Monday, 26 August 2013

How I handle scammer calls

I despise scam calls and would naturally like to ban them. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to do that.  Today, I had another one, so I thought it's time to deal with them appropriately. I often find my linguistic skills come in handy for that.

The caller apparently has "great good fantastic gentleman deal" if I answer a survey and a "few handful fast personal question". I figure I'll keep them on the line as long as possible, mess them around, string them along, so that the longer they waste with me, the less time they have to spend on someone who might not recognise a scam call and foolishly part with personal data.

So I tried to get some more information, switch things around. They're not often expecting to have too many questions fired back at them.

Me: Where are you based?
Scammer: 21.
Me: 21?
Scammer: It is 2100 hours here.
Me: I didn't ask the time there, I asked where you are.
Scammer: South East Asia.
Me: Oh, which country? Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia? I happen to speak several languages from that area. Ah, puwede magtagalog ba kayo? Bahasa Indonesia?
Scammer: I'm sorry, I don't speak French.
Me: France isn't in South East Asia, and that wasn't French. If you're from that region you'd have recognised which language I was speaking.
Scammer: Do you speak any other languages?
Me: (I reply in Chinese: "yes, I can speak good German, and you?") 对,我会说德语很好,你呢?
Scammer: I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish.
Me: Where are you?
He names a country nowhere near South East Asia.
Me: You realise I'm registered with the Telephone Preference Service and random calls like these are not permitted?

Long story short, after stringing him along for five minutes, he then twigs I'm wasting his time and hangs up on me.

I must aim for at least ten minutes next time.

Addendum: If you are in the UK and wish to register with the Telephone Preference Service to stop a lot of nuisance sales calls originating in the UK, go to their website: