Annoying Calls
April 25, 2006 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone else been bothered by phone calls requesting you to call Ken Hughes concerning an urgent matter?

I began getting the pre-recorded call 2 hours after getting a new cell phone and number. I have been getting the same call from different numbers off and on for several months. They come from the company mentioned here:
I'm sure they are after the previous owner of my cell #.
Any thoughts on how to get the calls stopped without giving up any of my personal data?
posted by hockeyman to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Get your cell number changed?
Honestly, if you think the problem is that you got someone's former number, it'll be a lot easier to just get the number changed than trying to get the calls to stop.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:53 PM on April 25, 2006

I have to second Thorzdad's idea.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2006

Oh man, I just assumed these calls were about a bill that I didn't pay. Now I don't have to worry!

To specifically answer your question though: for the past month or two I've been getting 5-6 calls a day from a "Unavailible" number. Sometimes they leave messages (the Ken Hughes one", and sometimes not.

Can you add your cell-phone to the do-not-call list?
posted by Loto at 8:01 PM on April 25, 2006

I got calls like that a long time ago. Call them back and bitch them out. Since *they* are wasting *your* airtime, it's costing you. The telespammer that I talked to was very quick to put an end to the calls.

Also, add your cell number to the Do Not Call registry. I haven't had a single telemarketing call for as long as I can remember.
posted by drstein at 8:08 PM on April 25, 2006

Sometimes I get similar calls, but saying "please call 555-5555 (not literally) before 9pm." are those telemarketers because i'm on the do not call list?

(sorry for asking another question but it seemed like a waste to start a new thread)
posted by fearandloathing at 8:21 PM on April 25, 2006

I know somebody who won't answer her phone or even have an answering machine: she tracks her incoming calls with Caller ID. I don't even bother with that -- you simply can't reach me on the phone.

I do get plenty of email spam though, which since I can't figure out procmail I just line up and d)elete d)elete d)elete.
posted by davy at 8:54 PM on April 25, 2006

All cell phones are already supposed to be "do not call" under FCC regulations. That's been the case for a long time.

The specific FCC regulation in question bans unsolicited advertising calls to any phone number such that the call costs the recipient money. Originally the reg was written to stop people from sending advertisements to fax machines (where the recipient involuntarily provided paper and ink for the unwanted ad) but when cell phones became common the FCC decided the rule also applied there, because the cell phone owner paid for air time for unwanted advertising calls. (Note: under that reg, "lost time" doesn't count as a recipient expense, which is why it didn't apply to normal telemarketing to a landline phone.)

However, there are certain exemptions to that rule -- and to the "do not call" lists. For instance, solicitations by charities are exempt. Also, companies with which you have an established commercial relationship do not have to pay attention to them -- which is why your local phone carrier can call you to nag you about switching your long distance even if you're on the "do not call" list.

Anyway, machines that call you and then play a recorded message are also a violation of FCC regulations.

The problem is that none of those rules can be enforced if the calling phone number is outside of the US, and as telecommunications has advanced and long distance has gotten cheaper, that's happening more and more. I used to get call-with-recording advertising calls in San Diego all the time, which I'm pretty sure were coming from Tijuana, even though they were advertising a carpet cleaning company in San Diego. I never called the carpet cleaning company to complain because it was obvious it was pointless.

There was a scam a couple of years ago where they received phone calls, or cell phone text messages, or emails, which made them think they needed to urgently call a particular number. It turned out to be one of those "$8 per minute cost to the caller" numbers somewhere like Belarus, and the people who got sucked in and called the number were put on hold and discovered they'd been stuck with huge long distance bills, which presumably the Belarusian phone company shared with the scammer. If the number you're being asked to call is international, I'd be really wary of trying it without checking it out first. (There have also been phone companies in the Caribbean who were involved in scams like that.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:16 PM on April 25, 2006

Davy, if you're using Windows, check out K9. It's free, it's easy to set up, and it's very effective. I've been using it for several years and it works really well.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:18 PM on April 25, 2006

The person who used to have your number is writing bad checks with that # on them.

Change your number NOW if it's not too much of a hassle. I wish I had. Four years after moving, we are still getting collection calls for Bridget Steele, who writes bad checks with our phone # on them and it's an ENORMOUS pain in the ass, trying to explain the situation to people.

We get lots of "call me regarding an important legal matter" messages, which we ignore.
posted by SashaPT at 3:11 AM on April 26, 2006

They are almost certainly from a debt collection agency that has bought up old, sometimes very old, debts and harass people into paying. There have been cases of people paying up - ever though it wasn't their debt - just to stop them. If you ignore them, they will eventually go away but eventually might be several months,
posted by TheRaven at 4:35 AM on April 26, 2006

My roommate and I got these calls on our home number -- please call 800.something or other for about 5 months, we ignored them, and haven't had them call in about a month now. Hopefully it's over!
posted by echo0720 at 7:15 AM on April 26, 2006

Thanks everyone. The source phone # was a 310 area code (Chicago) where the collection company resides. The calls came fairly frequently for a few months, then stopped. Now it's coming from an 888 number, same message though.
Changing the number might be an option, but I just got this number out to everyone. I'll wait this out for a month. If they still call, I'll probably change, since this hassle will outweigh changing my number hassle.
I added the numbers to my contact list as Spam with a weird ring tone so I do not go running for the phone when these jerks call.
I was hoping someone knew of a class action suit against these guys. I would join in.
posted by hockeyman at 7:48 PM on April 26, 2006

I used to get collection calls on the land line for a person with my 1st initia and last name. Your state's Attorney General's office or Consumer Affairs may be able to help you get them stopped if all else fails.
posted by theora55 at 8:31 AM on April 27, 2006

« Older Uncommon Midwest road trips?   |   Dont want to be a lawyer but I got the degree Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.