Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Annoying Phone Calls

I didn't sleep well last night. We received a couple of annoying phone calls that woke me up at around 3:30 am, and again at 5:30 am. My caller ID tells me that the caller's phone number is 408-651-8179, and it is identified as either "TOWER SOFT", "OUT OF AREA" OR "UNAVAILABLE". Searching the web, it seems like I am not the only person whose sleep was disturbed last night. See Caller Complaints, 800 Notes, and Who Calls Me? I found dozens of complaints from last night alone on these websites.

Like me, many of the recipients of these phone calls are on the Do-Not-Call Registry. In most cases the phone rings two or three times, but there is nobody on the other end when they answer. A phone call like that would be frustrating during the daytime, but it is highly abusive when they call and wake you up. What can you do about these types of annoying phone calls?



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Ghocheng said...

Hai, same problem with me. The simple way to solve this problems is by turn of your phone before sleep. cheers

Chris Burgoyne said...

Yeah that works but get yourself on TPS if in UK - virtually stops these calls.

Frank @ Debt Advice

GoingForGold said...

Turning off your phone (or leaving it off the hook) can work, but of course you'll miss emergency calls from people - i.e. the 2am your daughter is upside down in a ditch and needs you to meet her at the hospital, calls. Or, the 3am your daughter was at a party and the cops came round and she needs a ride, (but it's ok, she didn't inhale) calls. (I'm not sure which is worse)

I was getting calls 8 or 9 times a day from a single number. I'd send them to voicemail, or answer, but always got empty air, and after a few seconds they hung up. Didn't even try to speak.

Eventually I started doing some digging into the number. I found that the prefix was owned and provided by a certain telephone company. I found their corporate number to report abuse, and phoned them up and told them what had been happening each day, every day, from 6am to 10pm, for two weeks. He explained that they provide the telephone numbers and service to other companies, so although they weren't the ones /making/ the calls, they could certainly put a stop to it.

That day the madness ended. He said he'd put in a call to the client that owned the number and was making the calls, and put a stop to it. He was true to his word, and I haven't received another call since.

Turns out it was ComputerWorld trying to verify my information for a subscription. Lousy system they had.

You're one step ahead - you have the number. If it turns up as UNKNOWN (--- --- ----) you're stuffed unless you get your telephone provider involved, and they typically won't step in unless it's harassing or threatening.

Unfortunately the DNC list is only a guideline and not a technical block (like a telephone firewall), and outgoing callerID numbers can be faked, spoofed, or blocked, with incredible ease. Another reason never to trust calls purporting to be from your bank. Only trust calls you make - and even then, only so far.

(ring ring) "Hello?"
"Hi Mr Johnson?"
"We at Chase have seen some unusual activity on your account, and we just needed to verify your pin number. Can you give me the last 6 digits of your social security number, your mothers maiden name, your street address, and your credit card security code, so that I can make sure I'm speaking with the right person? Great, and what was your pin number again? Thanks. Have a nice day"

(a month later)

"Honey, when did you go to Las Vegas? And how much room service can one person order?"