Sam Jojola

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“On January 31, 2018, at 12:09 P.M. (PST), I received a 47 second message on my land line from a private number advising that a close family member they named was referred to their office for “legal action” including the “filing of a lawsuit or a “complaint” with “the court”. The articulate male caller said that “you” need to “immediately contact the legal department at (844) 744-7375 and reference file number 00-268”xxx. The caller concluded “this is a time sensitive matter” and “my calls are logged in, submitted as proof”.

“The court.” “The legal department.”… How stupid could they possible be?”

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Summary

Phone scams are getting more sophisticated with bogus debt collectors, fraudulent IRS calls, charity fraudsters, and bogus computer technicians claiming “your Windows program is infected”. Having experienced these calls prompted me to share my thoughts on what I learned from them, my response and how I will contact both the FTC and the California Attorney General’s Office with the most recent event.

I am also contacting Congressman Ted Lieu, along with Senators Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris and see if I get a response with any action they plan to take.

Cancer Charity Fraud

Google “cancer fraud telemarketers” and a disturbing series of pages appear that chronicle untold millions of dollars scammed from innocent victims:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/05/20/187-million-cancer-charities-scam-5-reasons-why-it-took-the-feds-so-long-to-catch-on/?utm_term=.dca79f762c55

My experience with a telemarketer claiming to raise money for cancer several years ago led me to contact the California Attorney General’s office with a detailed complaint after I obtained very specific information from the low level fraudster who told me too much about who was behind the fund he was working for, including who was running the scam and the address where they really lived and where they were calling from. I Googled the name of the cancer fund they represented and a host of fraud reports appeared that prompted me to follow through with my complaint.

Many weeks later, I did receive correspondence from the California Attorney General’s Office regarding this fraudulent organization and what action was taken.

Bogus IRS Treasury Tax Scam and a link to report IRS scam calls

Tax time reveals numerous articles on the latest tax scams that have morphed into more sophisticated schemes to defraud unsuspecting and often elderly taxpayers.

On July 26, 2016, at 1:22 p.m. (PDT), my cell received a message from a male voice with a heavy foreign accent using the name of a famous comedian claiming to be with the “Treasury Department”. The caller advised me to call a 213 area number to discuss “enforcement action” against me and that I will be turned over to a “Magistrate” for further action. This 2015 link details the scam and how it worked then and may still be working now:

http://time.com/money/3475478/irs-phone-call-scam-steve-martin/

Over a decade ago, I worked closely with the IRS Criminal Division in a large metro area. A colleague still working there advised me to file a formal complaint through the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA):

https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

If you or someone you know suspect an IRS scam, you can submit a formal complaint using this form to document the fraud. Taxpayers beware as the IRS tax fraud scheme has advanced to a series of more deceptively devious and evil conspiracies in 2018.

Strong Arm Debt Collection Scheme harassing innocent families

On January 31, 2018, at 12:09 P.M. (PST), I received a 47 second message on my land line from a private number advising that a close family member they named was referred to their office for “legal action” including the “filing of a lawsuit or a “complaint” with “the court”. The articulate male caller said that “you” need to “immediately contact the legal department at (844) 744-7375 and reference file number 00-268”xxx. The caller concluded “this is a time sensitive matter” and “my calls are logged in, submitted as proof”.

The court.” “The legal department.”… How stupid could they possible be?

If this was legitimate, why call from a private number? Immediately, I suspected a scam and a possible monetary shakedown scheme for someone using my relative’s name. This scripted caller made me believe it could lead to identity theft of my relative who lived in another state.

I Googled “complaints on 844 744-7375” and the following links appeared:

https://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-844-744-7375

https://findwhocallsyou.com/8447447375?CallerInfo

Numerous complaints about innocent victims harassed by callers from the above number using various names with the same modus operandi (MO), threatening legal action and harassing innocent relatives of these victims.

I called my family member referenced in this call who then called (844) 744-7375 and the 00-268xxx reference number. A representative provided my relative’s name and the last 4 digits of a social security number belonging to someone else with the same name. When this family member told the representative of potential Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations, they became nervous and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Really?

How would these callers behave if my relative was intimidated enough and compelled to send in a payment to them for someone else’s misdeeds who had the same name?

Totally unprofessional and idiotic beyond belief with these types of intimidating and moronic tactics suggested they were not a legit collection agency.

Furthermore, on January 31, 2018 at 1:12 p.m., (MDT), a second family member in another state received a call from (951) 299-0143 who left a voicemail looking for the first family member in the initial call to me.

I Googled (951) 299-0143 and lo and behold, complaints of a legal action shakedown:

http://www.calldetective.net/numbers/951-299-0143/

The caller from (951) 299-0143 (California) was the very same caller who called my landline with the first harassing message to me from a private number.

Something is really wrong. Private call to my landline, but the same caller revealing the (951) 299-0143 number to a second relative in another state

Fixing the Problem

All these harassing contacts are recorded and well documented.

I want to see how and if the FTC, the California Attorney General and our Congressman and Senators respond to my complaint when I reference this article. I will publish their response or any lack of response to my complaint on behalf of all those who have been wrongly harassed by these shakedowns.

Congress can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem

Dear Congress: No more bickering and finger pointing! It’s mind pollution!

I will let readers of the PPJ Gazette know what our political leaders say they will do about these bogus shakedown schemes including robo calls that have expanded with cell phone technology.

We all want our political leaders to set aside their differences and work together to create much stronger legislation to protect all consumers.

Should be a no brainer. We’ll see…

The Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General links

Federal Trade Commission link:

https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc

California Attorney General with a host of specific links to email, text, junk fax and mail, telemarketing and filing complaints with other details:

https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/facts/other-privacy/leave-me-alone

Maryland legislators proactive in considering a bill to ban “spoofing”

Kathy Afzali, a Frederick County Maryland Delegate introduced legislation to ban “spoofing” by telemarketers and scammers and others who use technology to place a local number on one’s caller ID screen when the call is not the location where it was made from: http://www.wfmd.com/2018/02/07/legislators-to-consider-bill-to-ban-spoofing-in-md/

Why can’t legislators in California be proactive and make spoofing illegal here? Again, why can’t our Congressional leaders do likewise on a national level?

Maybe they are all too busy griping about their political adversaries instead of enacting legislation like Maryland is doing to protect consumers in that state.

Sam Jojola

Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work”-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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