Tom plagues a DJ in Phoenix with Illegal Calls

A nice guy in the Phoenix area blogs about his experience with the unrelenting Tom. Like many of us, he hoped it would just go away, but Tom has been around for years, literally. Some of the post:

Over the last year I’ve been plagued with calls on my cell from a recorded message telemarketer. It all starts off with “Hi this is Tom with Home Protection“. From the first call I was sure it was a recording. I asked a couple of questions on a more personal note and the answers to my questions didn’t seem quite right.  Since then I’ve been called almost every day from different numbers but the same recording. It doesn’t seem to matter if I opt out by calling back and pressing “1″.  In fact, it just increases the number of calls I get. If I block the call on my Verizon account it’s quiet for about 4 days then a new number starts calling. Unfortunately, I’ve been silent, thinking this was going to go away on it’s own.

Keep in mind that every single call to his wireless number was an ILLEGAL call. Period.  As the FCC says, “…placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is — and always has been — illegal in most cases”.  It’s just like a fax call, they’re using your resources (minutes) and that is banned by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). He goes on to point out that calling back and trying to “opt out” is just as big a scam, as his call volume actually increased. It’s time to put these guys out of business.

I would encourage our DJ friend to play along, get handed off to a Dealer, and find out who is paying Tom for the marketing. I know of a number of people in the Phoenix market associated with “Tom”, like  Maximum Security Alarm, including a  (Jared) Babe Kilgore, the Qualified Manager in Texas for Max Security. He’s the principal shareholder of Siren Inc, an alarm business that operated in Texas (as Siren-Texas Inc.) , with a current F rating by the BBB. I have a pretty thick file on these guys and yeah I’m going to start naming names. I’ve called Mr. Kilgore and left messages at his Phoenix office to discuss Tom and Maximum Security, but they were not returned.

 

Need your help to identify these names

Need help identifying the names on this white board. The picture is believed to be from the office of a large dealer. I know that TSS is an off shore call center with an American subsidiary.

Can anyone identify the other listed names?

Email or comment please.

Tom and the Dallas TX Office of VMS Alarms

Well another day and another call from Tom, this time on a Google Voice account (formerly Grand Central) we’ve had for years now. This time was a little different, with the follow up call coming from my home state of Texas. It seems that VMS Alarms has formally established a presence in the Dallas area.  For some reason Google was having trouble passing the call to my home phone so VMS called back repeatedly from the following numbers:

469-941-4132

-4149

-4144

-4139

-4141

-4151

-4150

and finally 4136:

I’ve been increasingly irritated by the misleading and down right false statements made by VMS reps and their Managers.This call was no different so it is obviously part of the phone script used by VMS.

1. This is Paul with “the alarm company”

Actually that is not true, he is with Versatile Marketing Solutions or VMS Alarms. Is the phrase “the alarm company” designed to make the recipient think that the caller represents THEIR current company? I don’t know the purpose of not using the actual name.

2. Regarding General Electric and free equipment: “They run the promotion”

Implying that GE is giving away free equipment??

3. Regarding “Award winning five diamond monitoring”, I asked does your company do the monitoring? Answer: YES.

Actually  NO.  Monitronics does.

4. “We’ll move your system free of charge if you move”.

Based on complaints across the web this doesn’t appear to be true, but I’d be happy to review a contract provided by VMS and see if it’s a true statement.

When Paul got to the stage where he wanted to verify home ownership he asked for my address which I declined to provide. He provided an address in our metro area which I was unable to verify on the County Appraisal District records. The street and zip are valid but the house number is not.

When I began asking Paul questions like, “what is your last name Paul?”, he declined saying he could give his last initial. I told him it should be no problem since I was sure he had a TX Alarm Salesperson License and that his name is a public record. In fact I was looking it up online while we chatted at the Texas PSB web site. He then replied that he didn’t need a license as VMS is reputable company and they know the rules.

Suddenly a new voice came on the line and a manager who identified himself as Derek took over. I challenged Derek about using the name “the alarm company”, asking if it was in the script. Why would Paul use that phrase? Derek told me that VMS was not well known and that in case a child or someone answered the phone they would know “alarm company”.

I confirmed that they were calling from Dallas and then asked if he knew an entity called REDACTED. (I’ll provide this later as I don’t want to tip the group I’m investigating).

He said, oh you mean XYZ? (using an acronym for the legal name of the entity). I asked are they affiliated with VMS, and he replied that they do promotion work for them, that VMS sells and installs, and Monitronics buys the contract. He just described their business model.

The next question was too much for Derek: Do you share an office with them, are you in the same space?

And with that, a long pause (think I was on hold), and then Derek offered to give a direct number for Public Relations in Rhode Island. I told him that wouldn’t be helpful as I know far more about the whole operation than  he realizes and that he just confirmed the name of the off shore group  making the calls. THANK YOU!

IF YOU ARE IN TEXAS, please comment or send me an email and describe your experience.  A photo of your caller ID documenting the initial call would be a huge benefit. I am preparing the investigative file for a number of regulators and would be very helpful to include evidence from other Texas residents. (Create a new Google email address for this purpose  if you prefer confidentiality)

I will be filing formal complaints, (request for criminal investigation, license suspension-revocation) shortly with the Texas Attorney General, District Attorneys of Harris, Tarrant, & Dallas Counties, Texas Private Security Bureau, Texas PUC, Electronic Security Association- Consumer Complaint of Member Conduct) and other State and Federal agencies.

As I told Derek, they called the wrong guy, too many times, and I will never go away until Tom and his friends do.

PLEASE SHARE INFORMATION!

UPDATE:

We got a few calls later in the day from Rhode Island. Google Voice requires the caller to state their name and a man said Aaron Gagnier, but he did not leave a message. I’ve chatted before with Aaron, who I’ve discovered knows all about the off shore call center.

This whole thing is about to break wide open.

Tom doesn’t take holidays off: 503-457-1274

Well it’s a few days before Christmas and it’s a pleasure really irritating to see that Tom isn’t taking any time off for the holidays. Two new calls from a new number on December 22nd and 23rd continue the saga.

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Call Back for Opt Out?

We’re starting to get some activity on this Blog as well as the Stop Tom Facebook Community.  One of the common questions I’ve been getting is, does it do any good to call back and punch in your number to be taken off their list. We know that telemarketers are required to identify themselves and to provide a call back number so that recipients can be placed on their do-not-call list. In this case the telemarketers seem to be trying to skate by the rule, failing to identify themselves, but offering a method to opt out. I don’t know if it’s a legitimate opt out or not, but the following comments from readers offer some actual experience:

 “S Kramer”:

 FYI, if you call them back and press “1″ to remove, they just start calling you from one of their other numbers… last week they called me from a 503 area code, I called back & hit “1″ to remove, and they just started calling me from a 360 area code today – ugh!!

“Clearlynotgoingto”:

I’ve called the numbers back (with my caller ID blocked, of course) and a recording comes on thats states if I want to bee taken off their caller list to enter my phone number. So what I do instead of entering my own number is punch in the phone numbers of the other telemarketer numbers.

“E Daniel”:

 I have pressed 1 twice now, just a different # and caller ID after

Based on these comments it would appear to be a ruse. I haven’t tried to enter my number for fear it would confirm a valid number and the result would be many more calls. Readers will have to make their own decision about whether to try or not. It would be great to hear more comments on this.

TSS INC takes Tom’s Place

The technique has changed a bit, but it’s still the same guys who have “Tom” calling. The first call is from a rep who tells me I have won a free alarm system along with nine of my neighbors. Congratulations! Of course everyone wins so there is no prize, and so we begin the potential business relationship with a lie. No other way to say it.

Here’s a pic of the initial inbound Caller ID screen. Remember that the Truth in Caller ID Act:

“prohibits any person, in connection with any telecommunications service or Internet Protocol-enabled voice service, from causing any caller ID service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value”

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