OT: How do you handle telemarketers

JHoaglandJHoagland Posts: 13
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Here's a question for everyone: how you handle telemarketers?

Let me first start by saying that I use a device called a Telezapper which sends out the "disconnected line" tones whenever someone calls. This is usually enough to stop most telemarketers since the tones tell their computers that my number has been disconnected so it's a waste of time to keep calling me.
My phone number is also on the FTC and State of Florida Do Not Call lists, which makes it illegal for telemarketers to call me. I also report any telemarketers when they do call me.

Within the last month, though, I've been getting calls about once a week from "card account services", who are quick to say they're not with "my bank". Every time they call, I tell them to stop calling and I report them to the FTC Do Not Call List, yet they keep calling. Whenever I ask them for their company's name and phone number, the person says they'll give it to me after I give them my credit card information. I've even told them that I want their information to make sure it's not a scam- after all, how do I know they're not a "phishing" company out to steal my information?
I've finally gotten to the point where I'm telling them that I'm reporting to the FTC Do Not Call list, which means their company could be fined and they could lose their job.

Does anyone have any good ideas on how to get them to stop calling? And, no, I don't mean nasty things like blowing an air horn in their ear- these are still people who need to work for a living and doing something like this could be considered assault.

Thanks

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Comments

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 19,384
    edited December 1969

    I subscribe to a service that stops "cold" calls reaching me.

  • trilltrill Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    If these people will not tell you the company they are working for until after you give then CC info, then I would be 99% sure it is a phishing scam. I would report it not only to FTC, but the FBI and in your case the State of Florida DOJ. I would also tell them that intended to so.

    They might get the idea not to call anymore.

  • Alpha ChannelAlpha Channel Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Aside from has already been said (and it does look and sound a lot like a phishing scam) generally politely but firmly though with persistent little so and so's like this lot I'm sorely tempted to take a leaf out from the TV series Bones and begin questioning the caller, asking them what are they doing calling a crime scene, do they know the victim, etc...

  • DoricDoric Posts: 80
    edited December 1969

    Give them nothing, but do keep them on the line as long as possible. If they get insistent, then tell them your goal is to eat their time and nothing else. They don't give a damn about "do not call" lists, but when they find you've just been holding them on the line with no intention fo giving them anything, they will stop. It may take three or four tries, but they somehow do learn.

    Polite is not something I do well. With them, not at all.

    D.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,370
    edited December 1969

    act stupid and just keep repeating everything they say.

  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,444
    edited December 1969

    You could try driving the idiots calling nuts.

    When they call, launch into a totally irrelevant topic of conversation. If they try to interrupt you, remind them they are being terribly rude and go right back to it. Keeping a book of bad poetry or dull philosophy nearby to read to them is helpful if you can't come up with topic of conversation. If you really want to drive them up the wall, whisper rather than speak in a normal tone of voice. When they tell you they can't hear you, calmly tell them they need to get their hearing tested.

    This method also helps to discourage the current run of calls made by volunteers who are working for those seek election or re-election.

  • RawArtRawArt Posts: 2,625
    edited December 1969

    The other day I got a call which said: "May I speak to the person responsible for your cable service decisions?"
    I responded: "No"

    There was a long uncomfortable silence (well...uncomfortable for them..I was laughing)

    Rawn

  • anikadanikad Posts: 1,775
    edited December 1969

    They get a sentence out then I interrupt and say "I'm not interested, goodbye" and hang up. I noticed that the cold call blocking service is not working so they're using the phonebook which is illegal. The next one of those calls I get I'm going to get their company info and report them.

  • bytescapesbytescapes Posts: 489
    edited December 1969

    JHoagland said:
    ... My phone number is also on the FTC and State of Florida Do Not Call lists, which makes it illegal for telemarketers to call me ... Within the last month, though, I've been getting calls about once a week from "card account services", who are quick to say they're not with "my bank". Every time they call, I tell them to stop calling and I report them to the FTC Do Not Call List, yet they keep calling. Whenever I ask them for their company's name and phone number, the person says they'll give it to me after I give them my credit card information. I've even told them that I want their information to make sure it's not a scam- after all, how do I know they're not a "phishing" company out to steal my information?

    They are a phishing company out to steal your information.

    Anyone who persists in calling you even though you're on the Do-Not-Call list is 99% likely to be a scammer. This particular outfit are definitely scammers. When they called me, they were calling themselves 'Credit Card Services', and hung up on me when I asked them to give me the real name of their company. They also use other generic names like 'Cardholder Services'.

    When they called me, the caller had a strong South Asian accent, so I'm guessing that they use Indian call centers to run the scam. The people behind the scam are apparently American, though: one investigation pointed to an individual in Florida who used various business names, including Castle Rock Capital Management, but he's by no means the only scammer trying this particular trick. Note also that they may use IP telephony-based 'spoofing' techniques to fake or conceal their number: the number that shows on your CallerID may not be their real number.

