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Auto Warranty Robocall Scammers Busted

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the cell-phones-911-and-do-not-call dept.

Communications 358

ectotherm writes "The nice people behind the recorded phone messages stating 'By now you should have received your written note regarding your vehicle warranty expiring...' — the ones who instantly hang up when you ask for the name of the company — have been busted. Fox News did a little background digging on the four people charged." Don't know about you, but I received three or four postcards in the mail from these scammers, as well as uncountable robocalls. The FTC says they cleared $10M since 2007.

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My call... (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344069)

...went something like this.

"WTH is this? Scammers?"

*Press 1*

"Hello, what's the make of your vehicle?"

"May I ask who I'm speaking to?"

*click*

--

After receiving (and hanging up on) a few more of these calls, I can't say I'm sorry to see their asses getting handed to them in court.

Re:My call... (5, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344087)

My first two went like that. Then I tried keeping them on the line as LONG as possible.

The operators they got were some quick talkers. I raised a very very specific issue with my car and he knew about ALL of them. He knew other people asked about that exact same thing. You also had to know the right buzz words (75k miles. 2-4 years old, etc).

After I got past level 1 I started giving them VINs from stuff I found on Auto Trader. It was a crap shoot on how long I lasted after that.

Re:My call... (5, Interesting)

asynchronous13 (615600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344409)

They called my lab repeatedly while I was a grad student, after several calls I kept a log with time, date, and apparent Caller ID number (which was always bogus) and any info I could get out of the operators. But hey, I was a grad student, so I had time to kill, I just kept them on the phone for as long as possible.

scammer: Your car warranty is expired, would you like to renew your auto warranty?
me: expired?
scammer: yes, wou---
me: are you sure my warranty expired?
scammer: yes, would you like to renew your auto warranty?
me: well, which car are we talking about?
scammer: The newer one
me: the new one? i bought them at the same time.....
....
and when I got bored (rare) or sensed that they were about to hang up (usual)
me: I'd like you to know that I report every one of these calls to the FTC (and I really did: http://www.ftc.gov/phonefraud [ftc.gov] )

I think my number finally got blacklisted by their phone operators or something, after awhile they just hung up on me every time. Once the operator just tried to heckle my school's sports team. (its tough to rattle a geek by making fun of a football team) I *always* pressed '1' when I got those calls, must have logged at least 30 calls on the FTC website.

The Real Problem (The Phone Companies) (5, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344877)

The real problem here is the phone companies. I tried reporting this issue to AT&T a few times, and found them to be singularly disinterested. They wouldn't even tell me who kept calling my cell phone over and over, trying to sell me the same thing over and over. The scammers were clearly robo calling as they didn't know *who* they were calling. I received from a few to several of these calls each week for several months.

Scams like this undoubtedly generate hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars a year in revenue from long distance and 800 number services, which probably include helping the scam artists hide their contact information from their victims. The phone companies had no interest at all in this problem, even when clearly thousands of legitimate customers complained about it. Not only were they making money from the scammers annoying calls, but the phone company also offered me the chance to pay an additional monthly fee to stop solicitation calls. When I asked point blank, they admitted that the service would not stop the robotic calls about which I'd called to complain. In addition to that, the phone companies were charging air time to victims, when the robotic caller dialed cell phones (like mine).

The phone companies, all of them, are complicit in this scam, and should be jointly prosecuted with the scammers.

Re:My call... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344771)

unless they win

What a deal (2, Insightful)

pitterpatter (1397479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344073)

Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

The only robot call I got (5, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344079)

Asked if I had seen a .. Sandra O'Connor... or something like that. I forget.

Re:The only robot call I got (5, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344375)

He'll call back.

Re:The only robot call I got (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344485)

What a day that was!

I have an idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344089)

I sentence them to be raped in the ass by Elephants until such time as they have worked off their scam "earnings"... at minimum wage... for Utah strippers... and they shall hope and pray the Elephants are heavy tippers.

Just make them listen to Richard Stallman sing 1hr (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344823)

You know RMS is bad for Linux, [freeimagehosting.net] so we should send him singing to the enemies by licensing his noise under the RIAA and MPAA for prison performances.

