About a year ago, I started receiving nuisance calls to my cell phone.  I couldn’t understand it because, unlike my home phone number (which has long since been retired alongside the likes of VHS tapes, VCR’s, and Freddie Prinze Jr.), it’s a number I never gave out.  Or so I assumed.  Back in the day, I wouldn’t think twice about giving up my home phone number because, the truth was, I never answered my home phone.  In the last few years of its life, it’s only practical function was to act as the high-tech equivalent of a bug-zapper or roach motel except, instead of annoying insects, it was attracting and neutralizing telemarketers.  And then, something changed.  I noticed it started to happen to me a couple of years ago after I signed up with Shaw as my home internet provider.  Suddenly, I started receiving calls out of the blue, not from friends or family, but from Shaw representatives with fantastic deals which would allow me to bundle my pre-existing internet services with their basic cable package.  It would undoubtedly have saved me a few bucks but I refused for two reasons: 1. A number of my fellow producers on Stargate had the Shaw cable package and they had nothing but bad things to say about the Shaw home service.  2.  I don’t contribute to charities that come to my house soliciting donations so, by extension, I don’t sign up for offers from companies that call me up on my private cell phone number.  Fed up, I in essence told Shaw to “knock it off”.  And they did.

Over the past year, however, I’ve started receiving calls from mysterious third parties offering everything from travel giveaways to insurance.  As a rule, I don’t answer unknown calls from any number who’s area code is more than a half hour drive from my place.  Sometimes, however, I answer on reflex and end up in an, albeit brief, conversation with these mysterious third party shillers.  One such call came the other day from a company offering me – ironically enough – password protection and piece of mind for my online banking.  I turned them down and though nothing of it – until this afternoon when I noticed a missed call from an unfamiliar number: (855) 465-4016.

A quick internet search of the number revealed several online discussions from individuals who felt harassed by theses nuisance calls that originated from a company called Zedd Solutions.  It is, apparently, a marketing agency that works for companies like Rogers Communications and, as it turns out, my bank.  When I phoned up my bank’s customer service center for some clarification of the issue – and, more importantly, an answer to the question: “Why did you give these people my number?” – the person I spoke to played dumb but said he’d received a similar complaint that morning and would be happy to put me in touch with Zedd Solutions to ensure my name was removed from their call list.  And so, I was put in touch with a rep from Zedd Solutions who told me he’d be happy to remove my number from their call list for the “password protection” offer they were currently calling about.  I told him I wanted to have my number removed from ALL future calls and he informed me that wasn’t possible.

Annoyed, I asked him how the hell he got my number.  He demurred, then claimed he wasn’t, technically, with the call center so he wasn’t privy to that sort of information.  I called bullshit on that answer and pressed him.  Finally, reluctantly, he confirmed that Zedd Solutions got my phone number from my bank.  “Should I go ahead and remove your list from that promotion?”he asked me.

“Don’t bother,”I told him because, really, removing my number from one promotion wouldn’t stop the cold calling.  No.  It became readily apparently to me that there was only one way to stop the cold calling.

Tomorrow, I’m going to my local bank branch and closing my existing accounts.

Presumably, they can’t offer me deals on a service I’m no longer using.

Can they?


34 thoughts on “October 11, 2013: How’d that telemarketer get your cell phone number? More than likely, from a company you do business with!

  1. We still have the home phone/bug zapper, but that’s all it’s used for. Problem is, will your new bank do the same thing? I put all our phones on the national “do not call” list and I still get calls on my cell, as well. I don’t answer them, but it sure is annoying. What’s even better? Getting texts from these asshats. Oy!

  2. I would bet money (a small amount, my betting money is all used up on the St. Louis Cardinals at the moment) that the bank will try to blame it on you for not filling out the appropriate opt-out form.

  3. My cellphone is also my work phone so I also get calls starting with “How would you like to save one your Telecommunication bill?” and “I’m calling to verify your new magazine subscription, if you’ll just verify some personal information…” (this from a magazine I had never subscribed to).

    Unfortunately, I usually have to answer the call because it could be a new customer calling.

    On other matters, how did your physical torture therapy go yesterday? On mine, they tried taping my kneecap sideways, which only made it hurt the rest of the day and into this morning. I hope your session went well and that your back is feeling better.

