Web Culture

5 Great Ways to Wind Up Telephone Scammers

Joshua Lockhart 26-02-2013

For a while, there has been a trend that involves internet scammers posing as customer support and calling up innocent people only to falsely inform them that their computers have viruses. The scammers in question will then request for remote access to these computers, allowing them to acquire all kinds of information and data. Sometimes, they will even ask for personal information right over the phone.


More recently, scammers have gotten smarter and know how to scam their way around 2FA protection and steal your money from right under your nose.

However, you can fight back, and the best way of doing so won’t take that much of an effort from you. The best way to wind up a telephone scammer is by keeping them on the line. Why is that? Well, if they are wasting their time with you, then they can’t get to anyone else.  Below are a few ways to make that happen.

1. Act as If You Are Tech-Ignorant

how to get back at phone scams

One method of keeping those nasty scammers at bay is by acting ignorant of all things tech. For reference, imagine the worst of the IT help phone calls you have ever heard. When they ask you to type in “w-w-w”, ask them if it should be all upper-case or all lower-case. If they tell you to turn on your computer, ask them where the power button is.

Basically, imagine the best possible ways for you to sound as if your brain is completely and utterly void of all technological knowledge.


2. Act as If You Are Completely Ignorant

phone scams how to stop

You don’t have to let your faux ignorance remain in the world of technology. Why not act completely stupid instead? I’d recommend doing this because it is incredibly easy to do. The only problem you might have is keeping yourself from cracking up on the other end of the line.

Here are a few suggestions – forget how to spell your name, periodically ask them when the pizza will arrive, inquire as to how attractive they are, etc. Chances are that they will continue to try to sound as kind as possible.

3. Explain That You Have to “Go Get Something”

phone scams how to stop


The one thing these scammers want is your information, and they will do anything and everything to get to it. They are evil little monsters, appeasing you one second and then stabbing you in the back the next. Why not use their temporary desire to please against them? Right in the middle of your conversation, tell them that you have to go get something like the laundry, a package, a pot on the stove, etc. Any of these will do.

However, the catch is that you should leave them hanging for about an hour or so. Trust me, chances are they will stay on the line, and if you aren’t too worried about your phone bill or getting other calls, it will be worth it.

3. Tell Them Someone Is at the Door

phone scams how to stop

In the same vein as saying you have to go get something, you could also inform them that you have a visitor at the door. Realistically, this is the same exact method as the one mentioned above. However, I recommend having a bit of fun with it. If you have the gift of improv (as well as a knack for coming up with different types of voices), come up with characters and a scenario and let it play out for a few minutes.


If desired, bring the scammer into the scene, allowing each of your characters to pick up the phone. This is a great way to waste their time while having a little fun with it.

4. Give Them an Expired Credit Card Number

how to get back at phone scams

I wouldn’t do this simply because it is technically giving out personal information, but I have seen it happen before. If asked (for whatever reason), you can always give the scammer an expired credit card number How Credit Card Fraud Works and How to Stay Safe Credit cards and gift cards are regularly stolen. How do thieves get your card? How can you keep safe from credit card fraud? Read More . However, make sure this card is old – like more than a year. For instance, cards that are recently expired can sometimes be used within a certain grace period. With that said, this is another level of frustration that the scammer will have to deal with.

5. Just Hang Up

In the end, you can always just hang up the phone. No, this won’t delay them and keep them from harming other individuals, but it will as sure as heck get them out of your hair. Sometimes, there are people who simply aren’t worth it.


If you want fewer scam telephone calls in general, you can either route your number through Google Voice or get a free phone number and give that out instead of your real phone number.

And the next time you’re dealing with a suspicious phone call, watch out for these telltale signs to check if you’re dealing with a scammer 7 Telltale Signs You're on the Phone With a Scammer Thieves use all sorts of phone scams to rip you off. Here are some telltale signs that you're talking to a scammer on the phone. Read More .

Image Credits: zigazou76, eurleifcogdogblog, lemonhalf, Cristiano Betta, 401(K) 2013

Related topics: Online Security, Scams.

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  1. Dan Connell
    December 8, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Here's a great one for people who ask for your SS number. Tell them it's 9. When they ask for the rest tell them that's all it is. Tell them you're old enough to have gotten one of the earlier ones, or that you inherited it from a grandparent.

