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By now, this scam should feel incredibly familiar.

The phone rings. At the other end is someone claiming to be from “Microsoft Technical Support”, or something similar. They’ll have a thick Indian accent, and an improbably Anglicized name, like “Richard Smith” or something.

They’ll then tell you that your computer has been compromised. This virus, they say, is so severe that even Microsoft themselves picked it up. The virus, they insist, will damage your computer Can A Cyberattack Cause Physical Damage To Your Hardware? Can A Cyberattack Cause Physical Damage To Your Hardware? Hackers and malware shut down nuclear centrifuges in Iran and severely damaged a German steel mill. Could software cause physical damage to your computer? Probably not, but anything connected to it is a different story. Read More and your reputation, as it will somehow intertwine you with the sordid world of child pornography and exploitation. But, there’s something you can do.

You can trust them, and give them access to your computer. They’ll then rigorously search through your computer, and install some software. Then, they’ll hit you up for an eye-watering sum of cash. The problem is, it was all a scam Anatomy of a Scam: The "Windows Tech Support" Con Examined Anatomy of a Scam: The "Windows Tech Support" Con Examined They're constantly on the prowl: cold calling scammers claiming to be from "Windows Tech Support". We were targeted by one of these con artists and here's what happened. Read More .

They don’t work for Microsoft. Even if they did, there’s no way they could possibly know you’ve got a virus. You’ve just given your money – and access to your computer – to someone sitting in a boiler room somewhere in Bangalore.

The Internet Fights Back

The fake tech support scam is one that’s surprisingly effective. It piggybacks off Microsoft’s good name and employs scare tactics, to catch tens of thousands in its snare, often for as much as $500 at a time. But people are fighting back, simply by wasting as much of the scammers’ time as possible.

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The modus-operandi of many of these good-natured trolls is simply to pretend to be as dumb, tech-illiterate and hard of hearing as possible. One of the best known for this is Aussie security expert Troy Hunt, who once kept a phone scammer on the line for an agonizing 44 minutes and 26 seconds by pretending to barely know how to use a computer.

Others have taken to winding them up by giving them access to virtual machines beset with viruses, fake antivirus programs and dozens of browser toolbars, and watching them struggle.

Even MakeUseOf’s security editor Christian Cawley has taken a pop at them.

It’s a fun – and easy – sport. There are thousands of examples on YouTube and Reddit where people have taken these guys for a ride. But that’s not always a good idea. Trolling these tech support scammers can turn dark, really quickly.

“Do you know what we do to Anglo people in India?”

Jakob Dulisse is a wildlife photographer from Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Earlier this year, he got a call on his landline.

On the other end of the line was a man with a heavy Indian accent. He claimed to be calling from Los Angeles, California on behalf of “Windows Technical Support” and said his name was Harry Stevens. Harry said Jakob’s computer was infected, and he needed to do something about it, right now.

Jakob isn’t stupid. Almost immediately, he realized that he was on the phone with a scammer. He’d seen the news reports, and heard all the warnings. So he played along, acting stupid and cooperative.

After he’d strung him along sufficiently enough, Jakob told him what he thought of him. “I think you’re a scammer, a thief, and a bad person”.

As insults go, it was pretty milquetoast. Canadian, even. But it provoked a furious reaction.

“It’s not like we’re living in India and we don’t have anyone in Canada. We have our people, our group, in Canada. I will call them and I will provide your information to them. They will come to you, and they will kill you.”

Jakob, decidedly unimpressed, reiterated that he thought “Harry” was a scammer and a bad person.

“I’m a killer, not a scammer. Do you know what we do to Anglo people in India? We cut them up and throw them in the river

Firstly, let’s state the obvious. Nobody is going to kill Jakob, especially not for winding up a tech support scammer. It was a threat completely without merit. But I still don’t think it was fun to receive. It probably played on Jakob’s mind for the rest of the day, and deeply unnerved him.

Sometimes, it’s just better to put down the phone.

How Much Is Their Time Worth?

I’ve read, again and again, that you should keep these people on their phone. It’s a public duty, I’ve heard, to occupy as much of their time as possible, in order to ensure that their activities are as unprofitable as possible. But I’m not convinced by that.

phonescam-inr

I read a brilliant Forbes article the other day which looked the Indian call center industry. The average entry level call center salary in India is about $300. Now, suppose they’re working four, forty hour weeks. That means they’re earning an hourly wage of about $1.75.

Given that I’ve seen examples of these scams earning as much as $350 at a time, there’s simply no way you’re going to stop this from being immensely profitable.

Do You Trust Them With Your Computer?

Often, those doing the trolling will grant them access to a virtual machine What Is a Virtual Machine? What Is a Virtual Machine? Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system, but why does that matter? What are the pros and cons? Read More that had been especially set up for that reason. These are, as the name suggests, virtual computers that run on top of an existing, real computer. What happens on a virtual machine doesn’t have any impact on the underlying computer, so they’re ideal for malware analysis Found a Suspicious File? Test It In A Virtual Machine! Found a Suspicious File? Test It In A Virtual Machine! Don't run that suspicious file on your PC to check if it alerts your anti-virus software - instead, find out what it is capable of by running the file in a virtual machine. Read More , and other security-related tasks.

But it should go without saying that you should never, ever, grant them access to your real, main computer.

Troy Hunt, who we mentioned earlier, decided to follow a scam until its near-conclusion, and found that the remote access software used allows an attacker to remotely access the machine at any time. He also noted that you can never really know the intent of the software they install on your computer. While it might be an anti-virus package, this in turn might be a backdoor Backdoor For Malware Discovered In Some Ubisoft Games [Updates] Backdoor For Malware Discovered In Some Ubisoft Games [Updates] Exploitable code has been discovered in a browser-plugin installed by some Ubisoft games as part of the Uplay service. The exploit allows malicious websites to remotely install software on a compromised PC without the user’s... Read More , or have some other nefarious purpose.

Freelance journalist Carey Holzman also found that when the scammers don’t get what they want, they’ll often resort to vandalizing the computers they’re on. The scammer Holzman dealt with tried to open the SysKey utility and set a system password. This would have prevented him from booting into his computer.

These aren’t nice people.

Take The Higher Road

There’s this Confucius quote I really like. It goes like this. “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

I genuinely believe that. I genuinely believe that it’s inherently self-destructive to get riled up, and angry. I genuinely believe that instead of picking a fight, you should just let it slide and move on. I genuinely think that picking a fight with a phone scammer is a bad idea, and you should just hang up.

And, it goes without saying, you should probably tell your family about this scam. Prevention is always, always better than a cure. If you, or someone you know, have been stung by this scam, you might want to check out this piece What Should You Do After Falling For A Fake IT Support Scam? What Should You Do After Falling For A Fake IT Support Scam? Search for "fake tech support scam" and you will understand how common it is across the world. Some simple precautions after the event could help you feel less of a victim. Read More .

But what do you think? Would you troll these guys, or would you just put the phone down? Either way, I want to hear about it. Drop me a comment below, and we’ll chat.

Photo Credits: ending the call Via Shutterstock, Five Rupee Coin (Dinesh Cyanaman)

  1. lia
    December 2, 2016 at 3:32 am

    I know this article is old but I just found it and have had some seriously odd interactions with these scammers.

    The most hilarious was 5 years ago, they claimed I was such a good credit card customer that I was being sent a free gift card to Victoria secrets. I knew it was a scam, but explained I wasn't interested in it and naively asked to be taken off their call list (I rarely got scam calls back then. Now? Until a month ago i was getting them Almost daily, even 5 years ago I knew they weren't taking me off their call list but thought I'd try) anyway instead of responding to my request he begins saying in broken English how Victoria Secret has a new bra that "holds and lifts your breasts. Supports and holds them up like boulders" the man said. Ok, that was odd enough to make me not hang up right away lol. So I said I don't shop there, he asked where I buy my bras and panties and then said that women all need this Bra, "IT PUSHES THEM UP FOR SATISFACTORY LOOK IN CLOTHING"....if anyone reads this, I don't know why I said what I said next. I'm not weird and I think I was just caught off guard that the man seemed to really believe in the power of the push up bra lol, I think I was just thinking outloud because I responded "they don't even sell bras like that for people who still wear A cups"...I did a facepalm when I heard myself say it but his response was "so u have nothing there. Is it just flat and nipple and no hills or nothing?"
    Clearly time to end this, well over actually...I laughed in shock and before I hung up on the little pervert I said "how much do they pay you to say this stuff"
    To my surprise he laughed, like really really hard. Now that I think back I think I remember hearing him stifling a giggle or whatever when he had said something really crazy during the call. I can't remember everything he said in this weird call, I only wrote the comments I remember him saying word for word but it was hands down the funniest most odd call I have ever had. I had been in my car at the time, I had left my store to go to a dr. App and gotten to the appointment too early when he called...so I think being bored and having ten minutes to kill was probably one of the reasons why I didn't hang up on him immediately. I ended up looking the number up online and leaving a comment on one of those websites that allow you to list and report scam numbers about what the man said wish I could find it.

    However the recent insane increase in calls I get in the last few months is insane and these people are really dedicated. I don't own credit cards, so when I began getting calls from credit consumer telling me that I can have my interest rate lowered, I knew it was fake and wanted to hear how they were going to attempt to get my Info. The man kept saying he was looking at my payment history and I've made more than my minimum payment requirement a few times in the past year and thanking me. He milked it, said his pitch and asked me which card I owed more on, my visa or mastercard..at that point I asked, you said you could see my accounts can't you see that? I said it very sweetly lol, not wanting to get hung up on before I could tell him I didn't own a credit card. He had computer issues he said so I was like well it's just so weird I don't own credit cards so how did you see I made payments? He got really really mad. He said "mam I think you are a bitch (beech he pronounced it as so it took a sec to realize he actually called me a bitch!) and I think everyone in ur life thinks ur a bitch" what the heck lol I hadn't gotten to actually be rude to him at this point so I was kinda actually bothered by It after hanging up. Only for a second though, because I realized how very sad and pathetic I would be to let my feelings be hurt by a man who was trying to steal my money and identity calling me a bitch lol

  2. linda lipka
    December 1, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed many conversations with phone scammers but today it got a little bit real.
    A young man called me a few weeks ago - I played dumb, he got mad and barraged me with pornographic descriptions. I told him I was old enough to be his mother and how would he feel if someone said that to his mother? He hung up.
    When he called today I began by asking what he had for breakfast in response to his alarms about my supposed computer virus. We chatted about food for a few minutes and I realized his voice was familiar. When I reminded him, he seemed genuinely shocked and then he shocked me back.
    'I thought about what you said, Miss. I am looking for a better job. I know this is a bad thing to do but my father died in February, my sister is in school and my mother needs help. She cannot work and I told her I would make money now. I get paid more here than any other job I could get. I think you are doing your holiday shopping now. I want to have money for holiday shopping too. I would like to have a better job but there aren't so many. '
    He seemed to feel it was meaningful that he had called me again after our previous interchange. Maybe it was fate. I didn't pay him and he didnt remove my fictional computer virus but I think we both received some value.

  3. MinhajH
    November 30, 2016 at 7:23 am

    My mom was victimized by one of these scams a few years ago. It was one of the IRS scams, threatening to throw her into prison, and how they had an active warrant on her. My mother, who knows nothing about any of that, due to the fact that my father took care of everything, was scared out of her mind. She hung up the phone to get dressed, and the man called back angrily, telling her not to stop speaking to him, most likely to keep her from calling someone else for help. The man made her call on her cell, and while she did that my mom had put the mic on mute on her cell, and called a friend to go to the money transfer place with her. Her friend was busy, so my mom was all alone. Luckily, after listening to the nonsense from the man, my mom realized it was a scam, and walked to the police station, which is across the street from our home, and explained her situation to an officer, again with her mic on mute. The officer took the phone and spoke to the man, saying he was a police officer, and that they have no warrant on file, and that he was a fraud. The scammer didn't believe my mom was smart enough to get to an officer, so he accused the officer of being a fake, and said some nasty things to the man. The officer demanded the man fax his warrant to the station, and in the end, the man hung up, after realizing his loss. My mom almost fell for it, but she got to her senses, but not everyone does. And with all the time spent on the scammer he didn't get to others. Now my mom is more aware and tries to balance just hanging up and wasting their time, but wasting time is the way to save someone who is clueless from falling for these things.

  4. Eric Greenwood
    November 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Rubbish, the longer they are on the phone to me the less chance they will get someone who will fall for the scam.

    If you hang up they will go to the next number, someone who may fall for it.. so my aunt would fall for it, so i am protecting her and others like her. Troll them, every hard core computer user needs to at least block access to their phone lines

  5. Jack Meoff
    November 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Here's what I like to do. I like to call back the numbers that my phone blocks because they are reported as scam, fraud, extortion, etc. I call back and find out what the fake name of the company is that they are using. They always give me a Christian name even though we know it is not that name. Then when a different scammer calls, I answer with the name of the fake company from another number and the fake name of the person I talked to. So it sounds like this: IGS this is Lisa Stewart, how may I direct your call? If the new scammer asks any questions I tell them the same fake details I got from the previous scammer. I even give them the spoofed number I had gotten from the previous scammer. Or you can answer as the operator of your local police department. Small town police departments have an actual person who answers the non-emergency line. This stuff confuses them completely and they remove your number from their list. Also, they will most likely hang up for fear they have actually received a law enforcement agency. Please note that the United States does get the cooperation of the Indian authorities to shut down those call centers, especially after the idiots pretended to be the IRS. There are so many ways to screw with these people. Being a law abiding US citizen, I legally own a gun and if they want to threaten me...I just let them know I'll be waiting in the dark for them. I used to work in a prison, so nothing scares me. Oh, and one last thing. Since the NSA is data mining, make sure to say things like, "you want me to join ISIS? Okay, I'm convinced that ISIS is a good thing and I want to go on a suicide mission with you!" There are so many ideas that roll around in my head that could annoy the crap out of these idiots. Don't feel sorry because you think they make $1.75/hr, that's considered middle income for them!!!

