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Fun with Telemarketers

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 create your own mosaic... (thanks Gretch-a-sketch!)

People hang up on them. People yell at them. People even try politely rebuffing them. But nobody, at least nobody I know, looks forward to being rung by a telemarketer. I am no exception. I tried the great-and-powerful U.S. government "do not call" list. I tried hanging, haranguing, yelling, and rebuffing. Think any of that crap works? Naw, not against the totally hardcore spammy boiler-room operations anyway (laws? what laws?). What I hadn't tried however until just recently was just rolling with the call and having some fun with it. After all, I figured, if you let them get you all worked up, that puts them in control, and they win. Can't let that happen, can we?

My employer issued me a cellphone to be used ostensibly for rousting me from slumber when the shiznit flies at 2:00am. Fine. Preface also the fact that when the damn thing rings, I jerk straight up preparing for the worst. Now imagine the hilarity that ensues when I am getting 3-4 calls per day for some tool named "Adam". Adam apparently hadn't paid many of his bills and his creditors seemed dead set on reminding him of the consequences of shirking his obligations. It took a while, but I managed to convince my skeptical callers that a) I wasn't the droids they were looking for and b) Adam had given them the slip, so sorry. Is that the end? Of course not! Adam's number had somehow gotten passed around, sold, rented, whored out (here's me feigning wild surprise!). And even if I managed to dispatch the collections calls, the steady stream of telemarketing calls continued unabated. Swell.

What to do, what to do? Well, as a former crusty spam-fighting, NA-NAE reading ISP sendmail mail server admin, I of course tried to apply logic to a problem most illogical. This approach resulted in me getting upset (see "hanging, haranguing, yelling, and rebuffing, above). I had to think about it a bit - ID'ing callers isn't the same as tracing through email headers, so I'm screwed right? Or am I? I hatched a plan.

What did I have? Well for my test subject, who had just called with a recorded message outlining "an exCITING opportunity to make a kajillion dollars from home.", I had a phone number. So I google the thing and come up with a hundered other recorded complaints about this jackass on I also get an associated company name, and a domain name. Now we're getting somewhere - A quick whois lookup on the domain gives me a name, another phone number, and a Phoenix street address. Google maps gives me some idea where this bozo might operate from. It's a long shot that what I'm gathering isn't bogus, but what the heck - it's a hunch. I hit Google street view and take a look around the scumbag's neighborhood. It's a strip mall! I see a DQ across the street, an Applebee's with a bus stop out front, a deli, a picture framing place, a supermarket, and a skateboard shop called "Cowtown". More than enough ammo for "Ray Q" (according to the whois record) should he call back. And oh delight! 20 minutes later, he did.

I was playing "Infernal Contraption" with my friends at work and telling them about my devious scheme to corner a scummy TM when the TM rang. I saw the phone number on the screen and grinned - "it's HIM!" "Unsightly Scab Removal Inc", I answer. The guy at the other end says, "Good afternoon Adam". I interrupt, "Nope, no Adam here Ray, how's everything going in Phoenix?" Ray starts to stutter, "What?" I continue, "Yeah you're in that little strip mall on Central, right? You ever eat at that Applebees right there Ray? Is it any good?" Ray is a little flummoxed. He just laughs nervously, "heheha umm well, how do you know that?" I smile, "Just doin' my homework Ray, just doin' my homework." Ray tells me that he's gotta go (yes, go) and tells me to have a good afternoon. Click. Oh yeah. My friends are laughing, cause they know I had the TM dead to rights.

Much better, and entertaining! I considered changing my number, but finally decided that, nah, this is more fun. Maybe I can S.E. the next telemarketer into giving up Adam's personal info. I'd love to chat with that dude.
chux0r 6-10-2008

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