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Privacy Government News

Fraudsters Abusing Canada's Do-Not-Call List 229

J ROC writes "Phone numbers on Canada's Do-Not-Call registry have apparently been sold to off-shore telemarketers, scam artists, and other ne'er-do-wells, according to reports in the Globe & Mail and CBC News. The CRTC, which runs the registry, sells lists of phone numbers online for a small fee; making it available to anybody who might be interested in buying it, including con artists. I guess this explains why, ever since I added my number to the registry, I've been getting phone calls from 000-000-0000 trying to interest me in some free vacation scam. Canada's Privacy Commissioner is currently investigating."
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Fraudsters Abusing Canada's Do-Not-Call List

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  • Re:What Idiots (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrKevvy ( 85565 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @10:34AM (#26588481)

    re: "What idiots -- Illegally contact people that you already know are especially hostile toward dealing with you. How many sales do they actually expect to make?"

    Just as with spam, the telemarketer gangs don't make money off of sales. Rather, they make money off of selling their "service" to the "companies" whose "products" are being advertised. So even if there are no sales at all, they still profit.

  • by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @10:35AM (#26588497)

    That's why I never wanted to sign up for that list in the 1st place. (I'm from Ottawa, Canada)
    Thankfully, I almost never get any marketing call on my cellphone, the only ones I do (and they're annoying) are from the RBC Royal Bank trying to sell me insurance, and I find that already annoying.

    Since I moved to Montréal, I don't use a land phone anymore, so the telemarketer calls stopped (except for my god damn bank still).

    BUT I heard of people who added their CELLPHONE number to the Do-Not-Call list and have received telemarketer calls only since then.

    The typical and most annoying telemarketer call you tend to receive (and in Ottawa, I received that specific one at least 5 times a month) is:

    Number 123-456-7890 calling
    *Sound of fog horn*
    Automatic voice: "Hello, this is your captain calling... Congratulations, you've won a trip to..."

    Or sometimes it's a number 000-000-0000 like from the summary, I can confirm that. It's ANNOYING AS HELL.

  • by mevets ( 322601 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @11:02AM (#26588703)

    I don't know if these help yet, but apparently if you make your answering machine/voice mail message start with a "disconnected signal" ( you can discourage autodialers. Somebody even markets a little device (telezapper) to do this for you.

    I have no love for the CRTC, but the pressure probably came from elected officials via heavy lobbying. Regardless, after years of "click here to be removed from the list", how anyone didn't see this coming is beyond me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @11:32AM (#26588905)

    Since the Dutch law changed, the new trick is to run the advertising from a temporary company, so they can start a new company every week. If someone no longer want there spam, they say it will take about a week before the request is processed, and you can not yet object to the spam from next weeks company....

  • Re:What Idiots (Score:3, Informative)

    by goaliemn ( 19761 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @11:32AM (#26588909) Homepage

    Technically, the telemarketers aren't breaking the do not call list laws. They aren't in canada.

    I'm in the US and recently have had canadian based companies calling me.. I tell them I'm on the do not call list "we're in Canada so the US list doesn't apply to us" Canuck companies are doing the same thing now.

  • Get VoIP (Score:5, Informative)

    by clarkn0va ( 807617 ) <apt DOT get AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @11:55AM (#26589085) Homepage

    Two calls from an unsolicited number is all I ever get. After the second call the number simply gets screened and the incoming call gets forwarde--guess where--back to itself. Sometimes I get giddy imagining the telemarketer reciting her pitch to the person in the next cubicle.

    Of course, callers with the caller ID of "000-000-0000" or "10" simply get forwarded to the Rejection Hotline. []

    I'm on primus, but I imagine other voip providers have similar functionality, as would asterisk and its ilk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 24, 2009 @12:31PM (#26589427)

    That's why I never wanted to sign up for that list in the 1st place. (I'm from Ottawa, Canada)

    (except for my god damn bank still)

    Sorry, but you are ignorant. +Informative is entirely undeserved. This is YOUR PROBLEM.

