Saturday 12 September 2015

How to stop scam phone calls!

Nearly every day this week, at around 1pm, I get a call from a 'TalkTalk ISP help desk' scammer who says that I have a problem with my computer and she asks me to install and run TeamViewer so they can take over my computer and 'fix' the problem. They promised me £200 compensation too! I know this is a common scam - see here and here. I also get calls from the 'Microsoft Windows department' for the same 'problem'.

I tried just hanging up the phone, but they still call back the next day. Call barring did not seem to work as they kept calling on withheld or different numbers.

I am getting really fed up with these calls, so for the next few calls, I got them to hang up by telling them I knew all about computers as I was a Microsoft engineer. They usually hang up immediately!

Once, I let them connect to a new VirtualBox Virtual Machine running a bitdefender bootable ISO and TeamViewer - that really foxed them but they still asked me for my debit card details so they could 'credit' my account!

My next attempt to prevent the calls was to keep them waiting as long as possible while I 'turn on' my computer and 'run backwards and forwards' from the fixed-line phone in the 'hall' to the computer in the sitting-room and follow their instructions (just pretending). I pretend to mistype everything, misunderstand them and generally play 'stupid' until I get fed up with wasting my time as well as theirs and then hang up. At least they couldn't call any other victims whilst they were talking to me.

By now, I am now getting VERY annoyed with these guys - you'd think they would give up calling my number, wouldn't you?

This lunchtime however, I got really fed up when I got the phone call (always from an Indian call centre). Here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hello

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer: Hello, is that Mr Steve XXXXXX? I am from TalkTalk and it appears you have a serious internet problem on your computer, blah, blah, blah, blah.....

Me: Oh dear!

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer: Please go to your computer and turn it on.

Me: OK - wait a while, it will take some time to boot it up...

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer:  No problem, I can wait...

Me: You have a nice voice...

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer: Thank you.

Me: How old are you?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer:  22

Me: Oh, that is quite young - the computer is just booting now...

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer: No problem, I can wait...

Me: Can I ask you a question whilst the computer is booting?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer: Yes, of course

Me: What colour panties are you wearing?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer:  (pause...)  THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Me: Aw, come on, tell me... Are they pink?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer:  (silence)

Me: Red, maybe, or white?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer (more silence)

Me: (in a low creepy voice...) Are you wearing any panties at all?

Female 'TalkTalk' scammer WHAT!

Male 'TalkTalk' scammer: Hello, this is the manager. What did you say to my operator?

Me: Why, is there a problem?

Male 'TalkTalk' scammer: You should not say such things!

Me: Do you want to report me to the Police? You have my name and address and telephone number. After all, you called me - I didn't call you. Why not make a formal complaint? Of course, you will have to provide all your details too...

They hung up!

I wonder if they will call tomorrow?

I feel no remorse, they are scamming people by asking for their bank details and are withdrawing £1000's from their victim's bank accounts. The operators have been trained in what to say and they know exactly what they are doing. They are criminals.

OK, I know I was naughty - but why can't I fight back by making them uncomfortable? Maybe it will make it harder for them to keep their operators after spending time and money training them.

What do you think? Tick one of the Reactions boxes to let me know.

P.S. OK - the calls didn't stop - just got my usual 1-2pm call today from a different female scammer - so I said the same thing again and it's really interesting to hear the different responses to my 'innocent' question! They expect us to be respectable, law-abiding citizens so that they can rob us with impunity - well I am not just going to hang-up immediately and give them an easy time!

P.P.S - the Indian 'TalkTalk' calls seemed to have stopped now.

Telephone Preference Service for UK

Even though I have put my name on this free list, I still get cold calls.

If you are called by a UK cold caller, I have found that the following works remarkably well...

I just ask 'Have you heard of the Telephone Preference Service?'. When they say 'yes', I simply tell them I am on the list and that it is illegal for them to cold-call me - please can they remove my name from their list? For PPI and 'surveys', this seems to work really well; they apologise and hang up and don't ring again! They 'know' it is illegal but they ring anyway. If you report them, they can be heavily fined.

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