  6. graeme_from_IT
    November 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Its a shame I can't attach a screenshot, but it was VERY ironic that I got a google-advert for this appear in this article - for a bit of software the scammers try to use...

    TeamViewer 12 Download
    The Best TeamViewer ever: Smarter, Better, Faster, Stronger. It's fun to use too Go to teamviewer.com

    • Isaac A
      November 18, 2016 at 1:22 am

      I love TeamViewer. It's a great program, especially if you leave that important presentation on your home computer. Also use it to give my Grandma REAL tech support, as it is very hard to assess issues without seeing the screen. Shame that these scammers are giving a great piece of *free* software such a bad reputation. :-/

  7. EndUser2016
    November 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    you know I know they say it is bad to waste these peoples time but you know what... if I have time to waste I will happily use it to waste as much of these POS time as I can. They deserve to be treated like whatever crap we can think of because they are trying to steal from us all... and no way in hell do they not know they are making fraudulent claims and it is a crime... Personally I think every single one of these people and those who are profiting the most from the scam should be strung up in a cage and left to just wait for their demise then fed to the piranhas. Sorry but these people are the scum of the earth and I would rather be the shoe than the one being stepped on.

  8. Ozzy
    October 27, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I spoke to a female today. I listened through her whole script. Then I politely asked her if she honored her parents by what she does. Then I asked her what she would think if her parents were scammed and hurt by someone on the phone like her. Big family first culture with the people I know from India. She hung up. They are very superstitious as well. Some research about their gods, evil eye and things like that might provide some fodder for those that wish to entertain themselves. Might do that myself, hm.

  9. Santa
    October 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Got one of those calls today. I chuckled and said "Oh, this is going to be fun!" He dropped an F-Bomb on me and hung up. :-)

  10. Mike D
    October 11, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I respectfully disagree. This isn't about revenge or looking to pick a might, I view this as a form of community service. Waste their time, infuriate them as much as you can, make them question their chosen profession. Every minute you make them waste is a minute they can't use to scam that nice old lady down the street who doesn't understand the interwebs and who trusts everyone who calls her on the telephone. So what if they threaten you? Do you have any idea how many times I've been told that someone was going to kill me or do something untoward to my mother while playing online video games? Empty threats, that's all they have, that's all they can do to you. If you don't have the stomach for even the emptiest of threats chat with them for a few minutes and then put them on hold until they hang up. I once had one sit on the line for a little over an hour, if anyone can beat that record than kudos to them.

    In summation, waste their time and show them no pity as they certainly don't have any for those who they scam.

  11. Steve Buscemi
    October 8, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I like screwing with them (or more like listening to someone else do that) cause I just think it's kinda funny when some of them have absolutely NO idea what they are taking about.

  12. Never scammed
    October 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I got a call from them today and politely waited on him to finish talking about "the errors my computer was sending him". I then asked, "Hey do you know the 70 employees who got arrested this week in Mumbai for impersonating the IRS?" .....Silence......(in a low voice I said) "you know we are coming for you next" ...he hangs up.

    Story about it in WSJ

  13. Joe
    October 6, 2016 at 1:01 am

    I received a call today as I was heading to work. This was the conversation I had.

    Me: Hello, How may I help you?
    Them: My name it Johnathan Stevens I am with Microsoft and your computer is sending us error messages.
    Me: Oh? Hold while I connect you to my IT department. One second please.
    Me (with Heavy Hindi Accent): Ello dis is IT Department, How may I assist you dis wonderous day?
    Them: (Silence for at least a full 5 count) Um Yes, I'm Johnathan Stevens with Microsoft and your computer is sending us error messages.
    IT Me: Oh? Error messages?? dis is berry berry bad. I do not know how such a ting could of happened. I tell you my friend dis sort of thing would never happen back home in my part of Pakistan. If such a ting would of happened they would be strung up that goat loving filth by their thumbs and skinned them alive. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get blood out from under your finger nails? I tell you, it's berry berry long.
    Them: Silence again. then CLICK.

    It was very hard to stay in character, thank goodness they hung up.

  14. Goth Doll
    October 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Relax man go nuts at them if you want to so long as you dont grant them access to your computer or use VM. They deserve it and winding them up is definetly a good idea. It adds a mental torment to their job that "sorry no thank you" doesnt give them and makes them more likely to give up and get a legal job.

  15. Kenneth Herring
    September 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Someone recently asked me how can people still fall for this since it's been around for many years. And response was that there will always be a new crop of users who haven't been exposed to theses scams and how to handle and fall prey. So I make it my business to educate people about security and what to look out for.

  16. Anti
    September 23, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I get these calls often. Monthly maybe. I've tried several different things, handing up, calling them out, playing along, leading them on a grand chase, letting them play with a severely underpowered vm (so it took forever for them to do anything).

    Today i got a call when i was just leaving work, i said i want in front of my computer and it would take me a while to get to it.
    5 minutes later he asked how it was going and i said i was still headed to the computer.
    Another few minutes and we had a similar exchange and i promised to let him know when i was at my pc with it powered on.
    I kept driving home enjoying the scenery.
    Eventually he asked if i was there yet and i said"oh no, it's going to be a while, I'm still diving home. "
    He said he'd call me back in an hour.

    I blocked his phone numbers.

  17. K-J
    September 23, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    That crap about Confusius in the end is silly.

    It's exciting and entertaining to mess with scammers, and it feels good because unlike with any other people, you know you can treat them anyway you like with full impunity.

    Want to turn it into a funny long winded prank call pretending to be computer illiterate, go ahead.

    Would you rather blow off some steam/agression. Go ahead and threaten, call them by slurs or play a really loud noises.

    Enjoy!

  18. ProfD
    September 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Let's be frank. The Government is doing less then nothing as far as limiting these attacks. And to be sure these are information warfare attacks. So if you have the skillset, virtual machines, and time, my opinion is by all means waste as much as their time as possible. The author of this posting cites a Confucian quote about revenge. Taking them to task is not revenge in my opinion. They called us, they attempted access to a protected computer system, and our wallets! For every savvy user that can waste some of their time, we may be preventing someone else from getting scammed. The higher road, from my perspective, is to run them off their road of scamming whenever possible. And to be sure, it can be done without getting riled up. I respect their tenacity, ingenuity, and creativity when they attempt to scam me. I do enjoy the adversarial engagement with them.

    Now the downside of my opinion is that such techniques give the scammers a training exercise of sorts, so that is something to be considered. They will eventually learn when they are being trolled. And one must also consider, as the author states, that being threatened in such a manner can be unnerving. But one must consider the source of such threats.

    Overall excellent article written by the author.