  2. Elizabeth
    April 28, 2018 at 11:16 am

    When I get scam calls I play the Russian National Anthem - all the way through (YouTube has a good selection). Works wonderfully for several weeks.

  3. Ninguem
    March 26, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    If you know it's a telemarketer / scam number, you can allways answer the phone saying "Welcome to the house of pleasure and pain! How may I dominate you?"

  4. Freddy
    February 1, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Scammer call me .he try to get my computer information while I was driving I pretended to be at my computer and everything he told me to do I stumbled through and when he got to the point where had he me typing my response was "O good God you've deleted my computer it crashed" "oh my God what do I do"" what do I do". he then panict " control alt delete, CONTROLL ALT DELETE, control all delete" you can drag them into the conversation by Fakeing some disaster and blaming them.getting them to panic as well.
    Then calmed down and started all over again, OK what would you like me to do. when he got to the point where he had me entering his code, I claimed "oh my God you delete all my mother's funeral pictures"" oh my God what did you do, help me". his response "CONTROL ALT DELETE....CONTROL Alt DELETE". I did this about 4 times before he got so mad you start cussing at me and yelling at me and telling me he was going to do things to my family...... His response with so worth my time I laughed for 2 days...

    • Sharon
      April 7, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Classic! Too bad it's not on video. I love messing with these douchebags. LOL

  5. Chad
    January 26, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    I got this one scammer that called me when I was walking home one day. Said that my computer is sending out virus reports. So I pretended to turn my computer on, sounded very concerned, and when he asked me to do something I said I can't the virus is too strong its not letting me. And that my computer kept shutting off. Meanwhile I'm leaning on the guard rail trying my hardest not to laugh. But after about 20 minutes he got mad, and started cussing me out. Then I said so are you going to help me fix my computer? Then he said "Your mom's a whore" then hung up.

  6. Erin Campbell
    September 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I like to play along for a while then tell them that Karma is going to paralyse them in a car accident and kill their children because of the scam.

  7. The Equalizer
    April 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Here are a couple more ways to frustrate them.

    1. Tell them you are very interested in purchasing a high volume of their products...ask them if they provide volume discounts...they will transfer you to a supervisor where you can waste lots and lots of his time. Get his name an then in the middle of the conversation tell him you will call him back..he will give you his number. Try to get a mailing address but that's usually impossible. The key here is that now you have a number to dial them back. Post the name and number on as many complaint boards as you cana along with the approach. People will soon seek revenge in high numbers. You can then call the guy back and waste more time. Or..if the callback goes to the general number then report it to consumer affairs and then have fun dialing them and doing things like asking them of they are ashamed working for a scam company..as soon as they hang up, call again...do it for as long as you can. I would sometimes get the same people and I'd ask them if they thought hanging up on me would get rid of me. Of you do this long enough and fast enough I've actually had people beg me to stop.. it's hilarious..waste as much of their time as you can.

    2. Collect all the numbers you can get that are real dial back numbers and set up and auto dialing system to repeatedly dial them back, tying up their phone lines and taking their revenue to zeros for the day..then call back and tell them you will stop if they really do take you off the call list....I have an Indian pharmacy calling me and every couple months I use this technique becau see they put me back on the list and call twice a day.

    Personally these parasites are annoying but they are ripping people off especially older folks....revenge should be swift and overwhelming because nobody in the govt is doing anything about these worms.

    Happy hunting folks.

  8. Kat Chow
    March 23, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Got the computer scam a while back. I acted nervous and concerned. I told the vulture that my brother has my computer and would he call him. The vulture was eager to call him. I gave him the number for the police department, ask for Mr. Bolo in department 1055.

    We have not received any more of the computer scam calls in a long while. I know we can't stop these scam vulture calls but this has helped us.

  9. Newland Archer
    December 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I always say my cell phone is running out of battery - and I really want to keep talking to them and ask if they'd call back on my land one. Then I give them the phone # to my local FBI office. (I keep the FBI number on hand in my office so I always have it. )

    • Tina
      January 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      That is a brilliant idea

  10. nunja biz
    November 19, 2016 at 1:19 am

    the fake.microsoft liscense scammers are from india.I just go to google translate and type ina very long nonsensical rant. then translate to hindi and press speaker button when i get them on the line. can usually repeat quite a few times as they pretend not to understand.

  11. I scam the scammers
    November 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    646-612-3456 Cell phone, New york
    This number is the typical. We have an error from your computor, give uf your info, asian accent scammer. Lets make em suffer shall we? I know I will. XD

  12. Joy
    September 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Just a few hours ago I received a call from a scammer with a slight Indian accent. She said "Hello, I am calling from the 'National Service of Landline and Mobile Phone Calls'. I continuously yelled into the phone "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! I THINK WE HAVE A BAD CONNECTION!!" When really I could hear her perfectly fine. She did nothing and the lady kept saying "Can you hear me now? Now? What about now"? And after pretending to finally be able to hear her, she told me that from now on, "All of your landline and mobile calls will be untimed and completely free". I yelled into the phone, "THAT'S AMAZING!!!! OH MY GOD IT'S THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!" And since I didn't have a whistle, I just screamed into the phone. Then I hung up.

  13. Barbara Brennan
    September 8, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    If you have small children, tell theme that their favorite TV character is on the phone and wants to talk to them, then put them on the phone.

  14. Chunky
    May 2, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Had one today I was being a smartass and hung up after about ten minutes of banter they rung back about five seconds later so I played some porn two minutes went by and they hung up

  15. CatChow
    February 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    When I get the computer virus call I tell them my husband has my computer with him at work and he can call him. They agree to call him so I give them the phone number for the police department and for them to ask for Mr. BOLO. The calls have decreased.

  16. Pip
    February 5, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    - Hello
    - This is "Microsoft Service Support"
    - Yes?
    - We've detected a problem with your computer
    - What computer? I'm 92 years old and I use a typewriter. Thank you

  17. Mark
    August 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I told the guy that the phone I was on had a cord. I asked him to call me on another line so I could sit in front of my computer. I then gave him the number for the local detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police! He said he would call right away!

  18. Mark B
    March 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I love this stuff. I used to get annoyed with cold call scammers, but then decided the best thing is to wind them up and waste *their* time, e.g. I've done the "sure, sure, oh wait I left some toast in the toaster and it's starting to burn, can you hold on while I sort it"....
    Sadly, most scamsters are wise to the usual wind-ups. But I got one good a few weeks ago: This guy calls and asks "Have you had a health and safety inspection on your roof in the last 10 years?". (This was so implausable.) "No" I said, going along with it. "Well, you need to have one." "No I don't!" "Yes you do, you're legally obliged to". "No I'm not" "Yes you are, you can be arrested if you don't" "Ok, call the police then" "I will!" "I'll just wait for the police"...
    And so on, me laughing, but the funny part was the guy was getting really angry, yelling at me and threatening all kinds of legal action. Finally I said, "Sorry, I'd love to stay and chat some more, but I've got work to do." and hung up.
    I doesn't end there though, after the call I pressed 1471 and to my amazement got a number. So I waited a while and tried the number which was engaged, but after a few attempts, it rang. The guy answered, and I said "You called me a while and threatened to have me arrested". "No I didn't". "It was you, I recognise your voice". After a silence, "How did you get this number?". And I said, "You're not very good at this, are you?". "What?". "Telephone scams." (More shouting) I hung up.
    And finally, I Googled "PPI claims" and submitted his number for callback to several PPI claim websites. Get one to annoy another! :-D

  19. Fran
    March 8, 2013 at 1:21 am

    When I see a telemarketing call coming in on my caller ID, I answer the phone, " Thank you for calling the Better Business Bureau. How may I direct your call?" They NEVER call back. It works 100%

  20. Ed
    March 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    When they call, I ask the question like, Where are you calling from, what time is it there. I notices the area code you are calling from what town are you calling from, what's the weather like there. It went so far one time the caller said "I think you are an a-hole aren't you". I laughed out loud and said BINGO! Yes I am. She hung up. Great fun!

  21. guy
    March 5, 2013 at 5:38 am

    I love when i get spam callers from India or Pakistan or somewhere and they have the most english name they can imagine.
    "hello my name is Tom" with an accent so thick you wonder if the actually speak english.
    To these people i love to respond in kind.
    Instead of my english name i am now Akbar or muhammed. Then i start trying to sell them stuff, like a left handed screwdriver.
    many lulz

  22. John Walker
    March 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Any phone calls I get from scammers/spammers/telemarketers I always say this"
    "Hi, I'm so glad you called, I am recording this phone cal", and before I can say anything else, they hang up and never call again.

  23. Susanne
    March 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I've tried a few different tactics, but the one that works best is handing the phone over to my three year old daughter. She'll happily engage them for ages. :)

  24. scam killer
    March 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I've got a whistle. I just ask them to "Wait whilst I get something", then get the whistle and blast them with it. I take satisfaction from it that the blast injures them is some way. What are they going to do? Track me down?

  25. Dave Jarratt
    March 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    My caller had a slight Far Eastern lilt in her otherwise impeccable voice. I got the Microsoft Tech Dept bit,complete with virus talks and offers to help.
    I asked her to hold a second as all our calls were recorded and my (imaginary) IT Dept would use the recording to correct my (imaginary) departments machines,
    Suddenly the smooth voice trembled and she gabbled away to a man close by.
    Panic set in when I said I was ready to record and they fled.

  26. Kathleen McCarthy
    March 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I have a ball with telemarketers. I put them through hoops and loops constantly. I love to ask them when they have dinner, what their phone number is and when asked why, I tell them "I will call you back during your meal time as you seem to think it is the best time." The response is usually "I can't give you my phone number" then I start with my questions until they get so frustrated they just hang up.


  27. dragonmouth
    March 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Despite of all the tricks and suggestions by posters above, the scammers are making enough money to keep them from quitting. While it may be fun to pull their chain and rattle their cages, after a while it gets old and a waste of time. Lately we've been getting a lot of robot-calls. None of the suggestions and tricks work on those.

    While my children were young I would let the scammers talk to them, instead of me. Or I would let the scammers talk to my dog. She thought it was great fun an d she would yip and yap and bark. Then sometimes I would blow a whistle. I also spoke to the scammers in a foreign language. Now I just use my answering machine to screen calls. If the caller leaves a message, I call back. Most of the time they hang up without saying a thing.

  28. rhaphazard
    March 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    For those of us who are bilingual, handing the phone off to the "non-english speaking grandparent" is always fun.

  29. danny b
    March 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

    told my machine has a virus by some clown and i use a live linux cd everytime i connect to the net

  30. ReadandShare
    March 2, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I have neither the time nor the patience to do anything other than quickly saying "no, thanks" -- and then just hang up.

  31. June Dykes
    March 2, 2013 at 1:50 am

    We got a call from a guy with an Indian accent, blows through the whole you have a virus and I am calling from WINDOWS. That's when I told him don't you mean MICROSOFT lol Then a few choice words and I hung up.

  32. Wendy Boudreau
    March 2, 2013 at 1:28 am

    after reading Rob Hindle's comment below I have to say I agree with him....and boy, did I EVER have to learn the "hard" way :(

  33. Wendy Boudreau
    March 2, 2013 at 1:23 am

    OHHHH, just read comments below and remembered the company was from INDIA, not Africa, sorry!

  34. Wendy Boudreau
    March 2, 2013 at 1:19 am

    well THIS article is MADE for me, lol. Actually I REALLY wish I had found THIS site 13 months ago. I got taken for a VERY EXPENSIVE ride by one of these stupid companies! I really WAS completely ignorant, the guy kept getting mad at me and told me to stop moving my mouse because HE was controlling it remotely. I had NO clue what "remote" was and kept trying to type stuff in and move the curser. Unfortunaely, they took me for over $100. FIRST off they "organization" that it showed ON the computer said they were in the USA but I found out later they were in Africa (TOTALLY different laws there! First I gave them 1 credit card #....it was denied (found out later my bank KNEW of this scam), 2nd card supposedly "didn't work" (but they GOT $59.99 out of it???) then I gave them my paypal acct info, where they not only took ANOTHER $59.99 PLUS they tried to "arrange" a "monthly payment plan!!!!!!!) The original offer was a ONE-TIME flat rate of $29.99, YEAH RIIIIIIGHT! I was literally on the phone with them for close to 1 1/2 hrs, during that time they also "hacked" my email and set up some kind of "stuff" (I an SO NOT computer smart"). I had to cancel ALL my credit card, close and re-open a NEW paypal acct and had to create a NEW email acct...Boy, did I get ripped off! I SURE could have used THIS site LAST year, thank GOD I found you!!! o.O

    • guy
      March 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

      are you RETARDED why so many CAPITAL letters. SHOULD I call you a DOCTOR

  35. Shawn
    March 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    My buddy got one of these a while back when they were first starting. Having his own software development company, he tends to be a little handy with computers. He fired up his virtual machine and let the scammers in. Oh the fun.