  4. After Rogers froze out all the cell service across Canada the other day, I decided to keep my land line for emergencies if, heaven forbid, I ever have an emergency and loss of cell service at the same time. I know, chances are slim, but, with my luck, it will happen to me.

    Joe, you do realize, I hope, that closing your bank account is going to be a useless endeavour. All the banks in Canada practice the same underhanded behaviour. Those Zedd people are also connected to Scotia Bank and CIBC. The only financial service provider I know of that is not, is my local Credit Union. But then, you can’t access Debit machines from them anywhere else but locally in my community. They are not national.

    At the moment, I have the mother of all ear infections. I have no idea how I got it. I have not had one since I was a kid, living at home in a smokers house. My mom used to use a cloth warmed on a light bulb then placed on my ear to help resolve the problem, so I have been using a hot water bottle. No luck. It just went from itchy to pain blasting in one ear. Off to Emergency for me, where I was the only patient in the place, so straight into doctors care. By the way, my doctor looked just like Peter Williams. I told him so, and he said, “who”? Ah well, looks like there are still parts of the earth unfamiliar with the Goa’uld.

    I never realized how painful ear probes were. When I regained consciousness, all the doc said was, “there is definitely something living in there”. No kidding. He gave me a “script”, for antibiotic ear drops. I was hoping for the StarGate Revolution script, but, hey, you can’t have everything…not even, apparently, Apophis.

  5. For phone calls. I really like:
    Hello, my name is…whatever…and I am calling about your credit card but there is NO problem with the card. If you want more info to reduce your interest rate dial xxx now.
    They never say which card, caller id shows a number. For grins I tried to dial a number to tell them to remove me. But it makes you wait forever, so I give up. and avoid the calls.

    Sure glad I don’t have JeffW situation to have to answer.

  6. Personally, I’m rather fond [not!] of those calls from BELL via Mumbai on staticy satellite/internet lines trying to sell me “high-speed” service… There’s a reason why I stay hooked up to my DIAL-UP service ALL day so these People can’t call in.
    BTW, I think my mother has put out a fatwa on “JOHN”-the-DAILY-calling-DUCT-CLEANING-GUY!!

  7. I am constantly being deluged by calls from charitable organizations wanting either a monetary donation, or they will have a truck on my street next week and want household items or clothes. How do you get rid of them without sounding mean? I give a lot to charity, but you can’t give to everyone. I don’t know what to say to them to make them stop calling me.

  8. I used to work in a call center, and since we were only after surveys instead of selling things, and we only called during certain hours of the day, the do not call list didn’t apply to us. But if you said the magic words, we had to take you off our list forever.

    Also I can confirm that yes, call centre people do enjoy hearing that they’ve interrupted something important, and yes they do deliberately lie to you about how long the survey’s going to take. We’d say “Depending on your answers,” though so we could say it was your own fault for being so interesting.

  9. @Ponytail…I tell charities, “Oh, I’m so glad you called. I’m at my wits end. I need your services because I’m totally broke. Where are you located so I can bunk with you?”

  10. @Ponytail I used to feel guilty about saying no to charities that phoned for donations…until I learned two things: 1) Many (most…) of the people phoning you have no personal connection to the charity…they work for organizations hired by the charity to do the fund-raising; and 2) The actual percentage of your donation (or purchase…if they’re trying to get you to buy something to support said charity) which the charity actually receives is often minimal…sometimes as low as 10-15%. So I have no problem now politely saying that we don’t respond to telephone solicitations for donations and then hanging up before they launch into the “in case they say ‘no'” segment of their spiel.

    Joe…for the very problem you’re having is why we’ve kept our landline. And caller ID. That’s the primary number we put down for all “phone number” information and then we sit back and let it ring. On a good day maybe one call in ten I will pick up and answer. During campaign season, maybe one in thirty. Actually…now that I think about it, the phone has been ringing a bit more lately. November must be just around the corner….

  11. I guess I’ve been lucky with the calls I get on my land line. Only calls I’ve gotten recently are a couple of election ones, and the Church of Scientology from California. And they don’t even leave a message! 🙂

    Now how the Church of Scientology got it…

  12. Sorry Joe… but once your on the list it is almost impossible to get off it. We use our home phone for the same purpose you did. But it’s the most basic service available simply for that reason..

    We still get calls on our cell phones…

  13. @pbugsmom — That was YOU DENI???? I had no idea.

    @Joe Thank you. The kids are going to love those stories (the hard copy of them so they can read at their leisure). And you’ve inspired me to do a search for more on your blog.

    As far as the do-not-call registry, if you signed your cell phones up (in the US) for them not to call, you can report them and they can be fined. The exemptions are political and charitable. You have to renew it I think every 2 years. Can you put a block for that number on your phone? Might solve some of the problem.

    Thank you all who made it into the chat for Cheryl. Hope it lifted you up and made you smile.

  14. I don’t know about how it works in Canada but I know here, even after you stop being a customer of a particular business, you still get calls from them it’s just from a different department. The calls go from, ‘hey how about bundling your services’ to ‘hey, how about being our customer again and we’ll give you a great deal for coming back to us.’ Businesses just never relinquish your number.
    As for me, I still have a home phone it seems out of a sentimental attachment to the number itself. I have no real reason to have a home phone as the only person who really uses it is my young daughter. We feel she is too young for a cell phone and definitely too young to be on Facebook or other social medias so her only option to talk with her friends when she is at home is to spend hours on the home phone. Which actually works out because at night she is always on the phone which means we don’t hear it ring when telemarketers do call and she never clicks over on the call waiting.

  15. These words “Please take me off your master list”, are like “I would like to have my lawyer present”, the both get people to stop bothering you. Due to laws & company policies you need the right terminology or they say “but they didn’t ask me ‘that’ question”. Companies make it policy that they can not offer to take you off.

    If it’s a computer, wait till the end & it should have a prompt to push a button to stop calls. If the same call comes, look up the number online, call the company & be rude. Technically you could sue, if you have the desired energy to do so.

    Prob similar in Canada

    I had a 4 day stint in an outgoing call center. Between each call I would imagine either running out screaming or just bashing the tiny cubiclette with my head.

  16. G’day

    Just catching up with all things.

    Just read about Cheryl’s passing. Deepest condolences to Cheryl’s family. May she rest in peace.


  17. We don’t get human telemarketer calls anymore, but instead recordings and now some sort of robotic call that almost sounds like you’re talking to a real person, but you’re not. I just hang up on them. I actually miss the real human callers because I would do wacky voices (“No, this is the HORNBLOWER residence, Captain HORNBLOWER is at sea right now”, said with very bad British accent), or I’d start whining about not having enough money to pay my bills let alone make a donation (with a full list of medical and car/home emergency repair bills I’m facing – none made-up – so I wasn’t lying, just dramatically over-reacting 😉 ), or worse (for them)…I’d start talking about the Bible. The last was my favorite. 😀

    And a bank selling your contact information? Yeah, if I discovered my bank doing that, I’d switch, too. Also, I’d tell them about the Bible. 🙂


  18. I’m having the similar experience of handing my land line over to the wolves, so to speak. I hardly EVER use it for calls anymore. It’s much like my Yahoo mail account, a number that I put down when I don’t want to give my cell number out. It’s not that cheap though, so I’ve been seriously considering just getting rid of it and using my cell only. Joe, did you have any issues with cutting your land line when you did that? I’m curious to know if there were any negative aspects.

    That’s not to say I haven’t gotten spam calls on my cell phone – if I had gone on every free cruise that’s been offered to me I wouldn’t have time for work! (“THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING!”) If I had the time/inclination I would string these people along and play like the stupidest customer they’d ever dealt with, just to waste their time. “Oh you want my credit card number? Just a second, I have to go find it” *wanders off and watches TV*

    Problem is, it would also waste my time.

  19. My neighbors have the bundle stuff, I chose not to,, their landline and cable have gone out,sometimes for a long time, and they only have their cell phone to rely on. Not something I want to do. We have BrightHouse(not so brighthouse) cable here in my part of fl, think it was timewarner years ago, and I see another part of the county has adelphia, they are all the same crap. I do not like to give out my cellphone to companies, if I can help it, what a pita.
    Usually my home phone rings so long b4 answering machine, most callers give up, I like that..
    ~I figure if its important they will leave a message, and don’t get started on election time when they come out of the woodwork. I love my caller id, and answering machine. But I am not looking for a job or running a business, so I am fortunate in that I can screen calls. I hope zedd never finds me,,ACk!!!
    😉 and my vcr of over 20yrs finally gave up the ghost,,yes I still use it,,hah,luckily i never throw anything away and found a spare one in the back of the closet,hmm,(do they still make them?) i think i need to clean out my closet.
    @articgoddess, hope you feel better soon, hate an earache or a toothache,,owie.
    ~Hope you have a better day!!

  20. @Ponytail – once you give to a charity, you get on the “list”. I gently told the caller last night (who was collecting for Children’s Cancer Charity) that I have a couple of charities which I support and I’m not spreading it out any further. I do payroll deductions every year.

  21. I have a landline, but it is digital, so it craps out when the power does.

    I ignore a lot of calls. I mistakenly answered one, and it was for a magazine renewal. I do get Smithsonian, but dorectly from my museum membership (which I never use because I never go to DC, but oh well). I told them no, take me off the list. Get another call the next day. Same thing. Another call, the next day. “WHAT?! What do you WANT?!” She told me I shouldn’t be so mean when I answered the phone. I. Went. Off. She said she’d call back when I was in a better mood. Seriously? I went off even deeper into the deep end. She hung up. Her “supervisor” called back shortly after, said I was off the list, thank you, and hung up before I had a chance to get rolling again.

    Some days I wonder about my Viking bezerker heritage.

    Googling the number taught me about spoofing, where overseas call centers appear to use a US number.

    I have asked telemarketers what they are wearing. Or played muzak for them. And since I’m a disabled vet, I can make the volunteers just about cry when I tell them I can’t contribute to the DVA, as I need every penny myself, and launch into the “organ recital” about my surgeries. Ha.

  22. My pet peeve of the moment is my Samsung phone from T-Mobile came with an apparently pre-owned phone number. Someone named “Tom”. I get calls for him from friends, relatives and the most annoying, some product testing panel he was a member of. I get endless repeat calls for “Panelist number XX00XX, please enter your code for responses”. Was this guy “Tom” a tester for some product and forgot to tell them he moved his number? I can tell “people” not to call me any more, but how do you stop a robot call that doesn’t leave a return phone number or identify the company? I have the 3 different numbers these calls originate from on Blocked list, but when I don’t answer, it goes to voice mail! This occurs every few days.

    Any suggestions?

    As to the bank selling your private cell number, don’t you have privacy statements to agree to, or opt out of? Check to see how you have that set up. I doubt closing accounts and moving to another bank will change things unless you do not give them your cell number.


  23. @ Joey – My mom laughed so hard at your ‘milkshake’ video! She nearly busted a gut when you said, ‘mmm…lumpy’… 😆

    @ Akemi – Mom is going to make your rice omelette today! She has everything, even the chorizo. Mom also thinks you’re adorable. 🙂


  24. Whatever you do, don’t put your cell #(or any other #) on the do not call list. People who do get more calls as many spam call places outside of Canada use that as a DO CALL list…

    I’m the same with you, don’t usually answer unknown #’s unless I’ve called someone and i’m expecting a call back. As for the ones calling you about your bank, etc, I just put them on the block list built into Android, so it no longer rings(it still shows in my call history) and as they are automated dialers, they give up when voicemail starts up.

    But there are also a number of scams out there that seem to use incrementing auto-dialers, so they dial xxx-1230, then xxx-1231, and so forth. The ones that are like press 1 to accept your prize, etc.

  25. I had one person call and ask for a donation to the diabetes society. My MIL was gathering donations for the same cause. The caller actually argued with me over which organization was the best to donate to. “They are the same cause! I asked the caller if she was actually arguing over which was the best organization, laughed and hung up.

    We are having a blast in Pensacola, FL.! It’s a nice hotel but they charge ten dollars a day for wifi per device. Needless to say that our internet activity has been decreased.

    Thanks for the link @PBmom! I’ve been thinking of Cheryl and Kelly a lot over the last few days. Really, all the people that I’ve known who has passed.

    I hope all are well out there. We are heading home tomorrow. I’ve been enjoying breathing clearly for the first time in a long time. Back to allergy land tomorrow….

    1. @Pbugsmom Reason I said that is because when I was blogging on Fox 26 Houston I did a lot of political blogs–a lot of controversial topics. There were trolls on there (which is why they eventually shut it down). Someone decided to create a blogger profile PMSMom with an avatar of a woman screaming with her hands on her head. He or she would make comments on my blog and usually an argument between us would ensue in the comments. So when I saw that, I was thinking, hey….is this some troll in here? You are definitely not a troll.