  19. Aaaa
    September 7, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Tell them you don't own a Computer and politely hang up. unless you're me. then get on a virtual machine and syskey their asses.

    • Mike
      September 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      How would I do this or something similar? I've been getting into messing with them with stuff like this.

      • Owen
        October 7, 2016 at 1:28 am

        There are programs like virtual box and vm ware that let you run virtual machines and you just need to have an OS image, then follow the scammers instructions and have a blast, if you are really nervous use a VPN and burner phone, then the scammer cant trace the call or you IP address.

  20. Jane
    September 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

    i have had a lot of these. They often ring my fax, work and home line one after the other. They are a.always men from India claiming to be from "UK Preference Service" or "Microsoft". I always get rid of them quickly but recently the number of calls has escalated. I had about 5 yesterday and I am very very busy working yet if I leave the phone I could lose work so I don't have a choce but to answer although by the end of the day yesterday the children were so disturbed by constant sales calls they made me take the phone off the hook.

    So I said I have had 10 calls to the man and he said good - the problem with yoru computer is so serious you need 25 calls. I always say I am registered with the UK telephone preference service and to take me off the list. I say it all within 30 seconds but it is still disrupting.
    I am moving my business to mostly by email anyway so then I won't need to speak to anyone but that is probably at least a decade away. Sigh...
    I certainly agree better not to get involved. Same at the door - we get people scamming vulnerable older people at the door around here. I always say I don't buy at the door and close it quickly. Don't let them get started in speaking to you.
    With calls however some of my clients start almost incoherent and with Indian accents so I cannot immediately hang up as it might not be a scammer.

  21. Kara H.
    September 1, 2016 at 2:27 am

    My first experience with Indian scammers was the IRS scheme. They were calling me 3-4 times a day. I originally thought it would not only be a good idea but was also my duty to keep them on the phone as long as possible, harassing them. I called them back repeatedly, telling them that I literally had nothing better to do with my life than to tie up their phone lines all day every day. That was back in December of 2015 through mid January 2016. They eventually blocked my number so I couldn't bother them anymore. I thought I had finally won. Unfortunately the calls started rolling in again around the beginning of August 2016. I've gotten calls EVERY day from every known scam since including Microsoft, IRS, foreign lotto winnings, lowering my credit card interest rate, car insurance and solar panels. I'm even getting text scams. They are relentless. I would love to block their number and go about my day but they seem to have an endless supply of numbers to call from. I usually play stupid and give them ridiculous answers to their questions like 25 digit long zip codes with letters in them. I started playing dumb today with a CC interest rate scammer and he picked up on my BS pretty quick. He started making disgusting sexual sounds and remarks, asking me to do sexual things to him or he would come and rape me. Obviously he's full of shit. I told him I would love to see him try while I shove my .45 up his ass and send the video to his whore mother who should've aborted him. ( he didn't like that ) Then I asked him how he felt about making the good, honest, hardworking people of his culture living in the U.S. look bad. I told him that people like him make their victims hate all Indians. His response was that he hates americans and will be smiling when we all die. There is no winning with these pieces of human waste. I would love to find out where they got my information from. I would love even more for them to be brought to justice and receive extreme corporal punishment, but that will likely never happen. Its gotten to the point that I want to change my number but we all know how much trouble that is. I haven't met anyone else that has been harassed to the point I have. This leads me to believe that due to my responses and engaging with them, I've given them plenty of reason to continue harassing me. So yes, it is fun and slightly fulfilling to mess with them but the end result is definitely not worth it.

  22. Malib
    August 31, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Does mentioning Kashmir bleonging to any of their national neighbors get any of them angry beyond belief

  23. MajorPatriot
    August 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    I take the phone out on the deck and blast my jet ski air horn into the phone....blows the little brown devil's eardrums out all the way over in Bangalore. Too bad we could't track the real IP address they are scamming on and send drones over and let Hellfire missiles rain down on the diaper heads, it'd be so fun to read that in the news......scammers killed in drone strike!

  24. Anonymous
    August 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    1-866-256-0981 Troll them all you like.

  25. David Little
    August 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I either hand the phone to my 5-year old, who can't stop talking herself, or I run the speech jammer app on my iphone with the earbud held up to the mic of my house phone. ;)

  26. Linda H.
    August 21, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I know it is a scam when I answer the phone...I just say, "How stupid do you think I am? I know all you want is my computer and my money. Then I start yelling "this is bullshit" They hang up pretty fast, but now that I have blocked the number I have had no more calls.

  27. aLmAnZo
    August 20, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I just ask them what they are wearing... that makes them hang up rather quickly.

    • Kara H.
      September 1, 2016 at 2:28 am

      Thats a good one!

  28. Ally B
    August 18, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I put my new number on the "do not call" registry, but was still getting a bunch of annoying robocalls. I stupidly thought that if I could talk to someone at the "company" making the calls, I could get off their list directly.

    Of course, I was wrong. The guy on the other end said that to remove my number he needed several pieces of personal information. I'm not quite that stupid, so I said no, I would not give him that information, resigned myself to individually blocking the numbers, as I have been doing for months, and hung up.

    He called back immediately (from a different number, of course) and said some EXTREMELY rude things to me, including threatening me and my family. I was very upset (his threats were violent and personal, and even though I know he can't actually do anything from his Indian call center it was still very jarring to hear). No one at the phone company or the FTC seems to be able to do anything about it, though they were sympathetic to my story.

    Back to blocking the numbers, I guess!

    • Kara H.
      September 1, 2016 at 2:33 am

      That is so frustrating! It isn't easy to let go and not get upset, no matter how empty the threats may be. I try to remember that they probably have awful lives and that is why they are so evil. They only have one outlet for their rage and that is us. It makes me feel better to think that they are suffering.

  29. Joe
    August 10, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Recently I have been informing these creeps that I practice Voodoo and that I just stuck a pin in their heart or other body part.

    On other occasions I have called them thieves and told them I had cursed their kids or parents causing them to get very ill in the name of my unholy father Lucifer.

    Most of the time no reaction but I could tall a couple of them got scared.

    I do this when they call on a VOIP line that I do not use. If they call on one of my main lines I just return the call on this one.

    • Kara H.
      September 1, 2016 at 2:36 am

      OMG!!!! I was just thinking of those exact things to say to them! Im going to do some research and find out their beliefs so I can get under their skin as much as possible.

  30. Susan King
    August 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Got two calls from them today, numbers were close but different. First guy got mad when I said no way and second guy seemed shocked when I said, now you will say you are from Microsoft and you want access to my computer...all from his accent at hello...he hung up faster than me. I am in Norway and these looked like Norwegian numbers....4791716200 and 4791726400.... Beware and don't we wish real cyber police could just blow up their computers and phones...with a phone call!

  31. Elle Whiting
    July 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I just had one and told her I didn't have a computer, to which she said I did. When I replied how or why she knew that, I was told that's a lie. I replied so you have actually rang me and called me a liar. I then said I wanted her name to report her, she very rudely answered for me to do that and put the phone down. Cheeky cow!

    • Matthew Hughes
      July 31, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Yeah. They're not the most polite people in the world.

  32. John
    July 28, 2016 at 6:11 am

    888-401-1038. Fake tech support scam where they make you download TeamViewer, remove a fake virus and make you pay.

  33. Matt
    July 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I got one just now. I didn't have the energy to BS him along, so I just hung up.

    Has anyone ever found out who/where these people are?

    • Matthew Hughes
      July 31, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      There are many different groups running the scam.

  34. Infyrin
    July 25, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I keep getting these calls periodically, not often as many have. There have been times where I just shouted "YOU'RE A SCAMMER" or how I fooled around by screaming "OH MY GOD! MY COMPUTER IS ON FIRE!" .etc before shortly hanging up the phone. But there's no point in that, they could come back later.

    My solution is - tell them you use Linux. They have absolutely no idea what Linux is, they can't explain it because they've trained themselves to frame around Microsoft Windows for years. If they are very curious, explain to them politely how Linux is not as immune to Microsoft and just for a small jab - immune to their scams.

    I think this may work if you tell them you use a Mac too or any other Apple product. But, I'd go Linux because they're totally lost in the woods on that OS.

    The idea is to be smug, not threatening. What's the worst that these guys can do? Sick the police on you from miles away? Don't be those idiots that push the envelope too far.

    • Infyrin
      July 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      I meant to say that Linux is very immune to viruses unlike Microsoft.

    • Selderey
      July 27, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Or better: create a VM with a more hardcore distro on it (Arch?), install TeamViewer or whatever, and see what happens when they connect

  35. Chief Ericsson
    July 23, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Just got one of those calls a few minutes ago. Now I am a computer tech, and a retired police officer of 25 years. When he started the spiel about being from Microsoft tech support, and asking me if I were the owner of a computer, I simply laughed and in my best mid-west hick voice told him I wouldn't allow one of those infernal machines in my Christian home! He hung up on me.

    • Matthew Hughes
      July 31, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      That's hilarious!

  36. Maureen
    July 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    My son got a call from a Microsoft Tech guy. Claiming his computer was infected. He knew instantly it was a scam. The "tech" asked him to open up a command prompt and he would remotely access his computer to fix it. While pretending to do as he was told he would yell out...."kids...quit kicking the dog" ! "Okay... you want me to command the computer to do what? " "Hey...put it back! And close the damn fridge"! "Okay....I commanded the computer to open up"! "Wait a minute....the dog just threw up all over the carpet"! Lays the phone down. Minutes later ..."okay I'm back. Now what"? Indian Tech..."Sir are you putting me on"? And hung up on him.

  37. Karen
    July 21, 2016 at 12:28 am

    I got four calls today from the same number - 202-352-4561, which on call reverse lookup said it was a cell phone. The guy said he was from microsoft and he was getting messages from my computer that it had been hacked. Earlier today, I had gotten two other calls that caller I.D said was from Isiah Lundberg, 507-845-2775 that said the same thing, only they weren't from Microsoft, but another company and I had hung up on them. So the second call I got from the D.C. area code (202), I was already supicious, so I told him that I would look at my computer because I always keep my remote assistance off and am on a secure network, so please tell me what the errors are that you are seeing and if I saw anything, I would call Microsoft back on my own. He then started to yell at me, claiming that I was no computer expert and he was the technician. So I just hung up on him.

  38. Samuel
    July 20, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I have just received a call from these guys and I tell them they are the dirty destructive people of India. The call just now:

    Me: You are the dirtiest people of India who make Indians all over the world look terrible. You are Indian, your name is NOT Paul Hanesworth. I know several nice Indian people and you are not one of them.

    Guy: Yes, my name IS P.H. and you have no right to speak about India that way.... (cut off)

    Me: In fact I do, I live in America, we have free speech and open arms to those who gratefully come out here for legalized citizenship and work their ass off to make money, NOT scamming people around the world because they aren't dirty people rolling around in their own shit and piss eating the droppings off food and bread from the dust of Hell they live.

    Guy: How dare you, I am going to have you pay a $1000 fine, you have no right nor merit to speak this way.

    Me: I dare you to even try. You cannot make me. Do you have my address?? I'll give you my address because I'm not afraid for you to show up at my front door.

    Guy: Yes, please provide me with your name and address.

    Me: (Provides fake name and then address of a police station in another state far away). I'll be waiting for your piece of mail to come in stating I must pay this "fine," since you're such a decent human being. If you are really who you are, your mail will go to this local police department and they will administer said fine to me themselves when they receive it; as this is how it works in America.

    Guy: **Click**

  39. posty
    July 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Your argument boils down to "scamming does earn enough money, therefore do not attempt to waste scammers time because they will still earn some money even if you mess with them".

    I see this as an argument to encourage more people to do this to remove the monetary incentive.

    Also, having worked in a customer service environment, even dealing with the below suggestion would be very taxing.

    Here's a non-confrontational way to deal with these calls, and I have done this multiple times. it doesn't even matter if they know about this, it's indistinguishable from the real thing.

    Once you detect the scam, say you need to turn on the computer so they can 'help'. apologise that it's a slow computer, say you need to put the phone down as its a landline.

    set a timer on your phone for 2-5 minutes - place phone in empty room of house.

    check back, apologise for slow speed of the computer.

    wash, rinse and repeat. insert some excuses - talk about your fictitious grandchildren.

    do this for as long as you want. maximum amount of waiting on their behalf, minimum amount of effort on yours.

    if they ask for a credit card number,you can get creative and read out half of a luhn algorithm generated number and hang up the phone.

    example: http://bradconte.com/cc_generator

    they will call back. say they have the wrong number.

    • Roll Model
      September 13, 2016 at 3:03 am

      I've been calling these people pretending to be the alter egos of superheroes because I know they don't recognize names like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. I play along with their scam for while, but then I start mentioning that I can see fly and through walls, at which point they usually hang up.

    • Abcdefg
      September 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Everyone.....call 9512405505 and waste their time....IRS scammers AND 8554428444....Microsoft scammers. WASTE THEIR TIME.

  40. Briet
    June 26, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I love keeping these guys on the line as long as possible. I'm retired, have the time, and enjoy it.

    I pretend to not understand their heavy Indian accents and ask if there is someone who is a native English speaker available. I then get passed to someone with, again, an Indian accent but possibly not as heavy and on and on we go.

    Sometimes I will play along when they tell me to turn on my computer. I tell them I'll go do that but it's sort of a slow computer. I put the phone down and go about my business. Usually they hang up after a while but some do not. I keep checking back every ten minutes or so and tell them "I'm so sorry. My computer is sooooo slow. But hold on, I think it's almost to the sign in." Etc.

    • Mauri82
      August 15, 2016 at 6:31 am

      The best and fun comment :)

  41. Kenneth Hamming
    June 24, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    This number 661-380-4615 just called to pretend to be Tech Support of Microsoft. They ask me to send them a cheque of $849.99 so that they can fix my computer but when i refused to pay they just crash my computer, then i realised that they're scammers. Either they call you or they just block your computer and force you to call them and then they try to get access onto your computer so that they can crash your computer after that you pay them. They seem to be Indians, they're hackers. Never call on this number and never take their calls. SCAM!!

  42. David
    June 24, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    A scammer just called me offering a grant from the U.S. government. I played Justin Bieber for him till he hung up. He made it through two whole Bieber songs.

  43. Cesar
    June 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I always call them and waste their time , and make them angry. Well those scammers won't mess with your phone number , they just continue on scamming , all they want is money.

    • bryce mundell
      June 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      whats the number?

      • Mario
        June 25, 2016 at 2:22 am

        Here's a grant number for you. 607-238-5261

        Here's one that says the IRS is going to sue you. 434-865-0742

        • Pierre Carriere
          June 27, 2016 at 12:59 am

          Are these both toll free? I heard some actually charge ridiculous rates if you call them...

  44. Josh
    June 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I was at my grandmother's house and she got a call on her landline, which receives calls almost exclusively from telemarketers. I answered it anyways and a guy with a thick Indian accent said they had been receiving virus reports from the Microsoft Windows Computer. My grandmother's computer is a very old desktop that is almost never used because it doesn't work right. I knew it was a scam and decided to play along a bit, so since they said Microsoft Windows I asked if it was the Mac computer that they were receiving reports from. The guy said something like "Yes, we take care of Macs and Linux, too. You have an Apple computer?" What a bunch of nonsense, I thought to myself. So I said, I'm sorry I was wrong it's not a Mac it's a Wabashaw. He asked for the operating system and I repeated Wabashaw. He was confused and put me on hold. A different man answered and asked for the operating system and I repeated Wabashaw. He also put me on hold and next time a woman answered and asked "What is the problem you are having with your computer?" I was tempted to say "YOU called ME," but instead I just explained that the others said there had been virus reports. She explained that the Microsoft and Mac tech support was together since I'd mentioned a Mac earlier. She then asked for my OS again and I said Wabashaw. She said "No, not the type of computer, the operating system," and I said Wabashaw. She then said sternly that that is not operating system and asked if I was screwing with her. I said no, so she told me to start my computer and tell her what I saw when it started. I told her I saw a dog with floppy ears and the name Wabashaw. She then asked me what browser I was using and I told her Palm Tree. She said "Palm Tree browser," and then got irritated, "Okay, this is what you need to do. Take your computer and put it in garbage. That is what it is good for you!" and hung up. I had them on the phone for only about 7 minutes but went through three different people! LOL.

  45. Pave
    June 14, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I tell them "I don't have a phone, how did you reach me?"

  46. Ray Klast
    June 10, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    last time one called me, I told him it would take me 30 min to go get the computer and put it together, hoping I could have him on hold, he agreed to call me back. about 1.5 hours later he called me back. I told him that I had found the computer and had it hooked up to my TV, and had the cassette tape adapter plugged in, but the 1541 disk drive wasn't quite hooked up yet because I had just got it out of another box. that puzzled him and he put me on hold. when he came back I told him that while I waited I had the 1541 drive all plugged in I had some disks ready if needed and the proceeded to describe the start screen colors and all and reading the Commodore 64 start screen from a picture I searched. that puzzled him some more and he put me on hold again. This continued until he finally figured out this was to old, I then asked "but you said that my computer was leaving messages on your server, I'm concerned how can I stop that. I led him on longer as he tried to explain why my computer didn't have the latest version of windows, I finally asked him to search what a commodore 64 was, and then called him on what he was doing or trying to do, he of course hung up. now I have not yet tried to call one of them, this guy called me!

  47. Donna
    June 3, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    I am at my wits end after still having about 8-10 calls come through daily despite having blocked about 6 so far in the past two weeks I have tried not answering, saying I don't have a computer, and even answering "operating room" and telling them they are calling directly into an operating room. This guy does not care. He swore at me when I got angry at him when he continues to ask for my info after telling him I'm an anesthesiologist on a private hospital phone in an OR. He swore at me and still calls. I have tried Verizon and FCC and a lawyer but looks like I'm having to resort to changing my number. This is so sick that no one can do anything.

  48. Thaddeus Buttmunch, MD
    June 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I get calls from Charities (sometimes Legit ones that I Contribute too-other times Not) from my Political Party (especially on even numbered i.e. Election years) and, of Course, the Scammers. The reason that "Screening Calls" is NOT IMHO a Good Idea is the Logistics of the Robocall. Things started getting out of hand in 1990 when that Technology Matured. The Do Not Call List HAS (Modestly) helped. At least MCI doesn't call to get me to switch from AT&T anymore, and I don't get calls from Dating and Travel Agent Services that I don't want. But charities and politicians are exempt, and the Scammers don't follow laws.

    For every 100 Robocalls, maybe One person picks up the phone. For every one of those, one to five percent-at MOST-Falls for it. Those latter people may be Demented or have a Mental Disability. If we ALL picked up the phone and wasted even a few minutes of their time-fuhGETaboutit-they're out of business in a month, whether they get one dollar/hour or not. With the charities, I take two minutes to get my credit card, speak Very Slowwlly to give them a wrong number, and when they say "it didn't go through" I say "you bet your ASS it didn't go through! I'm a Medical Doctor, get a REAL job and don't waste my Time!!"

    The Indians are not deterred by my having a Mac. I let them put some stuff on it, but then deleted everything (at least I THINK I did-lol.) There also are the Filipino Burglar alarm scam ladies, and Many More.

  49. Bad Branch Charlie
    June 1, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I just tell them I'm sharpening my knives 'cause I'm on extended vacation soon and will have plenty of time to come visit...

  50. Angry Person
    May 16, 2016 at 4:55 am

    I have been receiving calls from these fake tech support guys for over 3 years now. They call me during the week and on the weekends. They know I know they are fake. I often hang up right away. I pretend to be a business and not the person they intended to call. They haven't stopped. I'm actually going to have to change my phone number now. They have their friends call me now and they say awful things about raping me with their big, black c@?$s and say they are going to find me and do all sorts of nasty things to me. It's criminal and everyone should know it's fake. Our government should take action. They threaten violence and more. I'm not the only one. I'm just one unfortunately that they really like calling daily ? As soon as I get my business handled I'm going to change my number. It's been three whole years if not actually longer. I block their numbers each time. They called from one Saturday 042016. I have no idea what that number is.

  51. DIPESH
    April 26, 2016 at 3:50 am

    These all calls from India Noida Utter Pradesh,,, these all fake support offices open and indian govt and up govt and police helping them. these all fake customer support executive and technical support companies cheating to canad, usa, and uk people. please do something from these all three countries govt.

