplier if nothing happens shortly.


I received a telephone call from Deborah of the escalation team. This is the same person I spoke with last time. Yes, they did put in to have the current bill sent to my correct address. This will take 7 to 10 days. I don't know if this means for me to receive it or for them to send it out.  They have confirmed that they have altered the information on 1/24/13 in the computer and I should get my February bill on time at the correct billing address.  Deborah will call me back on February 19, to verify that everything is received.  She can be reached at 888 958 3030 access code 748 x6117. I might add that when I dialed the number the first time I was somewhat taken back when the message clearly indicated that if you wanted to continue in Spanish press 1, English press 2.  I guess English is now the second choice for language.  I pressed 1 to see how it went (I speak Spanish). It took me a menu where I did not have the choice to put in the extension that I was told to dial. Interesting.
Coincidentally, after the email to AT&T CEO Stephenson this morning and the response from Deborah from the escalation team, I have this afternoon received "the bill" from AT&T for the first month of service. I called AT&T about the amount of the bill and, interestingly, they show my mailing address incorrectly in the system.  I have now recalled Deborah, who has reassured me that the address is correct.  I note here that on putting in her extension when I dialed I got exactly the same error as my call from this morning.  I am positive I put in the correct extension.
Amazing as it may seem, the error in the AT&T bill was never corrected, and as expected the bills stopped being delivered to the address by the Post Office. And, not surprisingly, there was $1.57 due that was not paid and they closed the account.  I have, today, opened a new account and they are unable to put the correct address into the account. Let's see what happens this time. I will call Deborah. Her phone number has been changes. So, it is back two steps. I will work on this later.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nordstrom's Oversteps Bounds on Use of E receipt Information

Last night I finally went out to do some Christmas Shopping.  I ended up at Nordrom's.  I was so pleasantly surprised with the wonderful sales clerk that assisted me in the purchase of eveningwear for my wife. I was also very pleased with the fact that the alterations, if necessary, would be performed by them at no additional charge.

I was even more surprised and pleased with the opportunity I was offered to get an E receipt instead of a paper receipt.  This was just like at the Apple Store. Wouldn't it be wonderful, I thought, if all retailers offered this option and we eliminated all those small pieces of paper that are always getting lost.

Wouldn't you know, when I got home last night I found the E receipt from Nordstrom's right there in my in-box.  How nice they are.

Well, so much for the nice part.  Today, less than 24 hours after my purchase, I have now received another email from Nordstrom's offering special promotions.  This is not what I need in my in-box.
I promptly looked for a way to opt out of their promotional emails.

They want to know why I am opting out. Here is what I responded:

I purchased an item yesterday for the first time at Nordstrom.  I was so pleased that I was oferred the option of getting an email receipt instead of a paper receipt and I gladly gave them by email address. Had I known that you would have used that email address for this purpose I would have not given you my email address.  Where is full disclosure? How about allowing me to opt-in instead. I do not think I will be going back again. You almost had me as a loyal customer. Think about people's feelings before you join the herd of marketing ignoramuses.

I wonder if this will actually cause them to opt me out of their promotions.

Express Scripts Deja Vu

I have decided to start a new post on Express Scripts.  My previous posts on this subject are all contained in my post on Health Care, which you should click on if you want the full detailed history.

In summary, what has transpired to date is that we used to be covered by Empire Blue Cross, which, in turn used an in-house pharmacy called NEXT Rx for mail-order fulfillment.  Empire was owned by Wellpoint.  In their infinite wisdom, Wellpoint decided to sell NEXT Rx to Express Scripts and enter into a ten year pharmaceutical mail order fulfillment agreement with Express Scripts.  What then transpired can best be described as chaos.  My previous blog post gives the blow by blow description of that interaction.  Finally, in an act of desperation, I wrote a letter to Angela Braly, the then CEO of Wellpoint.  As a consequence of that one letter I was assigned the aid of a person in her office to assist me with the mail order fulfillment needs that we had.  This, in effect, meant that the CEO's office at Wellpoint was micro managing the mail order fulfillment of my mail order prescriptions for almost every refill.  This was necessary due to the incompetence, or negligence of Express Scripts.

In the end I gave up on Empire Blue Cross, primarily due to the dangers associated with the prescription fulfillment of Express Scripts and also the tremendous difficulty and time constraints to actually completing this routine task on a regular and repeating basis. The only gratitude I got was an admission by the assistant to the CEO of Wellpoint that all of my claims of incompetence or outright greed on the part of Express Scripts were true.

Shortly thereafter, Angela Braly was relieved of her duties at Wellpoint. Some people think that it was due to her gross incompetence.

I changed to United HealthCare for our medical insurance coverage, and almost simultaneously, United decided to use Express Scripts as their prescription fulfillment agent. So, I am now back in exactly the same position I was before I switched.  Actually worse, because I do not have a concierge to manage my relationship with Express Scripts like I did when I was with Wellpoint.

Stay tuned for new and exciting incidents in health care mismanagement from Express Scripts.

Friday, December 21, 2012

DirecTV Power Email

I just received the email below from DirecTV. The subject line on the email is "Evil Goes Global".
I think that, in light of the Newtown, CT massacre, the taste and timing that DirecTV has shown here is atrocious. If you feel the same way, please send an email to DirecTV expressing your feelings and please let me know.  You can express your feelings directly to them at this url location.

I will seriously consider taking my business away from them.
Please note that I have altered the email image so that the image will fit on this blog. I have also removed all the small print and ordering information.

I am posting their response to my email to them below their original email. I think it is clear from their response that if they receive enough negative feedback that they might actually do something about this. Now is the time to accomplish a change in the policies of a company that makes important decisions on the type and quality of entertainment we, the consumers, get exposed to. Make your voice heard.

Date: December 21, 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution movie poster

December 21, 2012

Thank you for writing to provide feedback about the email that you received.

