Stories > Society

People Share The Best Ways To Annoy A Telemarketer -- And We're Taking Notes

Everyone gets telemarketing and scam calls. The question is what to do about them. Ignoring them does nothing; neither does blocking their number. So maybe the best idea is to mess with them. Next time one calls me, I'll tell them I'm dead.

Niel15 asked Reddit: What's the best way to annoy a scammer by phone?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.


IRS scams are fun. Tip: the IRS never, ever calls. Snail mail only.

Basically be a contrarian.

I got a call from the "IRS" one time saying I owed them tons of money or I would go to jail. I told them I had already been to jail and wasn't afraid of going back.

They said they would repo all my possessions and I told them I was basically homeless and didn't own anything.

They said they would contact my family and try to get the money from them. I told them I was adopted and didn't have a real family.

The last thing he told me was that he was in the process of contacting the police and I told him I was already at the police station.

He hung up pretty angrily.

velour_manure

Yes, when these guys call saying they have a warrant, I just ask them which police station they would like to meet at. They hang up immediately.

GollyWow

My IRS scammer was sooo mad at me. I began to hit on him, telling him how seductive he sounded and powerful and dominant and I'm sure he was just a rippling specimen of man flesh...he had the nerve to hang up.. I told him I thought we had a future... so sad

patiencecat

Powermove: Call them back and ask for him specifically. Especially if you "want to come back on the deal". Then start flirting even more.

Clayman8

The phone chain, nice.

At our shop one of us will answer and say, "oh you need to talk to Dave about that. Hold on." Then Dave will get on in a minute or so and say, "that's above my pay grade. Lemme transfer you to chuck," and so on and so forth, around and around. I think our record is ten transfers before they just hung up.

Led_Halen

I've done this when a scammer called at my job. We transferred them eight times, and at one point they were on mute for fifteen minutes, and I was listening to the call. Dude literally says "I think these people are f*cking with us." Still takes three more transfers to hang up angrily. Loved wasting their time!

PM_ME_YOUR_VEXATION

Hey man, every minute they spend being trolled by you is one less minute they spend scamming someone else so, thank you.

reloadingnow

That's always my thought... if I'm holding them up, that means they aren't preying on someone that they might actually scam. I'd rather waste their time and frustrate them, which sticks with them way longer than just not answering or hanging up. The more of us that do this, the less profitable and lucrative this becomes. =)

PM_ME_YOUR_VEXATION

Turn the sale around. Literally.

This question reminds me of my grandfather. He use to get calls from scammers and try to sell them stuff. A conversation would go something like:

Scammer: "Hello sir, we wanted to let you know that you are eligible for a discount on your life insurance policy. All you have to do is give us some information and we will apply the discount. "

My Pap: "Great! Just give me one minute..." (Holds for a minute). "So I have this 1997 Chevy Cavalier. She has high miles and a little rust on the door, but I can part with her for...a grand? You interested?"

Scammer: "No thank you sir. But back to where we were. I just need you name, address and social security number to veri-"

My pap: "Boy you drive a hard bargain. How about $750? That's more than fair."

Scammer: " Sorry sir, I'm not interested. Like I was saying..."

My pap: "$500!"

Scammer: "Sir!"

My pap: "$450. Hell at this point I'm practically giving it away!"

Scammer: "Sir I don't want-"

My pap: "Okay, $450 it is. Phew, you drive a hard bargain. Now all I need from you is your name, address, and social security number and we are set."

Scammer: "Have a nice day. (Click)".

I use to love staying at my grandparents house and hearing him do stuff like this. Thanks for reminding me of some great memories.

tommygun0612

This reminds me of something my grandpa would do.

More then once I saw him look at his phone, curse under is breathe, answer it, then follow up "have you ever really pet a cat?" And go on a long spiel about how petting a cat is the greatest stress relief in the world along with where to pet them depending on the cats disposition.

The best was when he got the windows scam that went around years back. All of his answers were: pretend to do it; sorry you've interrupted my cats nightly petting he just keeps walking all over my keyboard.

Theymademepickaname

They have to complete the script, no matter what.

I had a lady trying to get me to come look at some timeshare in Williamsburg, VA.
Telemarketer: So, do you have kids?
Me: Yep!

T: Great! You can bring them with you, and we'll put you all up in a hotel room!
M: Oh, that'd be awesome
T: So, how many kids do you have?
M: Seven!
T: Wow!
M: yeah, I'm the luckiest man in the world. I've got 7 daughters, and they all HOTTTTT.
T: Well, ummm. You'd have to have 2 hotel rooms, which we can do
M: Ohhhh no. They all sleep with me.
T: GoGoZRX, you can't have 7 people in the same hotel room.
M: wait, I can't? I told you they're all hot, right?








I was impressed.... she continued with the spiel.

gogozrx

Boom.

"Hello caller, you're on the air!"

symbiosa

I personally like going with "Thanks for calling W94.5 FM MONDO MUNDO! You're on the air caller, now WHAT'S YOUR LUCHADOR NAME!".

