Monday, 25 June 2012

Phone Scammers

Working from home at present I get a lot of pre-recorded and scam calls. Many of the real people calling ask for a previous owner of the number who was obviously on all those 'numpty' lists. The pre-recorded and computer phone call scams aren't as discriminate though so everyone has probably come across it.

They ring you up, tell you to look things up on your computer, claim that they have put the (self-generated) warning messages on the computer and that you should do what they say in order to avoid unspecified but terrible consequences. What they really want you to do is to use an online service to let them have control of your pc and to get access to it/viruses onto it. (I don't know for sure as I obviously don't go so far)

One option is to just hang up, perhaps after putting the phone next to your smoke alarm. However, I think its better, if you aren't too pressed for time, to string them along a bit. Here are my 14 tips for stringing along Internet phone scammers.

1. Claim you have several computers, and some of them take a long time to turn on.
2. Ask stupid questions 
3. Ask pertinent questions. 
4. Ask how they know about your computer, and ask them questions about it. 
5. Mishear them all the time. 
6. Tell them their phone keeps on cutting out. 
7. Read everything they tell you type back to them, getting every other thing wrong. 
8. Tell them you need to have lunch/go to the toilet and that they should ring you back in x minutes. 
9. Repeat 8.
10. Generally act like you are a not very savvy person trying to impress by using combining words like ‘google’ and ‘search.’ 
11. Ask if they will meet you in person to talk through the problem, or as a gesture of good faith.
12. Tell them someone is at the door and you have to answer it. Tell the imaginary person at the door that you are just on the phone.
13 Tell them an interesting fact you learned that day.
14. Generally leave massive gaps between everything that you do, while you go about your regular business. E.g. make a cup of tea, look on the internet, google about scams,

Basically, you have to make them think you are someone they can scam, while obviously not actually doing what they tell you to do.

I feel sorry for anyone who works in these calls centres because they have no alternative, but the people running them have clearly set the things up to take advantage of those who are not computer savvy and worry about things (mostly the elderly). Therefore, I feel like it is a public service to waste the time and money of these enterprises as much as possible. Plus you can have a great laugh when they get upset!