When I get telemarketers at work I hit “record-a-call” and have a good old time at their expense-- give ridiculously vague answers to their questions, speak in a foreign language (or made up language), ask them how the weather is there, etc.
So actually, I guess I like getting calls from telemarketers.
The telemarketing/scam calls we have been getting in my area are more and more often coming with a CID of a local number. Usually set to the same area code and first 3 digits of the number to appear local. (###) ###-??? This has had our call display show Mark from Windows sever support calling from our Veterinarian. Special offers from Marriott hotels calling from the local french restaurant, and 999 travel dollars calling from town hall.
Free idea: Local exchanges should refuse to connect any call from outside an area code, with a call ID within that area code that does not have an explicit entry in a white list of (I’ve permitted an entity outside of my service area to use my number as a CID and have paid a fee for this) I think this would prevent many scam calls of this nature. Of course the telephone providers will never allow such a simple control. They have told me they can’t even block incoming calls to me coming from known scam numbers.
This will probably spoil all the fun, but you can’t talk about telemarketing without talking about class and poverty.
Odds are, most telemarketers you talk to hate the job and only took it because they’re struggling to make rent and keep their children clothed and fed. And furthermore, I’d give better than even odds that they’ve only been doing it since fairly recently, and before too long they’ll either quit from the strain of it – despite the stakes – or they’ll get fired.
By all means, report the fraudsters. Report the firms that are failing to abide by the do not call list, and contact your phone companies to nail the scammers who are spoofing their phone number. Tell any charitable or political callers to put you on their do not call list and hang up. (And if you want to be thorough, make a note in case they call back in a few months.) Say it politely, say it gruffly, I don’t really care.
But don’t needlessly toy with them. To do so serves no good beyond your own personal entertainment. And there’s a word for those who entertain themselves at the expense of people struggling to keep their heads above water. (And no, being a huge dick to a telemarketer isn’t going to hasten their quitting, if that’s how you justify it. The calls that drive people out are the nice, friendly folks who very badly want the call to be over, but are too polite to hang up, leaving the caller to choose between politely saying goodbye, and risking their job if a supervisor is listening in, or plowing through all the crap mandated by the script and feeling like dirt. And even if it DID hasten anyone’s quitting, well, I’ve got news for you. This is America. There’s no shortage of folks in desperate need of a job.)
Yes, there’s a handful of lifers out there, but you really have no way of knowing whether you’ve got one on the phone. Don’t kid yourself – what you’re convinced is inborn sleaziness could just as easily be a single mother doing her best to get through one of those scripts without sounding desperate. If someone’s genuinely sleazy, they probably sound like a true believer in whatever crap they’re peddling over the phone.
Telemarketing is one thing. Yes its a job and I don’t think being rude/cruel is an answer. Let them off the phone as soon as you can.
As for scammers: I keep them on the line. It may be cruel to the one on the other end, however: every minute they spend wasting their time with me is a minute they can’t scam my grandmother, or anyone else’s. It costs them money to make and keep the calls on, presumably to pay staff to handle the calls, and ultimately to spend time to to decide that diners club card doesn’t actually exist. This reduces their profitability, even just a little. Hopefully enough like minded people will drive the return on these calls down to a point below profitability.
“Odds are, most telemarketers you talk to hate the job and only took it because they’re struggling to make rent and keep their children clothed and fed.” … “But don’t needlessly toy with them.”
That’s why I don’t even want to talk to them.
I would think that cell phones make that idea impossible.
Lately fraud telemarketing calls have been coming to my cell phone from 5-6 repeated numbers. I’ve added em to my phone as a contact “ZZFuckYouTelemarketers”, and set the ringtone for that contact to silent.
I’ve got no qualms with that, and I hope I didn’t give that impression.
What always gets me is that while people have enough sense to realize poverty is factor in a crime, a lot of those same people never stop to think it might have any connection to telemarketing. A guy commits a violent crime against someone else? Well, we have to keep in mind the robber had a genuinely awful upbringing. Someone briefly interrupted my dinner in a vain attempt to sell me an overpriced security system? This person is irredeemable scum!
Android (and actually, I think iOS now too) has the ability to completely block numbers. So that’s all I do with the real asshole telemarketers who never stop calling (the worst are the robocalls from the debt collection companies for some person I’ve never heard of)
Whenever a genuine telemarketer calls me, I politely (and immediately, and if they are overly pushy, repeatedly) tell them I am not interested. I find with the scammy telemarketers, you usually have to sit through the recording/robocall portion to get to a real person, and I can’t even remotely be bothered.
As for this post? I couldn’t really find any interesting ones. Anybody have some good ones to sample?
Is this going to get into another Jay and Silent Bob “Did the construction workers on the Deathstar also deserve to be blown up” philosophic discussion?
