We've been suffering nuisance and harassing calls from one (or more) unknown companies going back to about 2008 or 2010 or so. Online searches does not reveal the owners of the number, and Verizon will not provide the information to us.

We would like to begin legal actions against the company or companies. We would like to (1) ask a judge for an order to stop calling, and (2) begin civil matters for violating our Terms of Service, Telephone Consumer Protection Act violations and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations.

At this point in time we only have the fake Caller ID information in a database we created that also includes the time of the call and some other miscellaneous metadata. This company uses various different numbers when calling.

The company's message is something like "This call is for JOHN DOE. If you are JOHN DOE then press 1". They don't offer other choices, and they call several times a day. Answering and waiting for someone to pickup eventually results in a fast-busy signal (dropped call).

We also called the company back several times. We asked the unidentified company to stop calling us. We also state the person they are hunting is not at our residence. We believe it is the same company because they use the same harassing message and answer the same way. The company fails to identify itself and only states it operates a "call center".

We are in Baltimore, MD, US.

How do we list the defendant(s) when we only have false information? And how do we handle the "serve on" address with the clerk's office?

  • I know we are not the only people being harassed. If anyone would like to run the software I wrote in preparation for an action, then ping me at noloader, gmail address. You need a desktop computer and a modem. I provide the server, and maintain the blacklist files. I think the software is better than others like Nomorobo because it is specifically designed for copper in the house, does not require a change of service to VoIP, performs call traces, reports to unlawful call centers, and files FCC and FTC complaints.
    – jww
    May 7 '19 at 20:11
  • You would have to find a way to identify the company to file anything.
    – Putvi
    May 7 '19 at 20:18
  • Thanks @Putvi. The state files charges against unnamed defendants. As I understand it, they use it when they only have a DNA profile. They will use the name "John Doe". I'd like to do the same. So the question is, how do I craft the defendant's name in the complaint? Is it something like, "Company using name 'DUNDALK MD' and number '4106508110'"? Then, for the "serve on", use Verizon legal mailing address since Verizon is acting as their advocate and agent. Verizon can contact the company or provide their contact info since they are acting as their advocate and agent.
    – jww
    May 7 '19 at 21:28
  • No, you can't make Verizon do anything, in that way. In criminal law they know someone committed a crime, but just don't know the name. The callers could be 10 different companies. The rules of a criminal trial would let you subpoena Verizon records, but that is not always the case outside of a criminal trial.
    – Putvi
    May 7 '19 at 21:33
  • 1
    The problem you are going to run into is that CNAM and ANI are chains - the receiving telco often does not receive the entire chain, and only receives enough to bill the telco handing the call off to them. So a call trace has to go through several telcos to the final destination - and once that call bounces to India or elsewhere in the chain, forget it, you won't get the information required to finalise the trace.
    – user4210
    May 7 '19 at 22:07

So first, is the number on the National Do Not Call Registry? This is the first step as the legitimate calls will not call your number if you your numbers on this. They can face some serious legal trouble (You'll still will get bot calls from Politicians, but as a fellow MD citizen and one that used to live in an actual swing state prior to being in MD (FL), no one is going to do that to you... but stay tuned for how to get around those).

Suffice to say, this is a very big problem right now as the spoofers are very good, and even if you can trace them to the actual source, there's no way to actually garetee they are under U.S. Jurisdiction. Remember all those Nigerian Princes? Same kinda deal.

That said, there are apps you can search for that, when it sees a suspect number, will handle it for you... and by handle it, I mean act like a real person that is indecisive about the product and will tie up the caller's time on the phone as they try to sell their scam... and most of these places will stay on the phone for a while until your bot fails the Turing Test.

As for dealing with the politician calling, well, the best way to handle that is to wait for the caller to be an actual human being from the annoying party's campaign office. State that your most important issue at the moment is the National Do Not Call Registry and heavily imply your vote will go to the candidate that shares your sentiments about not being spammed called at dinner or whenever is inconvenient for you, and you're going to vote for for more years of that. This works because the when you're in a swing state (especially in Florida as it also has issues with ballot counting and crazy people who make people threatening voting against you for spam calling look normal.).

  • 1
    That doesn't answer how he finds the company name.
    – Putvi
    May 7 '19 at 20:36
  • Which you cannot do, and there is no guarantee they are under U.S. jurisdiction.
    – hszmv
    May 7 '19 at 20:41
  • 1
    I agree with you that you can't do it and that they may not even be from the U.S., but that's not what he asked is what I meant.
    – Putvi
    May 7 '19 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Putvi: Then the answer "Can't be done your way, have you tried these other options" is a valid answer.
    – hszmv
    May 7 '19 at 20:46
  • Yes, we are in the Do Not Call registry. The software I wrote now re-joins the list every three months to ensure their are no lapses in membership.
    – jww
    May 7 '19 at 21:30

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