    Here is his fun write up about the encounter with a screen recording to go along.


  36. Rod
    March 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    In November I got the "Tech Support" call, from 00 216 3631663 (Tunisia!). They did know my service provider, which was good, I thought, for such an amateurish scam. I had them holding for ages, asking them all sorts of silly questions, while they tried to get me to download TeamViewer.

    I ended up sounding so confused that the guy ended up getting his 'manager'. My final sentence, before they hung up in frustration, was 'And this will work on a Mac, right?'

    Didn't even get a 'no' from them before resuming work on my laptop.

  37. pdog
    February 28, 2013 at 4:02 am

    I just say "I don't have a computer"... And they shut up and go away

  38. Dee Wheat
    February 28, 2013 at 12:34 am

    I'm telling you....a boat horn, which is dirt cheap and lots of fun except when it scares the crap out of both dogs (literally!) not only puts a stop to it but will effectively put them out of action for hours because it temporarily deafens them, particularly if they're wearing a headset, which most do.

  39. Adrian Rea
    February 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I dont know if it works on VOIP but I would speak very quietly and then blow a whistle down the phone as hard as I could.!

  40. Rubis Song
    February 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    LOL! this is great tips! I have never had a "chance" to get a call from our friends scammer, but certainly I will share with friends and family about that. Thanks

  41. hotdoge3
    February 27, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I try and keep them on the line for as long as possible and in the end say my sun is a IT man and he fix wen he gets home from work and you ring back to talk to him if you like I think they not like

  42. Daveytay
    February 27, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I have had a few of these over the past few years, and I politely advise them that I work in IT. Immediately, I complement them on their English and then ask them to use their good English speaking skills to get a better job in a different, and honest, call centre. These people are POOR, and are trying to feed their family.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      I suppose you're right. They too, are just doing their job (telemarketing), but scamming is a different matter entirely. I just wish people would stop mixing them together. Some telemarketers are legitimate, if a bit annoying.

      • Rob Hindle
        February 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        No telemarketers are legitimate if you're on a "do not call" list, but that doesn't stop them. Anyone who calls me trying to sell (or more often scam) is low life scum in my opinion.

    • scam killer
      March 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Here's my answer. DON'T BREED. Then there won't be a problem. There is so many of them, the population needs thinning out anyway.

  43. alex
    February 27, 2013 at 5:02 am

    I tried a different approach last week: when told I had won a free meal kit with many 'wonderful packets of food' (and was asked for my credit card number to arrange for more), I politely thanked her and said that "when receive my free gift I was only too willing buy more". LOL

  44. Jeremy Garnett
    February 27, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I find out who they represent, then say I'm busy and to call back in an hour. Then I save their number and set my phone to block all their calls. The one time it was a legit number, they left a message.

  45. Flatt
    February 27, 2013 at 12:35 am

    For about six months, I had a real telemarketer breaker, fool proof. Every time I received a call from a telemarketer, I would get my three year old grandson to answer the phone. My grandson was one of these kids that never shut up. One stupid telemarketer even asked him for his credit card number. I heard him telling them that he did indeed have his own laptop, his laptop was a three-word speller, to him it was a laptop.

  46. Al
    February 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    i just pretended to be following their instructions, all they asked me to do is send a remote assistance invitation to some an IP address they gave me. i kept pretending to try and make it work, they were surprisingly helpful, then i got bored and told them as impolitely as i could what i thought of them. I've been playing with the Idea of setting up a sacrificial PC just to see what they want to try and do. Has anyone else tried anything like this?

    • June Dykes
      May 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Is there anyway to send them a virus when they try to remote access you?

  47. Khai
    February 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm


    hello this is the computer support department

    what can I do for you?

    your computer is sending out important information

    it is!?

    yes, your computer is sending out important information

    can you tell me what?

    it's just sending out important information!

    oh my god no

    yes, your computer is sending out important information

    oh my god. have you got the pictures of me , the goat and the lubrication?

    ...he hung up.

  48. Garris Rago
    February 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    For telemarketers I feel bad about people who don't treat them nicely. I like to end the conversation politely but very abruptly as not to lead them on and waste their time. If it is a particular company that keeps pestering me I can get angry and demand that they take me off their list, and if they persist I like to play tricks. I've often done the acting dumb one to scammers, or saying "I work for the internet" to which I get "excuse me" and reply with "It's ok I'm from the internet" something along those lines usually gives me a good chuckle.

