From the Actrix Online Informer October 2011

Getting back at scammers

by Rob Zorn

Over the last couple of months we've been discussing the phone scammers who call about viruses they say you've been sending out in an attempt to get you to download malicious software onto your computer. Last month I was very pleased finally to have finally received my first call, and had a plan to waste the scammer's time and money by leading them on for as long as I could. Unfortunately it didn't go all that well and the caller realised I was leading her on. But it sounds as if some of you have had a similar idea. We've received a number of responses from readers who have been called but have also had a little fun at the scammer's expense.

Eric writes:
I also like to lead them on and waste their time! I usually play dumb and elderly (which I am, elderly that is) and have trouble understanding what they are talking about being a little deaf (asking them to speak up), interspersed with some mild "chatting up" if they are female, and inquiries about the weather where they are. Played carefully, it usually takes a while for them to realise they are being led on and it can be great fun! I enjoy your Informer, keep up the good work!

Way to go Eric! If the whole country started doing this I think they might start leaving us alone.

Cliff writes:
I liked your story and article on the Asian scammers. Just this week my wife took a call, and listened long enough to be sure that is was a scammer, then simply hung up without saying a word. Within seconds, the phone rang again and the same female voice said "f--- you." We have had heaps of these calls in the last year or so but they don't seem to learn.

Thanks Cliff, it sounds to me like the woman who called you was still fuming over her conversation with Eric!

Gillian writes:
I had an "Asian lady" call me too. She said she was from Windows! She talked for a while then asked me to turn on my computer. I replied "No". There was a slight pause by us both – then I added ..."I'm on dialup; I can't talk to you and be on the web at the same time". <Click>. Hope I wasted some of their money on tolls! Checked it out with my "computer man" and he said avoid like the plague.

Good stuff Gillian wasting their time and money, even if you're on dialup is a great way to get back at these scammers!

John writes:
Just reading your article on the scam phone calls and the fun you had leading them on. I have had at least three of these calls. I must have a similar attitude to you, and with the last two, I played along (or pretended to) for as long as I could about 15 minutes. Then I said that I had special software installed that had tracked his location and that the police would be there in a minute to take him to jail. He then hung up. I was picturing a panicked collection of valuables before he sprinted out the door! Great fun.

Well done John. If everyone led these scammers on like this they wouldn't be making any money at all! A valiant effort.

Robyn writes:
I was interested to read your article on the scammers and thought I'd let you know they don't give up. We've been called well over a dozen times hanging up promptly each time and still they persist which is fine if I answer the phone but not so good when it's my young daughter or my hearing impaired husband. It would be great if something could be done about this, maybe by one of the communications companies, i.e. Telecom. Just a thought.

Thanks Robyn. It sounds like many people are getting numerous calls. Hang in there and hopefully they'll realise we're on to them, but please don't hold your breath for help from Telecom!

Kiri writes:
Well they just keep calling back. Encouraged by your article last night at 6pm I kept that lady busy on the line for just over 20 minutes before she hung up on me (rude!).

Would you believe it just before 7 pm. Another call, different lady (Jenny) spoke too fast which was to my advantage, five minutes later she put her supervisor on (Helen). Helen had another call to handle so back to Jenny. Jenny wasn't getting anywhere with me so supervisor Kevin joined in. He was much more fun. I bullied him into giving me his e-mail address. I'm note interested in contacting this guy. But if your up for it and you think its worth pursuing please be my guest!

Thanks, Kiri. You managed to tie up the time of three of them for a while, and that entitles you to a special prize. And that special prize is the satisfaction of knowing you did your bit, and while they were tied up with you they weren't able to be hassling somebody else! 



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