Why can't the greedy crooks ever learn.... (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344091)

....to never run the same scam over and over? Oh right, because they are greedy crooks.

Re:Why can't the greedy crooks ever learn.... (2, Interesting)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344105)

and there were no criminal charges filed against them.

Re:Why can't the greedy crooks ever learn.... (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344207)

and there were no criminal charges filed against them.

What I found interesting were the priors for some of these people. You'd expect related charges, but they're totally off-base:

- indecent exposure
- obstruction
- trespassing
- battery
- filing a false report of a bomb
- firearm violations

That's quite an interesting assortment.

And although I got robocalled a lot, I never did get any of their postcards. I'm not on the DNC registry.

Re:Why can't the greedy crooks ever learn.... (2, Interesting)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344751)

I'm not on the DNC registry either, but cell phones are supposed to be taboo for legit marketing companies; the only telemarketing calls I've ever gotten on my cell (I don't have a landline) were from robodialers for this scam. And I got dozens of calls.

Re:Why can't the greedy crooks ever learn.... (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344253)

Also, because it works.

I get the stupid post cards too (2, Insightful)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344099)

I get the stupid post cards too.. Makes me wonder how they know my Honda warranty is going to expire? Despite the fact I purchased the extended manufactor 2 year warranty? The knew about the first year but didn't know about the extended warranty so I can only guess somehow they been digging through public records about car purchases or ca registurations. Sounds like complete invasion of privacy to me!!

However, I never recieved one phone call from folks like that... Hmmm

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (1)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344115)

I also kept getting warranty cards, seemingly for vehicles I didn't even own anymore. Glad I ignored them.

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344481)

Same here, and I thought it highly amusing since I still had over 40k miles and 4 years left on my super-duper Hyundai warranty. But yeah, good point... they must have had information pertaining to the sale dates and stuff (I'd have been right on the mark on a standard warranty). I wonder how this information is made available?

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (4, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344777)

Usually either your bank/car dealership financial office(check the small print) or one of the big 3 credit record places.

I used to maintain a snailmail catalog list, my boss was frequently considering buying access to lists of buyers of related product X or readers of related magazine Y.

When I looked through some of the options you could get from, say, Experian, I was rather amazed. Recently graduated nurses or lawyers in practice for 10+ years. Age x to y, married or not, kids or no kids, own home/renting, bought a luxury/economy car this year, household income in 5k increments, how many times they'd moved.

Freaking specific shit. Didn't beat the ROI on our "please send me your catalog" list, though.

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (4, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344577)

They didn't know a thing about your warranty. Or your car. The call folks all the time who either have no cars, or ancient cars that haven't had warranties of any kind for years and years and tell them 'your warranty is about to expire'.

They are cold calls. They haven't done any research. Some of the better ones use the same cold reading techniques that psychics do to trick you into thinking they know what they are talking about. They are hoping you are dumb enough to provide the information to them when the call.

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344649)

They didn't know a thing about your warranty. Or your car. The call folks all the time who either have no cars, or ancient cars that haven't had warranties of any kind for years and years and tell them 'your warranty is about to expire'.

These guys yes. Not all of them. I got a postcard with the make and model of my car and they knew exactly what day the manufacturer's warranty was going to expire. I even bought the car second hand, so it wasn't like the dealer ratted me out. I think it must be DMV records correlated by vin with dealer reported original sales, or possibly just DMV records and assumptions that first registration equals a sale on or about the same day,

They call, they call, they call (-1, Offtopic)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344895)

Would you like to buy a "y" or two?

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344627)

They don't know. My warranty expired 2 years ago and I get the cards and calls too. They seem to be mailing/calling people based on year model of the car and normal manufacturer's warranty, then continuing the mailings for several more years in case you got an extended warranty. People figure, "wow, they know when my warranty is up, so they must have gotten some "inside" info from the manufacturer, so they must be legit." It's just a variant of the perfect prediction scam [skepdic.com] .

Re:I get the stupid post cards too (3, Interesting)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344763)

They didn't know, they just guessed.

For example, I got these calls when I had a 2002 Civic, but the car wasn't under my name; I kept getting the calls after I returned the car to my parents and bought myself a 2009 Civic Hybrid... there's no way that's out of warranty already ;) I tried getting someone on the line (to mess with them) after that, but all I got was a perpetually ringing line. Nobody ever answered.

Knew it was a scam very quickly (5, Funny)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344127)

It was kinda obvious to me that this was a scam when they told me my warranty for the car was due to expire soon.
I don't have a car.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344197)

My calls went a little differently...

"This is the second notice that the manufacturer's warranty on your car is about to expire". Many many of them left on my machine. My car is a 1994 exploder and I don't need anyone telling me about my manufacturer's warranty thankyouverymuch.

Tho I was never home when they called, to play with them a bit.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (3, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344301)

My car is a 1994 exploder...

If that's a typo, it's certainly one of the most apt ones I've ever seen.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344331)

I like when they tell you this is your final notice. But still offer to "remove you from their list".

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344477)

I started getting these calls about a year after I bought my first car. The first one went to voice mail, and I didn't really think it was a scam. The day I got my 2nd, 2nd notice... I figured it out.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344773)

For me it wasn't just my second second notice, it was my fifth or sixth "second and final" notice. (I never got a first notice...)

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344647)

I kept getting mine about 11 months after I bought a new car, so the timing was particularly good. I imagine that's the person that they're targeting.

No, I did not fall for the ads because I don't press buttons when some computer calls me.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (2, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344685)

they told me that the manufacturer's warranty (5 years) on my new car (2 months) was about to expire...

I decided to fuck with them, and told them I owned a 2002 Lamborghini Gallardo (the Gallardo, as nice a car as it is, didn't enter production until 2003).... I also kept them on the line for almost an hour being transferred from one "department" to another asking for their corporate mailing address.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (2, Interesting)

pitterpatter (1397479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344267)

It was kinda obvious to me that this was a scam when they told me my warranty for the car was due to expire soon. I don't have a car.

That's fun.

It was obvious to me for the exact opposite reason. I had five cars. And the youngest of them had been out of warranty for at least 5 years. When I gave them the VIN for the '56 Ford (after thoroughly harassing them for not knowing the VIN on the warranty they were calling about) they wouldn't accept it - not enough characters. They hung up when I said it was a '56. On the next call, they hung up when I gave them a motorcycle VIN. Then they flooded my line with calls - well, 3-5/day - and hung up whenever I tried to connect with a person. Then I started screening calls, and they finally went away.

I understand that this is an over-reaction, but if they were sentenced to death and I were an executioner I think I would cheerfully pull the switch to fry their brains.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344471)

I understand that this is an over-reaction, but if they were sentenced to death and I were an executioner I think I would cheerfully pull the switch to fry their brains.

Sad to say, but me too. I would probably add a gleeful giggle as well.

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (3, Funny)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344603)

fry their brains.

Really? I'm not entirely sure there'd be much pleasure in it. Certainly, not enough pleasure anyway...

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344289)

Haha, that's pretty good. I had a similar experience. My car is 11 years old and has over 200k miles on it. (Honda Accord)

Have fun with them! (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344329)

I love to mess with them.

When they call, be very attentive to what they are saying. When they ask what type of vehicle and what not, just say 57 Chevy with oh about 500.000 miles. I can guarantee 6 out of 10 times you will get the automatic hang up.

Try to be as insistent as possible before they hang up that you really, really need warranty. Listen to them stutter, lol.

Yes, I'm an ass. My vehicle is a 1995 Chevy with 210k miles. PLEASE GIVE ME WARRANTY NAO! :)

what is NAO? (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344703)

what is NAO?

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344415)

obvious to me that this was a scam

Unfortunately, not obvious to my grandmother. I wanted to fucking kill these people. 6 years ago, I had my grandmother co-sign on a truck to help me get affordable payments. Everything went very well, was perfect on the payments, and eventually sold the truck.

I would get yelled at ALL THE TIME about these people that kept calling my grandmother about the "truck" and trying to sell her a warranty. It was MY responsibility to get them to stop calling and update their records to get rid of her phone number.

Of course that was impossible. Could I even explain it to her so that she would understand it was a scam? No. She would forget about that within a week, just in time for the next phone call.

The only possible way these people could be more annoying is to annoy somebody else that I CAN'T ignore to the point she would drive me batshit crazy.