DIRECTV is committed in providing a variety of programming to our millions of customers and we certainly did not mean to offend you or imply negativity with the advertisement. We appreciate you taking the time to write share to us your insights. I have forwarded your email to the DIRECTV Management for review. Your feedback provides us with essential information when reviewing our procedures for development as we want to remain America's #1 satellite provider.

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.


Marie Ann R. 
DIRECTV Customer Service

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Proposal to Get Credit Reporting Agencies to Provide Timely and Accurate Information

I have noted on this blog instances where Credit Reporting Agencies are sloppy and inept and seem to be incapable of providing the minimum of quality control necessary to protect the consumers they report on.  They have also been shy on the level of customer support that is required to do the job right. I have watched as the Credit Reporting Agencies try to grind the consumer to a halt through endless revisions of erroneous corrections to their credit reports.

Obviously, as a business model, it pays for a Credit Reporting Agency to not invest in customer service because it will take away from their bottom line.  However, if they invest too little, the cost of compliance through fines and litigation will rise.  So, they must strike a balance that works for them.  Clearly, the level that they have arrived at to achieve this balance is tilted against the consumer too much.

Exactly what can we do as consumers to tilt the playing field more in our direction -- a more responsive Credit Reporting Agency?  Obviously, if consumers were more diligent in reporting or acting on violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act the cost to the Agencies would go up.  Unfortunately, many of the penalties to these agencies don't accrue until some point after they have been notified that something is wrong and then through either the laborious actions of the various government agencies or the courts.  This is not always the case.  For example, the release of credit information to those who are not authorized to receive it, once established could result in fines, or judicial damages.

First principle, you cannot know what is going on with your Consumer Credit File unless you look at it.
The Credit Reporting Agencies are required to provide to you on an annual basis a copy of your credit report for free.  All you have to do is request it.  In most instances you can do this either on line or via the telephone.  You do not necessarily have to write them a letter.  In fact, it is more costly for them if you call.

Second, you must notify the Credit Reporting Agency of any discrepancies in your file, no matter how minor the error is.  I have challenged my reports when a credit balance is off by as little as $1.  This requires the Agency to contact the company that reported the information to verify that the information is correct, or they have to remove the information. Even if the entry is correct, if it is stale (over 7 years old, except for bankruptcy) they must remove the information if you request it.  This, in aggregate, is a very costly process for the Credit Reporting Agencies, especially if you call in your request and use up precious customer service representative time. Of course, you will want a copy of the corrected report to verify that it has been corrected properly.

If the Credit Reporting Agencies are inundated with disputes on the contents of credit files, then they will be forced to expend more money on consumer support activities, or risk the liability of heavy fines and other damages through litigation.

Please comment on this proposal below with any other ideas to help keep Credit Reporting Agencies in check without going through the lengthy complaint to the FTC or litigation methods.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Walmart on-line vs. in-store. What Chutzpah !

I have tried to limit my comments in this blog to issues that involve me.  With this post I am departing from that tradition.

I happened upon a new site for me -- The Consumerist. Apparently it is an appendage to Consumer Reports.

Here is the link to the original article.

Summary, a fellow searches on-line for a router. Finds that the lowest price he can get is on-line at Walmart with deliver in-store.  He has other items he wants to buy, so he swings by the local store and notes that the item is more expensive in the store. He goes to checkout and tells the clerk that he wants them to match a lower price.  He shows them the price on the mobile device at  They will not honor their own website price, only competitors.  OKAY, he can work with that. Whips out his mobile device and orders it on-line for delivery to the store. He gets confirmation that the order was placed, but that the delivery to the store will not be until the following week.  He cancels the order on-line, goes to the cashier with the in-store item and departs.  He receives a notice that his order has arrived at the store and he goes to the store. He goes to the store, buys the new item at the cheaper price and then immediately returns it on the sales slip that he had from the one he purchased last week at the higher price.

Walmart wins the Audacious award of the week!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reverse Google Search

I just read an article on about an amazing piece of investigative work performed on the internet to find some art thieves.  The interesting piece in the article is right down near the very end.

To summarize the brilliant idea, Jefferey Gundlach, who seems to be this very rich financial genius, had a very extensive art collection at his home in Santa Monica.  In September of this year, thieves robbed more than $10 Million in artwork as well as his Porsche, wine, and watches.  As part of the artwork haul the thieves walked off with two works by his grandmother, who was an amateur painter.

The local police and the FBI were both brought in to investigate the crime.  A substantial reward was offered for the return of the stolen items.  Gundlach also gave the investigators a tip for solving the crime. He said that thieves would most likely do a Google search using his grandmother's name to find out more about the artist and the value of the stolen paintings.  He suggested they check the Internet to see if anyone had googled the name.  As it turned out there were exactly two such searches -- one by him and one by the thieves.  The thieves were arrested and all the artwork was recovered.

This story shows true brilliance by Gundlach. My hat is off to him on the idea to look for the thieves in this way.

All this elation should be tempered with the most obvious implications of what happened here.
Obviously, Google provided the information to the authorities. I am assuming they had a search warrant of some sort to get access to the information. It raises the alarm that anything you may do on the internet may be dissected by the government (or for that matter, even by corporate entities) for all sorts of reasons having nothing to do with crime.  Sort of like Big Brother watching over your thoughts, don't you think?  I read the other day that Facebook is now going to be selling personal information that they have collected.  I suspect that we have not seen what the future holds for us in this arena yet. [Note: interestingly, I received an email today that was clearly initiated by the sale of information on my Facebook page to a commercial entity.]

