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First Caller-ID Spoofers Punished

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-do-not-call-means dept.

The Courts 156

coondoggie plugs a NetworkWorld story that begins, "The first telemarketers charged with transmitting false Caller IDs ... to consumers were fined and barred from continuing their schemes by a New Jersey District Court judge.... [T]wo individuals and one corporate defendant have been barred from violating the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule and its Do Not Call requirements ... They were also found liable for $530,000 in damages ... [T]he case was the first brought by the Commission alleging the transmission of phony caller ID information or none at all."

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I hope that this set precedent... (4, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322524)

I hope that this set precedent for spammers.

http://what-is-what.com/what_is/spam.html [what-is-what.com]

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323078)

what a great site! they give a nice warning message about non-standards compliant browsers (ie7 here), but they fail validation [w3.org] !

The masses rise up against browser oppression! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323478)

We see you are using Internet Explorer, which is not compatible with this website. We strongly suggest downloading Firefox. We think you'll like it better:
Firefox displays webpages properly, while Internet Explorer displays webpages in non-standard ways.
Firefox supports current web technologies such as PNG images, CSS and XML.
Firefox is better for web designers and developers, who can code webpages to W3C standards. Designing for IE requires "hacks" which more than double production time.
Firefox is better for users, as it displays webpages exactly how the designer intended.
Firefox is more secure against viruses and spyware.

You may notice that some aspects of What-Is-What.com do not display properly in Internet Explorer. This is because Internet Explorer does not conform to web standards. Thus, website maintainers must code twice: once for standards-compatable browsers, and once again for IE. By only coding one version of this website, I have more time to add new articles and make other improvements. Coding specifically for IE was too time consuming. If you insist on using a broken browser (Internet Explorer) then you will see broken webpages.


The site obviously has an agenda (which I wholeheartedly support) and that is to encourage people to stop using Internet Exploder. I use Opera and it didn't complain, then switched my user-agent string to Mozilla (menu option) and it still didn't complain. The I switched it to IE6 and it complained. Then I switched it to IE7 and it complained. Every site should do this (a quick google turned up only 3 sites). Maybe this could start a movement!

Re:The masses rise up against browser oppression! (2, Interesting)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323916)

The site obviously has an agenda (which I wholeheartedly support) and that is to encourage people to stop using Internet Exploder. I use Opera and it didn't complain, then switched my user-agent string to Mozilla (menu option) and it still didn't complain. The I switched it to IE6 and it complained. Then I switched it to IE7 and it complained. Every site should do this (a quick google turned up only 3 sites). Maybe this could start a movement!
I sniff the UA with a bit of PHP:

if ( substr_count($_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"], "MSIE") ) {
/ / IE code here
}
Note, this is the first time that I've been grateful for the forced preview. The comment did not show with the slashes next to each other, and backslashing the comment did not help either. Interesting parser has /., that strips comments in comments.

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323858)

It passes now. [w3.org] Thanks.

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (4, Funny)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323462)

Play the fools at their own game.

Print one of these out and keep it by the phone:
Anti-Telemarketing Script [xs4all.nl]
Anti-Telemarketing Script [ucan.org]
Anti-Telemarketing Script [junkbusters.com]

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (4, Funny)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324090)

As a former Telemarketer, I love the EGBG script... (now that is)...

The things Telemarketers hate most is wasting their time. What is probably more mean, is to pretend to be interested and ask ton's of questions about whatever they are selling. Go along and act like your going ot buy everything they have to sell and then right at the end say, "Nah, I changed my mind" and hang up...

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (2, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323476)

I don't understand why this hasn't happened sooner. I've filled out that complaint form [donotcall.gov] on donotcall.gov a number of times since it's inception when I get a call from some telemarketer for a company I've never dealt with. I always hoped that, even if my individual complaints weren't looked into, maybe they would aggregate complaints, and investigate the bigger offenders. Apparently they haven't really even been doing that...