  49. Dave
    February 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I told them i was very concerned and that i too was a tech support person and that i would have record the call for their protection and mine. It worked real quick!

  50. Mart
    February 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I got one of these calls a few months ago - after I told scam-guy that I had worked in tech support and therefore knew a few things regarding technology, he couldn't hang up quick enough, :D

  51. Brian Smith
    February 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Tell them I need to turn down the TV. Leave them there just hanging!!

  52. ramases
    February 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I like to string them along for a bit - making them wait while I start up my very old computer (and I do something else) and then very slowly double check their instructions to check for viruses/error messages. Then, after 30 minutes or so I ask where they are based and how they got my number. When they ask why I tell them I work with Interpol as a computer security and fraud consultant and that I want to pass on their details so Interpol can contact them .... guess what happens next ?

  53. Steve
    February 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Phone Sales and Scams have been going on for years. I remember my grandfather telling a story about an aluminum siding sales guy who was always calling at dinner time so gramps decided help somebody out and keep him on the line so he couldn't call anyone else. He began asking questions about how good the siding was, how they worked around the windows and doors and such. Then when the sales guy asked him when they could come out to do and estimate gramps told him Oh, sorry I was just interested in how it all works, my house is brick; at which point the sales guy hung up on him in a huff. :-)

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Cool gramps.

  54. Victor Ong
    February 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Awesome post! There are a few other ways, I think those were listed a while back in another post. Something along the lines of "Where is my linux start button"?

  55. Judith
    February 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I have never received one of these calls. I could have sooo much fun with them if I ever did. It would be just delightful to play around with them. I have played several of the nigerian scammers. After about a month of their nonsense I got tired of them and turned them into the USPS since they had sent me fake post office money orders. They are just to easy to identify that they are scammers. Anyone who, in the first ten sentences these idiots type, that cannot figure out what they are is just as ignorant and mentally ill as these scammers.

  56. Mats Svensson
    February 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I usually tell them to hang on a sec, while i turn off the stove or something.

    Then I put down the phone an go watch some TV or whatever.

    Some hang around on the phone for a surprisingly long time.
    Sometimes you can hear them yell stuff...

    You waste my time, I gonna waste yours.

    • Jason Nunya
      February 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      I used to get a lot of calls for "switching long distance carriers". I'd tell 'em "Oh, well, no, sorry, I don't have a phone." and just wait.
      You'd be surprised how something so simple could stop so many right in their tracks. Seriously, a bunch just had no idea what to say next. If the silence lasted 3 seconds (it often did) I'd just quietly hang up.

  57. Frances
    February 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I ask them, "Which computer?' which stalls them for a minute, then they try telling me my internet is down. I mean, how do they know I have a virus if they cannot connect to my computer?? You can go on quite a while like this.

    The best one was when I said to him "i can't believe you guys are still doing this" and then started laughing. He started laughing too and we both laughed happily together before I hung up.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      --> He started laughing too and we both laughed happily together before I hung up.
      Best reaction ever.

  58. Amy
    February 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I don't have a phone. I just have a cell phone so I don't get these kind of calls. :-)

  59. johnbuk
    February 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    As a Linux user I had great fun going through the process trying to follow the instructions from "Microsoft support"as they tried to get me to install their software to help me overcome the "virus I had". Managed to tough it out for about 10 minutes before the guy started to smell a rat.

  60. Trevor
    February 26, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I respectfully disagree with the advice to give scammers an expired credit card number. Technically, it is fraudulent and may be used against you, especially in a recorded call. And morally - telling the lie puts you on the same level with scammer

    • Nedward
      March 2, 2013 at 6:40 am

      Fraudulent? Giving false credit card info to a fraudulent concern. I doubt it. The string is cut right there. Nevermind that they must tell you that the call is being recorded- and if I am incorrect on that try to prove that I did not accidently use my old card. Justice takes many forms and we cannot count on laws to cover us in every event of our everyday lives. The morality of any form of punishment or retribution can be argued. I believe that lying to and deceiving a scammer or crook is a morally just and virtuous act.

  61. Ashwin Ramesh
    February 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Yes, just hang up! I most often do that if they annoy quite a lot ;)

  62. Lee
    February 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I've seen a lot of videos and articles about these scammers, and I almost want them to call me just so I can mess with them.

    Some of the things people think of is hilarious. I've seen people set up Windows VM's just so they can let the scammer remote in and see how much they screw it up.

    • guy
      March 5, 2013 at 5:47 am

      oh wow i have to do that. never crossed my mind to put the thieves in a vm. genius

  63. Chew Jian Yue
    February 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Well, this tells me what we can do if we meet a scammer.

  64. Rob Hindle
    February 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Do the maths before embarking on a time-wasting response.
    In UK most of these calls originate from Indian call centres and they are using VOIP (like Skype) so the connection is costing them virtually nothing.

    UK minimum wage is around GBP 6 per hour value your own time at at least that level.

    The average annual income in India is about GBP 600, less than GBP 2 a day, maybe 30 pence an hour. Now who's the mug when you waste an hour of their time? It's cost you GBP 6 and them GBP 0.30

    You will find that many scam calls are a two tier operation. The task of the original caller is to identify whether you are a genuine target or a waste of time. At the next level, taking the "Microsoft tech support" scam as an example what happens? They convince you that your PC has a virus and offer a technician to examine your PC using a service like LogMeIn to access your PC.
    Result: they have access to all your confidential data, these are crooks, what are they going to do with it?
    Alternatively they offer a virus removal tool for maybe GBP 10, you pay by credit card - so youi've now given your card details to a crook.
    They send you the virus detection tool. They are crooks, it's nothing of the sort, it will be a trojan so they can take control of your PC whenever they want.

    You are now the victim of identity theft. Not only does that mean ALL your financial assets are at risk but in the US the cost of recovering your identity is estimated at USD8000.

    The bottom line is that even if the scammer just gets as far as selling you some fake software for GBP10 you've paid their wage for a week. At that rate of return you wasting a few minutes of their time really makes no difference. In practise one successful scam victim can easily be robbed of the equivalent of 10 year's average income in India. The average theft from a succcessful Nigerian 419 scam is GBP 30,000 (Nigeria's average annual income is similar to India). That's more than an average Nigerian's lifetime income.

    Translate that to UK terms (average income over GBP25,000): how many time wasters would you tolerate if one "sale" would get you GBP250,000?

    If the Caller ID doesn't show a number I recognise I often let the call go to answerphone. If I do pick up, maybe because I'm expecting a call, but hear an Indian accent I just put the receiver straight down. Occasionally that's a genuine call from a UK organisation with call centres outsourced to India like some Banks. Not my problem, the better organisations never did outsource or are moving call centres back to UK, the rubbish ones can go hang.

    In the past I have been called from India at 3am, trying to sell me double glazing. On another occasion the caller asked in an indian accent "Am I speaking to Mr XXX, I said "who's calling" so he repeated "Am I speaking to Mr XXX and I again said "who's calling" to which he responded "**** off you ****" and put the phone down.

    • Prafulla Bhalde
      April 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      UK minimum wage is around GBP 6 per hour value your own time at at least that level.

      The average annual income in India is about GBP 600, less than GBP 2 a day, maybe 30 pence an hour. Now who’s the mug when you waste an hour of their time? It’s cost you GBP 6 and them GBP 0.30

      This is plain slander, suggesting that all the scammers come from India, my country.

      I hereby request the administration of this site to please remove this comment from the board, and give proper warning to this user.

      • Rob Hindle0
        April 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        I wrote "most" not "all" scam calls are from persons speaking with an Indian accent, in my personal experience that's about 99%. If you read this and other threads on Make Use Of you will find many other references to that a common experience.

        Or you could try a Google search for: indian phone scams, I just did and got 44 million hits (compare with "nigerian phone scams" gets under 7 million... not that I've ever had a nigerian call but they come second in the common perception of countries associated with scams)

        The problem is recognised in the Indian press, example: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/info-tech/online-fraud-across-countries-linked-to-indian-firms/article3965418.ece

        Don't shoot the messenger.

        • Prafulla Bhalde
          April 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

          @ Rob Hindle0


          Google is a lovely thing.
          Try Googling "brithish phone scam"

          THIS is what i got :

          About 8,770,000 results (0.27 seconds)
          Search Results

          How many hits are those? compare with indian scam.

          Prejudice is a bad thing. and you are not even willing to accept that you _are_ prejudiced.

          You even didnt scroll down the page, when YOU Googled, to find out, that from page one onwards, the resuls start talking about some other things like "indian" or "phone" or "scam" not having all three words together.

