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Apologize if this is posted in the wrong forum

I hope someone may have some experience/insight into this.

My father in law recently put an ad up on craigslist. Received a email response asking him to call back a number. (908 554 2787)
Essentially the email goes like this...


Hello I saw your ad on Craigslist and I am very interested, could you give me a call when you have a moment? Just have a few questions. I am on the road and will not have access to my email. Thanks Mark---908 554 2787

fortunately he did an online search on the number before calling and saw that it was a scam in that there is a charge (around $5-$10 to call the number). Believe they are called EZ numbers

It is easy to recognize 900 / 976 numbers, but does anyone know how to recognize these numbers or how to block them? Looking at the number, it seems to be a normal number in a new jersey area code. I have heard of these also popping up in the philadelphia area. I spoke with my cell phone company (at&t) on how to block these outgoing calls but they said they could only 900 numbers and specific numbers. While this number would go on the list, don't know how to be proactive about others

thanks in advance

UPDATE:
Changed title of this thread to reflect proper name of the phone numbers in question

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
****SOLUTION*****

I received an phone call from Verizon's customer service department THE DAY AFTER I filed a complaint w... (more)

POed (Sep. 28, 2009 @ 2:26p) |

ATT will block all calls to 900 and 976 numbers upon request.

BradMajors (Sep. 28, 2009 @ 3:09p) |

No Brad, this isn't about 900 or even 700 numbers -- I had that block. As a matter of fact, when I set up my Verizon ac... (more)

POed (Sep. 28, 2009 @ 4:26p) |

In case anybody wants to complain to Verizon or the state regulators, we should get the terminology straight. There is nothing called "EZ Numbers". There is a Verizon offering called "Easy Number" that allows a business to get a 555 number, like 212-555-6060. These numbers do not cost extra to call and are not what we are talking about here.

The rip-off numbers that we are discussing in this thread are called "Pay-per-Call" numbers. The well known variant is the long-distance pay-per-call number with a 900 area code. The insidous ones are local pay-per-call numbers that look like ordinary phone numbers, except that you get robbed every time you call one.

-- (quoted from bluechalk's post)
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We seriously need a telecommunications subforum.

How does this scam work? I can't find any information on it online. 908 is a NJ area code, not a premium number.

tripleB said: We seriously need a tripleB subforum.

Agreed!

tazzy531 said: How does this scam work? I can't find any information on it online. 908 is a NJ area code, not a premium number.

I think it's basically you call the number, and then it redirects you silently to a 900 number, which you pay the operator to call. There was a scam a while back where a 1800 or 1888 number was doing the same thing, and people thought since it was a toll free, it was ok.

pthor1231 said: tazzy531 said: How does this scam work? I can't find any information on it online. 908 is a NJ area code, not a premium number.

I think it's basically you call the number, and then it redirects you silently to a 900 number, which you pay the operator to call. There was a scam a while back where a 1800 or 1888 number was doing the same thing, and people thought since it was a toll free, it was ok.


I was under the assumption that when you forward the call, the forwarding party pays the telecom bill not the forwardee.

For example, I decide to forward all my calls on my land line to a number in Hawaii .. When you call me and get forwarded, I get charged the long distance bill. Right?

Here's Verizon's info on Easy Numbers: http://smallbusiness.verizon.com/products/voice/features/easy_ro...

If this is really true, people need to make a stink about it.. (Press, Consumerist, Congress...) Because there is no easy way to identify a forwarding number. I could set my local phone number up with a business account and forward it to my own 900 number.

tazzy531 said: pthor1231 said: tazzy531 said: How does this scam work? I can't find any information on it online. 908 is a NJ area code, not a premium number.

I think it's basically you call the number, and then it redirects you silently to a 900 number, which you pay the operator to call. There was a scam a while back where a 1800 or 1888 number was doing the same thing, and people thought since it was a toll free, it was ok.


I was under the assumption that when you forward the call, the forwarding party pays the telecom bill not the forwardee.

For example, I decide to forward all my calls on my land line to a number in Hawaii .. When you call me and get forwarded, I get charged the long distance bill. Right?

Here's Verizon's info on Easy Numbers: http://smallbusiness.verizon.com/products/voice/features/easy_ro...

If this is really true, people need to make a stink about it.. (Press, Consumerist, Congress...) Because there is no easy way to identify a forwarding number. I could set my local phone number up with a business account and forward it to my own 900 number.


From the bit you linked:
Includes a pay-per-call option that enables you to charge callers a small fee for information-type services*


Maybe this is what "Mark" is using to scam people?

Information about these rip-off numbers are hidden on the Verizon website here.

Verizon calls them "pay-per-call numbers". They list the exchanges that are pay-to-call as 976, 940, 915, 556, 554, and 550, but also warn that this list is not exhaustive.

Maybe we need to contact Verizon customer service before every call to check that the number is not "pay-per-call".

Thank you for the information.
This is from the fcc website
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/900Fact.html

If I interpret it correctly, it says that unless you authorize, only calls to 900 are pay-per-call
The way I believe that this scam works is that the person just answers and hangs up so you get hit the connect cost

My question then is: Is what verizon is offering compliant with the FCC?
For what it is worth, I filed a complaint through the FCC website

I suspect that Verizon only connects intrastate calls to these rip-off numbers. This way, the Federal Communications Commission has no jursidiction. The corrupt New Jersey government is in charge here.

so a 554 number is the new 976, regardless of area code

so a 554 number is the new 976, regardless of area code

The 554 is considered the "exchange" in telecom speak.

tripleB said: The 554 is considered the "exchange" in telecom speak.

Take your geekery to the telecoms subforum.

bluechalk said: Information about these rip-off numbers are hidden on the Verizon website here.

Verizon calls them "pay-per-call numbers". They list the exchanges that are pay-to-call as 976, 940, 915, 556, 554, and 550, but also warn that this list is not exhaustive.

Maybe we need to contact Verizon customer service before every call to check that the number is not "pay-per-call".


yeah, only if you have hours to spare, Verizon much prefers you talk to their machines or stay on hold than answer your "silly" questions. There is no customer service at Verizon, only customer aggravation.

interesting.

nnc said: Thank you for the information.
This is from the fcc website
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/900Fact.html

If I interpret it correctly, it says that unless you authorize, only calls to 900 are pay-per-call
The way I believe that this scam works is that the person just answers and hangs up so you get hit the connect cost

My question then is: Is what verizon is offering compliant with the FCC?
For what it is worth, I filed a complaint through the FCC website


After reading the Verizon website and the FCC's site, it appears that Verizon is in cahoots with these criminals and is actually abetting them in fraudulent activity. While it is nothing new for Verizon to be a bunch of low-lifes, enough complaints to the FCC should at least get their attention and actually take some action about it. The FCC is pretty spineless though, so don't bet that it will happen overnight.

Maybe the best bet would be for Craigslist to be notified and they could post something on their pages about this new fraud to alert people who are posting there to watch out for this? Don't know that this would work or that they would do it (never dealt with CL), but maybe its worth a try?

You can put a pay-per-call number block on your home phone, and you can try to do the same with your cell carriers, but I don't believe they have the same blocking services...

This thread made its way to Consumerist.

What would happen if you called the number via a Google Voice number?

bluechalk said: Information about these rip-off numbers are hidden on the Verizon website here.

IMO all information on Verizon's website is "hidden" -- I've never been able to find anything on there.

verizon said: Description of a Pay-per-Call

...

This service is not available in New York.
Good.

I was just thinking about that as well, GV should tell you there is a charge before connecting you, but I don't know for sure.

pimptacular said: What would happen if you called the number via a Google Voice number?

How about we get this for our home phone number and give it out to as many telemarketers as possible?

lray said: How about we get this for our home phone number and give it out to as many telemarketers as possible?

first i'd need to know how to get one of these numbers!

lray said: How about we get this for our home phone number and give it out to as many telemarketers as possible?

also, don't forget the "charities" (that aren't), political calls, etc. that are nuisances, too. I may not feel as bad about answering the phone and hanging up on them if I was making $25 a call or so.

THANKS for an awesome idea!

ok back on track, so what's the key here, how do we know if a number is an EZ number? Many of these area codes are legit codes, like 908 for NJ, 940 for DFW (TX) etc. Is it the middle 3 numbers, what our geeky friend BBB calls the "exchange", is something there that might give us a clue. The way it looks right now, this can happen to anyone, so how do we safeguard against this?

look at the prefix.

OMG! We're on the Consumerist. LOLLMAO!

Don't call strangers.

newbietx said: ok back on track, so what's the key here, how do we know if a number is an EZ number? Many of these area codes are legit codes, like 908 for NJ, 940 for DFW (TX) etc. Is it the middle 3 numbers, what our geeky friend BBB calls the "exchange", is something there that might give us a clue. The way it looks right now, this can happen to anyone, so how do we safeguard against this?

Deleted......

Thanks for the information.

It seems that to prevent will need to be on the "look out" for certain exchanges (i.e. 554) that are pay per call regardless of area code. though verizon even states that it is not an exhaustive list of exchanges that they have on their customer service webpage

In theory, per the FCC, when making a pay per call, within the first 10 seconds, the rates are supposed to be announced and that as a consumer if you disconnect within the first 20 seconds you should not be charged.
While I can not say that I have called the number in question or (any similar number), what I understand is that the receiving phone answers and hangs up and the caller is still stuck with the bill

That is just unbelievable that such a thing is even allowed! And I agree, Verizon is contributing to it by providing the service. I think the 10 second rule still applies but the scam artists are going to bet you won't dispute the bill.

markbyte said: That is just unbelievable that such a thing is even allowed! And I agree, Verizon is contributing to it by providing the service. I think the 10 second rule still applies but the scam artists are going to bet you won't dispute the bill.

And that's what it is all about...giving you a choice between spending 30 minutes to an hour sorting it out with Verizon or just paying it to get rid of it.

shame on verizon

lray said: How about we get this for our home phone number and give it out to as many telemarketers as possible?

How much does Verizon charge monthly for such a number? I have to make sure I recoup my cost.

These scams have been going on for many years. Here is an article from 2004 detailing the same scam also involving Verizon.

http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/OCA/Info/Scams/03-04escam...

jerry2003 said: shame on verizon

Verizon as a company doesnt care what you think of them..they DO NOT deliver on any promises...its just unbelievable that without caring for your customers you still do succeed in business...

cowboyBill said: These scams have been going on for many years. Here is an article from 2004 detailing the same scam also involving Verizon.

http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/OCA/Info/Scams/03-04escam...



guess this explains why on the Verizon page that the EZ numbers are not available for the state of New York

Skipping 16 Messages...
BradMajors said: ATT will block all calls to 900 and 976 numbers upon request.

No Brad, this isn't about 900 or even 700 numbers -- I had that block. As a matter of fact, when I set up my Verizon account I was adamant about blocking ALL pay-per-call services and was assured that I would never incur such a charge.

The number we're talking about here appears as a normal or local, non-toll number. It is a (fairly) new service (scam) called "Easy Number."

A block for "Easy Numbers" is now available but it must be specifically requested. I'd do so as soon as possible.



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