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324130)

I hope that this set precedent for spammers.
I'm sorry [whips out pimp gloves and slaps you] these people had no issues with violating the law before, what makes you think that this makes any difference at all? Robbing banks is illegal, and more often than not results in significant time, but does that stop bank robbers? The truth it that casteration is the only real solution. Most of the "people" are typical "I got mine" males. Put the real threat of ball removal in the equasion, and you'll see all these guys go back to selling cars.

Re:I hope that this set precedent... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324322)

I'm sorry [whips out pimp gloves and slaps you] these people had no issues with violating the law before, what makes you think that this makes any difference at all?
Accountability. Telemarketers are easier to track down and punish, so the law does. Now, when private individuals go after spammers (because the government is too pussy to do it) there will be more tangible precedent for punishment.

and if you rtfa (2, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322548)

you find out they don't have it and are only paying 45,000 in fines..

Re:and if you rtfa (4, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323122)

My brother is a DA. Getting a conviction is less than 50% of his job. The majority of his time goes to finding out where the poor helpless bankrupt criminals have hidden their stash. (And he is really good at it ;-)

Re:and if you rtfa (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323198)

10 ?"Hello World" life was simple then

Don't you mean life was Basic then?

Re:and if you rtfa (2, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323262)

Also according to tfa the original fine is based on gross revenue. That means all income, before cost. Of course a fine has to be punitive, but gross revenue that of course no-one can pay. Many costs have to be deducted, starting of course with their telephone bills.
Great to hear a telemarketer getting fined though. Irritating lifeforms.

Jesus Christ (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322554)

Call me! No wait! Don't call me! *wink wink*

That's a whole lot of money for getting called.

You know who else should get slapped with a fine? Companies that hire telemarketers.

Re:Jesus Christ (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23322676)

Gives us legitimate telemarketing companies a bad name.

And yes there are those of us that don't believe that pi55ing off 1000 potential customers to get 1 low value sale is a good idea.

Qualitative based projects where the communication itself can add value to the prospect is what works (this is somewhere between customer service and sales)in particular where the person has expressed an interest already and telemarketing is following up.

Re:Jesus Christ (5, Insightful)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323434)

Gives us legitimate telemarketing companies a bad name.

There are *no* legitimate telemarketing companies. Nobody has ever asked you to call them on the telephone and try to sell them something; stop trying to pretend otherwise. If you call me with a sales pitch, regardless of what it is or who you represent, I'll want your head on a pike.

Spot the oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323596)

Gives us legitimate telemarketing companies a bad name.

Yeah, right.

Re:Jesus Christ (2, Insightful)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323712)

Gives us legitimate telemarketing companies a bad name.
Then get to complaining to the DMA, if you want any consumers to take any telemarketer serious then get them to stop defending the right to continue bad practices. And get them to start requesting laws, and enforcement to clean up the industry, instead of the opposite.

Re:Jesus Christ (3, Insightful)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323996)

If I want your product, I'll go looking for it. This is the beauty of the internet age. I do not need to be called at home and be "sold" on something I did not ask for. If I called you, and you are returning my call, this is completely different.

Re:Jesus Christ (2, Funny)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324194)

But still you despise yourself enough to post as AC :)

Absolutely right. Its just one more form of spam (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322924)

and I HATE spam.

Re:Absolutely right. Its just one more form of spa (4, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323064)

and I HATE spam.
The secret is a dash of paprika.

Re:Absolutely right. Its just one more form of spa (5, Funny)

lala (28594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323586)

Only if you by 'a dash' mean alot and by 'paprika' you mean tequila

Re:Absolutely right. Its just one more form of spa (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323400)

and I HATE spam

To bad, you should try it fried.. about 3 o'clock in the morning.. when its the only thing in the fridge and your to tired and hungry to give a fuck.

Re:Absolutely right. Its just one more form of spa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323554)

All of the tell-tale signs of brilliance in Spam defense:

To[sic] bad, you should try it fried.. about[sic] 3 o'clock in the morning.. when[sic] its[sic] the only thing in the fridge and your[sic] to[sic] tired and hungry to give a fuck.

Ban them from using phones (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322560)

When "hackers" get caught, it's not uncommon for the judge to ban them from using computers for a period of time. Ban the caller ID spoofers from using a telephone for a few years, either for business or personal use (with an emergency usage exception).

Re:Ban them from using phones (4, Funny)

hansraj (458504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322792)

Not only I totally agree with your "same yardstick" principle, I also propose following natural application of it: "any guy caught urinating in public should not be allowed to use his penis ever again."

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322808)

Where's the harm in urinating in public?

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322928)

I'm replying to this to undo the moderation I did to your (and the parent) comment. Have to use the old form because the new one is broken (keeps asking me if I'm sure, but gives me NO way to say YES!)

>:(

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323236)

For the sake of irony, I hope you had modded us off-topic and responded as such rather than finding a comment that you could make an on-topic reply to.

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322918)

I think your comparison is eminently sensible - a natural biological function that needs to be performed in order to continue survival and the use of a device that only serves to make human communication more convenient are clearly closely parallel situations.

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323096)

I did not compare telemarketing to urinating. I compared it to urinating in public. An offense mostly because of the inconvenience it causes to others and not because of any real damage. Of course one can argue that telemarketers waste the time you could have spent doing something other than taking a call you didn't want to, calling for them to be denied the us of a telephone forever extreme in my opinion (and hence the insane comparison).

Re:Ban them from using phones (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323224)

What about when your phone rings nonstop, every 2-3 minutes 24x7 and it's nothing but offshore telemarketers using VOIP portals? Is that still just an inconvenience?

Re:Ban them from using phones (2, Insightful)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323184)

You mean like being made to register as a sex offender, immediately causing everyone who hears such to assume you are a pedophile and/or rapist?

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323626)

Not only I totally agree with your "same yardstick" principle, I also propose following natural application of it: "any guy caught urinating in public should not be allowed to use his penis ever again."

What would you propose to do with women caught urinating in public?

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323976)

"any guy caught urinating in public should not be allowed to use his penis ever again."
"any guy caught urinating in public should not be allowed to use his penis in public ever again."

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Ban them from using phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23324044)

I think we already do this. Public indecency laws has been included in sexual predator laws. That tinkle in the bush will, basically, have you labeled in public databases for the rest of your life.

You can kiss any relationship once the girl does a quick google search and finds your picture between the child molesters and rapists.

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

slmdmd (769525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322890)

I had similar experience from "Union Telecom", spanish or indian accented people call. I initially bought their international calling service and soon realized that they don't even have a proper website. I canceled the service, but they never sent any confirmation even though i requested for it about 10 times. Later they charged my account after 6 months of cancellation calls. I had to disable my visa card after 20 frustrating calls.

Re:Ban them from using phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323110)

I had similar experience from "Union Telecom", spanish or indian accented people call.
I'm sorry. I couldn't parse that sentence. I understand that English is likely not your native language. A tip I have is to say a sentence out loud and decide if it "sounds correct". :-)

Re:Ban them from using phones (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323722)

When "hackers" use "cid spoofing" to "SWAT" people's houses, they deserve more than just a fine.

Seriously, I have cid spoofed to play pranks on friends etc, and nobody cares. The crime is when you use the misinformation to take advantage of a system or group of people (especially when money is involved).

Twofo Gay Niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23322570)

Eat my goatse'd penis! [twofo.co.uk]

That's right, you cock-smoking tea-baggers!

Telemarketers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23322582)

Send all telemarketers to hell

why waste their time and money? (3, Insightful)

AntEater (16627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322656)

"...calling consumers on the National DNC Registry"

Maybe someone can help me understand something here. Why would a company want to waste their resources marketing to people who have made an overt effort to opt-out? Do they really think that people will make a purchase if they could through?

Personally, I've put my number on the "do not call list" and I wouldn't buy anything from a telemarketer purely as a matter of principle - I'd pay more elsewhere just to avoid encouraging this form of marketing. I've never met anyone who didn't feel similar about getting sales calls at home.