          Please, come out of your prejudiced mindframe, and look at it again.

          Thank you very much.

        • Rob H
          April 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

          "How many hits are those? compare with indian scam."
          Answer: 5 times as many for India.

          But you are right (in one respect), many of those pages Google found may include only one or two of the words and even when all three are present they may not be as a single phrase. It's better to do an "exact phrase match" search on Google so all three words have to be together on the same page. You do that by putting the phrase in quotes which I just did:

          "british phone scam" 4 results (including one Google omitted as similar to other results).

          The omitted result was a duplicate of one of the other 3.

          Then I took the time to look at those 3 web sites.

          One is an email dated 1987 that includes the sentence "I don't recall being satisfied that there was no British phone scam."

          One is a newspaper from 1991 reporting a group of 10 students in Britain, from Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and India being involved in a telephone scam.

          The third is more recent, 2007, and the report is based on the (commonly faked) caller ID showing it as originating in UK.

          I'll leave it to someone else to do the same exercise in respect of the 39,700 results Google found for "indian phone scam". To eliminate the possibility that, like the "british" search results, these were all from many years ago I repeated the "indian" search limiting Google to results from the past week: 18 results.

          Tina's comment below is perfectly correct.

      • Tina Sieber
        April 4, 2013 at 9:59 am


        The problem is not where these calls originate from.

        Rob wasn't generally slandering India, it was just an example. As a matter of fact, most call centers are located in countries with low wages. And India happens to be one of the biggest such countries. It's not a secret that a lot of big companies have outsourced their call centers to India. Obviously, spammers and scammers are taking the same route to increase their profit.

        The point Rob was trying to make is that because call centers are located in countries with extremely low wages compared to the target countries of the scams, there is no point in engaging with the scammers from an economic point of view.

        Now you can take offense that Rob chose India as an example, but I'm pretty sure Rob didn't mean to offend Indians.

        If anything, workers in low wage countries should be offended that they are not paid proper wages and that scammers and spammers give their country a bad name.

        • Prafulla Bhalde
          April 6, 2013 at 8:32 am

          Rob wasn’t generally slandering India, it was just an example.

          But after reading his comment above... and the kind of "Proofs" he is giving, you can decide what it really is.

          Maybe, let us say, that he didn't mean it ~s~

  65. Macwitty
    February 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I use to forgot I use mac when the "Windows support" call. The one who call and want to sell another phone subscription use to start with - You use (phone company name), right? Then I use to ask You use pants/briefs/after shave or what comes into my mind, right? When they confirm I continue to offer them better alternative. Instead of pants could skirt or dress to be nice even though they probably would have shave their legs first. I continue until they drop the line

  66. Eserpess der
    February 26, 2013 at 3:52 am

    I came up with this wonderful idea where i had a rash in between my legs. I told the $h!t all about it, for about an hour. It was grate fun my most problematic part was trying not to laugh.

    • Ed
      March 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      A rash between the legs BRILLIANT! I'll have to use that one next time. Maybe hemroids.


  67. Jeff
    February 26, 2013 at 2:44 am

    I recently pulled the tech ignorant gag on a guy. Told him I had a one button mouse and was running Windows 93. Wish i had recorded it.

  68. Janet
    February 26, 2013 at 2:06 am

    My fav--I tell the scammer/donation seeker/sales rep that i don't live there, do they have a message I should give the owners? If they have the nerve to ask when they'll return, I give the total brush-off, "Next year, I'm just housesitting." Works like a *charm*.

  69. Luke
    February 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

    "Just hang up". I have many times, but then I realised - if I do just hang up, then I am simply releasing the scammer to call someone else. Instead, I try and keep them on the line for as long as possible, using some of your above tactics. I do this because, the more of their time I use, the less profitable their business will be. Eventually, if enough people were wasting their time, their business would become unprofitable and their model would fail.

  70. Ray
    February 26, 2013 at 1:41 am

    The trick with a scammer / telemarketer (at least here in Australia), is that you know when you have one on the phone, the caller ID says either 'overseas' or 'unknown' and there is that awesome satellite delay.

  71. Ray
    February 26, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Most recent one i had was from a person apparently calling on behalf of Microsoft Support (or they were from Microsoft Support).

    I was basically: "Yeah, my computer has a virus, it's bringing up porn ads all over the place.", The scammer hung up. I was rather disappointed, was about to say it was 'girl on girl' action.