Monday, December 10, 2007

Scam Alert! Do not call 101515800

Occasionally I know stuff because I paid attention when the information came my way. More often than than that my wisdom is the result of mistakes. This is some of both.

In an attempt to contact a creditor today, I called the 800 number as listed in a letter sent to me.

I received a message stating the the number had been changed and that I needed to call 101515800 to retrieve the correct one. I was suspicious and irritated, but more the latter than the former and dialed the number. After jumping through hoops and sitting on hold for a couple of minutes I was given a number that I knew couldn't be accurate. A quick google showed me that the number I'd attempted had been intercepted by a scam company who charges those hapless enough to wade through all the prompts a fee ranging between 4.95 to 5.95 a minute to get the correct number. By the time t he individual gets their phone bill, the company has moved on to someone else. Some people who mentioned this number stated they tried their intended number a few hours later and it was valid again.

A little more research showed that this has been going on for a couple of years and the 800 numbers intercepted span a long list--Sprint, Sears, various long distance companies, mail/phone order businesses and collections agencies. Chances are, the companies who own the 800 numbers targeted by this scam have no idea this is happening. I called a different number to speak with my creditor and the representative on the other end was curious enough to collect my report to pass on to his supervisors.

I spoke with my phone company who told me that they could do nothing until my phone bill comes out. You can bet I'll be watching for the charge.

What I want to know is how whoever this is has gotten away with this for so long.


800marketer said...

This is a practice that I call "Mass Misdial Marketing." There are two major companies that do it, one with phone sex or talk lines, and the other with a directory assistance scam, telling you that this number has a new directory assistance number.

The company behind it is Signal One. I don't know how much it will really help you but their trouble referral number is 904-280-5353.

Bill Quimby, President of Toll Free

800marketer said...

That is a business practice I call "Mass Misdial Marketing". If 1 out of evey 25 callers winds up spending $10 for 40 cents worth of directory assistance, they make almost 38 cents per wrong number.

There are two big companies that have literally millions of toll free numbers just for the purposes of getting wrong numbers. One is a phone sex or talk line business and the other slightly smaller one which you ran into uses a 1010 directory assistance scam.

I don't know how much good it will ultimately do you, but the company behind that directory assistance scam is Signal One. Their trouble referral number is 904-280-5353.

I've been in the toll free business for over 12 years helping companies find vanity 800 numbers and I hope that helps to at least know a little more of the story.

Bill Quimby
President of Toll Free

Mary O. Paddock said...

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the information. I'll keep it on file.

Anonymous said...


I work for a telephone company and one of my customers called in about this very thing. When I googled 101515800, I found your blog. I was just curious as to whether or not you had any charges on your phone bill that resulted from the scam?

Mary O. Paddock said...

Hi mandi,

Yes I did--about $10.00 worth! But the phone company reversed them and they also put a block on my bill to keep third party companies from charging me by way of my bill.