    First off, pre-existing business relationships never fall under the category of telemarketing. They are specifically exempt. That is why your bank can call you on your cell phone. You need to inform them that they can no longer call you and threaten to terminate your business relationship when they do. Then actually grow a pair and terminate it when they do. Walk in and talk to a branch manager and send a letter to the regional management stating that you intend to do so, and another letter/conversation when you actually do. That will affect them. It is your failure to properly deal with your own bank.

    I used to do database consulting for a Telemarketing company and I was made responsible for creating a system that checked their own lists against the Canadian registry as well as the US registry. It is IMPOSSIBLE to create a registry in which the information is not made available to the same people you hate. I didn't like them either, I just worked for the devil for awhile. Had to eat you know.

    When you don't put your number into that registry you don't ever have the right to complain since both the Telemarketers that are in compliance and the offending ones have no idea that you are on the list. You really think the offending ones are using the lists of people that hate telemarketers? I can promise you it is not the case in the US. The firms in the US love the lists since calling the people on it is a waste of time and money.

    Not putting your number on that list actually hurts you more than helps. The moment any marketer or list broker *thinks* your number is active with a person on the other end your number will make it to everyone within 90 days. I SWEAR IT IS TRUE.

    At least with the registries most sane telemarketing firms religiously scrub their own lists against them. They don't want to risk the fines. They also don't want to risk attention from the government. In the case of the US, once attention came from attorney generals from a state they wrote off *the whole state*.

    I can tell you that I found access to lists for *everything*. The telephone companies would tell us what ranges were active, what were reserved, special ranges, etc. Just like TCP/IP defines 192.168.x.x do be a private network only, there are the same rules created for 10 digit phone numbers.

    I could even get at the time every single cell phone number range in the US. No shit. Why?

    Calling a cell phone was considered insanity. Do it enough and the cell phone company itself will *butt fuck* you into oblivion since you are messing with their systems and pissing off their customers. You are not just messing with the customers, but costing the cell phone company money. All that system bandwidth you suck up could have been sold to one of their customers. In fact, I know in the US it is illegal to telemarket to a cell phone *PERIOD*. That is why I used the cell phone lists at the time to scrub out any cell phones in my clients database.

    Put simply, the vast majority of so-called legitimate telemarketing firms were in compliance with the registries and not putting your number on the registry was just stupid.

    As for the jerks that are calling anyways, well that is Canada's fault for not actually spending the resources to enforce the lists in the first place. They may have well just given hand jobs to all the telemarketing execs.

    I can tell you that US is far more serious. The FCC and attorney generals were very vigilant in prosecuting offenders and telemarketing firms that violated the lists, or called cell phones, were quickly given the shaft by some government agency.

    Putting your number on the US registry *plain fucking works*.

  • Re:What Idiots (Score:4, Informative)

    by jeffstar ( 134407 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:41PM (#26590089) Journal

    how do you expect telemarketers to avoid calling people on the do-not-call list if they don't have a copy of the list?

  • Re:Double Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:19PM (#26592287)

    Actually, setting it up wasn't that bad. I already use a debian box (been using debian since before Ubuntu existed) for my internet gateway that sits in the basement. I bought a Digium analog FXS/FXO card (old style) with 4 ports on it for my two phone lines, and two extensions. I also have some old Cisco ATA's I bought long ago to provide 4 additional extensions. I actually don't use all the old analog ports since I got a couple Polycom VoIP desk phones (which have AWESOME speaker phones.) Again, I initially installed Asterisk long ago before there were distro packages, so I compiled from source. To be honest, it wasn't trivial (especially getting the ata's working) but not hard either. Certainly no harder than installing apache from source and configuring it.

    Today it's stupid simple as the documentation for Asterisk is WAY better, and the configuration tools are far easier. Distro packages make Asterisk an apt-get install away, and there are pre-setup CD installs of asterisk available.

    Originally (years ago) I had some issues with echo but modern code has totally solved that problem.

