Judging by the huge spike in Internet searches bringing people to my website, it looks as if the scammers hiding behind the fake “Tuscany Industries” Caller ID are back in action. I chronicled my experience with them two years ago in a number of posts, which have now bubbled up to the top of the Google search for Tuscany Industries.
Since the calls for me personally have stopped, I’m not sure what scam is being run now. Is it the “lower your credit card debt” or “OMG your car’s warranty is expiring!!11!” Either way, it doesn’t matter: it serves as a wake up call to me to proceed with my lawsuit against these scumbags.
Yes, I have a good idea where they are. And yes, I’m pissed enough to get a piece of them. Let’s get going.
If you’ve gotten a call from “Tuscany Industries” and interacted with the lowlifes on the other end, drop me a comment here and let me know the scoop. The more info I can gather for the lawsuit, the better.
A neighbor lost his dog recently and found it using this service called FindToto. You can use FindToto to make thousands of automated calls to your neighborhood, alerting others to your missing pet.
It’s an interesting idea, and one that appeals to me as I’m also working on a neighborhood phone alert system.
I’ve had a VoIP-only setup at home for a while now with two incoming DIDs: one for residential use and one for my community volunteer work. During the business day I usually send calls regarding my community work to my home voicemail, as I don’t want to necessarily eat up my pay-per-use mobile phone minutes. However, some days I expect important calls and want calls to my volunteer number to ring my mobile directly.
Last summer I bragged about our cheap home phone bill of $8 per month. I did the math today and was alarmed to see our bill has risen a steep 25%. That’s right: it’s now $10 per month!
It seems the addition of e911 service is the main culprit. It added $1.50 per month per DID to our bill. It’s a small price to pay for the convenience of 911 service, though, so I’m not complaining!
I got this car warranty call yesterday from a unknown Caller ID. My efforts to reach a live human being were unsuccessful as I got disconnected when I pressed “0.”
Here’s a recording of the call in case others were interested to hear what these calls sound like. When I get time I’ll add the others I collect.
Up until recently I have been content to let Asterisk answer my phone, routing incoming calls as I please. That has worked just fine, but I’ve always wanted to get Asterisk to automatically place outgoing calls as well. I found out how to do this this week using a simple text file dropped into a certain directory.
How can this be used? Take my home alarm system for instance. Instead of simply sending a text message to my mobile phone whenever the alarm is tripped, I can now send a recorded clip which states what sensor got triggered (or anything I want, really). I could get really fancy and create a challenge for whomever answers the call when the alarm trips: punch in the proper code and the police aren’t dispatched. Or I could call and have Asterisk pretend its really “Aunt Betty” saying she heard the alarm and is everything all right.
If I was feeling especially confident, I could have this system call the dispatch center itself and announce the event. There are laws against automated calls to dispatch centers, so I’m not quite ready to take this one on. It’s still intriguing, though!
As I am politically minded, I can now easily use my Asterisk system to place outgoing “robo-calls” on behalf of candidates or causes. I could create an application which leaves an identical voicemail on the phones of all of a committee’s members at once.
For security or neighborhood watch use, I could create an instant phone tree where one neighbor could record a crime alert message which could be instantly delivered by phone to an entire block, sort of like a small “reverse 911” system.
I could create a simple application which automatically dials a busy number in the background and then rings my phone when the number is free. Or if I travel to a foreign country I can have Asterisk do an automatic callback so that I can pay the cheap U.S. phone tolls rather than expensive foreign phone tolls. The possibilities are endless!
I look forward to experimenting more with this aspect of Asterisk!
Yesterday, I found there is definite interest in an Asterisk project I’ve been mulling for a while, related to the annoying fake caller id telemarketing calls I’ve been getting. There’s a need to be filled and I have a great solution. Its just a matter of figuring out a revenue model for it.
Sometimes a break from a regular job can offer a refreshing change in perspective.
I’m drooling at the idea that telemarketers will soon start paying me. That’s right, in six days our home numbers will be listed for the magical 31 days.
Says the N.C. Do Not Call page:
Q: Can I enforce my rights myself?
A: Yes. Individuals can also bring their own enforcement actions under either state law or the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. If you have received more than one telephone call by or on behalf of the same entity that is in violation of the Do Not Call law, you may go to state court to stop the entity from continuing to call you and to recover up to $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second, and $5,000 for the third and subsequent violations.
Now the state Do Not Call list says the number has to be listed for 3 months, while the federal page says 31 days. And the federal page doesn’t say what can be collected from the jerks.
So I suppose in actuality I’ve got two more months to wait before I can sue them for violations. At any rate, it can’t come too soon! This is a case where my Asterisk server will start paying its way around here.
So $WORK ordered a new Cisco phone system to replace the Asterisk-based one I put together. Never mind that the Asterisk system cost 1/5th what the Cisco one costs and was set up in a day while the Cisco one in our German office still isn’t working properly after a month of configuration. Hey, its not my money, so I can’t really argue.
My office is getting this new system, too, but I’ve been leaving the set up of this system to the outside consultant $BIGBOSS hired. Still, I couldn’t help but figure out what it took to configure the Cisco 7965 phone to talk to our soon-to-be-replaced Asterisk system.
I got back from the James Taylor show to find MT.Net has been Slashdotted. Seems my Caller ID sleuthing in relation to Automotive Warranty Solutions caught someone’s attention.
I also see that I’m missing out on some big money. According to the NC Attorney General’s office, these warranty calls could be worth $500 to $5000 apiece! That’s some serious change in this down economy. Even better, I could invest that money in a lot more SIP phone numbers with which to snare even more fines. And I wouldn’t have to lift a finger to collect (well, I would have to show up for court, but I could earn potentially +$25k for each court case).
Hmm. Passive income paid by scammers … what am I waiting for?