The answer, of course, is “yes”. Work for an actual evil company and get what you deserve, which for this topic pretty much only means that someone fucks with them for a couple minutes, or they get a caller like me that that tells them what a horrible person they are for scamming people and then offers them Carnac “curses” like “May the fleas of a thousand camels infect your crotch and may your arms be too short to scratch”
Yeah, scammers are different.
But your best bet isn’t keeping the guy on the phone on the line. It’s getting the company doing the scamming, or at least forcing them to change their name and relocate again. To do that, take down the number. If it seems spoofed, contact the phone company and try to get the real one, and then report that.
It might turn out they’re in India – this happened with an older relative I tried to help – in which case, yeah, if they try again, wasting the caller’s time is really all you can do.
Is it really evil to call you to try to convince you to schedule an appointment with your bank to refinance your mortgage? Or give money to the Democratic Party? Or even try to sell you aluminum siding?
Annoying? Sure. Inconvenient? Sure.
Most of our scam callers in my area appear to be Mark from India or something similar to my ignorant ear. I’ve tried with no success to engage my phone company in any kind of preventative action. Apparently they are unwilling or unable (likely the former leading to the latter) of doing anything. I gather they get some kind of payment for out of area connections or the like so have even less incentive to remove those calls from their network.
As I explained to a buddy: If you stay on the line and waste their time, you increase their costs. So if you’re bored, try to drag that call out as possible.
My buddy took my advice and on one call, the telemarketer eventually screamed “Stop wasting my fraking time!” and slammed the phone down.
If you click on “Favorites” at the bottom, the first few are entertaining, though I find listening to these kinda weird as they chop out one side of the conversation, it would be more entertaining to hear what the automated caller is asking the purported scammers.
Most of the telemarketing calls I get are from machines. I wish I could heap abuse on them. I’m not going to apologize for playing with scammers, though. At this point almost all the “telemarketer” calls are dishonest. (Though that’s not very often.)
We get very few actual telemarketers. The lion’s share of random callers are “Leon from Microsoft Technical Support” who only want to inform us that our computer is infested with viruses and want to help us clean it, either by charging us a huge sum or by ransacking our files under the guise of removing malware, THEN charging us a huge sum. The others are phone surveys, which are invariably so slanted that they aren’t worth answering.
I telemarketed my way through college, and agree with every word. It’s a shitty job in a grimy call center with no benefits and constant abuse. If you think taunting telemarketers makes you unique and cool and quirky, no, they’ve heard fake Spanish before and aren’t blown away.
Maybe your sense of privilege says you shouldn’t see or hear advertising, but those folks on the phone are abused far far more by their employer than you are. You hear it for 1-5 minutes. They hear it all night, every night. It might not hurt to interrupt their pitch and offer some real human sympathy.
The US has a “Do Not Call List” for telephone marketers. Telemarketers are required to check it, and surprisingly, if they do that, they’ll find out that I don’t want calls from them, so any call they make is at best a waste of my time, their robot’s time and maybe their employee’s time, and yes, I will always press “1” to speak with them personally, and if they’re legitimate callers, waste their time while telling them to put me on their own (also-required) do not call list, and if they’re scammers, I’ll usually waste more of their time, if nothing else by putting the phone down.
But almost all of the calls I’m getting are from Rachel from Cardholder Services, or various scams to rip off old people, or Microsoft Technical Support, or “The IRS”. I’ve had longer and more interesting talks with the scammers from “The IRS” and Microsoft - they’re usually in India, and they and a few of the other financial scammers brag about all the great money they’re making, and in some cases the fancy cars they’re driving, and don’t feel at all guilty about the fact that they’re making it by ripping people off. And you know? I have no problems abusing those people; the Windows guys sometimes respond to being called scammers by cursing at me, and one of the “IRS” guys in India was appallingly racist (thinking that calling me the n-word was a useful insult and threatening to send guys to beat me up); his partner was having more fun bragging about how he could totally hack my phone (in practice, that meant he could fake caller ID, sending my phone a call from my number. He was making calls using Magic Jack, so if he didn’t do anything extra, the calls looked like they were coming from area codes that weren’t the IRS offices that handle my state.)
No disagreement on overseas con men, or con men generally.
As for the do not call list, it’s a great thing, but there’s a few exemptions. Political calls and charitable calls aren’t covered by it, so if you give, you’re going to get calls from time to time. They do, however, have to keep their own do not call list, and are required to honor your request to be put on it. (And they generally do, if for no other reason than they are very easy to track down, and the consequences for failing to comply are quite serious.)
Also exempt are calls you’ve consented to, which means, given their boilerplate, calls from pretty much any financial organization you’ve done business with. (Just in case, you know, you needed any more reasons to not like your bank.)