Possible Phone Scam Alert: "Do You Have a Small Dog?"
I've been sniffing around the internet and seeing more and more questions and complaints in the last few weeks about people receiving an automated phone call asking, "Do you have a small dog?" Whatever they reply, the call hangs up without so much as a thank-you.
Discussion boards like this one are brimming over with complaints and concerns about this call, but I haven't seen any real news stories about it yet. So I thought I'd better look into it a little more for Dogster readers.
So far, the call has been coming from P3OPLE RSPNZ, at 208-758-0218. It seems to be an automated robo call. Even consumers on the do-not-call registry are getting the calls, because as a "survey," it's exempt. Some people get call after call, others get only one. Many feel harassed, and are concerned that by saying "yes" or "no," or even answering their phones, they're opening themselves up to a scam.
"It's bizarre, really strange," FTC spokesman Mitch Katz told me. "What is this company or person trying to gain out of this?" He says he and colleagues have discussed this and are stumped. While they can't think of how this could be a scam, "I can't say it's definitely not a scam."
If you have caller ID and see this name or number, it's best not to pick up. If you do pick up because you don't have caller ID, just hang up. Some consumers fear that by saying "yes," they may open themselves up to confirming that they ordered a service or product they didn't order; by saying "no," the recording could be used to say they have no more questions and are ready to order. Both are quite unlikely, Katz says, but saying nothing is the best course of action. (It could be that the survey is being used to track phone numbers of people who are going to a good market for a small-dog product in the future, but that doesn't seem feasible either.)
Report the call to the FTC by going to the FTC website or calling 877-ftc-help. You can also report it to the FCC at the FCC complaint site. Katz says that even though it's a "survey," and exempt from the DNC registry, the calls could be considered harassment. The more info these agencies have, the better.
Have you received a call like this, Dogsters? Please tell us what happened.