Phone scammer said to be JP-based

June 22, 2012
By

An alleged telemarketing scam artist who has angered thousands of people around the country is said to be using a Jamaica Plain-based phone number, leading a Minnesota man to call the Gazette for help.

“I wondered if you would go over there and ask them if they would please stop calling me. Just tell them to cut it out!” said the man, whose identity the Gazette is withholding for his privacy.

But it is unclear whether the number used by the caller, 617-390-4562, is actually based in JP. The Gazette was unable to locate any specific address or other personal information attached to it.

When the Gazette called the number twice in recent weeks, no one answered and the voicemail was full. The user’s self-recorded identification for the voicemail consisted of a male voice loudly saying an unintelligible word something like “manchung.”

The number is linked to an infamous alleged scam where a caller claims to be “Rachel from Card Member Services” and offers to lower the interest rates on the recipient’s credit card balances. The caller then requests personal financial information.

There are thousands of complaints about the alleged scam and the phone number on various anti-scam websites. There are even YouTube videos of the calls.

The Minnesota man said he has received repeated calls from the number, despite being on the federal “Do Not Call” list to block telemarketers. He said he has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC did not respond to Gazette questions.

The 617 area code covers Boston and several suburbs. The “390” exchange within that area code is listed as based in Jamaica Plain by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), a system for assigning numbers to phone companies. The websites of several telephone service companies, including the prominent Mr. Number, list the alleged scammer’s phone number as located in JP, apparently based on the NANP records. But the “390” exchange actually covers a larger region, including such places as Newton. It is also possible that the number connects to a cell phone that could be used anywhere, or that calls to it are forwarded to some other phone system.

Mr. Number also provides a Google map showing the supposed location of the 617-390-4562 number’s user as on Jamaica Place, a tiny street that intersects with the Arborway. But Mr. Number shows that same map for any JP phone number. It appears that the Mr. Number confused the street, which is abbreviated on the map as “Jamaica Pl.,” with the general neighborhood. The California-based company did not respond to Gazette questions.

The Gazette was unable to identify the phone company that owns that phone number. One major company, Verizon, told the Gazette that the number does not belong to it.