Friday, June 20, 2008

Revenge on Telemarketers and Email Scammers

hitler on the telephone In my haste to answer a phone call recently, I managed to spill a glass of orange juice all over the keyboard of my new laptop. Imagine how angry I was when I realised the call was from yet another telemarketer. These calls can be relentless, and requests to stop calling seem to achieve nothing. Here are some ways to deal with these pests:

  1. The Seinfeld strategy: poiltely tell the telemarketer: 'I'm busy right now and I can't talk; give me your home number and I'll call you back later.' When they decline to give their home number: 'I'm sorry, I suppose that's because you don't want people calling you at home? WELL NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL!!!.'

  2. Three little words that work: 'Hold On, Please...' Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt. Then when you eventually hear the telephone company's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.

  3. Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' sales person to call back and get someone at home. What you can do after answering , if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialled the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!!

  4. When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of these come with postage-prepaid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 50 cents postage 'IF' and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away! In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage- prepaid return envelopes. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Westpac. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them $1.00 The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it... Twice! Let's help keep Australia Post busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea! If enough people follow these tips, it will work ---- maybe you'll get very little junk mail anymore.

  5. Do you ever recieve emails from people claiming to be the wife of the ex president of Nigeria or some such place, telling you that they have millions of dollars they can't get out of the country and if you just help them with $10,000 dollars to cover the transfer they will give you millions? Reply to the email and agree to the conditions. Tell them you will meet them at Nairobi airport (preferrably somewhere that requires them to do some very expensive travel) next Friday at 4.00am and that you will bring the $10,000 in cash. Of course DON'T TURN UP.

My laptop keyboard remained sticky for months. Taking a little revenge has at least given me some satisfaction and I haven't had any spam phone calls lately.


Gail Alexander said...

I enjoyed your posts about telemarketers. I don't even answer my land phone anymore. Anyone I want to talk to calls me on my cell phone. Actually I should get rid of my land phone!
I like your idea about using the return envelopes: renew, REUSE, and recycle. It is an environmentally sound idea, and funny too!
I still can't bring myself to do what my grandmother did with telemarketers - slam the phone back onto the receiver. They never called back!
My old favorite ways to get rid of them was to tell them I am just the babysitter, or I have to get permission from my husband first. Of course he doesn't exist but it came in handy. No woman can make a decision without her husband!?

Liam said...

Thanks Gail, you make a good point about this practice being environmentally sound. So much paper is wasted on unsolicited mail and flyers.

You really need a good old fashioned telephone to slam down the receiver; pushing the button really hard on your cordless phone doesn't have quite the same dramatic effect.

*No woman can make a decision without her husband, as long as he agrees with her.

HLumiti said...

An avenging angel you are! I intend to work on some Nigerian royals who've visited my inbox severally. Can't wait to invite them to Mombasa.

Just today I got a text message from some idiot announcing my lottery winnings. These are our latest scammers here in Kenya. Just ignored the fool though I wish I could get back at them in some way...

Liam said...

'An avenging angel': I like that; thanks. This form of revenge has been referred to as 'scambaiting'. The ultimate accolade among those who engage in this activity is getting a death threat from the scammer. The more you annoy them, the better.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I didn't know some of the techniques you listed here. I will have them try them when they call..

Your Fun Family said...

I have thought about emailing those fake lottery and other money claim emails back with my own spam email with my affiliate ads in them. It would probably look bad for my business though so I have not.

Liam said...

I doubt a human would ever receive those spam emails. They are generated by robots and sent from non existent email addresses. I've had them 'spoofing' my mail server; (back scatter) making it look like the spam is coming from me! I took steps to remedy this.

I've been using an email filter called 'Spam Bayes' to exclude junk from my Outlook inbox; it's great! It's heuristic: it learns what to put into junk based on your actions. It just adds a couple of buttons to the toolbar; contains no ads. It's also free. You can download it here:

Sueblimely said...

I am on the "no call" list but the telemarketers manage to get round this by various means such as calling it research - to try and hide the very obvious fact they are selling.

I try and get rid of them asap - if from a telecommunications company other than my own I will immediately say "I think you have made a mistake, I do not have an account with you" and put the phone down.

One quite interesting call recently was from a so called investment broker from Panama trying to convince me to buy at least $10,000 of gold futures. I kept him talking for a while - the guy really knew his stuff and I can see how people get sucked in.