Re:why waste their time and money? (4, Insightful)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322750)

In theory, that makes perfect sense. But in practice, there are enough people who, even though they don't like being called, still get talked into stuff over the phone. "No, I'm not interested. Wait, you said I could lower my mortgage payments by *how* much?"

When the DNC lists went into effect, many telemarketers tried to spin it into a positive thing, saying that the gov't was actually helping them by cleansing their lists of the people who wouldn't buy anything anyway. It was cute, because the DNC lists really killed their old business models. Looks like the survivors out there are relying heavily on loopholes in the law and the relative lack of enforcement.

Re:why waste their time and money? (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322938)

Maybe some people register on DNC-lists because they know they're pushovers?

Re:why waste their time and money? (4, Funny)

AntEater (16627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322980)

Maybe some people register on DNC-lists because they know they're pushovers?
I didn't think that was why I registered, but now that you mention it, that was probably the real reason.

to remove yourself from this list, click here (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322964)

Why would a company want to waste their resources marketing to people who have made an overt effort to opt-out?
Why does unsubscribing from V1A9R4 spam lists get you more spam?

Re:why waste their time and money? (2, Insightful)

nerdonamotorcycle (710980) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323356)

Many people register for the DNC list precisely because they know they have difficulty refusing telephone sales pitches. Therefore, the DNC list may represent a list of people who are actually more likely than average to buy whatever a telemarketer is offering.

Re:why waste their time and money? (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324014)

If you read the article, you discover that they didn't get the list at all (you have to pay for access to the list, sort of like a telemarketers tax). Instead, they just set up the phones and started dialing randomly (while spoofing the return address).

Never did understand (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322692)

I never understood the direct marketer's devotion to marketing by force.

If I'm on the Do Not Call list, why do you still want to call me? Even if there was no enforcement, I've registered because:

1) I'm not buying your crap
and
2) Marketing calls annoy the hel out of me

What possible benefit is there to your operatives calling me, getting an earful, wasting their time and spoiling my day?
I mean, if you're spoofing the Caller ID, you know that I'm going to hang up on you if I guess who it is, at which point you have to ask yourself, what the fuck do you think is the point about calling me?

Re:Never did understand (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322720)

Economics... The same reason spammers spam, there is money in the brute force direct marketing. SOMEONE is buying, other wise there literally would be no pay-off for spammer / telemarketers.

Re:Never did understand (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322798)


Sure, sure, someone is buying, but I would have thought the Do Not Call and "I'm blocking you by your caller ID" crowd would be a massively lower return/hit rate than even their usual abysmal hit rate.

Re:Never did understand (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323014)

You are over rateing the general pubic.

Re:Never did understand (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322724)

Easy: Stupidity once removed, i.e. some telemarketeer gets paid by the number of calls made where somebody was on the other side, not the number of sales. Personally I never buy products that telemarketers advertised ever again, but it seems not enough people handle it that way.

Re:Never did understand (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323666)

If I'm on the Do Not Call list, why do you still want to call me?

Because the access to the list costs $$$$ Notice, they did not pay to access the registery. I don't know how much it cost to access the list, but it is a non-zero number.

They were stupid in thinking there would be no repurcussions from calling a bunch of people on the list. This falls under the dumb crooks catagory. The more you call, the more your exposure.

My checklist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23322760)

I have a fun method of handling the few calls that remain. I start out by asking them for their company name and a valid phone number. When they ask why, I tell them that I need that information to fill out a report on the Federal Trade Commission website. Then I say, before they can hang up that they should put my number on the really really really don't call list.

Re:My checklist (1)

Omnedon (701049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324182)

A long time ago I worked for a telemarketer. The software that did the dialing had a button on screen to flag a number as "Do Not Call". The manager told me don't ever click that. I was fired soon after...

what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23322874)

Lately I've been getting calls from 000-000-0000 numbers. One time it was Obama's campaign calling, another some other thing (I can't recall right now)... but it's happening more frequently and annoying the piss out of me!

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323246)

I'm guessing they're sending no CallerID, and your device is convert null values to int, making it 0 (by design).

