Las Vegas has some devilish people who have figured out how to annoy phone scammers. Jim Frender and John Shoots come to mind immediately.
They were just two of the scores of people who said I am not alone in my fury with robocalls and scammers.
Frender said he received nearly daily robocalls from one of those power scammers for nearly two years. Finally, he decided to give as good as he got. Several weeks ago, he answered the call and said he wanted someone to come out and tell him how to save on his power bill. When the salesman arrived, Frender was in his front yard. The 76-year-retired trucker was ready.
The first thing Frender did was ask for the man’s business card. Gosh, he was all out of cards. That’s when Frender told the salesman he wasn’t one bit interested, basically wasting the man’s time.
Soon after, Frender received a call, not from an 800 number like before, but from a number in Phoenix. A young woman was angry about Frender wasting the company’s precious time. Frender told her he now had her real number and would be reporting it to authorities.
The Federal Trade Commission hopes that Frender follows through on his threat. So do I.
FTC spokesman Mitchell Katz urged people to go to the National Do Not Call Registry website at www.donotcall.gov/ and file complaints. “We want as many complaints as we can get,” he said. “It does make a difference to complain because we aggregate complaints against specific companies. I know they use complaint data all the time.”
On the 10th anniversary of the Do Not Call Registry in June, the FTC announced Mortgage Investors Corp., a company preying on veterans seeking to refinance home loans, agreed to pay a $7.5 million civil penalty. Officials announced there had been 105 enforcement actions taken against illegal robocallers in ten years.
“We’re continuing to crack down on illegal robocallers and fraudsters, even as we speak,” Katz said.
The number goes up and down, but the FTC gets around 200,000 complaints a month.
A pattern of complaints was one way the FTC realized how huge an annoyance “Rachel from Cardholder Services” was to the public. At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is considered “public enemy No. 1,” the Al Capone of robocalls. I despise her and her incessant calls.
Then last year the FTC filed complaints against five companies using “Rachel,” who promised to lower your credit card interest if only you would pay as much as $3,000 up front.
A+ Financial Center settled in July, and while a $9.2 million judgment was agreed upon, the company didn’t have that and essentially agreed to turn over its assets, including two boats, a Mercedes, just keeping $25,000. Sounds tough.
Except I got a call from “Rachel” just last week. Must have been from one of the companies yet to settle.
While many people think the Do Not Call Registry is useless, Katz said the registry has stopped 2.5 billion robocalls over the past three years. In other words, the robocalls could be worse.
Since Sept. 1, 2009, robocalls have been illegal, with the exception of charities, political organizations and telephone surveyors. They’re exempted.
Back to John Shoots, a retired Air Force veteran, who discovered his own wicked way to retaliate against live callers who are obviously scammers. He bought something called a “Bull—— Button.” When scammers call this guy, he presses the button which yells “Warning, bull—— alert” and other similar rude comments.
He used to hate these calls. “Now I wait by the phone for those calls,” he laughed.
I checked and yes, these cussin’ buttons are for sale on the Internet.
It’s Labor Day weekend, can Christmas be far behind?
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@rewviewjournal.com or call her at (702) 383-0275.