BBB Warns Consumers About "Robo Calls"

2/15/2012

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February 15, 2012, Milwaukee, Wis. — The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been receiving calls and letters from consumers across the country regarding repeated, unsolicited “robo calls” to both their home and cell phones.

The calls are recorded messages offering to lower credit card interest rates. Consumers report that the message requests, “press 1 to speak with a representative.” However, when they do so, the caller hangs up on them.

In the last two weeks, the BBB has received 21 written letters and dozens of phone calls from consumers complaining of these calls, which they say are annoying, continual and harassing. In fact, several complainants state they do not even own a credit card, yet they are receiving these calls.

Some of the calls appear to be coming from “Card Holder Services” though there is no such company in Wisconsin at the phone number that the calls are allegedly coming from.

In addition, one of the reported phone numbers that the calls appear to be coming from, was a former Fond Du Lac cell phone number that belonged to a family seven years ago, and is no longer current. As a result, the family is now receiving harassing phone calls from angry consumers. They told the BBB via letter that they “are not the responsible party for the harassing phone calls.” In fact, they are working with the state, local law enforcement, and the FCC in an attempt to get to the bottom of this situation.

Likely, the perpetrator behind the calls is using a call “spoofing” mechanism. Spoofing is the practice of causing a telephone device to display a number on the recipient’s caller I.D. that is not the actual originating phone number. It is accomplished by using a spoofing device or software mechanism.

If you receive such a phone call, the BBB recommends that you report the call to the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. Also, check with your cell phone provider. Many providers allow phone numbers to be blocked from calling you, at no additional charge.

The BBB reminds consumers not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone to any unknown caller.

For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (NE Wisconsin), 608-268-2221 (SW Wisconsin) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).
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