"My number was wrongfully distributed as a business fax number. Isn't there something I can do?"

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Homeowner replaced all her phones to see callerIDs, bought all phone company screening services, filed multiple police complaints ... all to no avail.

Email received on Oct. 15, 2002

My name is Billie Henry and I live in Corona, California. For over two years now I have been tormented by unsolicited fax machines calling my residence between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. I am not a business and this number has never been "owned" by any business or anyone other than my family.

At the time on the initial calls, I did not have Caller ID or a fax machine to capture the caller information. I contacted my local phone carrier, Pacific Bell, and asked for some kind of assistance to end the incessant calling. I was told to contact the Call Annoyance Center, which I did. I was then instructed to file a Police Report, which I did. And then traps and traces were put on my phone lines to trace the annoying calls.

This is all fine and dandy, but once the trap and trace detects 2 (or 3 complaints with the same originating phone number) the trap and trace is removed. So, I had to call the phone company a number of times and I seemed to be getting nowhere. For every call that was successfully traced, two more seemed to call me.

Finally, in a desperate attempt to end these calls on my own, I borrowed a fax machine from work and connected it at home. I subscribed to Caller ID, Anonymous Call Abandonment, and any other services that Pacific Bell offered that I thought might keep these calls from getting through.

I also replaced all of the phones in my house with phones that have caller ID so that I can capture the phone numbers of the calls that do get through. I began to use the reverse lookup option on SuperPages and ATT.com and started calling the solicitors directly to find out how they had gotten my home number. The solicitors were (and still are) targeting [a Toyota dealership] (located about 4 blocks from my house).

One solicitor shared with me that they purchased their database from InfoUSA. I contacted InfoUSA, explained the situation and requested that my number be removed from their database immediately. I was assured my number would be removed, but that it may take a little while for my number to cycle out of the databases of companies that had purchased their information from Info USA.

I now have every calling feature possible on my phone line in an attempt to escape these unwanted and annoying calls. This has cost me countless numbers of hours of lost sleep and productivity at my job, as well as money spent trying to avoid these calls and tracking down the callers.

I just recently received and unsolicited fax from a company that told me they had just purchased the CD from Info USA. I once again contacted InfoUSA to ask them to remove my number. They were kind enough to inform me that my number does not exist in their current database, but probably exists on all of the CD-ROMs that they have shipped to retail distributors, such as CompUSA, and that InfoUSA is sorry, but there is nothing they can do about that. This is unacceptable!! I believe InfoUsa should have some liability for ensuring the information the distribute is accurate.

My number was wrongfully distributed as a business fax number. Isn't there something I can do? I now have a number in Canada calling my house at 1:00am. Please help me.

Thank you for your time.

Billie Henry
Email: billie.henry@onyxco.com