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323724)

I'm guessing they're sending no CallerID, and your device is convert null values to int, making it 0 (by design).

I'm guessing they are sending the zeros to make it obvious they have no return (inbound) line and used it to make it plain they are not trying to defraud. I don't know of any caller ID unit that converts a null string to zeros. The calls were outgoing only canned messages. They were not looking for pledges, return calls and chit chat from the voters. I hope it ticked enough off to make a difference.

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (2, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323418)

Political and non-profit organizations are exempt from Do Not Call laws. Also caller id spoofing is not illegal.

Grom he actual bill that was passed:

IN GENERAL - It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service, to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, unless such transmission is exempted pursuant to paragraph (3)(B).

Unless the Obama camp was attempting to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value from you it is perfectly legal for them or any other organization to spoof their caller id.

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323928)

Also caller id spoofing is not illegal.
Why not? Either send a valid id, or nothing.

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23324376)

They are... my time has a value to me, and they are faslifying the caller ID # and stealing my time! Bastards!

Re:what about those 000-000-0000 nums? (2, Funny)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323842)

Just tell them, you'll vote for them if they never call you again. That might work.

[T] (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322908)

What the hell is this [T] business?

Re:[T] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323992)

It means that the story was submitted on [T]roll [T]uesday!

Seriously though, [blah] indicates changes to a quote that the editor made, the "the" in the quote did not begin the sentence fragment that was being quoted and the submitter (or editor... but probably the submitter given the editors around these parts) capitalized the t in order to make it into a proper sentence.

Marketing (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23322940)

To those people asking why you would want to call a "Do Not Call" list anyway...

I know a few people who work in telesales and it's usually the stupid and draconian rules put on the employees by the company, despite there being no actual proof that they would improve sales. In fact, in some places where they listen to the employees, changes can be made to INCREASE sales by cutting out known-bad calls as soon as possible.

E.g. (these are ACTUAL examples of PRESENT policies among some UK tele-sales offices)

"You can not hang up on the customer. They must hang up."

One of my friends had a three-hour ordeal with a woman whose husband had died and had to persist trying to sell to her because she could only plead for THEM to hang up, she was so upset. Yes, the woman should have just hung up rather than upsetting herself but she was hardly thinking straight.

"You must try to make an appointment for a salesman to call, even if you know it will mean no sale."

So tele-sales were booking appointments with people who were so annoyed at the telesales that they were threatening violent action. They were talking these people into BOOKING AN APPOINTMENT with a real, physical representative of the company who then turns up their house only to be pulverised.

On a similar tack, I just had a sleazy salesman knock at my door the other day. His opening words, while flashing an EDF Energy ID card, were "Hi, we're from EDF Energy and we're here to give you a new prepayment electricity key". Okay, I'm listening. I have a pre-pay meter. But I know there's something not quite right. The following conversation then ensued.

"Okay... erm... but I don't think I'm with EDF." (I'm actually with E-On but I was sufficiently confused between the two to take a second. Note that in this second he would not have been allowed access to the property or even the meter cupboard anyway. I'm not THAT stupid).

"Oh. Well. Would you mind telling us who you *are* with then?"

"Erm. You know? I'm not telling you."

"Why not?"

"I believe you're a salesman. Goodbye."

"Thank you sir."

Two hours later, he was back and I opened the door again (the wife had been suitably alerted by this time anyway so she would have slammed the door in his face too). He only said "Oh, it's you. We've spoken to you."

What got me was the unbelievably casual fraud (they implied, even if the actual words didn't say, that they were my current electricity supplier when in fact they were planning to sign me up to a new electricity supplier by inserting the key into my meter). And the fact that they went up the road and obviously carried on with the same line for the rest of the afternoon before turning back and trying the houses that they'd missed.

If I hadn't been in the middle of laying a new floor at the time, I would have shouted down the street and knocked on everybody's doors to warn them myself, or call the police and make them explain themselves. They may have been doing nothing "wrong" but I'm sure that a police officer wouldn't take kindly to their sales pitch and it would cause them enough trouble to try another street.