I hope they publish this pendeho's address in the court documents. I feel like a road trip.......

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (2, Insightful)

ouachiski (835136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344483)

I knew it was a scam when I asked them if they could insure my 10 yr old truck with 175k miles and a blown cylinder and they said they could...

Re:Knew it was a scam very quickly (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344505)

It was kinda obvious to me that this was a scam when they told me my warranty for the car was due to expire soon.
I don't have a car.

Okay, smartypants, if you don't have a car, how do you know when its warranty expires?

Fox news?! (5, Funny)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344131)

I'm so conflicted... Fox News actually reporting something that affects me in a positive way? I don't know how to feel!

Re:Fox news?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344153)

Don't worry, I'm sure they found a way to insinuate that the Democrats were behind the whole thing.

Re:Fox news?! (3, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344175)

Here's some potential explanations:

Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Re:Fox news?! (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344241)

Or: The sun's gotta shine on a dog's ass sometime.

Re:Fox news?! (-1, Flamebait)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344281)

Better idea.

Dumbasses who actually got conned by this were all Republicans. These guys had to have a few people be dumb enough to fall for this, otherwise they wouldn't be so big.

This news is relevant to 98% of their viewership.

"cum hoc ergo propter hoc" ;)

Re:Fox news?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344333)

Or, even more likely, the people who buy into these kind of telemarketer calls are the same rubes who truly believe that the government is there to help them (and those rubes are on both sides of the aisle).

Re:Fox news?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344691)

... dumb enough ....

"cum hoc ergo propter hoc" ;)

Or, properly, "post hoc ergo propter hoc"

Re:Fox news?! (1)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344825)

I was waiting for that, welcome to google....

Re:Fox news?! (1)

discorob3 (1479279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344779)

you hit the nail on the head with that one! I am conflicted as well... Those fuckers used to call me and leave voicemail on my expensive as fuck ripoff AT and T prepaid cell phone...

stop them in less than 2 years next time (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344149)

I know I personally received several hundred calls from these guys. I had numerous people tell me they had received the same types of calls. The FTC can stop patting themselves on the back, the fact that it took this long is embarrassing.

And the new scam de jour.... (5, Interesting)

timpdx (1473923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344155)

Its funny, as soon as the car warranty scammers stopped calling last month, I now get robocalls for some cheapo health care ripoff. On my cell, on the do not call list. So it begins again.....

Re:And the new scam de jour.... (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344287)

Its funny, as soon as the car warranty scammers stopped calling last month, I now get robocalls for some cheapo health care ripoff. On my cell, on the do not call list. So it begins again.....

That's no scammer, that's your local Democratic representative.

I never got it... (4, Insightful)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344173)

I never understood how these scams work, they hang up on you once you ask anything, but don't you need to know where to send your money? If you just give them credit card info won't they need an address for their merchant account or whatever credit card processing system they have? Why does it take so long to catch these people, isn't it possible to just follow the money to the scammers?

Re:I never got it... (2, Informative)

drfreak (303147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344205)

This is typical of a con. You "made" them by asking questions. They are not looking for smart people. :)

Re:I never got it... (3, Interesting)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344217)

I actually led them on for quite a while by asking dumb naive questions. I was trying to go so far as to find out where to send the check. I think they wanted a credit card number. I did get a company name at one point, but it was something generic. It didn't come up when I later googled it. I write the name down but must have tossed the paper.

I wasted a little of their time, and had fun doing it. Does that count for anything?

Re:I never got it... (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344491)

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

Re:I never got it... (1)

Faerunner (1077423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344285)

I'm pretty sure you never tried asking them "So who do I make this check out to?".

I got these calls on my cell phone as well. What always got me was how it was the 2nd notice, when I had yet to get a first one, and the one time I answered the phone they asked me about the make and model of my car. I totaled the last car registered to me in 2005. Nice job, guys!

Re:I never got it... (3, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344399)

I've had an even stranger experience in the fifteen kabillion calls I've received from these douches (I work from home). I get the call, I press '9' to be connected to an operator, and then I am instantly disconnected. This happens over and over upon every call. EXTREMELY frustrating...

If you're gonna scam people why the hell don't you connect the d*** call?