  52. Caroline
    April 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I got called by the support team as well, and it sounds like the same guy on the phone that called that man in BC. He called my home three times, each from a different number.
    The first time, I told him he's a scammer as soon as he said he's a rep from Windows, and he got all angry and started screaming at me. The second time, I said I don't need his service because I don't use Windows, and again, he got all angry and started screaming at me. The first time... my family picked up, I heard his voice and told them to hang up immediately. I looked up one of the phone numbers and apparently this guy has threatened to rob, rape and kill many other people across Canada

  53. Not on my watch
    April 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Scammer: “I’m a killer, not a scammer. Do you know what we do to Anglo people in India? We cut them up and throw them in the river“

    Correct response: Hilarious laughter

  54. John waltrich
    February 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I work on cultural sensitivities. I tell them that their mothers pics come up on my screen and I describe her being involved in the sickest sex acts: animals, "negroes", Coke bottles. Never ever called again.

  55. Carys
    December 31, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    If you want them to leave you alone, there is one that should work everytime.

    If they ask you if your computer is turned on, just say, "My computer is turned off. I will have to ask a senior member of staff if I may turn it on because I work with Metropolitan police.'

    I found that one in a computer magazine (computeractive or web user).

    • kaushal
      March 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

      hy cary how you doing/

  56. Ahmed Fawad
    August 19, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Hi! its a good post. scammer are destroying call center jobs. it hurts me a bit because i am struggling through my call center job (which by the way is legitimate job), maybe because i have under developing accent or maybe it's hard to convince people. I am from Pakistan, people do appreciate that I have good accent. but still in job one person ask me "you don't sound like Mark Anderson, you sound like Indian or something" which i have no answer to. Now i use my real name which is Fawad. but still people are not easily convincing. I wish i could have learn some computer programming or something.

    • Jack
      May 17, 2016 at 1:23 am

      your mother pics come up on my screen and being involved in the sickest sex acts: animals, “negroes”, Coke bottles

  57. Cat Nickelsen
    August 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I pretend to be 1900-babes and carry on the conversation in an xrated form. they will sometimes get offended and tell me its an obscene phone call. I tell them, hey you should report me. lets call it in together. I want to hear you explain how this obscene phone call was initiated by you. *blink, blink*
    I will also tell them I am trapped in the trunk of a car. call the police and get me out.
    or I am locked in a warehouse and they need to rescue me.
    or my favorite. tell them the job is done. get someone to clean the blood up. You didnt pay me to clean the blood.
    I let them go thru all their steps and try to connect to my computer. then I tell them I dont have internet when they cant connect. hahahahaha.
    they have for the most part stopped calling me.

    • Ahmed Fawad
      August 19, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Nice

  58. James Van Damme
    August 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    "Hold on while I boot up my computer/get my credit card....." then put the phone down and walk away. If you have a portable phone and the urge, go to the bathroom and treat them to the sound effects (bonus points for a #2). If they ask how it's going, say "It's booting really slow because of that virus, I guess...."

    This works better if you're retired and not expecting any important calls. This prevents them from calling other potential suckers.

  59. Jon Green
    August 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    For some reason, these people always happen to call just when I'm testing the smoke alarm.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 30, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      That's mean. ;)

    • Pierre Carriere
      June 27, 2016 at 1:08 am

      Nice

  60. Will Payne
    August 18, 2015 at 11:47 am

    NOTHING in the article gives me a single good reason why I shouldn't mess around with scammers. People taking the scammers for a ride are *not* getting "riled up and angry".. they're cheerfully wasting someone else's time. Also, if I wasted their time, it's not to cost them money, it's to cost them time. It's to frustrate them, to make them feel useless and to keep them busy when they could be bothering someone else. Above all else, I would waste their time for my own personal enjoyment.

    This is an utterly pointless article which fails to deliver what the headline promises.

  61. Lautice Marshall Colbert
    August 18, 2015 at 2:58 am

    I apparently have been assigned my very own personal scammer. We have quite the Frenemy relationship. He calls every 6 months or so from a new number (mainly because I blocked the previous ones) with a new scam. if he catches me on my 45 minute drive from work then we have the most meaningful conversations about how bad his life sucks to have to resort to such an occupation and then he gets sick of me and hangs up and life goes on. ????

  62. John Taylor
    August 18, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I ask them which Windows computer?... as I have 3. They say the Windows one... to which I respond which one? they all run Windows. The one running Windows 7... oh... ok. Which one? I have 2 of those. We play "who's on first" with what computer they say has the virus for 15 minutes, then I act like my mom when I'm trying to help her over the phone... going ahead of them with the instructions, navigating to the wrong places, asking stupid questions... you know, really make them work for it. Eventually one of us gets bored and hangs up. :)

  63. Dan Middleton
    August 18, 2015 at 12:12 am

    "It probably played on Jakob’s mind for the rest of the day, and deeply unnerved him."

    I mean, maybe if Jakob is a complete wuss, then sure.

    Oh wait, he's Canadian. Well...

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      That's mean. :)

      • Mihir Patkar
        August 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm

        SO'S YOUR FACE!

  64. John Kennedy
    August 17, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I work in IT as a Linux System Engineer. I keep doing what they ask on my home computer (I am 100% Microsoft free at both work and home). It never works for some reason. They will then ask me to download and install their software so they can show me what they are talking about. Again, that does not work. I never get confrontational with them and play stupid the whole time. I had one guy on the phone for over an hour. He then got his manager (ya, right) to try and talk me through it. In all I had them for almost 2 hours (you guessed it, I have no life). that was 3 man hours taken from them finding someone who would fall for it to scam.
    I had another one on the phone for almost an hour. 15-20 minutes of that was talking about Linux (I let slip that I could not do something in my terminal and he picked up on it - They are not all stupid apparently)

  65. Keith Neilson
    August 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I tell them I'm a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (I'm not) and they hang up immediately.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Which is hilarious because they quite often pretend to be Microsoft Certified engineers.

  66. Chip Burkitt
    August 17, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I tell them I run Linux. They hang up without another word.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      No surprises there. I tell them I've got a mac, and they hang up, too.

      • gcat
        August 20, 2015 at 3:21 am

        I told one of them that I had a Mac and they said they also work for Apple and wanted to continue the call.
        After that I now just say "Don't ever call this number again." and hang up.

  67. David Phetteplace
    August 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I don't often get these calls, but I usually do at work. I'm a critical care paramedic, so if I think they are a scam, I just ask them what their emergency is (we don't do dispatching, we are not 911). They usually will hang up since they think they might actually get in some sort of trouble. If that doesn't work, they get the hear the emergency radio for a little bit and a loud volume.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      That's golden. Although it's not ideal that they're calling the emergency services.

  68. Robert Michael Largent III
    August 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I got a call from a scammer at work for printer ink. He said he needed to send us ink for our printer.

    I said "ok". He then asked for the number on our printer. I told him he should have that number already if he regularly sends us ink.

    We were on the phone for 20 minutes while he tried to convince me to give him our printer information. I fianally told him I would go look and asked him to hold. I thin put him on hold and went to lunch.