Guess what happens next time I'm choosing an electricity supplier? The ones who commit fraud on my doorstep don't get included.

Re:Marketing (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323106)

"You can not hang up on the customer. They must hang up."
really? h boy are they going to have a large bill next time they call me. I only use my landline for broadband so I don't care if I put it on the side without disconnecting. joy.

"You must try to make an appointment for a salesman to call, even if you know it will mean no sale."
really? well, I'd like the salesman to call on tuesday morning. What time tuesday morning? Yep 'morning'. And then I'll make sure to be out and only get back at 11:59.

Works for them, why can't it work for me?

On the other hand, life is far too short to do anything more than just hangup on them immediately.

Re:Marketing (1)

iB1 (837987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323132)

Isn't this known as "Slamming" in the UK? Isn't that type of selling where-by you switch a customer's supply on the sly illegal now?

Re:Marketing (2, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324224)

Supposedly. I just wish I hadn't been so pre-occupied when I opened the door (or known he was coming back). Trading standards springs to mind but I doubt they could do anything without some sort of name anyway and I didn't bother to inspect his ID too closely as he wasn't coming into the house.

I have seen a lot of EDF reps around the town, though, all dressed in orange-flourescent workmen's jackets, I assume to make them look official. If I see the guy again, I may have to worry him just out of entertainment by asking for his name, a copy of his ID, etc.

Re:Marketing (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323134)

This could be cause I'm an American, but I had no idea you could get pre-paid electric meters. That's pretty interesting.

A lot of countries have electric meters mounted on the outside of the house, either in the front or the back. (This is not as commonplace in America, where a lot of houses still have meters in the basement.) I wonder, if you can put a "key" into this pre-paid meter, what prevents someone from surreptiously inserting their company's key into your meter and forcing a change in your service? It would be pretty hard to show that you did not actually switch service, would it not?

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323542)

In Quebec, the meters are mounted outside. But there's no card on the electric meter, because the only company is a state monopoly [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Marketing (1)

Nimsoft (858559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323942)

The keys are coded with the customers MPAN (Identifies the point of supply the meter is attached to and therefore the physical connection for that property) and the meters serial number so if the wrong key was inserted it would be rejected.

The salesman was likely using that as means of starting conversation (and an attempt to trick the customer) and then ask them to 'sign for the new key' (complete the contract)

If successful, the change of supplier is done at the offices of the suppliers not at the meter, and a new key programmed for that account would be sent to the customer.

Re:Marketing (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324174)

Pre-pay meters are still rare, even in the UK, but they avoid such fraud by simple measures such as "the meter is inside the house". At least in my case. My neighbour even has a glass block in the wall of his porch so that the meter is inside but can be read from outside. I, however, have to let the electricity company come in if they so demand but they NEVER do because - well, it's pre-pay and they have control of it remotely anyway.

Re:Marketing (1)

swb (14022) | more than 6 years ago | (#23324054)

Most houses have the meter outside the house. The meter (at least here in Minnesota) belongs to the electric utility and the external mounting allows them to service the meter without customer involvement.

I had mine swapped out without warning, which of course cut my power. I filed a grievance with the public utility commission which got me a call from the utility apologizing and asking me if it was OK to rescind my complaint; I told them no, it wasn't OK, and what-if-I-had-a-respirator, etc. They gave me a song and dance about "acts of god" and weather, to which I said "sure, but God nor mother nature pulled my meter."

I then checked with the PUC and found it was legal to enclose my meter in a steel cage, which I did. Since I have all underground serviced utilities, it does a nice job keeping the cable guy, phone guy, power guy, etc out of my hair without an appointment. The power company actually got pissed once when they saw it servicing the neighbor. I told them why I did it and the guy said it wasn't allowed and he could disconnect my service, but a demand for ID and his supervisor's name and telephone number shut him up.

Ironically, my natural gas meter IS inside, which is different than most if not all of my neighbors. Don't know why its inside, but its the one thing I wish WAS outside.

Re:Marketing (3, Funny)

knight24k (1115643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323282)

"You can not hang up on the customer. They must hang up."
Ok, this just struck me as funny since my favorite thing to do with telemarketers is to get them talking and then quietly set the phone down and walk away. It doesn't cost me a dime, I have a cell phone for people that need to contact me and I know it hurts them way worse than simply hanging up. It wastes their time and forces them to either wait or hang up eventually. Of course if I was as quick witted as Tom Mabe http://www.tommabe.com/ [tommabe.com] , I would have better and funnier ways of dealing with them.

Re:Marketing (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323910)

Walking away while they talk to dead air isn't a felony like impersonating a police officer is. Maybe you should stick to your way ;)

Re:Marketing (1)

Nimsoft (858559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323830)

I used to work for EDF in their Change of Supplier department. The amount of new customers I had to return to their original suppliers was ridiculous!

Admittedly a lot of them were because of meter numbers being incorrect so the wrong supply was applied for, but about a third of the time I'd find a completed contract where the customer had been tricked into completing or even completed by the salesman himself hungry for extra commissions...

Tighter restrictions on field sales would be welcome, a large proportion of customers aren't as vigilant as yourself!

Re:Marketing (1)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323840)

It never occurred to me that a telemarketing call could lead to a physical encounter with an associated person. Despite the fact that I am generally a law-abiding professional with a strong sense of ethical responsibility, I'm not sure I could pass up the opportunity to lay a beating on such a person and leave them broken and bleeding in an alley somewhere. Human nature is a funny thing.

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23324358)

"You can not hang up on the customer. They must hang up."

One of my friends had a three-hour ordeal with a woman whose husband had died and had to persist trying to sell to her because she could only plead for THEM to hang up, she was so upset. Yes, the woman should have just hung up rather than upsetting herself but she was hardly thinking straight.
So, who is in the wrong here? The company, that woman or your friend? I say your friend. He should have been the one to hang up and should have informed his supervisor of the reason why he hung up. If that had meant him being fired, he should have sued. Telemarketeers are annoying, but they are humans, not machines. Deciding to stick with a call for three hours is just stupid and obviously not profitable for the company.

They were barred! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323036)

[T]wo individuals and one corporate defendant have been barred from violating the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule and its Do Not Call requirements...
If I understand this correctly, they may no longer violate the rule because they've been... barred from violating the rule.

I for one, propose barring everyone from violating this rule. Surely this will put an end to spoofed telemarketing for good.

Dean Wurmer says... (3, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323206)

If I understand this correctly, they may no longer violate the rule because they've been... barred from violating the rule.

That's correct. They're now on double secret probation.

Will it actually change anything? (4, Interesting)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323186)

Will it actually change their marketing ploys? I doubt it.

Just the other day, I was taking care of dinner and kids when phone rang. It had my wife's name (yes, I have; and yes some role reversal, but I get home earlier, etc..) Without thinking, I answered. It was a stinking telemarketer. When I chewed her out and she hung up, I looked back at the caller ID log. Instead of my wife's name and cell phone # as usual, it had wife's name and our own land line phone number! So not only did this company spoof the name, but also the #. And it seems to happen a lot lately!

We don't answere the phone unless it is someone we know, and now I have to even worry about that! No, I'm not dodging creditors, I just rank time with kids and family as more important than solicitations for "Troopers association" or other junk callers. If I need your service, I'll look you up. Don't bug me with calls when I'm with the family!

Seriously considering an IVR system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323320)

I've been thinking lately that it would be fun to implement some kind of interactive voice response system at home to deal with telemarketers. Ideally it would be something highly configurable with advanced scripting capability that allows the software to carry on a truly inane "conversation" with a telemarketer - something like the soundboard calls we've all heard on the 'net but completely automated with no human interaction required. The idea is that as soon as I realize I've got a telemarketer on the line, I can quietly hit star-something, hang up the phone, and then sometime later post the resulting audio recording to a website for the amusement of the general masses.

