Here's how this investigative report began: On March 21, 2011, I got three unsolicited telephone calls from (302) 752-1422.
The first telephone call to me was made in the morning, and my answering machine answered but the caller hung up.
When the second call came in, I personally picked up, heard breathing on the other end, and then the caller hung up.
For the third call, later in the same afternoon, in response to my "Hello," the caller said "I don't care," and then hung up.
Why did the caller keep phoning my number but refuse to leave a message or engage in a conversation? Hey, I'm just reporting the facts. Why did I get the reply of "I don't care"? Again, what can I tell you - I have no idea.
Being the ever-intrepid investigator, I telephoned (302) 752-1422. That's quite a phone number they're calling me from because no matter how often I dial it, the number just rings busy.
National Do Not Call Registry
The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which is administered by the Federal Trade Commission and became law in February 2008, supposedly protects those of us who are entered into the registry from unwanted telemarketing. A few years ago, I enrolled all my telephone numbers into the National Do Not Call Registry.
SIDE BAR: To register your telephone number with the National Do Not Call Registry:
To file a complaint with the FTC, log-on to https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx?panel=2
The Hunt Begins
How difficult is it for a government agency to track down and investigate these telemarketing complaints? Well, let's start with a super-sophisticated bit of forensic crime work: a Google search for this offending telephone number:
- If you visit the 800Notes site, you will find 35-pages of consumer complaints about the telephone number.
- If you visit the WhoCallsMe site, you will find 8-pages of consumer complaints about the telephone number.
If you read through the many online consumer complaints about the telemarketing practices by callers from (302) 752-1422, we quickly uncover a slime trail that extends back for at least eight months. According to posted comments, consumers have discovered that the phone number appears to come from some operation in Georgetown, Delaware, and the sales pitch has to do with sales of diabetes supplies. Try as I might, though, I just couldn't find any indication that the FTC or any local government has stepped in on behalf of beleaguered consumers and asked for - at the very least - explanations as to the barrage of telemarketing, much of which appears in violation of the Do Not Call rules.
On the NumberInvestigator website, we find this posting from November 2010:
Tom reported Delaware from 302-752-1422 as an Unknown Caller Nov 24th 2010 - 1:32:47pm EST
This number has been calling for about 6 weeks. When I answer no one is there. Yesterday, late at night, they called twice within an hour. I am now letting the answer machine get it but they continue to call. Really annoying. I tried calling the number back but I get a message I cannot be connected.
3027521422 (Georgetown, DE) - View Details
At the MrNumber website we find this posting:
A Web User Feb 12 at 02:13 PM
I recieved an abnoxious call from this women wanted to ask questions about household members needing diabetes supplies. I asked the women not to call and she had the nerve to call me back and tell me that I was receiving these calls because I didn't answer her questions. I hope that others report this to the esupport.fcc.gov website.
Then there is this lovely report from January 21, 2011 on the ReportACaller website:
They keep issuing death threats to my father who is 84 years old. please stop this, they will cause him to have a heart attack. It's always a woman who says "you are going to die",etc.
The Street Sweeper Acts
In researching this story, I located the FTC's Do Not Call website and filed a written complaint. After that, I telephoned the FTC's Do Not Call toll free number of (888) 382-1222 and filed a second complaint.
Frankly, I was somewhat discouraged by the FTC's customer service operation because, try as I might, I just couldn't seem to find a way to communicate with a human being. Moreover, amidst reports that government funding is a tad tight these days, I had that troubling feeling that my written and telephone complaints might not get much (if any) attention. I mean, after all, according to all the online data, folks have been complaining to the FTC and state agencies since July 2010 about this one telephone number.
Ultimately, I telephoned the FTC's Office of Public Affairs in my highly-vaunted role as the Street Sweeper blogger for Forbes. In response to that message, a spokesperson for the Office of Public Affairs informed me that the story I had related was distressing and that consumers should promptly contact the FTC with their information. Moreover, I was assured that the matter I had presented would be forwarded to appropriate FTC staff.
Okay . . . umm, sure, why not? Let's see what, if anything, arises from all the accumulated complaints and my persistence. Stay tuned.