As a housewife, there are several things each and every day that I can count on.  The cat will need to be fed, the house will need some kind of clean up or tidy, a bill will need to be paid….. And I will get at least one phone call from a telemarketer!
telemarketer I can hardly remember a day that has gone by that I haven’t answered the phone to that tell-tale pause, followed by a click and the gross mispronunciation of either my first or last name… and on really good days, sometimes both.  Worse than that pause is the fog horn!  You know what I’m talking about don’t you?  The loud, offensive sound right before “Your Captain” starts speaking about the amazing trip you’ve earned!

I have entered my phone number on the “Do Not Call List” which legally prevents harassment from legitimate companies trying to sell me anything from car insurance to magazine subscriptions.   But to be honest, I don’t mind these kinds of phone calls.  I’m not likely to buy, but I will always hear out the entire sales pitch before politely turning them down.  I also no longer receive survey phone calls, asking about everything from my last experience with my cable tv company, to my political affiliations to how often we travel outside of the country.  So long as there is nothing more pressing that needs attention in that moment, I rather enjoy these types of calls.  I like to feel that my opinion is making some kind of impact on how companies can be better suited to my wants and needs!

What being on the Do Not Call List does not stop, is the constant stream of scammers who honestly must think I’m a complete moron!  It amazes me the techniques that they use, the people or companies they try to impersonate and the aggressiveness they exude.  From the electric company, credit card company, to my personal favorite, “Microsoft”  (this Mac user really panics when my Windows is displaying an error message!) they don’t take no for an answer, and the more you question the more aggressive they become.  I once got yelled at by a man claiming he was giving me a free trip!  If your job is to give away free vacations all day every day, I’d think you’d be the most pleasant person in the world!

While I usually believe that kindness and manners should be extended to everyone, when you are obviously trying to commit a crime by stealing from me, I draw the line.   I instead have come up with a list of ways to have fun while on the phone with a telemarketer.  Some of these I’ve tried and some I found amusing and maybe one day will find the time to test out.

10 ways to have fun with phone scam artists:

1. Start speaking another language.  If you don’t know one, make one up!  Hubby Bumpkin is fluent in French and I can always tell immediately what kind of call he’s on when he starts to parlez vous!

2. Order a large pepperoni pizza, with garlic toast and a side salad.  Make sure they know they’ll get a bigger tip if they can deliver within the hour!

3.  Ask the caller if they would like to order a newspaper or magazine subscription.

4. Excuse yourself for a minute, put the caller on hold.  Come back, only to ask them to hold again.  Continue until the scammer has hung up the phone.

5. Listen intently will multiple “uh huh’s” and “oh yeah’s” and then out of nowhere shout, “I gotta go, my microwave’s on fire” before quickly hanging up!

6. Insist that this phone line is for emergency calls only.  Ask what their emergency is.  When they answer in the negative, repeat that this line is for emergency calls only.

7.  Turn on a sports game on T.V.  start cheering, ask frequently if the caller is watching this AMAZING game!

8.  Pretend that you are a hostage negotiator and try to convince the scammer to release the hostages.

9. Pretend that the caller is your long lost Auntie Betty!  Gush about how you’ve missed them, can’t wait to see them again, and feel free to add some gossip about cousin Martha’s unplanned pregnancy!

10.  Respond in only song lyrics.  “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.  So tell me what you want, what you really really want.”

One thought on “1-800-SCAM

  1. Lol – that made me laugh.

    We have a pretty useful phone that allows us to put all our numbers into groups, Muds numbers (mostly work and Landy related), my numbers (school, doctor/dentist, family and friends), general numbers and then we have the ‘Scam’ group. The really nifty thing with this phone is that each group can have its’ own unique answerphone message and you can specify the amount of ‘rings’ before the answer phone kicks in.

    So once a scam/unsolicited number has rung the first time, we let it ring out until it either hangs up or the general answer phone picks it up and then it hangs up and then we save the number into the ‘Scam’ group. Then the next time that number calls (which is often several times in one day), the phone starts to ring and it is immediately switched to a 3 minute long answer phone message, explaining that we know that it is a scam number, we will not be answering the call etc. Very polite but very effective.

    We now have some 15 numbers in that group but I can’t actually remember the last time a scam number called – so hopefully word is getting around those circles that our number is not a productive one. Oh and we’re on the UKs’ equivalent to your ‘Do Not Call’ list AND we’re ex-directory as well which goes to prove just how secure and effective these computerised systems are – not!

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