Update: Oh damn! The video's not working. It's a compilation of all the various calls we've gotten. We'll try re-uploading it when we get home from work.
If you're like everyone else on the planet, you've been getting endless recorded calls about carpet cleaning. "Hi, this is Allison, blah blah blah, press 8 to schedule a carpet cleaning," the recording goes, or it's "Dave" with the same spiel. Sometimes it's "account services" calling about credit cards, occasionally they claim to be Earthlink or Comcast. We get them about once a week, always on our Do-Not-Call-Listed cellphone, or on our answering machine at home.
So, who's really calling? It's unclear. Weeks ago, the messages would have a callback number, but no longer. (The callback number was 800-376-1983 which now redirects to a $5/minute pay line at 10-15-15-800, run by a phone-scam company called TelSeven). Our best guess is that they're trying to steal credit card info.
Twice, we've tried pressing 8, and both times got an operator. "I'd love to make an appointment," we said, "what did you say the name of your company was?" The first time it was "Dave's Carpet Cleaning" in South San Francisco; the second it was "Beth's Carpet Cleaning." They may also by "Best Carpet Cleaning,", or "Allison's Carpet" in Palo Alto, or "24/7 Carpet Cleaning" in Suprise, Arizona, or "Fast Carpets" or "Stripe Carpet Cleaning." Obviously, the whole operation is fake.
The first time, we asked "how did you get my number?" And they hung up. The second time, we asked, "is there a number where I can call you back?" (Caller ID says 000-000-0000.) The operator started, "888-229-97" -- and then someone in the background yelled "don't!" and they hung up.
A little Googling turns up this litany of complaints. Like all scammers, they have lots of names and phone numbers, but their main number seems to be 888-229-9795. Calling that got us a surly operator who answered simply "hello?" He tried to get us to make an appointment, but he wouldn't reveal the company's actual location.
What does this add up to? Ugh, who knows. What they're doing is against the law, but it's been going on for so many months that they're obviously not getting into any trouble. Are they identity thieves? Or just jerks? Will reporting them on the FTC's website -- which itself looks like an amateurish fake -- do any good? We'll give the FTC a shot and let you know what happens; and we encourage you to send us your experiences, too.
After the jump: transcripts of the calls, in case you care.