Re:I never got it... (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344621)

Maybe it's because you followed directions. They wanna screen out the people who are likely to read the fine print!

Re:I never got it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344831)

That is really odd. I am assuming d*** is a censored damn, but if you're so concerned about damn, why did you not censor hell?

I mean Jesus fucking Christ!

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344179)

I have to pay for every incoming call even if they just leave a message and these assholes would call several times a day.

Burn these fuckers at the stake!

While waiting for the FTC to do anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344199)

From TFA (0, Flamebait)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344209)

Damian P. Kohlfeld, 35, of Valparaiso, Ind., is the owner of Network Foundations, which is based in Chicago. Kohlfeld allegedly supplied the technical know-how for the alleged telemarketing scheme employed by all three companies. The Arizona State University graduate has more than a decade of experience writing software and building computer networks. His latest hit, according to the FTC, was a "spoofing" device that tricked caller ID systems.

Woo! Go Sun Devils!

Busted only when they bothered someone "important" (5, Insightful)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344229)

What really bugs me about all this is that despite what were probably thousands of reports to the gov't, nothing was done and nobody really brought it up in the media until they accidentally bothered NY senator Chuck Schumer. Had they not stumbled onto his number, one wonders if they would still be in business.

Re:Busted only when they bothered someone "importa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344453)

Hey, if you turn over enough rocks (3 billion to be approximate), you are bound to stir up some bottom crawlers.

And that's how Chuck Schumer got involved.

Re:Busted only when they bothered someone "importa (5, Insightful)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344523)

Yup. I even reported a handful of calls to the FTC (using their website) just a few weeks before Chuck Schumer declared war on these guys.

I got a letter back from the FTC telling me that they couldn't do anything because "I didn't provide them enough information". I gave them the time of day, the CID, and what the robo greeting said. But I guess because I didn't talk to a human, it didn't count.

This should be considered a major FAIL for the FTC and the Do Not Call list. Which is a shame, too, because the DNC has been a great success with this exception.

It's embarassing that it took the FTC this long to catch them, and to add insult to injury, it only took them about a month after Chuck Schumer made a stink.

I hope that after these criminals are tried, a second investigation starts to find out why the FTC had their head up their ass.

Re:Busted only when they bothered someone "importa (2, Informative)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344801)

I sent in a report about this scam several weeks before you sent yours in. They sent me a letter saying "Thanks for your information. We have received many other complaints and we are currently investigating the matter." I provided caller ID information (bogus though it was) and a URL of a website I found where people had been looking in to the same number. I also referenced a few similar calls my sister-in-law had received.

So... your report probably was incomplete :P

Re:Busted only when they bothered someone "importa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344827)

I even sent in their ANI from our company phone records and still got the incomplete form letter.

My scathing email to the FTC... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344259)

I happen to work, as a contractor, for a VERY high-level (think: one step from the POTUSA) office and I was receiving these calls on my gov issued cell phone. I wrote a nice letter to the FTC about 1.5 months ago. They never even got back to me and I left them my full address. Is there anybody out there?

Re:My scathing email to the FTC... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344635)

I happen to work, as a contractor, for a VERY high-level (think: one step from the POTUSA) office

Cough... Bullshit... Cough...

so many calls (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344297)

I have so many of these on my vonage voicemail. Any time I did press '1' it would just hang up, I guess they were too busy to bother scamming me.

Okay, it's done, but what was the net gain/loss? (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344299)

We are all rather familiar with the notion of "cost of doing business" when it comes to fines associated with illegal and/or unlawful activities in business. Quite often, the fines and other punishment are so small and insignificant that it is not a deterrent but is instead factored into the cost of doing business.

This warranty scam activity was very VERY obvious that it would be shut down at some point. The fact that it went on for as long as it did was pretty amazing all by itself. Who was responsible for the slow response on this? Further, the engineers of this scam made a LOT of money from this. When compared against the fines and other punishments so far, was there a net gain or loss for these perpetrators?

