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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
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
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”
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
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
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. 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.
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.