This is a very touchy issue. Appropriate limits must be placed on the use of this kind of powerful "reverse search" capability. I also recall that after the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court that limits were placed on access to information on what books or VHS tapes (or DVDs) anyone can access at a library or "video store".  The issue seems to have been a factor in the Netflix decision to break up their mail order business from their video streaming business as the laws are quite different on what they could do with this information in each case depending on whether it was information on a DVD rental or a downstream.

As a result of the terrorist attacks of 9-11 we had enactment of legislation in the "Patriot Act" on the ability of law enforcement to access this kind of information without a warrant.  Still, there should be very clear limits and controls. Don't you think?

Friday, November 16, 2012

FootSmart Refund for Returned Item

Summary: A purchase of a pair of shoes from Footsmart that was made on Feb 25, 2012 was returned.  The crediting of the purchase was completed on Nov. 21, 2012, almost 9 full months later.
Below are the notes and correspondence to rectify the situation.  This transaction puts Footsmart customer service at an unacceptable level.

February 25, 2012

Item purchased from Footsmart. Cost, including shipping $114.74 and charged to Mastercard.
provided shipping address and a billing address (different). Billing address was provided so that credit card transaction would go through.

March 1, 2012
Item returned to Footsmart.

March 16, 2012
Check issued by Footsmart  for $114.74 to our BILLING address. Our Billing Address is not set up to receive checks.  Check forwarded to our address, but we were away at the time.  By the time we got the check it was stale and could not be cashed. In the meantime we did call Footsmart and were assured that they sent us a check.

May-June time period.
Called Footsmart with information about stale check.  They indicated that they would issue a new check to the correct address, but that we would have to wait approximately 4 to 6 weeks to make sure the previous check was not cashed.

Called Footsmart and informed them that we had not received the check. Asked that they credit the same Mastercard account that the original charge was associated with.

August - October
More of the same

November 7, 2012
Footsmart claims on the phone that they issued the credit back to our account today.  It should appear on our account within 5 days.

November 15, 2012
The bank that issued the credit card indicates that they have not received a credit from Footsmart.

November 15, 2012

Box 922908
Norcross, GA  30010


I am writing to get closure on a transaction that started in February, 2012. My wife ordered a number of items from you. One of those items was a pair of shoes that she returned.  

Here is the information that I have on that transaction:
It appears as credit card charge on our account on 2/25/12 for $114.74.
The order number is PPPPPPPPPPP with customer number YYYYYYYY.

By way of background information, we have packages delivered here to our home, but we use a different billing address because our credit card bills are sent there.  If we do not use that address as the billing address many credit card transactions get denied.

It appears that Footsmart, instead of charging back the returned charges to the credit card, sent a check on March 16, 2012 to our billing address which is really our bill paying service. Our bill paying service is not set up to receive checks for us.  Eventually that check arrived at our home, but by the time we got it, it was stale and could not be cashed.

In numerous telephone calls to Footsmart we requested that the funds be credited back to our credit card. I have called in probably half a dozen times now to follow up on the progress.  To date we have had many promises, but no refund.

We are approaching nine months since the shoes were returned and still do not have the refund.  At this point, I want an acknowledgement in some tangible form that the credit back to our account has been accomplished by Footsmart, or alternatively, that you find some other way to get us reimbursed.




November 15, 2012


Thank you for your recent email inquiry. At this time, your MC account ending in the last four numbers #ZZZZ was credited on 11/07/12. Again, thank you for contacting Customer Care at FootSmart/Comfortology, and if you require further assistance please feel free to contact us.

FootSmart/Comfortology Customer Care

November 16, 2012

FootSmart/Comfortology Customer Care:

Thank you for the prompt response to my inquiry. However, I have now checked with the credit card company and they have assured me that any transaction that would have been entered for a credit back to our account by November 7, or even November 8, would have already been credited, and, needless to say, it has not.
Also, not to nit pick, but when I requested a tangible form of acknowledgement of the transaction having already been credited back to our account, I was thinking of something a little more definitive, like, for example, some reference number, but certainly, an amount.
I look forward to your response.



November 16, 2012


Thank you for your recent email inquiry. After contacting our accounting department, it appears that the original Master Card on file my be closed. Can you please confirm that the credit is still an active accout. Also, the credited amount owed is $114.74. Again, thank you for contacting Customer Care at FootSmart/Comfortology, and if you require further assistance please feel free to contact us.


FootSmart/Comfortology Customer Care


November 16, 2012

Thank you for your prompt response. You are correct that the Master Card number that FootSmart is attempting to charge back to is closed. However, I had fully disclosed this fact before FootSmart attempted the transaction and your representative insisted on doing it this way. I also spoke to the Master Card Bank involved and they assured me that if the credit is issued for the old account number that they would transfer the credit to our current account number. My suspicion is that the credit was not really issued.



November 16. 2012


Thank you for your recent email inquiry. The credit has been processed please allow 6-10 business days from 11/07/12 for the credit to post.  Again, thank you for contacting Customer Care at FootSmart/Comfortology, and if you require further assistance please feel free to contact us.


FootSmart/Comfortology Customer Care

November 21, 2012
Credit was recorded on my credit card today for the full amount due. 
Case closed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

State Farm Insurance Customer Information Privacy Policy

The following is a series of entries that I will continue to post to until I get closure or I reach a stale mate.  If you are interested in the item I suggest you bookmark this page and check back on my progress.  I will remove this message when the post has gone to its logical conclusion.


State Farm Insurance

 In a letter I received today from State Farm entitled "Notice of Privacy Policy" it states, in part:

"State Farm may collect personal information from sources other than the individual applying for coverage or opening an account with State Farm.  Such personal information may, in certain cases, be disclosed to third parties without your authorization as permitted by law.  If you would like additional information about the collection and disclosure of information, please contact your State Farm agent.  You may also act upon your right to see and correct any personal information in your State Farm files by writing your State Farm agent to request this access."

I would like to know what personal information State Farm has on me in my file, including information obtained from sources other than me or my wife.
Additionally, I would like to know to which third parties this information has been disclosed.

Thank you.




I hope this email finds you well... I sent out an email inquiry when I received your email and contacted State Farm Corporate. My hope was to receive something back by tomorrow/Friday at the latest. I haven’t heard back in an email or call as of yet. I will track this down and have something by early next week. My sense is this is the boilerplate I see with Credit Card Companies, Banks etc. I was alarmed to see State Farm join in on such collaborations. There has to be an opt-out for sharing information. I will find out how to get you on the opt-out do not share list as well.    

Best Regards,

Your State Farm Agent


Well, tomorrow leads to tomorrow which leads to tomorrow. I guess this is more incidious a problem for them than they anticipated. Time to start digging into this and write a few more emails to get to the bottom of it.

Email from State Farm Agent of 11/7/12
Good Morning
I contacted a few connections in Corporate and everyone directed me back to the following link
According to my contacts this is State Farm policy. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Best Regards,
State Farm Agent

11/7/12 My email response to the Agent.

Dear State Farm Agent:

If you would look closely at the email I sent you on October 30, 2012, I said:

"I would like to know what personal information State Farm has on me in my file, including information obtained from sources other than me or my wife.
Additionally, I would like to know to which third parties this information has been disclosed."

This is what I am looking for from State Farm
It is my understanding, under the law, that State Farm is obligated to answer this question in a timely manner.
I, again, ask that I get a firm outside date by which I might expect that information.



Email from State Farm Agent
Good Morning,

I hope this email finds you well. Thank you for checking with with me. I have someone from corporate compliance who is going to contact you with specifics as per your request. Also, I have added you to our Do Not Share database.

Best Regards

Your State Farm Agent



State Farm


We are in receipt of your request for personal information within the files containing information collected and maintained in connection with insurance transactions (underwriting information) for your policies. In accordance with State regulations, we have reviewed your files(s) and identified the following information that has been collected from persons or organizations other than the individuals applying for coverage:
Fire Policy:
Fire Loss History Report (LHR) Ran in Jan 2011 - No incidents were reported.
Dataquick: No report ran
Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Ran 1/5/11 on both you and your wife - No incidents were reported
Auto Loss History Report (LHR) 1/15/11  ran on you and your wife
5/1/10 claim for you from Travelers Insurance

Unless you have told us not to, we may share information about you within State Farm that was obtained from your application or information obtained from consumer reports, such as those listed above.

While we do not sell any customer information or allow those doing business on our behalf to use our customer information for their marketing purposes, there are situations in which your personal information may be provided to other organizations. We may disclose personal information collected in connection with your insurance without your written authorization. Such disclosures may be made as described in the enclosed "Insurance Information and Privacy Protection" notice.

If you discover the above information is incorrect, you have the right to submit a written request to correct your personal information. Please refer to the enclosed brochure notice for additional details regarding such a request.


Your State Farm Agent.

encl: Notice of Privacy Policy (same as
with the notable exception of the section "Other Important Information")



To State Farm Agent,

We hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving this coming week. We have so much to be thankful for.

I received your letter today with your response to the request for the disclosure of personal information on us that State Farm maintains.  Thank you very much for putting up with my request.  I do want to follow up on a few items. If, for any reason, you do not understand any of the comments below I would be happy to elaborate for you.

First, in your letter's last paragraph you refer to my right to submit a written request to correct my personal information. You refer to the enclosed "Insurance Information and Privacy Protection" notice for additional details regarding such a request.

The "Insurance Information and Privacy Protection" notice is identical to the original notice that I received from State Farm and also the document that can be found at with one very important and notable exception.  The last section in the other documents I mention has a section entitled "Other Important Information."  To be clear, this section is omitted in the brochure that you sent me.  
It is only in that omitted section that the issue of correcting personal information is addressed: "You may also act upon your right to see and correct any personal information in your State Farm files by writing your State Farm agent to request this access."
It seems almost like a self referencial statement, since there is actually more information in the letter than the brochure and neither gives "additional details regarding such a request."

Be that is it may, I will note here the concerns that I have about the information you provided and assume that this notice is sufficient to get the ball rolling on correcting them.

Next, while the information you provided in the letter may be all the information maintained by State Farm in its files on myself and my wife obtained from third parties, it certainly is deficient in that it does not contain the information in the files obtained from us.  Note, however, that while I had expected to see that information also, I am not requesting that you provide that information at this time.

Finally, on the section entitled Auto Policy it states "05/10/2010 claim for XXXXXXXX from Travelers Insurance"
I do not believe that technically this was a claim for the following reasons:
The issue at hand was a manufacturer's defect that resulted in the interior of the car being damaged.  The manufacturer, in settlement of a class action lawsuit, paid 100% of the costs associated with the damage, including the cause and effect of the defect.  In other words, Travelers Insurance paid no claim. Hence no claim was made and paid or denied.
Since I have only been made privy to the few words in your letter with regard to this issue, I can only assume that it is being treated by State Farm as a "claim" like other typical claims.
Perhaps you could clarify for me the detail information with regard to this point and the implications that that information has had and may continue to have upon our State Farm insurance premiums and what we may do to remedy the situation.



November 13. 2012

To State Farm Agent

Just following up on my email of two weeks ago (copy above). Since I did not get any response I thought I might just touch base with you to see how it is going.



November 30, 2012

Happy Holidays and I hope this email finds you well. My apologies for not replying to you in a timely fashion. I was waiting to get something back from State Farm, or preferably have someone contact you directly, to provide answers to your specific questions.  I do not have answers to your questions yet. I have asked for the direct contact person so that I can speak with them. Once I have that contact person I will pass his/her contact information on to you. Your questions are valid and I would like answers to them as well. Please do not feel that you are not a priority. The slow response to your question is uncharacteristic for my agency. State Farm corporate is the only avenue to getting the answer you are looking for. Hopefully the slow response is not a poor reflection on my office.  

Best Regards,

Your State Farm Agent

Dec. 14, 2012

I am dropping you a quick reminder that I am still waiting for a meaningful response from State Farm.




Dec. 14, 2012

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you. My family is doing well and truly excited about Christmas.  I remember your Christmas tree from last year – awesome for sure. Thank you for checking in with me regarding the questions you have on State Farm’s privacy policy. I have copied everyone in State Farm who I have contacted regarding your questions. I do not have answers to your questions yet. My hope is that I will have something in writing that I can provide to you by end of year. Corporate may choose to contact you directly as well with a response.  

Merry Christmas & Many Blessings ,

State Farm Agent


Jan. 2, 2013

Happy New Year!
It is hard to believe that the New Year is already here.

Based upon your latest email of Dec. 14, I had expected to have gotten a response from State Farm by now to the question I posed in my email of Nov. 16.  The bulk of the personal insurance policies we have are up for renewal in January and I would hate to have to redo them if the information upon which they are based is incorrect.

Surely State Farm can be more responsive than a two month turn around time to my question.
I look forward to getting closure on this item very shortly.

Hoping you and your family have enjoyed your holiday.




Happy New Year!

I am glad to hear that you did not sustain damages due to Sandy.
I am very surprised that you have not received any notice and/or contact from State Farm corporate directly. The lack of response is not characteristic of the company. I have CC'd everyone in the loop on this issue and my hope is you will be contacted post haste. My apologies for this issue dragging on so long. I am sure you would agree that the experience is far from remarkable. 

Best Regards & Many Blessings in the New Year,

Your State Farm Agent
"Providing Insurance and Financial Services" 
Today i received a letter dated 12/28/2012 from State Farm



In accordance with State regulations, enclosed you will find a copy of your Customer Profile and copies of the applications for your Fire and Auto policies, which contains the personal information we have in our records for you.  Also, your social security number is in our records for you, but for information security purposes, and your protection, the Customer Profile report doesn't print social security numbers.

If you need to make corrections to any of the personal information, you have the right to submit a written request to correct your personal information.


My response to State Farm.

I have received today your letter dated Dec. 28, 2012 with additional information possessed by State Farm on my wife and myself.
Thank you for all your help here. I know that this has been a long and arduous process. At least that is what it seems like from our point of view.
I think we will wrap this up and call it quits at this point on the issue of getting information being held by State Farm..

However, I do want to make three points.

First, I specifically said in my last inquiry that I did not want to receive the personal information provided by myself and my wife, and that is precisely what we did receive.

Next, I did raise a question about the alleged auto claim that was made in 2010 that might have been a factor affecting the rate that we were paying for our auto insurance.  There was no response to that in your letter.

Finally, I do not understand how, on Jan. 2, 2013, you sent me an email not understanding what happened to my request, when, in fact, you signed a letter to me on Dec. 28 2012 with all the information that you sent me.

In conclusion, I am going to be taking the following steps:
With regard to the incorrect information on the personal files associated with the applications for insurance at the various locations, I am going to address those specific points to the individual agents that incorrectly reported minor errors in the applications.  I have no idea where they got that information from.  It certainly wasn't from us.

With regard to the alleged claim on the auto insurance history, I have taken the liberty of speaking with the agent who wrote that policy in Nevada and she has assured me that it did not affect the rates since there was no monetary claim filed.

Finally, I have just had my auto insurance rates corrected for the second, or possibly third time with regard to the multiline discount that we were eligible for but did not receive.  I just wish that there was a way of getting all these policies under one true roof so that we could resolve the issues without having to talk to five different agents.

Looking forward to a healthy New Year.



Thank you for checking in with me. I am happy that you received the company letter. The letter I signed was dated for December 28th, 2012. That letter was generated by State Farm and mailed to me. I signed the letter and forwarded it to you as soon as I received it. The postmarking will be dated for January 3rd or later. State Farm has offered it's explanation but wanted me, the independent agent, to sign the document. I wish we could consolidate all of your policies in my agency.  Unfortunately some of your coverage is for assets outside the state. Please contact me at any time regarding any of your policies. I will work with State Farm corporate, and your other agents, to facilitate any issue you may have. 

I hope 2013 will be a great year for you and your family.   I will contact you to see if we can get together.      

State Farm Agent

Friday, October 26, 2012

Account Services Phishing Scam

I have been receiving more and more calls from a party that describes themselves as "Credit Card Services" or "Account Services".  They claim that they are reducing the credit card interest rate that I am paying on my credit cards.  They want me to supply them with information on my credit cards, my social security number and date of birth, as well as the specific credit cards that I have.
I have explained to them that there is no way that I am going to give someone who calls me out of the blue and asks me for that kind of information until I have confidence that they are a bona fide organization that can be trusted. They either try to argue the point or hang up. Oftentimes, they call, do not leave a message (I know it is them because they have the same telephone number as when I have actually spoken to them). I have called back some of the telephone numbers that have been left in my recent calls list to find out that it is usually a non functioning number.   In the instances where the number was functioning it was some unsuspecting person who had no idea what was going on.

Today I received one such call. I did a reverse search on the number in Boston MA and it is Investor Group Services.  I went to their website and found the following message.

Investor Group Services, LLC
855 Boylston Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02116
NOTICE: IGS has been targeted by a caller-ID spoofing scam. A company that is NOT Investor Group Services has been calling consumers using our phone number with a fraudulent offer. Investor Group Services, LLC is NOT affiliated in any way with these calls that are being made.
We are working urgently with our carrier to resolve the issue and have reported this fraud to the FTC and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. We encourage you to call your phone carrier to report these calls. We apologize for this inconvenience.

I have filed complaints with the FTC already, but I do not think it will do much good since the numbers are fraudulent.

I am going to list the telephone numbers that I think are associated with this scam:

617 371 4000 Boston MA
701 671 9447 Wahpeton, ND
843-619-3526  Charleston, SC

405-568-0145 OK

I am discontinuing listing the numbers since I have now received a few dozen different numbers.

I have found an interesting website called  If you go to this site and click on REPORT SPAM in the upper right corner, then put the telephone number into the search window they return any comments that have been left by others who want to leave messages about the telephone number (presumedly that the number originated some sort of spam or whatever).  It is mostly reporting companies like this one, or the like, but it at least gives you a better snapshot of what is going on.  Perhaps with more input to sites like this the FTC can actually follow up and catch these low lives.

I have continued to get telephone calls from this organization. I have adopted the following method for dealing with them. I do not answer the call if I do not recognize the area code. I then check the number by doing a Google search on the number.  It usually shows up as an Account Services number.
I have now written an email to the FTC about all this. The email follows:


I want to discuss with you what the FTC is doing about a very pervasive problem with unsolicited calls from a very unscrupulous party.
In my case I get about 30-50 calls a month from an outfit that calls themselves either "Credit Card Services" or "Account Services".
It is a recorded message that makes out like they are my credit card company and they are going to reduce the rate of finance charges on my credit cards. By pressing key one you get connected to a live service representative. I know that this is a scam and I do not give them personal information, but obviously this would not persist if they were not successful a small percentage of the time.
I have tried a variety of things to get them to stop calling me.
     1. I am registered on the Do not Call list
     2. I have asked them to put me on their do not call list
     3. I have filed complaints with the specific number that called me with the FTC
     4. I have investigated the number that has called me by calling that number and in ALL cases the number displayed is not the number that called me. They have hijacked the phone number
     5. I have tried to convince them that I do not have any credit cards
     6. I have told them that I am not going to provide information to someone who calls me, but rather only if I can call them.  They usually hang up on that request.
     7. I have tried to play along giving them false information, but this usually falls apart when it comes to the actual credit card number, since I do not know any valid credit card numbers that are not real.
     8. I have even just trying to use up their time so that they have less time to scam others.

The number that appears on my caller ID for these calls is usually the same for about a week, then it goes on to the next number, so they are obviously trying to stay one step ahead of anyone trying to investigate them. I can provide some of these numbers should you want them, but I think they must be worthless hijacked numbers.

Clearly, there is something that can be done here to catch these slimy operators. At a minimum a sting operation could be set up where a good credit card number that is provided by the credit card companies is used and then track the use of that card to nab them.
I have looked on line to see if others are experiencing this same problem and it is clearly the case. There are thousands of people who are getting these calls. 
I should think that this would fit into the scope of activities that you are interested in halting.
I would be more than happy to be the straw man for the sting operation since they obiously have my number on their call list.
Resolving this matter would solve three distinct problems for telephone customers:
     1. it would reduce the number of minutes we are using on our cell phones each month and therefore potentially reduce our telephone bills.
     2. It would reduce the amount of wasted time that we spend answering these useless calls.
     3. it would reduce fraud with the illicit use of the credit card numbers they actually collect from unsuspecting marks.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


I just found this press release at the FTC website:

For Release: 02/08/2012

FTC Shuts Down Robocallers Who Claimed to Reduce Credit Card Interest Rates

Marketers Settle Charges They Deceived More Than 13,000 Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with four of the defendants in an allegedly phony debt relief services operation that claimed that, for $995, it would dramatically reduce consumers' credit card interest rates. Under the settlement, reached as part of the FTC's continuing efforts against frauds that target financially strapped consumers, the defendants will be banned from robocalling consumers and from selling debt relief services. The operation, based in Canada and New York, used telemarketing boiler rooms in Orlando, Florida, to defraud consumers. Although the defendants operated under several different names, they often used "AFL Financial Services," or variations of the name "AFL."
According to the FTC's complaint, F&F Payment Processing Inc., Bajada Management Group Inc., Baird B. Fisher, Jacqueline M. Fisher, and others used illegal robocalls and falsely promised refunds to consumers if they did not save at least $2,500 as a result of lowered credit card interest rates. Based on records obtained by the FTC, the operation took in over $13 million from more than 13,000 consumers. When the case was filed, the court halted the operation and froze the defendants' assets pending a trial.
As alleged in the complaint, the defendants claimed they would negotiate lower credit card interest rates. At most, the defendants sometimes telephoned credit card issuers and attempted to conduct three-way calls among the credit card company, the consumer, and one of the defendants' so-called financial representatives. Often the defendants did not make these calls at all. When they did, the calls were unsuccessful. Some credit card issuers refused to participate in the calls as a matter of policy. Instead of a reduction in interest rates, consumers, who were already in dire financial straits, found themselves saddled with an additional $995 credit card charge.
In addition to banning the defendants from delivering prerecorded messages and selling debt relief services, the proposed settlement order permanently prohibits the companies and their owners from:
  • making misrepresentations about any goods or services, including anyone's ability to obtain a loan modification or improve a consumer's credit rating;
  • misrepresenting the terms of any refund or cancellation policy, affiliation with any government or non-profit program, or that a consumer will receive legal representation;
  • violating the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule;
  • illegally calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, or abandoning calls without involving a live operator; and
  • failing to transmit caller identification, and failing to disclose the seller's identity and the call's purpose.
In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers' personal information, from failing to properly dispose of customers' personal information within 30 days, and from failing to monitor sales personnel for compliance with the order. The order also imposes a judgment of more than $13.1 million, which will be suspended upon payment of $159,000 by the defendants who are part of the settlement. Additional funds are expected from the court-appointed receiver's sale of the defendants' assets in the U.S. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition or fail to meet the terms of the order. The other four defendants named in the complaint are in default.
The FTC brought this case in cooperation with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities Office. The Ministry simultaneously filed a separate lawsuit in Ontario seeking assets for consumer redress to victims in the United States and Canada.
The FTC also worked cooperatively with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Toronto Strategic Partnership in bringing this case. The Toronto Strategic Partnership members include the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Competition Bureau Canada, the Toronto Police Service Fraud Squad - Mass Marketing Section, the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Section, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading.
The FTC thanks Bank of America and the Better Business Bureau for their assistance.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order was 4-0. The order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division on January 25, 2012.
NOTE: This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
(FTC File No. X110003)

Also, Dated Feb. 2011 I found this note. Obviously they have not solved the problem yet.

Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams

Voice mail boxes across the nation are being clogged with prerecorded phone calls from companies that claim to be able to negotiate significantly lower interest rates with your credit card issuers if you just pay them a fee first.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says consumers who get these interest rate reduction robocalls should listen to them with extreme skepticism, and delete them. Many are scams.
The companies behind the sales pitches claim to have special relationships with credit card issuers. They guarantee that the reduced rates they offer will save you thousands of dollars in interest and finance charges, and will allow you to pay off your credit card debt three to five times faster. They claim that the lower interest rates are available for a limited time and that you need to act now. Some even use money-back guarantees as further enticement.
The FTC says that the companies behind these robocalls can't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself — for free. You have just as much clout with your credit card issuer as these companies, and you are just as likely to get turned down for a rate reduction regardless of their promises or supposed efforts to negotiate on your behalf. Indeed, FTC investigators found that people who pay for these services don't get the touted interest rate reductions, don't save the promised amounts, don't pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster, and struggle to get refunds.
Amendments to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibit companies that sell relief services like these rate reduction scams on the phone from charging a fee before they settle or reduce your debt. If you do business with a debt relief company, you may be required to put money in a dedicated bank account, which will be administered by an independent third party. The account administrator may charge you a reasonable fee, and is responsible for transferring funds from your account to pay your creditors and the debt settlement company when settlements occur.

Protect Yourself

The FTC says that if you’re looking to reduce the interest rate you’re paying on your credit card purchases, your best bet is to handle it yourself for free: call the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card and ask for a reduced rate. Be calm, patient and persistent. And if you are tempted by the promises in a rate reduction robocall, the FTC says hold off — and hang up.
  • Don’t give out your credit card information. Once a scammer has your data, they can charge your credit card for their own purchases or sell the information to other scammers.
  • Don’t share other personal financial or sensitive information like your bank account or Social Security numbers. Scam artists often ask for this information during an unsolicited sales pitch, and then use it to commit other frauds against you.
  • Be skeptical of any unsolicited sales calls that are prerecorded, especially if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. You shouldn’t get recorded sales pitches unless you have specifically agreed to accept such calls, with a few exceptions.
  • If your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, a telemarketer may call you only if you have agreed to accept calls from the company the salesperson works for, if you have bought something from the company within the last 18 months, or if you have asked the company for information within the last three months.
  • To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register your phone number, visit 
    or call 1-888-382-1222.

File a Complaint

If you think you’ve experienced a credit card interest rate reduction scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
If your credit card has been charged for a service you didn’t order, authorize or receive, and you can’t get a refund, dispute the transaction with your credit card company. First call to try to stop the payment, and then follow up in writing. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have the right to dispute charges for any service you didn’t get or any transaction you didn’t authorize.
This article was previously available as Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams

I have now found another site with interesting information I will attach it here.

The FCC has temporarily halted 7 minor unprofitable boiler rooms who will receive a slap on the wrist and be back at it within a few days. In the meantime the calls will continue since they are making money with what is called a CNAM revenue-sharing program through companies like and

In their own words:  'Every day your company makes thousands of outbound phone calls. Every one of those calls generates revenue for many companies, why not yours? Our CNAM revenue-sharing program helps you make money every time a Caller ID request is made by a phone carrier. A high-traffic call center can lose hundreds to thousands of dollars a day to phone carriers by allowing them to charge for access to your own data.'

You can now see why the criminals keep calling even though they know you won't fall for their scam. They are making money even if you don't answer the phone. If someone does make the mistake of answering the phone and falling for their scam then it is just icing on the cake for them. These people are the lowest form of filth on this planet.

What To Do When You Get an Illegal Robocall;

1.    Hang Up. Do not press 1 or any other numbers to get off the list and NEVER call them back
2.    Consider blocking the number or on a cell phone add it to a contact list and assign NO ring tone
3.    Report it at
4.    Report it at
5.    People should continually file complaints with their Attorney Generals office
6.    Report any criminal activity to the FBI here:

This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'. (Prosecute them in criminal court instead of civil penalties).

Register your phone numbers online at or call (888) 382-1222 (must call from # you want removed).

There is a blog site that has information on one of these operations:

Please read the blog and report violations to the proper authorities.

Many of these calls are coming from Costa Rica and India and they are using spoofed (false) numbers, which in itself is illegal. They do cold calling for or sell the leads to numerous companies in this country and they all know that what they are doing is illegal. Tomorrow this same number may be selling Cruises, Timeshares or Security Systems but if you follow the money it usually ends up in the hands of an American LLC.

Most of the inbound robo call numbers are spoofed, as most of the bolierhouses, both off and on shore, are using Voip SIP Trunks services. Throwaway DID numbers are also used. Some of the robocalling is operated by the end use scammers directly. Others are contract services who earn a referral fee once you are transferred to the scammers.

The criminals behind this operation aren't going to pay attention to you asking to be removed from their list. Their calls cost them almost nothing and they make millions of them so they have no intention of ever removing someone. When you press a key to talk to them all that is accomplished is to verify that they have a working number.

Unfortunately blowing an air horn or whistle doesn't work either. Their headset have noise dampeners plus they are expecting it. However with that said if it makes you feel better then by all means give it a shot.

The banking system is also at fault here, without merchant accounts and ACH processing these criminals could not collect the scammed funds. Though the criminals use obfuscation, layered corporations, multiple bank accounts and offshore stashing, patterns of obvious fraudulent activity become apparent after a very short time.

This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'. (Prosecute them in criminal court instead of civil penalties).

If you want to stop these calls then you need to dry up their revenue source. Your phone company is charging you a fee for Caller ID. Your phone company pays the scammer for sending their Caller ID information. Your phone company pays only a fraction of a cent per call and you pay your phone company to have the Caller ID displayed. The scammers send out millions of calls which amounts to a significant amount of money however your phone company is charging a large amount to millions of customers. This may have something to do with the phone companies inability to stop these calls.

In order to stop this we need legislation making it illegal to charge for caller ID. If a phone service wishes to operate it would need to provide the Caller ID at no charge as part of the service. Here is the $50,000 solution that the FCC is looking for and it doesn't cost anything.

There is an excellent blog site that I found that explains how one company is getting away with this activity.

At the height of this telephone debacle it's been said that Rachel was making 27 calls a second, which is a whopping 2.4 million calls in a single day!


This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'.

Advance Fee Fraud ... -fee-fraud.html

Advance fee fraud, also called upfront fee fraud, is any scam that, in exchange for a fee,

 Promises to send you money, products, or services.

 Offers you the opportunity to participate in a special deal;

 Asks for your assistance in removing funds from a country in political turmoil; or

  Asks for your assistance to help law enforcement catch thieves.

Whatever the scammers call the upfront fees (membership fee, participation fee, administrative or handling fee, taxes) all have one thing in common: the victims never see their money, or the scammers, again. Advance fee schemes come in many forms. We have provided some examples here. For more information, you can also visit the Federal Trade Commission Web site and perform a key word search.

Debt Elimination Fraud

Unlike legitimate companies who work with debtors to help them responsibly repay their debts, debt elimination scammers promise to make you debt free in exchange for a modest upfront or membership fee that they simply pocket. Victims pulled in by these schemes will certainly lose that fee, but they may also lose property, incur additional debt, damage their credit rating, risk identity theft, or face legal action. To learn more, read Answers about Debt Elimination and Fraudulent Schemes ... e-quesindx.html or visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection on the Federal Trade Commission Web site

Nigerian Fraud

This fraud combines identify theft and advance fee fraud. Scammers posing as government officials contact victims asking for help in transferring millions of dollars out of Nigeria in exchange for a percentage of the funds. They convince victims to provide their bank name and account numbers and other identifying information and to send checks to pay for bribes or legal fees. Perpetrators may also use the personal information received to drain victims' accounts and credit cards. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims who, by participating in this scheme, violate both Nigerian and U.S. law. Read more about this and other common fraud schemes on the Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site

From the FBI website: ... -2010-2011#Mass

Mass Marketing Fraud

General Overview

Mass marketing fraud is a general term for frauds which exploit mass-communication media, such as telemarketing, mass mailings, and the Internet. Since the 1930s, mass marketing has been a widely accepted and exercised practice. Advances in telecommunications and financial services technologies have further served to spur growth in mass marketing, both for legitimate business purposes as well as for the perpetration of consumer frauds. They share a common theme: the use of false and/or deceptive representations to induce potential victims to make advance fee-type payments to fraud perpetrators. Although there are no comprehensive statistics on the subject, it is estimated mass marketing frauds victimize millions of Americans each year and generate losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following is a brief description of some of the key concepts and schemes associated with the mass marketing/advance fee fraud crime problem.

Advance Fee Fraud: This category of fraud encompasses a broad variety of schemes which are designed to induce their victims into remitting upfront payments in exchange for the promise of goods, services, and/or prizes.

The predominantly transnational nature of the mass marketing fraud crime problem presents significant impediments to effective investigation by any single agency or national jurisdiction. Typically, victims will reside in one or more countries, perpetrators will operate from another, and the financial/money services infrastructure of numerous additional countries are utilized for the rapid movement and laundering of funds. For these reasons, the FBI is uniquely positioned to assist in the investigation of these frauds through its network of legal attaché (legat) offices located in over 60 U.S. Embassies around the world. By leveraging its global presence and network of liaison contacts, the FBI has successfully cooperated with other domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies to combat, disrupt, and dismantle international mass marketing fraud groups. The FBI participates in the International Mass Marketing Fraud Working Group (IMMFWG), a multi-agency working group established to facilitate the multi-national exchange of information and intelligence, the coordination of cross-border operational matters, and the enhancement of public awareness of international mass marketing fraud schemes. The current membership of the IMMFWG consists of law enforcement, regulatory, and consumer protection agencies from seven countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Despite the best interagency enforcement efforts to combat mass marketing fraud, the FBI remains cognizant of the fact that the only enduring remedy for this crime problem lies in consumer education and fraud prevention programs. Toward this end, the FBI has not only produced its own mass marketing fraud prevention materials, but coordinates on other public information efforts with the DOJ, FTC, and the USPIS, among others. The FBI also supports a consumer fraud prevention website in conjunction with the USPIS which can be located on the web at: Additionally, further information on mass marketing fraud schemes can be found at,,, and

What To Do When You Get an Illegal Robocall;

1.    Hang Up. Do not press 1 or any other numbers to get off the list and NEVER call them back
2.    Consider blocking the number or on a cell phone add it to a contact list and assign NO ring tone
3.    Report it at
4.    Report it at
5.    People should continually file complaints with their Attorney Generals office
6.    Report any criminal activity to the FBI here:

There is a blog site that has information on one of these operations:

Please read the blog and report violations to the proper authorities.