My point here is that if there was a significant net gain, then the perpetrators won. It doesn't matter that they were shut down. That was a matter of time. It took long enough that they somehow managed to pull in a LOT of money. How much of it did they get to keep? Frankly, I think the government needs to take ALL gross income from the operation. (Note "gross income" before expenses and payroll and the like.) And they need to extract this money directly from the perpetrators. If there are any legal prohibitions that will prevent the government from issuing such punitive measures, then you can see very clearly and plainly what is wrong with U.S. laws governing business. (It would be an effective license to commit fraud and be shielded from punishment.)

Re:Okay, it's done, but what was the net gain/loss (2, Interesting)

GGardner (97375) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344393)

According to ftc.gov, violators of the do not call list can be fined up to $16k per call (has the ftc ever fined anyone this much? Anything?) TFA claims they made over a billion calls. I say we hit them up for 1 billion counts @ $16k per call.

Re:Okay, it's done, but what was the net gain/loss (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344431)

See, that's one aspect of the "shield" built into the plan. They hired another company to do the calls. (More likely, created a company to do the calls.) The perps claimed not to know what the other company was doing. It would be interesting to know if this company existed long before the auto warranty company did.

Re:Okay, it's done, but what was the net gain/loss (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344629)

I'll bet good money that it wasn't one company they hired(created) to make the calls. It was one company, then a couple months later a new one, then a couple months later a new one. That way the FCC would always be investigating a closed/bankrupt/nonexistent company, while a brand new one was starting up doing the same thing, with the same people, in a boiler room a few blocks away from the previous one.

These people should be killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344315)

Who needs a trial? Let's kill them.

Knew it was a scam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344321)

This was crazy, I received a couple of phone calls on my VoIP phone at around 3am Japan time telling me that my warranty was about to expire blah blah blah, I don't even live in the states right now since I'm stationed in Japan. Right away I knew the calls were bogus. I usually hung up on them but they called several other times, still at ungodly times of the night since we're about 15 hrs or so ahead of the US. I hope they catch every single one of the bastards...!

I love scammers..they're so much entertainment. (4, Funny)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344343)

I had this one company rep call me about how I had won 12 free magazine subscriptions for free - yes, that's right! FREE!. Made some 10 minute spiel about how wonderful it all was. All I needed to do was send $12.95 for some processing fee and I'd get my free, yes FREE! magazines.

I asked her, "If I won and my subscriptions are free why do I have to pay $12.95?"

To her credit, she replied, "Because they're free!" (Can't blame a girl for trying.)

Soooo, I reiterated my question a few more times until she hung up on me.

It feels good when I frustrate scammers at their own game. :P

Re:I love scammers..they're so much entertainment. (3, Interesting)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344839)

I had a (legit) marketing company tell me I was getting a free watch (for somehow making it through the first round of the [a?] drawing) and three free magazines, so she had me pick three of six or seven magazines. After I picked she mumbled something about how I just needed to subscribe to one of them to get the magazines.

I refused, because I didn't really want them in the first place; I was then informed I would only qualify to get the free watch if I subscribed.

I've never understood why these companies can get away with giving people things in exchange for money but still call the things "free". I guess if you don't actually lie (if the words themselves are true) it's legit?

Somehow I'm not surprised I didn't win the second round of the drawing.

Re:I love scammers..they're so much entertainment. (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344865)

Worse:

"We'll send you your free USB powered Turnip Twaddler as soon as you say yes to the following:
*generic disclaimer, obviously recorded, speeding up to quadruple billyourcompanyphone50permonth chipmunk mutterings about applicable states* Are you cool with that?"

/eyes glazed over.

"That was hard to hear, but it didn't sound like it matt... Hang on, did you say something about billing my company? I'm not authoriz"

*click*

Seems easy to draw an evidence trail here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344373)

How about an Android/iPhone app to report that the last call you received smelled seriously fishy? You could note down what it entailed, when enough keywords match enough other reports the FTC starts prodding the phone company.

Another possibility would be a way to get a fake credit card number which would come back declined, but would also flag the account as possibly fraudulent. Might help with spam and phishing, as well as this kind of fraud.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344421)

Where is all the FOX news bashing?

