For the past two months, our toll-free line has received numerous calls from individuals who received a phone message to call a toll-free number for a "very important message." Unfortunately, the toll-free number is ours. We have received what seems like hundreds of these calls to our toll-free number, costing us money, and more significantly, a great deal of time.
Some callers have been able to give us the phone number that showed up on their caller id box. There were two numbers coming out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One has been disconnected, and the second has been busy every time I've dialed it for the past month.
After spending several hours and many phone calls researching the phone numbers, I spoke with the Oklahoma Corporations Commission, and they recommended I call the phone co. that owns the number, which they told me was WorldCom. Upon contacting Worldcom, they informed us the phone number is active on an account of AT&T WorldNet Oklahoma, but that AT&T has been "unable to locate the number in question and has no knowledge of any auto dialing device coming from their office," but AT&T does acknowledge this line needs to be cancelled. WorldCom indicates they placed an order to cancel the line on October 21, 2002, and it should be completely "deactivated" within 30-45 days. As of November 27, 2002, the number is still busy when dialed, and we continue to get the phone calls to our toll-free number.
We have contacted Talk.com, and they deny any knowledge of this type of scam, and claim there is nothing they can do about it. It is our belief that the scam must be originating with Talk.com, as they are the only ones that would benefit from the influx of calls to our toll-free number. Granted, the cost of the calls is fairly minimal, but the time our staff has spent answering the phone calls, explaining that we have no "very important message" for them, in addition to the time we have spent researching and trying to stop the phone calls, is very significant.
I would be very interested in knowing if there are any other similar incidences involving Talk.com, WorldCom or AT&T. If we can trace this problem back to the source, it is our plan to seek compensation for our time and costs in dealing with this issue.
Black Hawk, South Dakota