A New Contestant in Cold Caller Roulette “-” Geoffrey Garratt from First Standard Financial

I received a call today from someone who called himself “Jeff Garrett” from First Standard. The caller ID said “First Standard” with a phone number of 212-359-2934.  So, it took some digging, but I figured out that his name is spelled GEOFFREY GARRATT.  Geoff works in the Staten Island office of First Standard.

Geoff told me he was checking back with me after our last call. He said that during that last call he gave me a recommendation of Netflix. I told him that we hadn’t spoken. He said that we did. I asked him when. He said on July 2 of last year.

Well, it just so happens that, on July 2, 2015, I was winging my way to Boise, Idaho, to visit my daughter. Maybe Geoff was confused.  Maybe I am forgetful.  But I’m pretty sure that he didn’t call me at the airport or while I was on an airplane.

When I caught Geoff in this inconsistency, he then “apologized.”  I put apologize in quotes because he wasn’t remorseful in any way, he was simply chastened because he was caught in a lie.  He kept selling.  I then hung up.

I went to Brokercheck and searched for all brokers registered with the First Standard office in New York, which is where the phone number goes.  There are 11 brokers listed at that address.  They are listed here. Not one of them is either named Jeff or Garrett.  There may be other First Standard offices, but I couldn’t find them.  Besides, this was the phone number on the caller ID.  I also found an office in Garden City, NY.  No Jeff Garrett there, either.  Ultimately, I was able to figure out how Geoff spelled his name and found him on BrokerCheck.  That is when I learned that he was working on Staten Island.

Odd that he didn’t tell me that he was the subject of an unauthorized trading complaint or that there was a pending arbitration for over $633,000.  That’s probably something the average investor would want to know about a stranger who just cold called him or her.  And I’m sure it is a coincidence that he left his prior employer, National Securities, in March, 2015, which was shortly after this large arbitration claim was filed.

So, into the Cold Caller Hall of Fame we place Geoff Garratt and First Standard Financial for employing such a fine, upstanding, young man.  Nicely done, Geoff.

That’s all there is to say about this from lovely Jupiter, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Apparently, a cold caller might read my blog “-” Revised

A couple of years ago, “Jerry” or “Gerry” from a brokerage firm in New York called me.  You can read about it here.  I pointed out in the post that the caller ID had a bogus number and that the bogus number was a violation of FINRA rules.

So “Jerry” or “Gerry” just called me again.  He told me he was from the same firm as before.  This time the Caller ID said it was anonymous.  First he called me Mr. Dublin, then I corrected his pronunciation of my name.  Then I asked him for his last name.  He gave me a phony name.  I questioned him about his name and he told me that was the son of the firm’s founder.  I have come to believe that this was a lie as well.  I realized that this was the same guy, or someone who sounded a lot like the guy from two+ years ago.

Gerry (I’m using the G because I think that is how it might be spelled) told me that he called me a couple months ago and told me to follow Apple and that it went from some low price (I forgot the price) to 120 (that part I remembered he said).  At least he got something right.  Apple did hit 120 some time in December 2015.

I asked Gerry if he knew his Caller ID said “Anonymous”.  He sounded surprised.  He said he knew that rule 3230 requires the caller ID to be accurate.  Funny, that is what my post in November 2013 says.  Maybe I have a fan?

I then told Gerry that he was lying to me.  We didn’t speak at any time, let alone a few months ago, about Apple.  He then said I spoke with one of his associates.  I reminded him that he said that “we” spoke.  He said that’s not what he said.  Instead, he insisted that I must have something in my ears!  At that point I hung up.  But I was still curious.

So I looked up the firm’s broker roster in New York.  There is only one person who might be called “Gerry” and that is his middle name.  I won’t use his name in case that is not the person who called me.  But there is no one named Gerry or some derivative listed on the New York roster and that is the only office listed on their website.  Additionally, there are no significant owners listed on the Brokercheck with the last name he gave me.  So I am pretty sure that Gerry was not being truthful with me.

A cold-caller making things up?  I know that we are all shocked.

Gerry – please stop calling me.  You’re annoying and you don’t know who you’re dealing with when you call.

Postscript – After I posted this page, I sent a link to the Compliance Officer of the firm.  I was pretty mad.  I received a call today from the President of the firm.  He apologized.  He told me that “Gerry” was no longer with the firm and hadn’t been for several months.  He told me that “Gerry” was fired by the firm.  He told me that two years ago he personally placed my name on their do-not-call list.  I believe him.  I give him credit for calling me.  He assured me that they do not make outbound calls using an anonymous caller ID.  So I modified this post to remove any reference to the firm because I think that “Gerry” might not have been calling me from the firm.

But I do think he read my blog post.

That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin and you didn’t call me to tell me to buy Apple, whoever you are.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A warm, cold calling, welcome to someone from Morgan Wilshire “-” Revised

Note:  This post was revised in March 2016 after receiving communication from the original subject of the post and giving consideration to the fact that he might be telling the truth.  The original call I described did occur, but I have removed references to his name because he’s mad that I’ve used his name and appears to be blaming me for his trouble in finding a job.  He actually characterized the posting as “incriminating, disgusting and insulting” to him and his integrity.  Now I’ve fixed it.  His name is not on here.

I received a call yesterday from an “unknown” caller ID with an “unknown” number.  I answered it.  The caller identified himself using the name of a broker at Morgan Wilshire Securities, Inc.  I knew I would be entertained.

This  broker “reminded” me that we spoke in November and I “told” him that I would follow Honeywell International.  I apparently also “told” him to call me back after I had been watching Honeywell for a while.  All of this, of course, was made up.  The only truthful statement might be that he called me.  And, if you believe the broker whose name was used during the phone call, even the name was phony.

After I got the proper spelling of his alleged name, I explained to this person, whoever he was, that I had never told him that I would follow Honeywell, that he was violating several FINRA rules, including the FINRA rule that requires that the firm’s caller ID information show the name of his firm and the firm’s phone number.  We should add to that the fact that he might have been using someone else’s identity, based upon the email communications I received from the original subject of this post.

Because I was now curious, I looked up the Brokercheck history for the person who claimed to be talking to me.  He has a civil judgment that was entered in December 2014.  He was fired from his prior job after it was alleged that he solicited in a state where he was not registered (we’ll get back to that in a moment).  In 2012, he failed to comply with an arbitration award, and so on and so on.

Down at the bottom of the Brokercheck report were the states of registration for the person who I was told I was talking to.  Surprise! He’s not registered in Florida.  Of course, the broker who was the original subject of this posting states that, while he was registered at Morgan Wilshire, he never made any phone calls at all and never solicited any business in any state.

Here’s to you, unidentified broker from Morgan Wilshire, o cold caller extraordinaire, and your disregard to the rules and regulations that govern our industry.  Carry on.

Added 3/7/16 – So here’s the basic problem.  I don’t get cold calls from the well-known brokerage firms, we’ll call them the major wirehouses, with brokers telling me that they previously spoke to me when they didn’t.  I don’t get called from these well-known firms by people who are using phony names or impersonating other people.  I don’t get “anonymous” calls from these firms either.  But all of these types of calls occur from firms with impressive sounding names but, in reality, are small broker-dealers that have about as much in common with the major firms as a Ferrari does with a Yugo.  They are both cars, but that’s about it.

That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A warm cold caller welcome to Larry Scott of Salomon Whitney Financial LLC.

Today’s contestant in “Is Marc Dobin an idiot?” is Larry Scott from the venerable (not) firm of Salomon Whitney Financial.  Larry’s claim to fame is two criminal disclosures on his Brokercheck report (both for marijuana possession) and working for a variety of firms with little or no reputation.

The telephone connection was terrible and I don’t know whose fault that was, but we spoke long enough for Larry to ask me if I followed a stock “…like [I] said [I] would.”  I told Larry that we had never spoken before.  He hung up.

Even more interesting, however, is that Larry IS NOT REGISTERED IN FLORIDA.  Now, to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, maybe he is dyslexic and couldn’t distinguish the 561 area code, which is in Florida, from the 516 area code, which is Long Island where Larry smiles and dials for fun and profit.

Either way, he certainly annoyed me but he probably didn’t violate any FINRA rules.  However, he may have violated Florida law.  If I had purchased something from him based on this phone call, he most certainly would have.

Written Supervisory Procedures are supposed to be in place to prevent this from happening.  But my experience with these cold calling firms from New York City and Long Island is that they are short on procedures and long on cold callers.  So, Larry Scott, here’s to you and welcome to the club.

That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Senior Citizen Scam “-” Michael Lieberman at 866-883-2294 who claims to be from a law firm.

I am not the only lawyer in my family.  My sister, Andrea, is a bankruptcy lawyer in New Jersey.  My dad is a retired lawyer after having practiced 40 years with one firm in Pennsylvania.  I have three other members of the extended family who are lawyers in Florida.  But this post is about my dad.

He’s been getting phone calls from an outfit claiming that they have to serve papers on him.  They have left him messages to call them.  The last message was from a Michael Lieberman (probably not his real name) from a law firm somewhere in the United States (I guess).  Dad smelled a rat and was ignoring them.  I called the number “Michael Lieberman” left 866-883-2294.  A woman answered the phone.

I identified myself as a lawyer and asked to speak to Michael Lieberman.  I was told he was “in court.”  I asked where I was calling.  I was told “Washington.”  I asked if it was the State of Washington or the District of Columbia.  There was a pause, then she said the state.  I asked if she was in Seattle and she hesitantly agreed that she was there.  (I’m skeptical, by the way)  I asked for the name of the law firm.  She said “Feldman & Feldman”  Ah-ha, I thought, now we’re on to something.  So while I was talking to this woman, I went to Google and looked for Feldman & Feldman in Washington.

Surprise! No Feldman & Feldman in Washington state.  No Michael Lieberman in Washington state. She “brought up” my dad’s account.  She had the last four digits of his Social Security number.  I asked for the specifics.  She said that he owed HSBC some money and that he could pay it or they would “serve him with a judgment.”  I told her that he hasn’t had an account with HSBC and before they could “serve hims with a judgment” they would need to serve him and prove that he owed the money.  (They would also have to go through me, which she may have figured out.) I explained to her that it was not that simple.  And since she was in “Washington” it wasn’t going to happen overnight.  We got “disconnected.”

I called back.  I tried to resume the conversation.  We got “disconnected” again.  I was starting to feel like she didn’t want to talk to me any more.

I called again.  This time I was sent to voice mail.  I can’t remember if I left a message.

So, “Michael Lieberman” from Feldman & Feldman in Seattle, Washington, if you’re out there and reading this blog.  Call me.  We should talk.

And if you get a call from Michael Lieberman who leaves the number 866-883-2294, tell him I’m waiting for a call back.  I won’t be holding my breath.

That’s the view of one “fraud-fighting” lawyer in Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin (and not Elliot Ness).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Coastal Equities Cold Calls Again. Welcome Back.

A New York number rang up. It was “Clark” from Coastal Equities. Coastal Equities has called me before and I’ve asked them to not call me again.

I asked “Clark” for his last name. He told me it was “Pennington”. So “Clark Pennington,” who sounded very young on the phone, was trying to find out if he could call me in the future with their “Single Best Idea.” I’m sure that idea would have been entertaining. But, as those who read this blog know, I don’t do business with cold callers. More importantly, I don’t do business with people whose registration status I can’t determine.

When I was talking to “Clark” he started to profile me, asking me if I was an aggressive investor. That is a registered representative’s job. “Clark” does not appear to have that registration. I may be wrong.

I went to FINRA’s Brokercheck website and entered “Pennington” for the name and “Coastal Equities” for the firm name. Nothing.

So I simply entered “Pennington” (figuring how many could there be?) to see if there was even a person with the name “Clark Pennington” in the FINRA database. Nope. Not at least with “Clark” as the first name and “Pennington” as the last name. “Clark’s” pitch was that they are a boutique Wall Street investment bank. Well, their HQ is on Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware. Maybe I didn’t understand him correctly.

So now I’m wondering if they play a game like the “porn star name” game where you take the name of the street you grew up on and some town that has some relationship to your life. That becomes your porn star name. So maybe “Clark” grew up on Clark Street, somewhere. There isn’t a Clark Street in Pennington, New Jersey. There is a Clark, New Jersey, however. So maybe this is a twist on the game. (He probably thought I was some dumb Floridian with no knowledge of New Jersey geography. I grew up near Pennington, New Jersey) So “Clark Pennington” it is. Your cold-caller name. Now all we need is the Harry Potter “sorting hat” or John Belushi from Animal House to dole out the name.

It’s a shame that some young people (This makes me old saying this) are indoctrinated into this business by being convinced that smiling and dialing, using a phony name, is the way to be successful. It’s not.

That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida. I’m Marc Dobin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Cold Caller Follows the Rules. News at 11.

I received a call from Steve at Coastal Equities.  It was a New York number.  I was so shocked that he was polite that I forgot to get his last name.

He started into his script about “investment-grade” and I thought “here it comes.”  Then he tried to sell me a Verizon corporate bond.  I just about fell out of my chair.

He didn’t lie to me.  He didn’t oversell the product.  But I wasn’t interested.  We parted ways without any shouting or hurt feelings.  I think.

That’s how it’s done, folks.

That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida.  I’m Marc Dobin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email