Incompetence led to their downfall? (3, Insightful)

GGardner (97375) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344439)

What I don't understand is why I, and so many others, got so many calls. I must have received over 30. If these crooks were in business for two years, and made over a billion calls, they were clearly calling everyone they could reach in the US multiple times. Isn't there some point where they hit diminishing returns? TFA says their mantra was "hang up; next" (perl?), that is to not try to convert anyone who sounded remotely skeptical. But if they give up on the sale two second in, why call that same person back, again and again? Had they not called back people they rejected, I suspect that people would be nearly so upset with them, and the FTC wouldn't have gone after them.

Re:Incompetence led to their downfall? (1)

matria (157464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344611)

For the same reason Jehovah's Witnesses will keep coming back. Next time they might get a different family member who will listen to them. Or maybe the original people have moved and someone else moved in.

Re:Incompetence led to their downfall? (2, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344847)

That would make sense if they were calling the same number several months apart. Calling just hours apart, though, as happened to many people, does not fit that theory.

get a clue (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344451)

What immediately sets off the bullshit alarm with these guys is that they call me even though I DO NOT HAVE A FRIGGIN CAR!!!

Last time I talked to them I told them

"stop calling me or I'm calling the FTC"

Re:get a clue (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344591)

What we learn from this I think is that although the DO NOT CALL registry is a nice gesture, it's completely lacking in teeth. It should not take two years to catch up to these guys, not in an age where we pretty much get to put up with the NSA spying on anyone they want. An 11,000 dollar fine is not a deterent to a group that believes they are going to take the money and flee the country or otherwise evade prosecution.

Re:get a clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344795)

It should not take two years to catch up to these guys,....

It should not take two minutes. Every fucking call has to be billed to someone. Telco knows that address. Unshackle the dogs at their front door and jail their asses immediately for contempt until they reveal who pays them. Rinse. Repeat.

My Mother the Car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344469)

When they asked me the make and model of my car, I said I had a 1928 Porter [wikipedia.org] , which, despite being a fictional car custom built from parts by Barris Kustom Industries [wikipedia.org] , they were willing to extend its warranty!

I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344547)

I always take my car in for service at the dealership. I just trade for a new car when the mechanics there tell me it's time to replace the blinker fluid. The mechanics let me in on the auto industry secret that once that happens, it's only a matter of time before everything starts breaking down. It's saved me a lotta hassle. Sure, it's more expensive, but this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for.

Re:I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (1)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344693)

I'll bite... WTF? blinker fluid?? Man, I hope you're trolling! :P

Re:I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (2, Interesting)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344709)

My favorite was the guy who said I needed wiper blades replaced to go with the brakes dragging. When Czars are outlawed, only outlaws will have Czars.

Re:I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (2, Informative)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344857)

I like how Jiffy Lube wanted to sell me $10 wal-mart wiper blades for $40.

Re:I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344787)

... when the mechanics there tell me it's time to replace the blinker fluid

What does your car use for blinkers? Fireflies?

Re:I don't worry about warranties on my cars... (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344885)

Did you ever notice the "blinker fluid" seemed to need replacing just when their new car sales were falling below target?

It's only a matter of time from *right now* that everything starts breaking down on your car, whether you have had your "blinker fluid" replaced or not.

So helpful! (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344677)

Unfortunately, this means no money for the people who got the illegal calls, even though they owe us all probably $1,500 a pop.

For the record, I... (1)

dosh8er (608167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28344817)

answered the phone once after getting this call ... yeah, guy said i had a 95... sucker... too bad i have a 94... he hung up on me promptly ("have a nice day." I think he said). if we could find the person who's texting me by the name of "candy", i'd be a happy man...

Call them back if you like (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28344893)

Network Foundations LLC. 33 North LaSalle, Suite 2110 Chicago, IL 60602 Tel: (312) 235-2400 Fax: (312) 276-8780 Email: sales@networkfoundations.com Florida Profit Corporation VOICE TOUCH, INC. Filing Information Document Number P07000116212 FEI/EIN Number 261281522 Date Filed 10/23/2007 State FL Status ACTIVE Effective Date 10/23/2007 Principal Address 22 PROMENADE AT LION'S PAW DAYTONA BEACH FL 32124 US Mailing Address 22 PROMENADE AT LION'S PAW DAYTONA BEACH FL 32124 US M Dunne 1209 Sunland Rd Daytona Beach, FL 32114 (386) 253-7131 Cant really confirm the last number.
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