Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How I used to get almost any information I ever needed…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 4:22 PM Permalink

…courtesy of AT&T, before the invention of cell phones and phone companies became so fragmented. In today's age of cell phones and 56 different phone companies providing service this may no longer be valid, but I think with a little time I could devise a work-around, Remember, I was, after all a consummate, professional liar and I loved a good challenge.

Once again, the skip himself might be running and hiding hard,but that calls for a complete break off of talking to anyone they had ever known, forever, something difficult to do. Even if the skip had that kind of self-discipline, if he took his girlfriend/wife with him, they couldn't just stop talking to mom forever, so all I had to do was find out whom was communicating with whom and start getting phone bills, which often times made it as easy as tracking a bear through the snow (or was that bare tracking through the snow? I forget which).

My partner used to push for all the information on a phone bill at the same time, which was great until AT&T became a little more security conscious, so I found it easier to break the process uo into steps that just naturally led the operators to believe me.

As soon as I decided which number or numbers to pull, looking for the girlfriend Jenny Smith, I would call the long distance on the old AT&T number 800-222-0300:

Operator (Op hereafter): AT&T, may I help you?
Me; Why yes, thank you. My name is Jon Carr and I'm on vacation visiting with my daughter and her husband. When he got out of the Army he traveled quite a bit while my daughter, Jenny, stayed with us. He would call her collect quite frequently and now that he's working, and we are down here helping them settle in, they have very generously offered to reimburse us for all those collect calls, and wouldn't you know, the last thing I thought to bring on vacation is a copy of my phone bill?
OP: (Usually chuckling as I could be a charming S.O.B. when on the hunt): Well, Mr Carr I'm not sure there's much I can do for you. I can't release any phone numbers off your bill over the phone, I'd have to mail them to you at your home address. What is your phone number?
Me: 916-333-4444, but I don't really need the numbers. If you'd be kind enough to give me just the dates and amounts of the long distance calls we can figure it out from there.
OP: Well, I guess I can do that, When would the calls have started?
Me: Her husband got out of the Army about three months ago:
OP: Okay sir, the first collect call was from Seattle on March 15th for $3.57, here's another one from Portland on March 19th for $7.85, etc., etc., etc. 'til she hit the end of the bill and would ask, Is there anything else I can do to help you?
Me: No, thank you, ma'am, you've been very helpful.

Then I'd hang up and immediately redial AT&T, without exception getting a different operator, and repeat the whole story until I got down to the numbers and amounts.
Me: So when these kids offered to reimburse me I just wrote down the long distance and collect call dates and amounts thinking I could sort out which call was which, but it happens that I travel a lot in my business and that some of these calls might be mine. Do you see the call from Settle on March 15th for $3.57?
OP; (Convinced I must be telling the truth; who else would have such detailed information from a private number?) Yes, I see that.
Me: May I please have the number to which that call was made to (or from which it was received)
Op: That was 303-455-6677.
Me: Next would be the call from Seattle on the 19th for $7.87?
OP: Yes, that was from 221-666-6464.
Me: (I would walk her through all the long distance and especially collect calls one-by-one, each time easier than the last 'cause as I said, who could possibly have such knowledge except the phone number bill payer? Finally, after all numbers had been gotten) Well, I can't thank you enough ma'am, you've been so helpful.
Op you're quite welcome sir, Anything else I can do for you?
Me: No, ma'am, you have a pleasant day.

I'd go through the numbers, being able to identify many of them through a "Criss-Cross Directory" which lists phone numbers first, then, if known the name and address to whom the number as listed. Did you know that R.L. Polk used to send out information cards to every address in a city and ask for the number's owner to please fill out the info cards so that they would have the privilege of being listed in their city's R.L. Polk Directory? An amazing number of people responded, I guess feeling priviled to be part of the town/city' historical record. A fountain of information showing not only the name at that number, but their trade, family members, etc.?

Any number for which I could not receive direct info (Pardon me, may I speak to Susan Dubois? Them: I'm sorry this is the Johnson residence and we don't know that person.) or directory information through any city library with a criss-cross or R.L.Polk directory meant a call back to AT&T with a modified story, as a person always has a right to know the identity of any number on their bill.

Me: Hi, operator, this is Jon Carr, home phone number 916-333-4444 and I have a question about several numbers on my bill.
OP: And which numbers would those be, sir?
Me: See the call from 221-666-6464 call from Seattle on the 19th for $7.87? I need to know to whom that number is listed.
OP: Certainly, sir. Let's see, that was from an unlisted number belonging to a Jenny Smith, at 123 North B St, Seattle, Washington. (Just for drill I would still get the rest of the numbers even though I had located girlfriend).

Then a quick call to the number using any of dozens of scams to insure my skip was living with her and it was time to grab a flight to Seattle, check in with the local P.D., brief the patrol in the neighborhood, and stake it out. Either I'd get lucky enough to see him come home or, after a period of time, run another ruse personally or call to the residence to make sure he was home (usually a job offer or something along those lines); after confirmation a call to the local P.D., they would arrive, I would take the front while the officer covered the side and back, knock on the door, get the skip to the fron door and another one would bite the dust.

Did you really believe you had security on your phone before GWB came into office? I was doing these things and much more when Reagan and then GHWB were in office. My cancers leveled me and put me out of business by doctor's orders that I strictly avoid jails, jail lobbies full of sick children, and contact with druggies who also carried various maladies to which chemo was going to make me far so immune-system weakened that I could easily catch something fatal.

Never trust a person you don't know personally over the phone. They might not be who they say they are. I loved 'em.

I know, for I could be anything or anyone I wanted on the phone. Next episode: How to obtain the name and address of an unlisted number owner even when not listed in a criss-cross or city directory. Two scams that worked EVERY time for me, only one scam that I was ever able to teach anyone else. Stay tuned.

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