UPS do SMS chat lines now…

So I’m waiting for a parcel to arrive. I’ve got a tracking number and UPS even knows it exists.

They have a handy option to send updates via SMS. It isn’t supported in the UK though, even though there’s a drop down to choose a UK mobile number.


Seems good so far. Type number in, press button. Even a way to opt out of future spam.


Oh, OK so I need to opt in, fair enough… 69877 you say?


Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Abort. Abort. Abort. Burn phone. Change number.

Maybe UPS need to test this system in the UK more.

Spam phonecalls

I get two types of spam phonecalls. The first kind I call the “callcentre bastards that won’t leave me alone”, the second kind I call the “silent ones that just hang up”.

Dealing with both kinds is easy – when the phone rings, pick it up and listen. Can you hear anything or does the line sound dead? If you can hear something, does it sound like a callcentre? If you can’t hear anything, send a good irate sounding “HELLO?” down the phone, most of the time this’ll get you cut off and you can go about your day.

If you hear a callcentre, continue to sit silently listening. It can be quite interesting hearing other people’s calls. At some point the caller might give an inquisitive “hello?” down the phone at you. Your mission now is to figure out whether they’re someone important like the bank, or just a telesales callcentre. Telling your bank to go away and procreate with themselves isn’t always wise after all. Listen for telltale signals like them asking for generic terms – “Can I speak to the householder?” “Is the major bill payer available?” etc.

If they ask for you by name, continue keeping your guard up… it might be your bank, but it could be their “let’s sell you a loan” department.

If it’s a genuine spam caller, and they’re now rattling off their spiel at you… simply hang up, they’ve wasted enough of your time already. Don’t bother trying to politely get them to go away, they don’t care. Don’t even bother trying to waste their time, it’s like peeing on an oil fire to put it out – the difference you make is not measurable. Just cut them off and continue about your day.

You can then wonder and marvel at modern communications. Every form you fill in that demands your phone number probably has a “tick this box to opt out of marketing and time wasting calls, we promise to only use your number for legitimate reasons… things like the parcel courier getting lost”. And yet we still get these calls. Does adding your number to the TPS actually do anything, or is it really a trick to harvest our phone numbers?

Oh and never, ever put your mobile number in there. However “You’ve rung me at a really bad time, I’m actually on the toilet” is possibly the best way to get rid of someone on the phone.

I have greylisting on my email server – if you email me, initially your email gets rejected and your mailserver gets told to try again in five minutes. If it does this, you get accepted and the mail goes through. If only I could make my phone emit a busy tone the first time an unknown caller rings, and then if they ring back later it lets them through…

SMS Spam from 01133086113

I keep getting this SMS every few weeks/months from some place called ‘Hamptons’

Miss Eppie Taylor, it is important that we speak to you today. Call Hamptons on 01133086113 quoting ref 97551270

It also occasionally comes from some place called ‘Lowell’ with a phone number of 01133086108, or a place called ‘Red’ with a number of 01133086119. They all have the same message with the same ‘ref’ number.

I also once got an automated voice call to my mobile from one of these, but the message was so garbled and fuzzy I couldn’t work out what was being said.

Livejournal Deathwatch Update

After getting a load of this crap on my (now defunct LiveJournal)

wa┬┐kich przejaw├│w chor├│bska mo┬┐emy zaszufladkowa├Ž blado┼ô├Ž, odmiany w b┬│onie ┼ôluzowej gard┬│a, j├¬zyka oraz prze┬│yku, zajady w k┬╣tach fafli, przesadn┬╣

What do you thing about below diet supplement? I’m going to buy something good for muscle growth. Please give me a piece of advice.

I have just done the necessary stuff to receive this email

Dear pikuorguk,

On 2011-08-21 at 13:34:42 your journal was deleted. The journal deletion took place from the following IP-address:

If you made this change yourself, this email serves as a confirmation of your change.

I find my own personal blog and Akismet keep the spam at bay here ­čÖé If you have a Livejournal account I strongly suggest you move to someone else (Blogger, WordPress, or just do what the modern kids do and write it on Facebook). Someone else that doesn’t insert adverts between the “reply to this post” button and the bit where you type in your reply.

Reverse credit card phishing?

Just got this bizarre email…

Hi Sales,

Am ordering from Japan . I want to place an order from you. I know the difficulties encountered when shipping internationally, But that will not
be a problem because i am registered with a shipping company whom i have used severally without any delay nor problems with my goods. Before i place
this order, i want you to notify me if i am able to place the order and most important: If i can make payment with my credit cards Visa/Mc (Issued
in the United States) because that is the only way we are set for payment now without no delay. I don’t place online orders ,can i e-mail my ORDER
needed then you can give me a quote here and make charges to my cards manually on your end ? Pls Clarify. Looking forward to your swift response
then we can proceed further as soon as possible.


Sure weirdo, you can send me your VISA details and I’ll happily charge your card manually.

0845 0304436 Market research spam

Hopefully they’ll not call back after I mashed all the keys on my phone repeatedly, but out of boredom I reported this number to the TPS, after it phoned me with a recorded market research questionnaire (“How many people live in your house? Press the key on your phone to indicate. How much do you earn? Press 1 for …”).

The TPS even replied, but it seems that while trying to sell things to me over the phone is naughty, bothering me with automated questionnaires is perfectly acceptable. I think the TPS do mostly work though, this is the first phone-spam since having this number activated in August.

Thank you for your complaint regarding the receipt of a research call.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) aims to reduce live “direct marketing” calls and is unable to stop calls from organisations who are conducting research. Research calls are not deemed as direct marketing as they generally relate to information gathering or seeking of opinions whereas the purpose of a direct marketing call would be to sell or market a product or service.

If you want to stop these calls you will need to contact the companies that make them directly or inform the caller that the call and any future calls from them is not welcomed. Additionally, you can also request that they suppress your details. They are obliged to comply with your request. If the company continues to call disregarding your request you may seek further guidance from the Market Research Society (MRS), furthermore the MRS has a code of conduct which all members must comply with. Their details are:

Market Research Society (MRS)
15 Northburgh Street, London
Tel: 02074904911
Fax: 02074900608

I trust the above is of help, but if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Cummings
TPS Team Leader

It’s a shame I can’t funnel all my phonecalls through my GMail account, that’s pretty much stopped spam from reaching anywhere I bother to look.