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February 20, 2009 --> Social Engineering - Figuring out who the telemarketers are...

Between those annoying car warranty robo-calls that everybody seems to be getting lately and the pharma-marketers (such is how I refer to the chuckleheads who call and try to sell you Xanex at over-inflated prices) who annoy you at all hours, it is getting challenging to track down the egregious telemarketers.  To be successful in finding out who is behind them, you must do a little social engineering. 

Warning: There some times wherein you are just plain out of luck.  The folks making the calls are all based overseas (usually in or around Bangalore in India) and the folks behind these companies are also based overseas.  (Anecdotally, I have come to the conclusion that such are usually from the United Kingdom or Mexico.)  In these types of situations, it is generally best to simply pray that they will eventually stop calling you.  They will use all sorts of nefarious tricks - changing their caller id number, etc to defeat any efforts you may put in place to block them.

There are the times wherein it appears rather difficult to track the egregious telemarketers (whether the call centers are overseas or not) but with a little effort, one can actually get the core information needed to pursue a case in small claims court or file a complaint with the FCC or the FTC.  Use social engineering...

When those bloody calls come in, your blood starts to boil and all you want to do is scream at them.  I tell you right now...DON'T!  These people are trying to make a sale.  Convince them you actually wish to buy their crappy product or service.  They will be so happy that you have not cursed and hung up on them - like the previous callers - that they will love to stay on the phone with you.  The key is to get the information as to who they are (or who is contracting out their services, as such folks are equally culpable) and thus failing the complaint or taking them to court.

You most definitely DO NOT want to give out real information about who you are, such as your name, social security number, etc.  Instead get yourself setup with an online fax account (see links on the right of each page pf this site).  Tell the telemarketer that you are REALLY interested in whatever overpriced garbage they are trying to sell you, but tell them that you must receive something in writing (use any excuse under the son - say you have a hearing impairment - whatever it takes).  If they will send you something in writing (via facsimile or email), than you will have more information to track down the responsible parties or to file a complaint.  In the case of those awful car warranty calls, ask them for a copy of the warranty to be faxed or emailed to you.  Unless they are a 100% scam-based outfit that is just taking money but not actually selling anything, the warranty paperwork will have the name and addres of the company underwriting the warranty.  Bingo!  There is the party you take to court or file a complaint against. 



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About Foreign Call Centers
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Pollitical Calls & Complaints
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 Resources

This Telemarketing Call Sheet has a synopsis of what you should do when you receive a call as well as fields in which to hand-write the specifics about a telemarketing call when it comes in. Print a few of these out and place them by the telephone. These are perfect for evidence when you take the telemarketing company to court!

See additional telemarketing tools and resources.