    Because they're scammers, they won't stop calling, and they hide their identity well enough that the FCC will take a long time to catch up with them. You can either choose not to answer, or you can tell them "No, I know this scam. Don't bother calling me again", but they'll keep calling you anyway.

  • bytescapesbytescapes Posts: 489
    edited December 1969

    Oh, one other thing you can do, if you have time to spare and want to waste some of theirs.

    When they ask for a credit card number, give them one from Graham King's site. These are numbers that will pass initial verification ... but aren't real card numbers. Invent a name, expiry date and CVV code to go with them, and let them try to figure out why they can't get any money out of your account.

    If they complain that the number doesn't work, give them another number and make them try that too. If you do a really good job, the call center running the scam may flag your number as a time-waster (calls that take too long and don't earn anything cost the call center money) and they may leave you alone.

  • TorbyTorby Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Card Services is a bad one. They get shut down for calling the do not calls, but in a few weeks they reappear. Sometimes with a different name. Always the same pitch.

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,369
    edited December 1969

    Varies, depending on how blatant they are - my usual response to the "Microsoft support" one is to say "Liar" and hang up. Sometimes |I give them a lecture on their moral failings, sometimes I just say not interested and hang up.

  • SockrateaseSockratease Posts: 795
    edited December 1969

    I had a call trying to sell me a newspaper subscription - I told them I can't read.

    Same call a week later - I put on my best "almost crying" voice and whined "Is this some kind of cruel joke?? Don't you know I'm blind???"

    They never called back.

    Had another from a phone company claiming better rates - I said "I don't have a telephone."

    Long silence - then they hung up without another word.

  • CluricaunCluricaun Posts: 16
    edited December 1969

    Ask them to hold - put the phone down on the desk and walk away - takes them about 30 mins to 2 hours to figure your not coming back, plus it costs them not you.

  • TjohnTjohn Posts: 7,397
    edited December 1969

    Hang up. That's all you need to do. The "card services" calls I get are always recordings.
    If I'm bored enough and have the time to kill with an actual person on the line, I let them talk until they run out of breath and then do one of the following:
    Say "Hello?" over and over as if I can't hear them until they hang up.
    Tell them they have a nice voice and ask them what they're wearing. Sometimes they hang up so fast the click hurts my ear.
    Say, "I'm sorry, I wasn't listening...could you repeat that?"
    Fake a foreign language...easier than you might think. "Ebest grommel tormid?"
    Just keep saying "Grandma is that you?" over and over.

    But yeah just hang up.

  • TjohnTjohn Posts: 7,397
    edited December 1969

    I had a call trying to sell me a newspaper subscription - I told them I can't read.

    Same call a week later - I put on my best "almost crying" voice and whined "Is this some kind of cruel joke?? Don't you know I'm blind???"

    They never called back.

    Had another from a phone company claiming better rates - I said "I don't have a telephone."

    Long silence - then they hung up without another word.


    Loved these, especially "I don't have a telephone."

  • McGyverMcGyver Posts: 943
    edited December 1969

    JHoagland I'm pretty sure it's a scam and if someone is trying to scam you, than as far as I'm concerned whatever they get in return is what they deserve.
    Most likely they are hoping to get in touch some naive elderly person whom they can then rob... they are not human beings if that is their intent and whatever minor audio inconvenience you may cause them is nothing in relation to what they deserve.
    I got some calls similar to yours about two years ago... I looked it up and I was not the only person receiving them... it was a scam back then and probably is a version of it still today... why would ANYONE need your credit card information to answer who they are and what the call is about... its BS and they are trying to scam you.
    I can not truly express how much ill will I bear towards these scam artists, they prey on trusting and naive people and those (usually) are decent good people... These lowlifes rank below the Ebola virus on my list of things to have consideration for.
    One thing you can try- keeping them on the phone for a moment or two and then informing them you are running a trace on their number and will provide it to the authorities... if they hang up right away you'll have confirmed it is not a legit call. That worked once on some chump who claimed they were a collection agency (another BIG scam lately).

