Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Con Man's Legal Phone Scam: 900 Phone Line Offer

--How to Become your Community's Lonely Hearts Matchmaker, Resident Psychic, or Neighborhood Horn Dog.

Several of the 900-phone line operators are now offering to share the wealth: give you a chance to be just like them.

And, they don't care how old, or young, you are. To them age is important only if you are wine or cheese.

They will set you up in a con man-style business for yourself, the easy way: they will do all the work, and you will only sit back and enjoy the profits.

Being very successful at seeking out people who have delusions of adequacy, they know that acceptable thinking is: If you eat a live toad at breakfast, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day and that enormous profits will follow such a swallowing of pride.

They already have the con man facilities, and the phone operators / answerers / counselors--or whatever you would call these people--and are now extending the hand of friendship toward your wallet. "Sharemanship" you might otherwise call it. (If at first you don't succeed, try management.)

For a little under $500 you can offer all the same "services" they do. They will set you up with your very own con man 900-phone number turnkey-package business.

The 3 best model packages from which you can choose, as the offering of your very own 900 service, are: 1. Matchmaker. Access their excellent staff of Dear Abby-type advisors to find kindred spirits of all kinds--from lovelorn to lovesick to love makers. 2. Psychic. Tap their mystic stable of Twilight Zone gurus--their version of Rod Serling in their vending of astrophysical counsel. 3. Adult. (Read, porno.) Self-explanatory. Or you can choose to manage a multiple of these offerings (Remember what Confucius say: Man with one chopstick go hungry.)

You will be pleased to know that these lines will work for you 24 / 7. And, that their con man counselors are very skilled in piling up chargeable minutes for you-- that;s the primary goal, the average now being 10 minutes per call, on which they collect $2.99-$5.99 per minute, of which they will dispense $1.00 per minute to you for the use of your lines. You will have no worries to concern yourself with over maintenance, operations, management, of any kind. Your only function will be to--out of your own pocket--advertise. This is their idea of serving up a 7-course meal consisting of something like a hot dog and 6-pack.

Why such generosity?

Simply because this sponge is nearly squeezed dry. These people have already tapped out their primary advertising media--underground newspapers, Howard Stern-type radio shows, and whacko internet sites--and are now beating the bushes for every last scrap of business to be had.

Hence, they would now like to invite you aboard their profit train, if you will bring with you, please, whatever new business you can drum up from your local newspaper classified ads, Kiwanis Club and high school year book associations, and shopping mall billboard postings.

Conversely, if you don't, so what. At this point they've already got your up-front money. These con men can now merely ignore you and solicit the next candidate from their sucker list for this glorious no work / all play turnkey package business setup.

Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Would you have anything at all to gain from such a business association? If you don't mind becoming known as a weirdo, con man, or pornographer, maybe. Though doubtful. If you feel such a new identity added to your name in your community might be offensive to you, no. Remember a fundamental Law of Bureaucracy, which applies closely in this case: The solution to a problem creates a new problem.

Even singularly, based on its earnings potential alone, such "opportunity" just seems to not be there. A clear look proves that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

You'd probably go about as far in life, with the same social acceptance, if you took a hit of acid, smoked a joint, and bummed some money from your mother.



I am so glad that I never fell for any of these although they can be pretty convincing. You always keep us informed with your charming style of writing.

Jack Payne said...

I keep trying, Heidi.

You are the only one who has gotten trough to post a comment yet, on this piece. I've had several complaints from some of my "Regulars" who have tried--and failed.

For some unknown reason technical problems with Blogger is keeping others from getting through to post a comment. Don' know how you did it. Don't know what's going on, but am trying to get it straightened out.

Swubird said...


Very interesting.

About ten years ago I fell for a phone scam. I think the company was called NTS. It was all part of the deregulation frenzy.

Basically, you paid a certain sum of money to the company and they in turn granted you the right to beg customers to switch over to their phone service. For every customer that switched over you would get a small sum of money. Additionally your upline would also get paid. So the way to make the big bucks was to build a deep downline.

Building a fertile downline was easier said than done. The guy who recruited me claimed he was making $28,000 a month for doing nothing. A twenty-one year old kid in the company was supposedly making $50,000 a month. The company liked to show him off at their pep rallies.

That was a long time ago. It was a mistake and I learned my lesson. But I suspect that now with our economic problems a lot of get rich schemes will pop up. Thankfully, you are here with your blog to keep us all educated.

Happy trails

Warmer said...

How low can they go?

Terry said...

What's your problem, Jack? I got through right away. This post is some of the best creative writing you've done, from a big bunch of the best. In fact this one is nearly as good as your book.

Bern said...

I suppose now that our economy is crumbling and people are losing their jobs and getting laid off everywhere, more and more of these pond scum will come crawling out from under their rocks and be after our money with more vigor than usual.

Something to look forward to? We had all better be on our guard...more than ever before.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack

The overall consensus with all the comments here ...is that with the economic downturn and with many individuals losing their jobs...these get rich quick schemes will suddenly look very appealing. Like the others I would like to extend a thank you for extending a hand of guidance through these troubling times.

Also, in regards to your last comment on my site...thank you... infinitely. I needed the kick in the pants, and as always, you are right. Take care my friend.


Warren M said...

As bad as those 900 numbers are, I hear that you can lose your rear end by calling those 866 numbers which are stationed in the Caribbean, I believe. Some say you can quickly run up a phone call costing $10,000 and up.
They are unreglated by the FCC and can run up a storm in excessive charges.

Allen Hensee said...

I have a neighbor who is a horn dog. He's always after my wife, and everybody else's wife. Maybe I should encourge him to look into such offers.

Robin Easton said...

Oh so I wasn't the only one having trouble getting through. I thought it was just me!! :)

About 12 years ago I ALMOST fell for a phone scam. Still green from the wild I was an innocent as they come. Thank heavens I had to move and never had time to follow up with the dang thing. I can't even believe it now. Fortunately I have become wiser, mostly through these posts of your Jack.

You writing is just SO juicy. I cracked up over:

"A clear look proves that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth."


"You'd probably go about as far in life, with the same social acceptance, if you took a hit of acid, smoked a joint, and bummed some money from your mother."

LMAO over that last paragraph! Oh dear, you are so funny. I would love to sometime hear you speak, or hear you reading these stories onto CD. You must be a phenomenal speaker.

McAlee said...

Up-front money seems to be the key to all these scams, doesn't it? This way when the sucker wises up it's too late. Just aother lesson learned.

Terry said...

It's been a long time since I ate a live toad for breakfast, Jack. Thanks for the reminder...I'll have to resume this lifestyle if it will protect me from falling prey to con men.

Jack Payne said...

I've got to agree with you, Swu. A 21-year old making $50,000 a month is a bit of a stretch.

Things seem to have settled down, Terry and Robin. No more complaints about people getting through. And, Robin, come on now. You didn't really nearly fall for one of these phone scams, did you? Somehow I had the idea that you are just too plain, common sense smart for that.

Yes, Bern, I expect a big uptick in scams of every sort. Desperate times, desperate people. The 2 go together, and make for an irresitable enticement for con men. JD, your "read" on this is also right on.

I've got an article coming up soon on those Caribbean phone numbers, Warren. You're right. You can lose your shirt on a single phone call.

Gene Kranik said...

By the $5.99 per minute tops I take it this is set by the FCC. It will be most interesting to see your post on the Caribbean scam artists. I hear they charge up to $1,000 a minute.

lisleman said...

have you checked out any work at home internet scams?

thanks for this info

Earl T. Clydson said...

There is something fundamentally rotten about government regulations that even permit this sort of con game to exist. Is this all bured in FCC rule making authority, or is there any chance Congress could change this?

Elaine F. said...

My son has been stung by this 900 phone number habit several times. It took me some time to break him of the habit, but I finally did. It was costly.

Stan Wisnet said...

I think I would go for Option number two. I always wanted to be a psychic, rather than a psycho.

Dolcett said...

I bit on a 900 scam once. You are right, all they want to do is string out the call. They strung me out for about six minutes and I got a $28 charge for some kind of nonsense I could never figure out.

Jack Payne said...

That's it, Gene. The FCC has a collar around the 900 boys, stationed in the U.S. But, the Caribbean con men, with no such restrictions, go berserk in the same kind of business. Have got an article on this coming up.

My Archives are loaded with info on home internet scams, lilseman. Check it out.

Yes, Earl, the whole thing is buried in FCC regulations. Congress could, theoretically, change everything around, but don't hold your breath.

Kathleen said...

Aw shucks, and I wanted to get in on some of that "phone actress' money.

Jane Turley said...


Blimey, you are so on the ball and your writing is unbelievably sharp.

Fortunately, I've never fallen for any of these scams; I guess it's my sceptical nature! I'm sure there's one out there waiting for me though:)

Jeunelle Foster said...

What's amazing is how many people still fall prey to these con artist scams or even the African bank transfer fraud scams.
Jack thank God you're around to expose these rip off artist.

Anonymous said...

As bad as those 900 numbers are, "I hear that you can lose your rear end by calling those 866 numbers which are stationed in the Caribbean, I believe. Some say you can quickly run up a phone call costing $10,000 and up.
They are unregulated by the FCC and can run up a storm in excessive charges."

Sir 866 numbers are toll free.
Phone call to any of the Caribbean islands costing 10k well that’s just silly. The US carriers set the rate for any international calls including chat-lines or any other service.
In fact it doesn't cost any more to call a premium content number then it does to call a residential number. The only thing that would be misleading is if the advertiser used the word "free".

Please be sure when writing about per-per call services your research is current and not based on a miss-leading article from scam busters from the 90’s since then the industry has regulated itself to insure the consumer is not being abused.

Here is the retraction on the 10,000.00 dollars a call.

Mistake: The 809 area code is new.

Comment: The 809 area code is not new, and we never stated it was. It has been around for many years.

Mistake: Some spam versions of this email say that charges can be as high as $10,000.

Comment: This, of course, is very unlikely. We suggest charges might be as high as $100. $10,000 would mean the scamsters succeeded in keeping people on the phone for many, many hours.


The most it would cost you to DD the Caribbean with an ILD plan would be about 00.75. On Skype it costs between 16 to 24 cents a minute.

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