DavyJonesArmoire

Loved the Toyota Mustang.

This morning I got one of the car warranty ones. I told them I had a 1983 Toyota Mustang. They told me to have a nice day and hung up.

I think next time I'm going to try to get a warranty for my jaguar, and watch as they slowly realize that not only am I not talking about the car company, I have also mistaken my standard-sized domestic cat for a much larger cat.

scgtrp

I told the last car warranty telemarketer that it was great that they called because my car was acting up.

"How long has it had problems?" she said.

"Ever since I went to the gas station and filled my tank up with milk," I said, with a dumb, confused persona.

"Why would you fill your car up with milk?"

"Because my brain told me to."

the-robo-boogie

I like to try to convince them I have a dwarf living in the trunk named Roger. Who whispers performance upgrades.

Coffeezilla

Paying for utilities in gift cards is not a thing.

I used to work in a restaurant and we would get scam calls saying we need to pay them now or they are going to cut off the business's power. They would claim they had their person outside right now but if you pay them in ~gift cards~ now they wouldn't cut it. The craziest thing is the caller ID would even show up as the power company's name.

So we always knew it was them calling and would take turns f*cking with them. We would always play along and say we were going to get them and so on, and then as soon as we claim to have the gift card and they are ready to take the numbers we'd go, "oh wait, I'll just pay this online"

They would instantly hang up.

rihannaiguana

Y'all need to start collecting used gift cards, like for Walmart or whatever. Start stacking them by the phone. Read off the numbers. After reading off a card, move it to the bottom of the stack. Are they really going to test the numbers before they sell them? Either way you waste their time.

dragontology

If they don't test them before they sell them, then you are not wasting their time at all. They still make a profit.

PracticingPoetry

This will definitely do it.

"Have you read YOUR bible today? God is coming and theres nothing you can do to stop him starts reading bible scriptures"

They usually hang up on you after the 'today' part.

LD107

God's snow will embrace you and you can NOT stop it!

cheeseboy157

Worth a shot.

I answer with "hi, I'd like a large half mushroom half pepperoni pizza for pickup". They either chuckle or get mad before hanging up. If it automated, I press 0 until I get someone or it hangs up.

ruscanskyd

Try pressing 2. A lot of places will use the same software and leave all the settings at default. Pressing 2 usually takes you off their calling list.

Laser_Lens_4

Until it re-adds you a day later.

MasterTiger2018

Nailed it.

I told one (in English) that I don't speak English. English is the only language in which I'm fluent. He was very confused and angry.

DisplacedNovaScotian

I have done this before as well. The guy kept insisting that I was speaking English to him. I just kept repeating "I'm sorry, I don't speak English" and other variations.

Cytorath

No no no, YOU don't understand. I don't speak English. Clearly you are not understanding me.

redpurplegreen22

"Frankly, I'm getting quite exasperated now. The English language is one that I have no grasp of and furthermore, I take your accusations to the contrary as a personal slight of the highest magnitude. Unless you are willing to transfer me to a member of your staff who can speak my language, I simply must bid you a farewell."

Snooch1313

Fight fire with fire.

Act like another scammer.

MemeJuiceCo

"Sir, we've called you because we detected issues with your comp-""

"Thank you for calling tech support, how may I help you?"

allstarissey

No...sir, we called you due to a flag that your computer has been infected with malicious software. We can restore you to a backup from yesterday that our system created. Please confirm if you would like to proceed with a resolution.

RememberWhen1357

You have malicious software on your computer? Well I could restore a backup that our system created if you'd like to proceed.

allstarissey

Sir, we need to get your contact information.

SkeletonJakk

Alright, I'm ready to take down your contact information. Please start with your telephone's area code.

Crakkerz79

I'm both triggered and in awe of this thread.

AdeptOrganization

Keep them on the phone, no matter what.

If you have time. Go along with it but act really f*cking stupid.

Or just waste their time with silly questions. Put them on hold for ages. There's so much fun to be had.

I get the ones about being in a car accident and asking if I want to claim compensation a lot. I just play along then when they get to asking what injuries I sustained I tell them I died, or tell them my head came off and I can't get an erection any more.

TheJugg4nought

I got one of those "free" vacation calls once and kept the guy on for awhile. He named some kind of resort with a long Latin-type name like "La Costa de Salamanca Verde" or something, so I asked him to spell it, but not before "getting a pen" of course. I stopped him multiple times to clarify letters.

"T..."

"D..."

"No, T"

"B..."

"T as in Tom"

"Okay, T..."

"A, as in apple"

"A as in what?"

And so on.

He asked me if I had kids.

"No... not anymore." (stole that from Aways Sunny)

And I would just be contradictive about everything.

"You can sit on the beach with a margarita..."

"Oh, I don't drink."

Stuff like that.

I think he started to catch on though. Eventually I said "you know, I don't really like the beach" and he hung up.

Brawndo91

"Do you have kids?"

"Only when the medication wears off"

gamingfreak10

I like that this could be imaginary kids the medicine stops you from hallucinating, or real kids that the medicine helps you forget.

