There once was a time when I was annoyed by the telemarketers, scammers, money beggars and other annoying folks who called me notwithstanding that I was on the FTC's useless Do Not Call Registry. However, now I accept the inevitable calls from presumably spoofed or VoIP numbers such as those identified by the below category tags, and play along until they realize they've been played and invariably curse me out and/or hang up. Curiously, the unwanted calls to my home are becoming less frequent as if my number now is on their Do Not Call list! After all, these guys are looking for a score, and wasted time is lost money.
My favorite call is the one in which some douche bag with an Indian or Mideast accent in broken English identifies himself from Microsoft or some internet service provider to advise me that they my computer is infected with malware, and to allow them remote access in order to fix it. I thank them for letting me know about the problem, and when they ask if I'm at my computer I answer yes even though it's off and I'm otherwise sitting on the can or in front of the TV. I pretend to comply with their instructions as they believe they're guiding me through the steps necessary on my computer to pull off the cyber scam, and of course I'm a slow person who several times must ask them to repeat something or to wait a moment. I play it real dumb and straight. Invariably they ask me what message is appearing on my screen at which point I end my charade, and I deadpan "it says FBI." They typically ask me to repeat it at least once if not two or three more times as it sinks in that I've called out their scam by mentioning three initials which are known to criminals throughout the world. D'oh! One guy screamed at me "Fucking Bastard Idiot" -- as in FBI -- several times before hanging up, and another threatened to come to pay me a visit. One guy even asked if I worked for the FBI -- I answered no as it's a crime to falsely represent oneself as a law enforcement officer -- but I had a good laugh thinking that paranoid scum may be envisioning some SWAT team ready to bust through his call center.
The telemarketers seeking to sell me elbow braces or refinance my debt are particularly stupid, and I've played these guys for ten and fifteen-minute stretches. How much do I owe in student loans or credit cards? Oh, thousands and thousands I answer, can you help me? They're often willing to engage in some friendly conversation which they initiate at the call's start by asking how I am, and boy can I chat. I then allow them to make their pitch or read their scripts. And then I ask them if they could repeat all that. And then I ask particular questions about their product or service. And then once I tire of toying with them I innocently say I want to know a little more about who I'm dealing with, and ask pointed questions about their company. For example, where are you located? What is the address? How many employees? Who owns the company? The conversation shuts down real fast once I make specific inquires about the company, and sometimes they cautiously ask why I'm asking such questions but usually they just hang up. And I never hear from them again. My phone has been ringing less and less since I've welcomed these telemarketers!
Let's turn the tables on the scammers, telemarketers, money beggars and other bothersome folks by using their calls to us as an opportunity to jam them up. We can beat them at their own game and turn their rackets into chaos and their sales pitches into lost opportunities. Every minute they spend on the phone with us is one less moment they have to victimize or otherwise annoy someone else.
Further reading that may be of interest: