A blog about "nothing"!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Let's put a stop to this!

If you live in the US (and some other countries) I'm sure you've received a scam phone call or two.  These are usually what you would call "phishing" expeditions where the scammers are hoping that the person they call will be gullible enough to give them information that they can then use illegally.  These calls annoy me to no end, and come in a number of forms:

Windows Support
Bridget (or Rachel or Carmen) from Cardmember services
Someone trying to sell me insurance.

The calls I get from someone trying to sell me insurance usually aren't from the same outfit, and usually very polite, but the other two are persistent little bastards.  You can report them, but most of the time these calls are originating from outside of the US, so it doesn't do much good.  Plus, the FTC and other law enforcement are inundated with reports, so not much is being done.  Hanging up or letting the call go to an answering machine doesn't do any good either, they call back again and again.  So, I've decided to flip the table.  If they are going to waste my time, then I certainly have no problem with wasting theirs!  I figure the time they are stuck on the phone with me is that many fewer people they are pestering too.  I got this idea from a friend of mine.  She used to work in an office where they were constantly getting calls from someone trying to sell something.  She said it was getting to be completely annoying and time wasting, so she decided to fight fire with fire.  When someone would call, she would tell them that "Harold" took care of that, and that he was on the other line, could they hold?  Then she would put them on hold--indefinitely!  Eventually they would hang up.  The best part--these idiots were so stupid, that they started calling and asking for Harold!!!!  Of course, that was immediately a red flag and those people always got put on hold.  I loved it!  She said after doing this for a while she did notice fewer calls.

I used to just hang up on these people, but they kept calling back!  Even one that said "press 8 if you no longer wish to receive these calls" didn't work, I still got calls.  Now, I press whatever number it says to hit if you wish to speak to a representative.  Then I let them have it!  I use every bit of foul language I have learned in my life, call them losers, you name it.  Guess what?  I'm getting fewer phone calls!  Even scammers don't want to be called nasty names I guess.  They usually hang up on me, but I have released some steam and let them know that I am aware that they are nothing but con artists.  I used to get several of these calls each week, sometimes several in a day.  The Windows Support calls have completely stopped and I'm getting very few from "Cardmember services".  When I do I let them have it.  I've noticed that there is a definite cycle to it too.

Another thing I've started doing with people calling and begging for money--I simply tell them that because of the high rates of fraud, I no longer accept ANY solicitations over the phone.  I worked for a small business that told people that.  I also had someone call me begging for money and had them mail me paperwork to send in my donation.  I simply didn't send it in.  I know that probably doesn't sound very nice, but it put an end to phone calls from that group along with a number of others.  They sell lists of names of people who donate to other organizations but apparently don't forward the names of deadbeats!

Try it!  It can't hurt anything and hopefully it will eliminate some of these annoying calls.   Just remember that the time you tie them up on the line is one less person they can call who might be gullible enough to give them the information they are looking for. 

In addition, you can also call these numbers back and harass them as well.  If you have caller ID, just jot the phone number down and return the call.  It will usually (not always) give you several options, how you want to handle it is up to you.  Just keep in mind that you can probably get away with saying whatever you want to these losers as they aren't going to report you, they are scam artists.  I'm also going to list any phone numbers I receive calls from, so feel free to take part in my fun by calling them back.  I will update it regularly!  Let me just say that not only are you doing a service by tying them up with your nonsense (just like they do to you) but eventually they will give up as they are losing money every time they have to take one of these calls.  Pass this info on to anyone you know, the more, the merrier :)  My goal is to turn this into a nationwide activity, perhaps you could call it a new "hobby"?  It's a wonderful stress-buster too.

Please feel free to add any phone numbers you may be receiving calls from in the comments section as well. 


dan said...

Something similar happens in Italy too. Not nice, I agree...

Asterix said...

Calling a number back is not always fruitful or even a good idea. A number of Indian outfits are extensively using VoIP "spoofing" of Caller ID information. You might get connected with a real person who's wondering who all of these angry people are calling them at all hours.

I've even received spoofed calls showing my own number as the originating party. Neat trick, huh?

My solution was to get a call blocking device. (My telco offers a service, but for only 25 numbers--that may have been fine in 1990, but not today).

Flo said...

I have actually gotten someone who was unaware that their number had been spoofed, in fact they didn't even know what that was. I wasn't nasty to them. And they were glad I called and gave them a heads up. Usually you can tell immediately. And I'm not calling them at all hours of the day, I'm not that rude. Nor did I instruct anyone else to do that.

The majority of the companies that have been calling me DO have an actual fake "business". The pathetic part is they try to even make that part of it look like it's real, complete with answering service. Which when you try to get anywhere in it, doesn't work.

A blocking device only works for so many phone numbers, and doesn't really get the point across to the criminals that we are aware of who they are and what they are doing and that they might as well go away. I know of many folks who have tried to use this, only to also have it run out of space because they are getting so many calls. My calls have gone down to one per day, sometimes none.

Asterix said...

Hey Flo--the device I have now is good for 1500 blocked numbers or 100 blocked area codes. You can also block by Caller ID information.

After I got the blocking device, there were a few days of hitting the "Blacklist" button, then silence, blessed silence.

I even blocked a few "legitimate" robo-caller numbers and found that they'll usually follow up with a real person attempting to contact me.

So, all good for now.

Flo said...

I'm not going to spend any money trying to block calls when my free method works just as well. No plugging anything in, no entering numbers. Plus I get to vent my frustrations on these crooks. Way cheaper than therapy.