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Time to hang up on scammers?

By johnboy - 22 March 2012 35

hang up button

The Fair Trading Commissioner, Brett Phillips, is offering advice on what to do with phone scams:

“Whereas the trend in recent years has been for scams delivered online, in 2011 over 50 per cent of scams reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission were perpetrated by phone.

“Canberra consumers, however, need to remain vigilant to scams delivered by any means and not engage from the outset.

“With scammers now targeting consumers in a myriad of ways, it is more important than ever to stay alert to scam approaches. A phone call, SMS, mobile app, house visit, letter, email, fax, blog post, online chat or dating service – scammers will use any of these means to target victims.

“The key message for consumers and businesses is, if you receive a scam, slam it, press delete, throw it out, shut the door or just hang up!” Said Mr Phillips.

Apaprently this is part of Fraud Week.

Now here’s a question readers, how do you spot it’s a scam?

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Time to hang up on scammers?
farnarkler 6:39 pm 22 Mar 12

I had a good laugh at the expense of one of these scammers. She said she was from some computer company in Sydney. I asked which part of Sydney and she said George St. I asked which part of George St, down by Circular Quay or up by Central Station. She said she wasn’t allowed to roam during the day and then she hung up. Quite amusing.

Wokie 6:28 pm 22 Mar 12

Bosworth said :

I recently received a phonecall with the scam: “we are from microsoft, your computer is broken, please give us remote access”.

‘My compuer is in the other room’, so I came back to the phone every 5-10 mins, stringing them along for about 90 mins. Eventually they got annoyed with being polite, so they moved on to the impatient hard sell. I gave them my credit card number (http://www.fakenamegenerator.com), to which they charged $299 for anti-virus software. This improved their demeanour, so there was again lots of back and forth to the Computer In The Other Room, for 5-10 mins at a time. They gave up after 2 and a half hours!

good times.

Well done!

Holden Caulfield 4:34 pm 22 Mar 12

These stories are good, but really, are they any more satisfactory than a forthright. “F@#K OFF!”?

Deref 4:31 pm 22 Mar 12

Bosworth said :

I recently received a phonecall with the scam: “we are from microsoft, your computer is broken, please give us remote access”.

‘My compuer is in the other room’, so I came back to the phone every 5-10 mins, stringing them along for about 90 mins.

😀 You beat me. I got bored and told them to f*** off after only an hour.

Duffbowl 4:20 pm 22 Mar 12

I noticed recently that they are *slowly* learning. The call centres no longer claim to be Microsoft, but belong to an anti-malware company. So far, I’ve been told McAfee and Symantec, but I believe that I’ll eventually hear all the bigger companies.

In response to these calls, Mrs Duffbowl and Miss Duffbowl simply hang up. I’ve occasionally taken it further. I’ve:
– played the fragile person who panics when they get the news, and tell them that I’m suffering from what appears to be a heart attack;
– been naive, and had them step me through everything, only to say “Oh, I don’t have internet on this computer”;
– let them talk me through the instructions, then ask what to do if I’m operating Linux;
– told them I run a knock-off PC business and have about 30 machines connected to the internet;
– told them I run a botnet and have backtraced their call and will be launching an attack against their workstation;
– provided them with the credit card details for an account that was shut down about six years ago;
– spoken to them about finding Jesus (he was behind the couch all along);
– asked them what they were wearing and if they mind if I masturbate to their voice;
– suggested that their call was preventing me from completing the slaughter of my family for various honour crimes;
– talked to them about bestiality, particularly with cattle.

Oh the fun that can be had!

Dilandach 4:03 pm 22 Mar 12

patrick_keogh said :

Wasting their time is the important thing.

Absolutely. Hanging up on them does nothing, they get that a lot. Stringing the call out with the empty promise of getting money out of you… that really annoys them. It throws out the stats of whoever calls and is money wasted by whatever sweat shop it is.

Genie 3:47 pm 22 Mar 12

It’s more fun stringing them along with the Microsoft virus by telling them after about 15 mins that you own a Mac or don’t even own a computer. I even told them I had a laptop once and that I don’t even have the Internet. Then they hang up on you 🙂

At one stage I had Superannuation companies calling me doing their ‘annual surveys’ to confirm contact details, such as address, phone numbers
. As they called from private numbers I refused to give ANY details. Their first question was always please confirm your DOB so we know we are talking to the right person. Then they would ask for my phone number.. Apparently telling them the “number they called me on” wasn’t good enough.
I’d pester them for a number I could call them back on which they wouldn’t give so I would hang up.

Still to this day I don’t know if it was a scam or a genuine call

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:30 pm 22 Mar 12

Bosworth said :

I recently received a phonecall with the scam: “we are from microsoft, your computer is broken, please give us remote access”.

‘My compuer is in the other room’, so I came back to the phone every 5-10 mins, stringing them along for about 90 mins. Eventually they got annoyed with being polite, so they moved on to the impatient hard sell. I gave them my credit card number (http://www.fakenamegenerator.com), to which they charged $299 for anti-virus software. This improved their demeanour, so there was again lots of back and forth to the Computer In The Other Room, for 5-10 mins at a time. They gave up after 2 and a half hours!

good times.

I too take a perverse pleasure in jerking them around. Sometimes I say random strings of words, then deny saying anything, burp loudly, flush the toilet, etc.

As you said, good times.

patrick_keogh 3:21 pm 22 Mar 12

Bosworth said :

I recently received a phonecall with the scam: “we are from microsoft, your computer is broken, please give us remote access”.

‘My compuer is in the other room’, so I came back to the phone every 5-10 mins, stringing them along for about 90 mins. Eventually they got annoyed with being polite, so they moved on to the impatient hard sell. I gave them my credit card number (http://www.fakenamegenerator.com), to which they charged $299 for anti-virus software. This improved their demeanour, so there was again lots of back and forth to the Computer In The Other Room, for 5-10 mins at a time. They gave up after 2 and a half hours!

good times.

Wasting their time is the important thing. They stay in business so long as the dollars per hour that they spend for their sweatshop call centre and IP telephony system is less than the dollars they make from the scam. So “qualifying out” by hanging up fast does not hurt them, they just go on to the next mark. I have had about a dozen of these “Microsoft computer has a virus” calls. My strategy is to just waste some time, typically about 10-15 minutes but at the same time establish a conversation with the agent about family, cricket or whatever. Then when I have had enough I switch to “How do you feel about working in a job where you have to lie and cheat? How does your family feel about it? Are there other call centre jobs that you could try for that don’t need you to lie and cheat?”. Often they say “it was the only job I could get” in which case I sympathise.

At the end of the day eroding their business model is all we can do.

Bosworth 3:05 pm 22 Mar 12

I recently received a phonecall with the scam: “we are from microsoft, your computer is broken, please give us remote access”.

‘My compuer is in the other room’, so I came back to the phone every 5-10 mins, stringing them along for about 90 mins. Eventually they got annoyed with being polite, so they moved on to the impatient hard sell. I gave them my credit card number (http://www.fakenamegenerator.com), to which they charged $299 for anti-virus software. This improved their demeanour, so there was again lots of back and forth to the Computer In The Other Room, for 5-10 mins at a time. They gave up after 2 and a half hours!

good times.

Watson 3:03 pm 22 Mar 12

I just have a rule that I never act on any phone call from a total stranger. I don’t buy anything, I don’t sign up for anything, I don’t donate anything and I sure as hell won’t give them any information about me.

Fortunately signing up with a pretty small VOIP service provider seems to have made me invisible to most organisations who are in the habit of harassing people, including the chuggers.

Erg0 3:00 pm 22 Mar 12

Ways to detect a scam:

1. Research and extrapolation – A large proportion of scams use one of three or four basic models. Reading others’ stories of being scammed/nearly scammed will mean that you’re alert to these immediately, and will also be able to spot common signs of a scam (e.g. asking for a payment through Western Union, which seems very popular right now). FBrowsing through Scamwatch (linked in the article above) is a pretty good start.

2. Common sense – if something doesn’t seem quite right, it’s probably not. Based on own unscientific research, 99% of threads on Whirlpool that ask the question “Is this a scam?” are answered in the positive.

Jivrashia 2:55 pm 22 Mar 12

Anyone know about this bloke who works on an oil rig and wants to send an agent to purchase cars/bikes/caravans/whatever off you?

screaming banshee 2:41 pm 22 Mar 12

30 minutes ago I received a call where they opened with “This is a very important call” and something about google. That combined with the call-centre noises in the background resulted in immediate hangup.

AKT 2:21 pm 22 Mar 12

Woo Hoo my mobile number just won £900,000 GBP the other day…all I have to do is email my personal details to…..

If it sounds to good to be true then in all probability it is.

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