    No idea how long he waited. For some reason he didn't call back.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Oh, that's mean. Funny though.

  69. Federico Durán
    August 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Since an incident of "virtual kidnapping" in my family (someone calls to inform you that they have been paid to kidnap a family member, but since they know that you are a good person they are willing to not do it, but they have incurred in expenses that need to be refunded, so...), I have instituted a family-wide policy: DONT ANSWER THE PHONE if the number is not recognized.
    If the virtual kidnappers can't contact you, they can't negotiate with you, and since they are not in the more difficult real-kidnapping business, they move on to the next mark. That also takes care of telemarketers and scammers.
    If someone wants to contact me from a new number, gmail me or text me.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Whut? That's the first time I've heard about virtual kidnapping. Can you tell me more about it? What country do you live in?

      • Federico Durán
        August 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        I live in Venezuela, and we have been dealing with this type of "business" from several years already.

        The excuse varies, sometimes it's kidnappin, sometimes it's plain murder. It usually goes like this "Is this Mr Hughes from makeuseof.com, who lives at 123 such street? I speak on behalf of the 'Black Eagles' organization, and we have been tasked to murder / kidnap / carjack your wife. But we investigated you and found that you are a person of good standing, and would not like to comply with the hit against you, but we need a compensation for the expenses we have already incurred...". It's easier than doing the real crime.

        It is run from inside prisions, some of which has internet access, swimming pools and even (wait for it..) night clubs and convenience stores inside. Take a look at reports like this one http://www.maduradas.com/encandalo-asi-son-las-rumbas-en-las-carceles-venezolanas-bailarinas-videos-wtf/ (in spanish).

        I know this is a tech site, but you asked...

        • James
          November 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm

          "we have been tasked to murder / kidnap / carjack your wife.". At that point you should have said "Oh really?? You couldn't have called at a better time! Currently I'm going through a very nasty divorce. My wife is a greedy bitch, & she's trying to take me for all she can get. The kidnapping thing sounds perfect. So just how much would I have to pay you for that service, & what's the soonest you can make it happen?? Oh BTW, how much extra for you to get her divorce lawyer, too?" LMAO!

  70. Rob Stevenson
    August 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I still think it's worth wasting as much time as you can, without adversely affecting your day!

    I had to interrupt one last week, "I'm sorry, it's obvious you're trying to scam me. I've tried to waste as much of your time as possible but I've got to go to work now."

    It's not about making it unprofitable. As said, it's pretty much impossible to make a meaningful dent in their margins.

    It's about keeping them on the line as long as possible so they have less time to convince someone less knowledgeable to handover money or computer access.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      That's a pretty fair argument.

  71. Susan Bellwood
    August 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I don't get these calls anymore (touch wood) since I ditched my landline. When the fake techies called about a virus on my pc, I told them I had a Mac. The next thing I heard was "click". I'm not real confrontational and don't like to argue because I get real mad, real quick. The other calls for carpet cleaning, new phone plans, etc. I would just tell them I was the housekeeper and "you'll have to speak to the head of the house, sorry". Bye bye!

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Ha, nice.

  72. jrhondeau
    August 16, 2015 at 5:27 am

    i disagree. telemarketers and scammers fall Into the same area of disgust. They are trying to swindle us out of our money. I have a SCREECHER handy. And when I'm sure it is a scammer I blast them. 40 Decibels

    There is one telemarketer that used to call several times a day. After a few calls resulted in the SCREECHER I haven't had them call me back.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      That's mean. Where did you get the screecher from?

    • jrhondeau
      August 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      After several days of receiving calls from the same person at different times of the day and late into the night, after being told I wasn't interested each time, I don't think it a bit mean.

      You can buy the SCREECHER from Amazon. I don't use it unless they continue calling when asked not to call.

    • Don Key
      September 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

      ONLY 40 decibels? Man, you wuz ripped off. Shoulda been at least 120 decibels. Demand yo money back... lqtm

  73. John Billot
    August 15, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I understand the rationale for this article and in essence it's probably the correct thing to do. However, I also think whilst they are on the 'phone to me they NOT on the 'phone to someone easier to fool or less knowledgeable about computers, our older citizens for instance.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      That's a pretty fair point.

  74. Mike Dunn
    August 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Tell them someone's at the door,and put the phone down,and don't come back.That wastes their time,but not yours.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Very true. Ever done that?

  75. Cheryl S
    August 15, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Telling them I don't have a computer usually gets them to hang up. Maybe they'll take my name off their calling list. Maybe I live in a world full of unicorns and rainbows.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Perhaps. :) Still an effective way of getting them to go away though.

  76. Roger J. Caldwell
    August 15, 2015 at 11:12 am

    If I can make the scammers day just a little more frustrating....mission accomplished. When they call, they have already presented an unwelcome interruption. So my motivation is to get them so angry that they threaten. After all, what are they really going to do? Paddle a raft accross the Pacific and then hitchike to the midwest? Not likely, but I can at least remind them how their mother was a whore that died of Syphillis, and their father engages in coitus with goats.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Roger, I just sprayed a fine mist of Pepsi over my computer. You owe me a new keyboard.

  77. Ryan McCallum
    August 14, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    “I’m a killer, not a scammer. Do you know what we do to Anglo people in India? We cut them up and throw them in the river“

    I'm not bad for laughing at this, right? That is absurd.

    It would definitely unnerve me too, but to jump from "hey, pay up money and we'll fake fix your computer" to "I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU"...

    • T
      November 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

      They forget that if they phone the wrong person there is a chance that it will be the other way round. It could be the scammer that is hunted down, cut up, and thrown in the river!

  78. John Everett
    August 14, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    You would think that they would be trained to hang up as soon as they realize that the goal would not be met, and move on to the next victim.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      But their time is cheap, and the rewards are pretty massive. That's why they're happy to sit on the phone for an excruciating 1 hr 30.

  79. Ben Stutts
    August 14, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    If you don't know precisely what you, and they are doing absolutely hang up. Leave the baiting to the people that know enough about what they are doing to string them along - above all. Never give them any access to any computer. And warn your family and friends about this scam.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Can't argue with that, Ben.

  80. Lynda Clayton
    August 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    It's best to just hang up. While you're wasting the scammer's time you're also wasting your own time. You're not going to get back that 15-45 minutes you just spent trolling and that time spent is better off going to a much more positive endeavor.

    • Matthew Hughes
      August 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Agreed, Lydia.

    • Dan Reese
      December 7, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      I speak to them just long enough to get them hooked, then say "someone just stepped into my office--hold on a minute". Then I just set the phone down. They stay on 5-15 minutes.

      Or more. One time I happened to be watching Scrubs, and I just put the phone down next to the speaker. When the show ended, they were still on the line, so I played Uptown Funk on repeat. They stayed on a long time. I guess they liked the music. And they didn't call YOU because I did that. Scamming them is the only way to fight back.

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