  26. Lots of good ideas here on how to get rid of a charitable organization constantly calling me on the phone. I will politely tell them to go away, because I have a set group I give to and a certain amount of funds designated for charity. And if they give me a hard time, like the charity group collecting money to help women get mamograms who cannot afford them…”Don’t you care about women who cannot afford a mamogram? Don’t you want to help?”… I will ask them who they work for then call the organization they are collecting for and complain. Loudly. Either that or forward my calls to maggiemayday for proper disposal. Sometimes her style is all they understand. 😉

    Thanks PBMom for all your efforts and information regarding Cheryl’s passing.

  27. Tomorrow is Cheryl’s service, and I want the kids to be able to go on Twitter when they are feeling overwhelmed or emotions get very heavy for them to look on it for a hashtag as a sign of solidarity that we are with them in spirit as much as we would like to be physically. This is what Patrick Gilmore sent me to post on the chat (he wanted to come, but had family commitments). He used the term #Cherylness and we would like to do that.

    “Thank you all for taking the time to pay tribute to Cheryl. I wish I could have joined you but I am currently away for Canadian Thanksgiving visiting my parents.

    Cheryl was such a big part of our community and already I’ve noticed her absence. She was there in 2009 when I first joined twitter and she was there last week sending me emails decorated with smiles and laughs and inspirational sayings.

    I knew of Cheryl’s history with Cancer but in the last few weeks, as Cheryl & I exchanged random emails, she made no mention of her health. One day the emails just stopped. I spoke with one of her daughters the moment I found out. If you knew Cheryl you knew her kids were her biggest source of pride. I asked her daughter if there was anything I could do. She said “Just remember her. Don’t forget her.”

    I don’t think it’ll be hard to keep Cheryl in our thoughts. But here’s a way we can be inspired by her everyday. Cheryl’s online persona was one of positivity and encouragement. Unfaltering. Let’s try to infuse a sense of that in our online personalities. The Internet so easily becomes a cynical place. How say we make an effort to spice up our views and our conversations with a dash of “Cherylness”. It’s funny how an encouraging emoticon or tweet to someone can change their day. The world needs more Cheryls.”

    When you are on Twitter tomorrow, go copy some of Cheryl’s posts, or say anything that has meaning to you. Or a short sentence about Cheryl. But use the hashtag #Cherylness Don’t use @Cherylness because that actually belongs to someone. So put what you want to say, then do @cherluvya #Cherylness

    Example: I will miss all the quotes that @cherluvya posted that seemed to speak to me every day. #Cherylness

    I was going to try to make it trend, but there are just too many of us across too many time zones and to make something trend, you really have to pick 2-3 hours and just be as intense as possible. Can’t manage to find a good time from those I’ve asked. So let’s just do it throughout the day when it crosses our mind. By using @cherluvya, the kids will see it. I also told them to search for the hashtag #Cherylness That is the most important part. What Patrick said was awesome.

  28. Very disappointing. When I’d get “opt out” slips I used to call each company and opt out of them sharing my personal info, but lately I haven’t been consistent about it. But I wouldn’t expect my bank to give out my info, ever. Sounds like a ridiculously easy way for scammer to get info for identity theft. I’ve been using my landline for everything, and that seems to have helped to keep my cell telemarketer free; but when I’m home the landline rings all day, which I tend to ignore or hang up on because it’s always telemarketers. Continuum is right; corporations are evil!

  29. Joe, another problem is that your cell phone provider will sell your number to the internet listings ‘white pages’ even if you pay the extra fee for a private number. I hate when people tell you something so bogus when they send you an email about something.

    Them: “we need to contact your father about his new phone service”
    Me emailing back: “how did you connect my email address to my father? (nothing about my email address even indicates we are related)
    Them: (innocently) your father gave it two us.
    Me: (rolling my eyes at this lie) My father is(was) an eighty year old man who has trouble remembering my name let alone be capable of giving out an email address.
    Them: oh right, it was your mother.
    Me: (coldly) Are you using seances? Because my mother has been dead for the past (at the time) 15 years.

    Funny how they just stopped emailing me after that.

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