CMcAwesome

Welcome to Hell.

I recently discovered that rubbing your finger over the speaker on your phone generates the most terrifying and demonic sound that's ever come out of a phone. Pair that with some whispering and maybe a little Latin and you can really spook people.

XOlenna

I had a phase where I would just shriek as loud as possible into the phone, hopefully giving them a scare in their little headsets.

CaptNemo131

Start out by whispering your answers, so they turn their volume up. THEN yell/shriek at them.

thebluehawk

This person knows how to do it.

I kept getting robo calls about car warranty stuff, so whenever they would come on the line I'd say I own a 2016 Chevy Ligma. Most of the time they would hang up. One time it happened that it was an older lady, so I hear her in the background asking coworkers about "What's a Chevy Ligma?" I hear someone tell her to hang up. About a week later I get a call from the same people. I tell the guy, it's a 2018 Chevy Ligma. He just sighs and says "Man they got in the system as a 2016 and I can't believe someone put that in there, you think that sh*t is funny? ligma balls, ligma nuts, you need to grow up." I was laughing too hard to say anything at that point. I haven't heard from them since.

Other great things to do, act really interested in whatever they are selling, but tell them your phone is about to die and request a number you can call them back at. If they give it to you, harass the sh*t out of em, then if they send you to voicemail leave messages like you're their party bro and you just scored a bag of coke. Most of that shit is monitored.

juggilinjnuggala

you think that sh*t is funny?

"OBVIOUSLY!"

mycatiswatchingyou

And finally, the Seinfeld way.

Seinfeld did it best.

"I'm really busy right now, if you could give me your home number I'll call you back tonight. No?"

PM_ME_WORKNUDES

Oh I guess you don't want people calling you at home.

"No."

Well now you know how I feel.

Click.

frozenmildew

What's your defense when a telemarketer calls?

Relationships are hard. Finances are hard. Making things work with someone from a completely different lifestyle than your own is hard. Being in a relationship with someone who has a lot more money than you can be like a perfect storm of "oh no." When that perfect storm slams into the fragile isles of masculinity and societial expectations ... well ...

Keep reading... Show less

Famous and highly regarded people have delivered famous last words on their deathbeds for ages, and we can only hope to be as eloquent as them when our time arrives. I like to think I'll be too busy concentrating on my laborious breaths to focus on whether I'm being eloquent or prophetic, but you never know.

These people have certainly made their marks on the history books.

Keep reading... Show less

Ignorance really is biased.

We always think we know what is right and what is wrong, what's the truth and what's a lie. The reality is that most of what we know is just an opinion or a partial truth that we've filled in with our own rational (or irrational) explanation. These opinions that we pass off as 'facts' are far from it and it takes a lot of courage to look at yourself and admit you were wrong or misinformed about something. Everyone likes to pretend they're on a different level, but the truth is you're not so different from the people you disagree with. Meditate on that.

Here are a some people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Redditor u/segafarm asks:

What is the strongest opinion you once held but no longer hold, and what make you change your mind?

Jade-Colored Glasses

I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I've since realized that a "be prepared for the worst but expect the best" is far better. We can't control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.

nanaimo

Cant' Have A Conversation With A Parrot

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.

Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.

Not-A-Real-Subreddit

A Big, Mysterious Universe

I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don't know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don't know what all might be out there, I don't really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don't, and you believe in one, that's perfectly fine, and maybe you're right. Who knows?

CDC_

Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.

What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren't able to achieve professional level art.

berfica

You're Not Your Emotions

For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most "real" part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn't make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought "this is just how I am I guess". Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They're just reactions and there's nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I'm learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.

inca829

Don't Forget Big Willie Style

I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and sh*t. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.

6quid

The A**holes Will Always Find A Way

I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.

TianaLeFong

High Times

Giphy

I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I'd be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers... Now I have a kid, don't smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn't smoked all through college.

But I mean, I still think pot's okay... Just in moderation.

edgar__allan__bro

The Road Less Traveled

"All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!"

Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.

ExtremelyLongButtock

All Those PSA's Didn't Do Much

The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn't even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don't be a sheep.

PlantTreesForToday

Where Would We Be Without The Kindness Of Strangers

I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren't trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.

Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.

I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.

BuffyandtheHellcats

He's Still There For You, The Best He Can Be

I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.

Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I'm out there on my own, and even what he's sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did - or at least admitted as much.

june606

Clear Your Mind

This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.

I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are "bad" and "addictive" and that they would ruin my life.

Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.

Xingua92

Going Through The Whole Spectrum

Used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I'd say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported.

Now, I'm dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can't bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.

RogerDeanVenture



The system we have in the US for paying our restaurant staff is...well, broken. Wait staff's income is largely dependent on what they make in tips, so if it's a slow week they may find themselves quite short on funds.

Keep reading... Show less

We thought it was such a good idea at the time, and now all we wish is that we had our money--and our time--back.

But we bought it, and now here we are, living with the pitfalls of capitalism.

Keep reading... Show less