So far the only candidate software I've found is the open-source project TOEJAM - http://toejam.sourceforge.net/

"have been barred..." (2, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323336)

Part of their punishment was to be barred from violating the very rules they were convicted of violating?! Does that make any sense?!

These ilk drove me nuts (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323338)

I'd been getting calls from "Card Services" [honeypot.net] , representing themselves as being with my credit card company, once a day or so for a while. I whipped out a short blog entry one day just to vent, and somehow ended up with several thousands hits per month on it. Apparently I wasn't the only one they were driving crazy. It's good to see that these cretins are finally being reined in.

Misleading Title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323386)

Somewhat misleading, I feel this article's title should have said "First Caller ID Spoofing Spammers" rather than spoofers.

More damaging than spoofing spammers are spoofing scammers. More than one company's security protocols were thwarted by the individual misrepresented as "calling from their registered phone number", making the agent believe the caller was legitimately who they were impersonating.

Lacking security protocols aside, Caller-ID Spoofing is a BAD practice, and should be governed by a responsible oversight board. I would like to see it requiring a court order or some sort of pre-authorization before allowing it to occur. I can see the benefit for things like VoIP calls registering to an actual telephone number, but the potential for abuse is about as ripe as a potential scammer's creativity permits.

In later news... (2, Funny)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323392)

The judge later reversed his decision, after receiving phone calls from the president, the secretary of the UN, the pope, and Elvis. "It's amazing how similar all them sound", said the surprised judge.

How did they track the telemarketers down? (2, Interesting)

forrie (695122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323446)

We've been seeing this problem in the Lowell, MA area, from time-to-time. I've also seen how some legitimate phone calls (from companies) are using CallerID spoofing - I still think that should be illegal.

I'm wondering:

1) How did they track down the telemarketers who were spoofing. Obviously they left or gave information about their identity and product.

2) How are these companies being permitted to spoof their Caller-ID? I read an article in alt.2600 a while ago about some of this, but the details escape me.

I even had a marketing front for The American Cancer Society (and others) calling, looking for "volunteers" - and when I complained to them, they said that seeking volunteers was not covered under the Do Not Call rules. Very sneaky and clever, eh?

Re:How did they track the telemarketers down? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323602)

The telephone company knows where the call came from, even if the caller-id data is bogus. In many areas you can trace a call by entering a code on the keypad. The telephone company records the caller's number and will release it to law enforcement upon request.

Re:How did they track the telemarketers down? (1)

forrie (695122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323662)

I've actually had to try using this before; this was a year ago, and it was to track down an annoying telemarketer -- the "answer" I was given is they were unable to trace it. Which I suspected what utter BS.

Re:How did they track the telemarketers down? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323720)

The telephone company knows where the call came from, even if the caller-id data is bogus.

In which case the best option would probably be to either cause the call to fail or route it to the appropriate branch of law enforcement.

Re:How did they track the telemarketers down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23323618)

"2) How are these companies being permitted to spoof their Caller-ID? I read an article in alt.2600 a while ago about some of this, but the details escape me."

It's a relatively easy thing to do if you have the kit, and it isn't at all moderated by the telco(s) as far as I'm aware. All you have to do is send a packet of data down the line before the ring voltage goes high (or something, it's been a while since I studied the telephone network). That packet of data contains the name/number you want to appear on the caller ID display. So, anyone could spoof their caller ID to anything they wanted really.

Re:How did they track the telemarketers down? (1)

forrie (695122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323646)

I want someone to make me one! ;-)

What the fuck? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323746)

Why is it necessary to bar a person from violating a rule? Doesn't the very existence of the rule already imply it should not be violated?

Re:What the fuck? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23324204)

Because then it's contempt of court which can be punished very quickly.

My son has an amusing pasttime.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23323922)

When these sorts of people call him, he gets them going "off-script" and then starts a verbal interchange that is absolutely hilarious to listen to one end of the conversation. When the conversation starts going onto the subject of alien invasions and impending catastrophe, you just *know* the call's going to come to a close in a few moments, with the caller being the one to hang up.
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