Your phone rings, it's a local area code, so you answer it. Oh bummer, it's some jerk trying to rip you off, sometimes it's not even a human. Yeah, you could get mad and hang up, but why not have some fun? Remember, they called you, so whatever you do, they asked for it. By the way; "Press 2 to be added to our 'do not call' list" is complete nonsense, better to stay on the line and give 'em hell.
Having said that, I do have some rules; I don't swear and I'm never abusive. Some of these people are stuck in this crappy job and maybe they don't have other options. I once worked at a call center selling coupon books for the JayCees. The boss didn't tell us that the previous year, they collected the money but delivered no books. People hated us and I lasted four days. When I quit, the boss tried to talk me into some free swag instead of my check. Nonetheless, they are trying to cheat you and you should waste as much of their time as you can, to reduce the time they have to rob somebody's grandma.
Here is a collection of fun things I like to do to phone scammers. If more people would do the same, we could make their workplace so miserable, some of them might give up.
- The car extended warranty scam: This is the one I get most. They say; "Our records show that your car's extended warranty is about to expire." They want you to buy some worthless warranty extension. I give them plausible but fake information to keep them on as long as possible. Make sure your 'car' is a late model with low miles, or when they ask the make and model tell them it's a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or a batmobile. If you keep it serious, they will ask about the maintenance and repairs on the car. Wait as long as you can before telling them that the engine fell out, or it's being used as a chicken coop. When they hang up on you, that means you win.
- The credit card interest rate scam: A classic. You owe money, but you have been real good about paying your bills, so they want to 'reward' you by lowering your interest rate. All they need is... your credit card number. There are two ways to go with this. The first way is to just answer their questions deceptively. A warning here... DO NOT divulge your real credit card info... NO! Just sayin'... They will ask what kind of card you have, so offer one you do not have. Give them an imaginary expiration date. Finally, they ask for the credit card number. This is when you sing them a song or recite the alphabet... they will hang up. You win. The second way is to ask them why, if they know about your payment history, don't they already know what kinda card you have? "C'mon man. What's the deal here?". This gets them off the phone pretty quick.
- The 'we have detected some kinda activity on your computer' scam: I LOVE this one! They have found some 'illegal activity' on your computer. Oh my GHOD! It could be porn or terrorism or videos of cats. They want you to freak out and let them remotely connect to your computer so they can install keyloggers and viruses n' shit. So all you gotta do is act stupid. Whatever they ask you to do, just make it as difficult as possible. Think about people in your life who drive you crazy, this is your chance to give it back. Ahhh. Nirvana... hello? Hello? Click.
- The vacation discount scam: Some guy would call me with all this party noise in the background and tell me he was in Las Vegas. Woooh! He was at the Fesse D'Or or some damn thing and it was the greatest party spot and I could get a discount if I wanted to book a trip... NOW! For these kinda things I let them roll for awhile and then get real rubbery and suggestible. I say things like, "yeah... wow", or "really?... wow". Just keep 'em talking without volunteering anything. After awhile, they get rather cross. Just before he hung up, one guy said; "...smoke some more weed, asshole!". Ha ha. I win.
Ok so... When the phone rings, and you got nothin' better to do, and you don't recognize the number. This is a gift. It's time to have fun. Keep those jerks on the line forever. And if you can't think of anything clever, just get them calmed down and in the groove and then scream at the top of your lungs.