Kim, of Spanaway, Wash., says she has been receiving some unwelcome telemarketing calls lately from a robo-caller.

“My complaint is that for some reason we have been getting calls from United American Insurance at our home,” Kim told “We are on the do not call list and I had never even heard of them so I have no idea how they got our number. Its a pre-recorded message that's getting left on our answering machine.”

Calling someone on the Do Not Call List is against the law, unless the company has received a request for information from you or had a prior business relationship within the last 18 months. The fact that it's a robo-caller making the calls sound a bit like it's a rogue operation. Kim should file a complaint with Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna

Scam Alert

Marian, of Alisso Viejo, Calif., writes to warn folks about rental scams on craigslist. While these scams are nothing new, and craigslist posts warnings on its site, it's not a bad idea to remind everyone they have to be careful.

“Looking for an apartment in the West LA area and have come across several 'landlords' who supposedly live out of town therefore can not show the place,” Marian said. “Pictures only. False address given and they want a money order before they give a key.”

Not only that, Marian says they want the rent wired via Mone-gram, meaning you can't trace it or get it back. Marian said one address given as an apartment for rent turned out to be a local post office. The moral of the story, of course, is to never rent an apartment you haven't inspected with the landlord or rental agent.

Side effects

We continue to get reports from consumers taking the antibiotic Cipro that it causes some scary side effects in them. S., of Taber, Alberta says all was fine at first.

“Near the end of taking Cipro, I started having palpitations/heart jumping to catch up on missed beats,” S. told “Sometimes every 3rd or 4th beat is messed up, for hours or days at a time. Occasional heart pains. This has gone on now for almost a month. Very disturbing. Now I'm experiencing a flurry of tests on my heart.”

According to medical authorities, possible side effects include tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing.  S. may be having an unrelated problem that may need quick attention. If you have any severe side effects from any medication, see your physician immediately.

Defending against abusive debt collectors

Companies have every right to take appropriate action to collect debts owed to them. Almost no one will dispute that. However, there are rules and they have to be followed.

I received a call from Capital One on a past due balance,” Jon, of Alanson, Mich, said. “I told him I have been laid off and don't have a date. He stared name calling so I hung up. He called me back 12 times in 20 minutes harassing me. I have all the calls in my call log. He violated 15 USC 1692d) 806(5)&806(2).

Jon knows his consumer law. 15 USC 1692d covers harassment or abuse and reads, in part, “A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section...The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader. Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number. If Jon wants to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, he can do so here.

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