    Although I do not own a "Telezapper" ( a misleading name if it does not actually ZAP the idiot calling you), I too am on a "no call" list which apparently now means NOTHING... yes, I know you have to periodically reregister, which I have done (why I should have to reregister is BS in my opinion... I NEVER want ANY sales calls, I should only have to UNregister if I decide I'm SO stupid I want to get scam mortgage refinancing sales calls all day long).... But yeah, at this point it means SO MUCH nothing that I now have political groups calling me trying to convince me they are the only true salvation of mankind and the other guy is a puppy raping satan lover.... so yeah, I get them all day long and as far as I'm concerned anyone calling me is fair game for whatever mischief I concoct... mostly I say "wait a second" and place the phone somewhere loud.
    Sometimes I'll do my own interpretation of Andy Kaufman's "Latka" character from Taxi... Other times I pretend I'm a deaf old man... sometimes I'll say "what the hell is that..." and drop the phone into this big coffee can with small bolts in it and shake it around while making snarling wolf mauling sounds while also screaming "WEREWOLF!!"... usually the phone hangs up after a few seconds because the battery is loose (I tend to throw it at stuff a lot)... The other day I told the lady from the Pew Research Center that I couldn't help her because I my house was surrounded by zombies and I was sort of busy at the moment, then after hanging up on her, I realized that if I ever was going to talk to a pollster, Pew Research would probably be the only one I would (oh well).
    Realistically I get far fewer humans calling me... (actually I'm not sure if they are human, but thats another matter), 90% of the sales calls I get seem to come from a nationwide mortgage refinancing scam company that often calls up to 4 or 5 times a day from different numbers in different states (including cell phone numbers too), its alway the same message: "...termined that you are eligible for a streamline refinance with rates as low as three point two five percent. This is a no closing cost loan with no appraisal or income requirement and is backed by the federal housing authority. You will also be eligible for a cash rebate for up to three thousand dollars. Press one to find out more or three to opt out."... ( get it so often I wrote it down )
    I want to press 6 and give the bastard running the calls, terminal explosive diarrhea. Is there a device for that? I'll buy it. I'll buy two, just in case the first one breaks.
    If you take a job where all day long you annoy people, then you deserve to be annoyed back (sorry but I have little sympathy in that regard), on the other hand, if your "job" is trying to rob and defraud people, then you should be thrown in a windowless dungeon with giant hungry rats. Unfortunately few of these lowlifes ever get prosecuted.
    Good luck and sorry if this was mostly a anti-telemarketer rant.

  • JHoaglandJHoagland Posts: 13
    edited December 1969

    Feel free to rant if it helps. :)
    But I disagree with violently going after these people. How many of them are just trying to make ends meet and the only job they could find was a semi-legal call center where they're told to hang up if anyone asks too many questions? That's I think we should tell these people that we'll be reporting them and they'll lose their jobs. I think the people running these companies are scammers, but should we take our anger at the front-line people?
    Or am I being too nice?

    trill said:
    If these people will not tell you the company they are working for until after you give then CC info, then I would be 99% sure it is a phishing scam. I would report it not only to FTC, but the FBI and in your case the State of Florida DOJ.

    I'm sure they know this is an idle threat as long as they don't give their information. After all, how is the FBI going to go after them if they don't know who to go after?

    I like the other people's ideas of just putting the phone down until they get the idea that they're wasting their time calling me. However, this doesn't stop them from scamming other people.

  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,444
    edited December 1969

    I had a call trying to sell me a newspaper subscription - I told them I can't read.

    Same call a week later - I put on my best "almost crying" voice and whined "Is this some kind of cruel joke?? Don't you know I'm blind???"

    They never called back.

    Had another from a phone company claiming better rates - I said "I don't have a telephone."

    Long silence - then they hung up without another word.

    Some more ammunition.

    Got any more I can add?

  • TorbyTorby Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Now once, a siding salesman called. I wasn't on a cellphone where he'd be using up my minutes. He started asking questions about would I like my house to be one color or another. "Oh, that might be nice." I spent more than a few minutes agreeing with him that it would really be nice. Finally, he went for the close. "May I have a salesman call on you?"

    "No, I don't think so."

    Silence from the other end. I had him now!

    "May I ask why not?" he finally got out.

    "I live in a brick house."

    he laughed, "I guess I never asked that, did I!"

  • Alisa Uh-LisaAlisa Uh-Lisa Posts: 1,248
    edited December 1969

    Oh, boy, some of you have really made me laugh...:lol:

    One of the frustrating things is that there are certain groups that are exempt in the US from the "Do Not Call Registry", including not-for profit organizations, people doing surveys, and political organizations. Those alone are a LOT of groups that are still allowed to call you.

  • McGyverMcGyver Posts: 943
    edited October 2012

    JHoagland said:
    Feel free to rant if it helps. :)
    But I disagree with violently going after these people. How many of them are just trying to make ends meet and the only job they could find was a semi-legal call center where they're told to hang up if anyone asks too many questions? That's I think we should tell these people that we'll be reporting them and they'll lose their jobs. I think the people running these companies are scammers, but should we take our anger at the front-line people?
    Or am I being too nice?

    I did not want to encourage any violent action... granted I do want the ability to instantly give the scammers explosive diarrhea, but thats just me...
    I'm not mean to innocent people... there are different levels...

    Charities: I'm nice to them.

    Small businesses: generally nice, except for the guy who kept calling me "vic" and trying to convince me I had purchased fuel oil from them... (I have natural gas heat).

    Political: Can kindly rot in hell... I'm generally not nice, because if anyone should respect the do not call list, it should be the people who make the laws... (unless the law does not apply to them... ?)

    General "real" businesses (newspapers subscriptions, phone and cable companies etc...): The callers are just trying to make a living, I understand... 80% of the time I'm ambivalent, unless they are unprofessional, annoying or sound dead... I hate it when the dead call me and when I can't understand half of what the mumbly dead guy is saying, I tend to drop the phone in the coffee can or place it on the compressor (I really don't know why my phone still works... it's a Panasonic KX-TGA101S if you want a phone to abuse).

    Scammers: I'm very nasty and threatening.

    In general, people who work for companies that are pulling scams KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING... Mmmmmmaybe 2-5% of the people who work in that sort of business are clueless as to the nature of their calls... the rest, either outright know or have some idea that it's a scam... The way these businesses are run you would pretty much have to be a complete idiot to not know what you are doing, especially when they are trained to recognize certain kinds of "marks" or taught how to pump people for personal information. They are minor criminals, but they are breaking the law none the less... even if they are not running the scam, they are perpetuating it... I can not and will not be nice to a person like that... if you think the company you work for is defrauding people, then morally it is the same as working for a burglary ring or auto theft gang... it doesn't matter if you are only washing the stolen cars- you know they are stolen and you don't have a problem with that as long as you are making money from the perpetrators... why then should I respect you or show you the smallest bit of consideration... especially when most of the victims of these scams are the elderly or poor? If then the argument is "well, what if they really need the job?", then they of all people should know what it is like to be taken advantage of, to be down on your luck or desperate and should not wish to take advantage of of others who can ill afford it.
    Someone being rude or mean to them on the phone should be the least of their concerns.

    No, you are not being too nice... you are just being nice, trying to see things from the other guys point of view. You are good person.

    Once again, I'm not advocating... I'm just explaining my view on this.

    Good luck.

    Post edited by McGyver on
  • KLForbesKLForbes Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I start asking personal questions...

    What are you wearing?
    What color are your eyes, you sound like you have very sexy eyes...

    Never got to a third question, lol

  • StezzaStezza Posts: 1,029
    edited December 1969

    being an aussie we get the telecalls as well.. usually from people from India..

    Indians love cricket no matter what part of India they are from it's like part of their religion. I love cricket as well so I just talk cricket to them and they can't resist. The longest conversation so far was 40 minutes when they finally had to hang up on me.

    So I suggest talk whatever the favourite sport is for your country. If you have the time to do it. :)

  • StezzaStezza Posts: 1,029
    edited December 1969

    if the telemarketer isn't an Indian then I do a Chinese voice and ask for their order and delivery address.. they don't last long at all. %-P

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 2,538
    edited December 1969

    How many of them are just trying to make ends meet and the only job they could find was a semi-legal call center where they’re told to hang up if anyone asks too many questions? That’s I think we should tell these people that we’ll be reporting them and they’ll lose their jobs. I think the people running these companies are scammers, but should we take our anger at the front-line people?

    Since I have actually worked "customer service" at a call center (incoming thank god but we handled one account that had been screwing people all over the country with a free boat scam) I just tell them I am not interested and that I need to hang up. I don't try and "take it out on them" because frankly the odds of them actually being someone in charge, or making more than minimum wage are slim to none. I showed up to an interview once and it was clearly a scam. They spent a fair bit of time going over how long the company had been in business and what a wonderful service they were doing for the people they called. I didn't stay because the whole thing smelled to me, but I am sure people who were more desperate for a job or more innocent didn't leave.

  • Midnight_storiesMidnight_stories Posts: 1,524
    edited December 1969

    act stupid and just keep repeating everything they say.

    But Wendy that's my only link to the outside world LOL!

  • SkullsplitterSkullsplitter Posts: 1
    edited December 1969

    I just answer the phone (when it's a number i don't recognise) with Norfolk Police Fraud Squad - soon gets rid of the scammers.

  • MurgatroydMurgatroyd Posts: 573
    edited December 1969

    I'm mostly immune to telemarketers, since I don't have a landline and my cell phone is usually off. However, there's one line I've always wanted to try:

    "Thank you for calling Murgatroyd Marketing Consultants. If you'll give me your company's name and billing address, we can get started right away."

  • nobody1954nobody1954 Posts: 695
    edited December 1969

    I have caller ID. If I don't recognize the call, or the ID is blocked, I don't pick up. Telemarketers don't leave voice mail. Also useful because I live in a college town. Lots of wrong numbers.

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