For the last several months, I've been subject to a dramatic increase in the number of cold calls from companies suggesting I invest in oil fields, precious metals, or some security or another. Lately, I've been receiving a call or two per day. I've decided to list the companies and phone numbers in this post, so I'll continually update it.
The number they're all calling has been listed in the Do Not Call Registry for years. Now, like typical pro-consumer legislation, the Do Not Call rules allow companies with "existing relationships" to continue to contact you, as well as some degree of their subsidiaries and partners. It also has very little teeth. I had hoped for $500 fines per incident (similar to unsolicited faxing), but it doesn't appear to be so.
So, back to the calls. They're generally native English speakers, cheerful and energetic. They almost always imply a pre-existing relationship, by saying they're following up on the information I requested before.
To be clear: I have never requested such information. I am hypersensitive to marketing efforts, and do all my research anonymously online. I never knowingly request information of this nature. I think it's a blatant lie, intended to confuse me, or cause me to doubt myself, and is an attempt to shield themselves from the law that allows contact in case of pre-existing relationships.
On to the calls. This list is by no means complete. I've received literally dozens of calls, many I ignore. Some wake me in the morning. If I'm patient enough, I'll get a name from the caller. I also don't trust the caller ID; it could easily be forged, I think.
When I called one back (to verify it was not a legitimate missed call), he answered as if he were not expecting a business call. A "hello," some confusion, and after I asked who this was, because I saw the call in my call log, he replied, "This is the after-hours answering service for US Oil Fields" (a company that has called me before, or with a name similar to one). This makes me think that these aren't even call centers, but individuals in their homes, making these calls.
|2010-02-04 1629 PST||Properties Coast to Coast||Jeff Deese||818 373-6746||Northern LA, CA|
|2010-01-25 1423 PST||International Images||Denis Sheild||702 922-1300||Las Vegas, NV||Claims we spoke six months ago about "amazing photographs." This time I made a point of getting his name and company name, and so he took that opportunity to describe what they do. Something about selling "great" art, images, photographs from around the world. This is different from all the others, in that he wasn't asking me to invest in precious metals or oil fields. But it's the same kind of call; the suggestion that we've had a conversation prior to this.|
|2010-01-25 1402 PST||Atlantis Group||Ron Lewist (sp?)||310 856-9700||Gardena, CA||I answered this call, and heard the caller speaking to someone near him, saying something about "the fucking transfer." It took five or six "Hello?" inquiries form me before he started talkign to me: "From the way you answered, you don't remember me." "You've never called me before." "Really? I have here in my notes that we've spoken." "You're full of shit. You've never called me. You're one of a thousand companies that's calling me with the same schtick." Something about I'm gonna miss out, that something's happening. I tried to tell him to put me on the do not call list, and he kept on yapping, so I hung up.|
|2010-01-21 1459 PST||Advantage Management||954 351-5459||FL||Also told me to invest in precious metals.|
|2010-01-21 1144 PST||American Precious Metals||Anna Risesh||954 944-0965||FL||This company has called me many times. I've requested to be put on their do not call list, only to get a call from the same area code an hour later.|
|2010-01-20 1514 PST||214 628-9435||TX||Also told me to invest in precious metals.|
|2010-01-20 1407 PST||US Oil Fields||213 281-9074||Los Angeles, CA||When I called, a man said, "hello." When I asked who it was, after fumbling a bit, he said "This is the after-hours answering service for US Oil Fields." This call and the next came within seconds of each other.|
|2010-01-20 1407 PST||Domestic Development Company||214 350-1340||TX|
|2010-01-20||Fusion||TX||Might be one of the other calls this day.|
|2010-01-20 1302 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2010-01-19 1459 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2010-01-19 1039 PST||Unanswered||954 944-0139||FL|
|2010-01-18 1235 PST||Unanswered||954 491-9764||FL|
|2010-01-15 0807 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2010-01-14 1611 PST||Unanswered||954 944-0966||FL|
|2010-01-13 1214 PST||Templeton Financial Group||561 499-9889||FL|
|2010-01-12 1417 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2010-01-11 1339 PST||Unanswered||512 623-5784||Austin, TX|
|2010-01-11 1137 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2010-01-06 1102 PST||Rockwell||954 725-1599||FL||Precious metals.|
|2009-12-30 0921 PST||Unanswered||214 628-9435||TX|
|2009-12-28 1525 PST||Unanswered||818 373-6756||Los Angeles, CA||I got another call from 818 for restaurant franchise opportunities.|
I've filed a complaint via the Do Not Call Registry, but they don't address individual complaints. I filed a complaint with the FTC, but they don't, either. I think the next step will be to contact my local representatives.
Update 2010-01-25: I called the FCC today, but unfortunately the people who handle these complaints were gone for the day. Supposedly they'll be calling me back.