    Since my install is so old, I can't really give you the perspective of what it would be like for someone new to it, I just know it's soooo much easier now than it used to be.

  • by loom_weaver ( 527816 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @08:08PM (#26593941)

    I'd go into your bank and ask if you can be taken off their marketing lists.

    I had the same thing happen with CIBC and one day I got a pushy salesman that pissed me off. I marched into the local branch, told them my sad story, and then was somewhat surprised to see them clicking away at their computer and unchecking me from several lists.

    The teller said it's quite rare that people ask to be taken off those lists. It must be because so few people know about it.

  • Re:Ok, sent to my MP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Flipper ( 627481 ) * on Sunday January 25, 2009 @02:12AM (#26596059)

    Alas, Canada isn't where all the illegal calls and emails originate

    Where have you been? I won't argue about the email bit, and I realize it's nothing to be proud of, but Canada has the best, as well as the most successful/notorious fraudulent telemarketers on Earth.

    Check news articles from end of the 1990s and a year or two after. Montréal has an international reputation for having the highest grossing ongoing, organized criminal telemarketers in the Entire World (Vancouver is doing okay along those lines, also).

    Interpol, in Europe and the FBI, down here in the US, had to go up there and basically "shame" the RCMP into raiding and taking down the top of that food chain. Two chains, really, one, a non-denominational consortium of Irish, Jewish, Greek and Cosa Nostra guys, and the other being the financial "fund raising" arm of the Hell's Angels, headed by Denis Morin.

    The "Phonebusters", up at Thunder Bay, were outgunned and subverted once cases hit the Court system. There were rumors, underground, that the first really huge case to hit the system in Ontario (which involved two Montréalers, one of whom was Les Pinsky) was a slam dunk, requiring a $250,000 payoff to someone in the Ministry of the Attorney General to get away scot free. The Ontario Provincial judge in the case was furious at having to throw out a case against a guy who had made $12 million in the previous year ("officially", the actual figure was way up there), because of "screw-ups" by Crown lawyers.

    Meanwhile, in Montréal, the RCMP had one of their people visiting owners and part-owners of a dozen seemingly separate businesses, telling them what amounts of individual Bank Drafts, etc, were going to be "flagged" in the system, which ,mail drops had been added to surveillance, etc. "Guidance" in other words.

    The biggest gang didn't go down until a lady in Ontario, who was addicted to sending cash to telephone fraudsters, and was embezzling huge cash from a firm she worked at, killed herself, and the FBI just blew a gasket. And Denis Morin, who was under observation for years, by Canadian legal people, wasn't busted until he was walking into Disney World, in Orlando, by FBI agents (with OPP and RCMP guys tagging along for the photo op.

    Les Pinsky, one of the old-school telemarketing guys in Montréal, died recently, before his recent case could get to Court (natural causes). If you visit the Portage, a drug and alcohol treatment facility on St antoine Street in Montréal, chances are that Les' picture is still up on the wall of grads. Even some of his closest friends knew that what he was doing was not just illegal, but all the way wrong, yet still loved him, in some cases, for the beneficial work and volunteering he had done. But the notion that man can sin with one hand and do good works with the other, and that these things "balance out" somehow, morally, are delusional. Isaiah, in the Old Testament, was very persuasive about what those who thought that they could, God-like, make these assessments and draw conclusions about their "faith saving them in the end" were in store for.

    A lot of folks will be glad Les is dead. That's easy to understand. People who knew him, who knew something about him besides "his job" can only wonder how things might have gone if he had used his skills and abilities for something that was "good." But he didn't, or, rather, he did, but those numerous acts were simply outweighed by his "real" work. A lot of people got hurt, and even his close friends know that that is totally unacceptable.

    Don't think for a moment that Canada isn't more than adequately "represented" as far as fraud goes. There's a reason, or two, why the gargantuan heroin importing "company" that was known as "The French Connection" had Montréal and little ports up and down the Canadian east coast as its last stop on the way to New York, Chicago and Detroit. And it wasn't smoked meat sandwiches and Molsons.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson