Solicitation calls -- from a phone company--Best Way to Make it Stop??
June 26, 2014 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Verizon is calling me from three or four similar numbers all starting with 213-223-87XX. They do not leave messages. I found out it was Verizon by calling these numbers on a blocked phone at work. How to stop this? More info inside....

I've been receiving phone calls, but no voice messages, from three or four phone numbers starting with 213-223-87XX.
I called from a blocked line and I was answered with an automated request to give them "the ten digit number where we tried to reach you..."
I waited for a human and they answered..."Verizon Wireless!"
The person said they needed my phone number if I wanted them to figure out why they were calling me. S/He said that Verizon was probably trying to reach a customer who used to have my phone number. BUT I've had this number for 20 years...and I am with another carrier.

So I vaguely threatened them with reporting the company and I refused to give them my number.
Question to the group: Can I really resolve this by providing my phone number--or does that just give them information that there is a live person answering my phone?
Bonus points to anyone who has insider information on the inner workings of Verizon!
posted by calgirl to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Have you tried answering the calls they're sending to you? The rep is probably telling the truth when they say that they need your phone number to figure out why they're calling you; how else would they know?

Fact is, they already *have* your number (otherwise they wouldn't be calling you), so you really have nothing to lose by talking to them, figuring out what they want, and then asking them to not call again.
posted by Aleyn at 11:45 PM on June 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

They are prolly calling you to tell you something. The center calling you only dos outbound calls, so when you call them, they have to look you up and confirm that it's you.

Because you don't give them your number, they can't address your problem.

So either:

1. Pick up the phone when they call
2. Give them your number.

They are trying to reach your number, not harass you.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:32 AM on June 27, 2014

Having worked phones for a utility for a bit*, some companies are serious(ish) about privacy, and they might not leave messages because they can't be sure they're speaking to the 'account holder' (according to whatever system they're looking at).

As above, answer or supply the number when they call. They need to have something to go on to tell you why they've been calling. They'll tell you what it's about (maybe someone miskeyed when entering a number another customer is trying to churn or something). You can tell them they're wrong, whatever, and get rid of them.

If they were trying to sell you something, I imagine they'd have used the time they had you talking to a human to make the pitch.

If talking to them doesn't solve or resolve anything, and harassing calls continue, there will, of course, be records of that (ie. your phone logs) for you to take it further if necessary.

*inbound only!
posted by quinndexter at 3:33 AM on June 27, 2014

I had a similar situation a while ago, with repeated calls from the same number (or similar numbers). To make a long story short, the calls were originating with the bank that handles my health savings account (HSA). They had sent me a debit card about two months ago, and I neglected to activate it -- so they wanted to find out why I hadn't activated it. But, strangely, they wouldn't leave any voicemail messages for me.
posted by alex1965 at 4:25 AM on June 27, 2014

If you're getting multiple calls, then this isn't just a shotgun-style solicitation call. Repeatedly calling people for solicitation is the sort of thing that fly-by-night telemarketing firms do, but not big companies. The big companies are too easy to find and have too much to lose when the class-action lawsuits and regulatory bodies come knocking.

They're calling you for some specific reason, and you have nothing to lose by hearing what it is. You're not giving them any useful information by picking up because they already know (or think they know) who's there. Chances are this is as simple as someone fat-fingering their phone number when they signed up for internet service. And while providing your number won't guarantee that the calls stop, not providing your number is guaranteed not to make the calls stop, because you've given them no way to link up "this person we're calling" to "this person who calls us up and complains about getting calls," so even if they wanted to, they couldn't stop the calls.

Also, there's always the off chance that they really do have something important to tell you, or that someone has used your information to open an account (i.e. identity theft) in which case you really do want to pick up the phone.
posted by firechicago at 5:09 AM on June 27, 2014

I agree that you need to give them your number when you call and/or answer once to find out exactly why they are calling. Aggressive telemarketing is not how the big cellular companies do things now days (as opposed to the long distance wars). They have your number attached to something, so find out what they want. Maybe someone has you listed as an emergency contact or someone put your number on the account in error.

Threatening them is not going to be very effective because they don't think they are violating any laws. An established business relationship is usually enough to exempt a company from the DNC regulations. They don't have one with you, but they have reason to believe they do because your number is listed on an account. Correct them when they call and they will no longer have that belief. If the calls persist after one or two conversations with them, ask for a supervisor.

For what it is worth, another phone company got in contact with my husband when someone tried to open an account in another state with his social security number. It could be something weird like that.
posted by soelo at 7:30 AM on June 27, 2014

For what it is worth, another phone company got in contact with my husband when someone tried to open an account in another state with his social security number. It could be something weird like that.

Very possibly this. (I am said husband.) In my case AT&T left a detailed message and a callback number, but Verizon's fraud dept., if that's what this is, might have different privacy policies.

I googled all combinations of that exchange (I was bored) and got only a few real weak returns on 14, 45, and 51, and one hit on 89 being a valid outbound Verizon Customer Service number.

Answer it next time, find out what they want. Having googled all the possible numbers with no hits on all the usual 'this number is BS' websites, I find it unlikely this is any kind of larger scam or even a sales call. It's likely there's either a mixup somewhere or possibly fraudulent activity, in which case it'll be easy to clear up, business done. And, in my case, I was really glad they called.

In the off chance they're actually selling something, cut them off: "Sorry, not interested. Please take me off your list, thank you." Click.
posted by SquidLips at 5:13 PM on June 27, 2014

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