Phone Ringing - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Phone Ringing

A table holding scissors and a business cell phone at Off the Top Barber Shop in Pompano Beach. A table holding scissors and a business cell phone at Off the Top Barber Shop in Pompano Beach.
WSVN -- -

You have probably thought, "If I could just come up with one idea to make some money..."

Larry Aronson: "It's a real rock 'n' roll shop."

Larry Aronson did.

Janine Aronson: "That was his little epiphany, at 3 o'clock in the morning one morning. 'I want to open a barber shop that looks like my basement.'"

That was 23 years ago. Today Janine and Larry own Off the Top on Atlantic Beach Boulevard in Pompano Beach, a one-of-a-kind men's barber shop.

Larry Aronson: "They can put the headphones on and watch a DVD concert."

Throw in dart boards, pool tables, and something free to drink.

Larry Aronson: "Your choice of a beverage: one shot, one beer, water."

The total cost for a haircut: $10, cash only. The result: a customer list of 1,500 men. And now the problem.

Janine Aronson: "This was totally off the wall."

Larry Aronson: "Yeah, totally off the wall."

A couple of weeks ago, their business cell phone, with its Tarzan ringtone, started ringing. And ringing. And ringing.

Janine Aronson: "And they bombard us. And then we feel like they've slacked off. We have 15 minutes, maybe an hour reprieve, and then it starts again."

The callers were upset because someone was calling them from the shop's unique number: 954-200-1000.

Janine Aronson: "Somebody picked my phone number up to call these people."

The people were being called over and over and over, all day and night, people all over the world.

Janine Aronson: "Wisconsin, Illinois."

Larry Aronson: "Iceland. Some of the people are getting very, very nasty, which I don't blame them.

While we were talking to Janine, the phone was ringing.

Larry Aronson: "Well, I am terribly sorry. Somehow, somebody has gotten our telephone number. Larry..."

The question, of course: Why was someone using their number to call all over the world?

Janine Aronson: "And for what reason, we don't know, and we don't know how to stop it."

What's happening is called spoofing. You can sign up on the internet to use someone else's phone number. Usually, crooks do it to con people out of money, but the hacker using Off the Top's number isn't trying to sell anything, just aggravating the people they are calling, who then call and complain to Larry and Janine.

Janine Aronson: "It has been atrocious. It has been a complete interference with conducting business and our life."

They complained to Metro PCS, who told them they could not stop it.

Janine Aronson: "'No, I am sorry. That's external. There is nothing we can do for you.'"

Metro PCS did have one solution: After having this number for over 20 years, shut it down and go to a new number. Janine says that would be a disaster.

Janine Aronson: "We would lose 50, 60 percent of the business."

What's the solution? They don't know.

Janine Aronson: "'And we are terribly sorry. There is nothing we can do."

Well, Howard, legally, what can you do?

Howard Finkelstein: "The Truth and Caller ID act passed by Congress allows the government to go after the people who make it appear the call is coming from another number. The FCC can prosecute if the person doing it is profiting, or as in this case, harming someone like the barber shop's business."

I contacted Metro PCS, Off the Top's phone carrier. A spokesperson wrote:

"The spoofer isn't accessing the phone, just using the number. Since neither this customer's phone nor the Metro PCS network are being accessed, we unfortunately are not able to determine from who or where the calls are originating."

The spokesperson added, "Contact the FCC. They take these issues very seriously."

And then, a day later, good news for Larry and Janine. Suddenly the calls nearly ended. No one knows why.

Janine Aronson: "It's very strange how it coincidentally just stopped ... as soon as you guys came in."

Now they can go back to focusing on haircuts, instead of hair-raising phone calls.

Larry Aronson: "I'm thrilled, I'm thrilled. I can answer the phone and not get yelled at by the other party."

Anyway, if you have a phone problem and want to file a complaint with the FCC, the information is on our website at WSVN.com. Go ahead and contact them. You pay their salaries.

Feel like someone has your number? Ready to hang it up? Give us a call. It's no spoof. We help people, for free. Hard to believe in this day and age.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

For more information on spoofing go to the FCC's website at: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing

To File a Complaint

There is no charge for filing a complaint. You can file your complaint using an http://www.fcc.gov/complaints. You can also file your complaint with the FCC's Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission

Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau

Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, D.C. 20554

Contact Help Me Howard:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN

  • Out for JusticeMore>>

  • Guerline Noel

    Guerline Noel

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:48:21 GMT
    Guerline NoelGuerline Noel
    She was a wife and mother who liked to help people, but one night she was brutally murdered in her own home. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a year has gone by, and the case is cold, but detectives are still determined to find her killers.
    She was a wife and mother who liked to help people, but one night she was brutally murdered in her own home. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a year has gone by, and the case is cold, but detectives are still determined to find her killers.
  • Heather Riggio

    Heather Riggio

    Friday, August 8 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-08-09 03:45:59 GMT
    Heather RiggioHeather Riggio
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
  • Alfred McCormick

    Alfred McCormick

    Saturday, July 26 2014 1:00 AM EDT2014-07-26 05:00:26 GMT
    Minister Alfred McCormickMinister Alfred McCormick
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
  • Carmel on the CaseMore>>

  • New York rescue that got dogs from Miami-Dade shut down amid health concerns

    New York rescue that got dogs from Miami-Dade shut down amid health concerns

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-27 21:03:35 GMT
    A rescue organization in New York state has been closed by authorities based on claims it sold sick dogs. 7News has learned that for years, Miami-Dade Animal Services sent dogs to that rescue facility despite complaints from animal advocates. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
    A rescue organization in New York state has been closed by authorities based on claims it sold sick dogs. 7News has learned that for years, Miami-Dade Animal Services sent dogs to that rescue facility despite complaints from animal advocates. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
  • Escort service busted from within

    Escort service busted from within

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:58:40 GMT
    34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre34-year-old Joshua Rubenstein and 58-year-old Doug Juiffre
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
    Two South Florida men are locked up tonight, arrested in connection with the operation of an escort service, and just one reporter was there from the beginning of a case that could be the first of its kind. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with the exclusive.
  • Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:54:12 GMT
    Frank Amanti Frank Amanti
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Lifetime Lease

    Lifetime Lease

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:54:55 GMT
    25 years ago they signed a lifetime lease that would only allow their rent to go up $3 a month each year for the rest of their life, then the park owner said, 'Forget it, the leases have expired.' Can a lifetime lease expire? It's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    25 years ago they signed a lifetime lease that would only allow their rent to go up $3 a month each year for the rest of their life, then the park owner said, 'Forget it, the leases have expired.' Can a lifetime lease expire? It's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Won't Return Deposit

    Won't Return Deposit

    Monday, August 25 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-26 02:50:54 GMT
    It's a non-profit organization, created 100 years ago when they said they were a club for people of color. Today their mission has not changed, helping people across Broward County. But recently, they needed help to avoid losing a grant to buy a new bus and so they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    It's a non-profit organization, created 100 years ago when they said they were a club for people of color. Today their mission has not changed, helping people across Broward County. But recently, they needed help to avoid losing a grant to buy a new bus and so they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Ticketed for Riding Bike

    Ticketed for Riding Bike

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:05 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:05:28 GMT
    When his license was suspended he needed to get to work, so he bought a bicycle and then he got five tickets from a police officer. Why? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    When his license was suspended he needed to get to work, so he bought a bicycle and then he got five tickets from a police officer. Why? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.