I could listen to these pranked scammers all day long. Bravo @frauenfelder
If he was smart, Mark called them on a Google phone number or used a prepaid phone (though that’s kind of a frivolous use of a prepaid number, I suppose he can expense and deduct it now).
I used Skype.
I kept one of these guys on the line for about 10 minutes a few months ago. I pretended to be an old lady and told him my son usually fixes my computer box for me but I’d be willing to let him try. He started out with the standard “press the ctrl-windows-r” which took several minutes of his time because I just couldn’t seem to get the combination right.
When he started to get agitated I tossed him a bone and said “I think I got it now because a window opened up”. He calmed down and said I should read for him what was in the window so I opened up a random config file from my boot directory and started reading it line by line. About three lines in he stopped me and said “what is that? I’ve never seen that before” I answered “Oh, I’m sorry. This is my Debian box. Is the problem with my laptop? That one is currently running Gentoo”. Alas, he hung up on me.
Don’t forget about the “telemarketer robot”. When you get a call from a telemarketer you can conference in the number 214-666-4321 and let them talk to that robot for awhile. Works hilariously well.
I doubt it annoyed them. People who deal with money at this level LOVE paper trails, and for good reason. The problem with paper is that it can be difficult to discuss nuance or points of confusion, given the difference in time from mailing or faxing or even emailing materials. Otherwise, “scripta manent.”
Case in point:
I received a tax bill from the state about 2 years after living in Maryland, stating that I owed them about 80 bucks. That didn’t match up with my records, but I had lost my initial forms so I retrieved them all from the source and redid my taxes. Sure enough, I WAS off, but it was in my favor by a few more bucks than before (I had overpaid). I submitted the new forms as an amendment after calling them, as they said I should. I sent no money.
I then received a bill for about $800. Same documentation as before, no additional comments. So I call them up again, and they give me an answer that doesn’t make sense. I look around for some more documentation, start saving for this new bill, but otherwise re-review my taxes and still don’t see how I owe them such a large figure (I was making very little money).
On the 4th phone call, I get someone who simply says “You need to send us the tax return for the other state you lived in that year, to show that you paid state taxes there. We’re calculating it on the full year when you only actually lived here for 1/3 of the year.” So, I send off the new, amended forms for BOTH states.
I received a check for $25 from the state about 3 weeks later.
All of these pre-recorded robocallers have taken the fun out of telemarketing calls.
Can’t like the post and this reply enough just for the mention of Slothrop!
And I must say, Raket is inspired.
I just listrened to a couple of the sample calls for that bot. My favorite is a pair of Indian dudes who are convinced they’re dealing with a senile old man and start mocking and abusing him. Not funny in theory, but he’s a bot, and they have the sophistication of 13 year old boys. At one point the conversation goes like this
Scammer #1: "We will invade your country."
Scammer #2: "We will destroy your country."
Scammer #1: “We will destroy your home.”
Old man Bot: “Yeah. Do you know anything about hockey?”
My cell is tied in to my VOIP number, so all my calls get routed to my cell, even if they’re calling the VOIP number. My cell has ACR (which records all phone calls) and Hiya, (dynamic spam blocking via crowd sourcing), so these numbers get immediately hung-up on. Should one get through, I’d have an audio recording of it.
Saying that you “made” them mad would be denying them their agency. I prefer to think that you simply encouraged them to “own” their inner mad.
My mother’s landline has been getting more and more calls from scams like this. She had me listen to some because she couldn’t understand what they were saying (but she still knew it was a scam), and I distinctly remember at least one from “Bruce Lee” and possibly also his brother Michael. (Are the scams all copying each other?) I’m not sure what’s changed lately that this is exploding the way it is.
If “Bruce Lee” calls, I’d be tempted to tell them that if they keep calling me, they’ll end up like Jason.
I got threatened with deportation once.
To what country? I’d take them up on an offer for Canada.
My mother constantly gets calls like that from supposed tech support people helping to fix her “hacked” ISP account. Early on they scammed her out of some money but we got the credit card charge reversed. The calls keep coming, though.
I happened to be visiting her and decided to pick up one of the calls. I had fun going from a befuddled “oh my goodness, this is awful, whatever can we do?” to asking about IP addresses and OS versions and such, stringing him along until he started yelling and swearing while I mocked him for being an incompetent scammer. So worth it.
I love your choice of names.
“A screaming comes across the sky.”
“…he got mad and called me a bad name.”
What? Trump? Clinton? Schlechtenruf?
Try this: get a free Google Voice phone number (you can pay to port over your current number, but that’s not what I do) and set your landline to forward all calls to that number. You can even have the GV number forward to, say, your cell phone as well. GV’s automatic screening process is so good that only a small percentage of spam calls get past it at all, and for those that do get past you can tell it to block those calls in future, which means it’ll play a “this number is not in service” message that really gets your number knocked off the scammers’ lists moving forward.
My set up is 3 rings on my VOIP home line, so I’ve got a chance to check Caller ID and see if it’s someone I want to pick up, then it forwards to my GV number and my cell phone rings with the Caller ID (if available) and a message that the call is coming in, would I like to take it or send to voice mail? If I send to voice mail, I can listen in and pick up at any moment if it turns out that the number I didn’t recognize is because one of my kids borrowed someone’s phone (for example).
Worth trying, before changing your whole setup.
Not much has really changed, except the Trump campaign has proven a great many Americans are now actively looking to be scammed.