"Junk Cars" Text Spam Plagues Miami Cell Phones, but One Brave Local Fights Back
If you have a Miami-area phone number, there's a good chance that in the past few months, you've received texts seeking "junk cars." The message is all uppercase in both English and Spanish and promises $400 to $450 for your clunker. "It irritates the hell out of me," says a loyal reader we'll call Roscoe. The final straw for him was when his father, who pays for every text, received the spam. "Now they've entered my family," Roscoe says, "and that pissed me off."
So Roscoe has fought back by repeatedly calling the number and arranging to sell an imaginary car.
An IT guy by day, he uses Google Voice to disguise his number. He has learned that the spam-sending garage is based in Hialeah, so he picks far-flung addresses in South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables. When the drivers arrive, he tries to lead them on for as long as possible. Then he breaks it to them that he's just fucking with them.
Roscoe has pulled the gambit about 20 times. "They say the most vulgar things imaginable," he says, "which just makes my day."
Many New Times staffers have received the texts, and we're not alone. "I get about three messages like this one from different numbers," laments one of many tortured souls we found online complaining about the texts. "It's so annoying, and there seems to be no way to stop them."
The numbers sending the texts seem to be generated by computer so as to not be blocked. But after following a trail of phone numbers, we eventually received a call from the text kingpin himself.
Through a translator, the Spanish-speaking text tycoon, who refused to give his name, claimed he doesn't use numbers that are on do-not-call lists. "I have the license to send the messages," he said, adding inexplicably, "I buy the list [of numbers] from the government."
He quickly hung up. The number he called from belongs to Hardwell Industries, Corp., a defunct Hialeah company registered to a Coral Springs man named Gregorio A. Tejera.
Because we know you're waiting for this, his number is 305-303-0119.
Feel free to send him photos of your junk.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.