Have you ever gotten one of those scam phone calls and wished there were someone nearby who really knew how to deal with them that you could put on the phone?
Police Capt. Ann Stephens from Apex, North Carolina, got one of those calls herself, and she toyed with the scammers for 10 minutes before finally getting them to hang up on her.
I’ve gotten calls saying my computer has a virus, a complaint has been filed against my wife, and that the IRS demands I pay back taxes — but this scam was one I personally haven’t run into before.
The clueless scammer told Capt. Stephens she was being charged with drug trafficking along with 24 other ridiculous charges.
The scammers’ angle was to rattle off the charges and then tell Stephens her bank accounts would be frozen.
The scammer, however, offered to make sure not to freeze her accounts where illegal activity had not taken place — such courteous scammers.
Since no illegal activity took place at all, Capt. Stephens was expected to give banking information for every account she had, after which the scammers would quietly drain those accounts.
You can watch her mess with them in the video below.
After nearly 10 minutes of asking questions they could barely answer and getting transferring from “junior officer John Black” to “senior officer Jason Brown” (see what they did there?), Capt. Stephens was finally too much for the scammers who hung up and moved on.
Capt. Stephens then shared solid insights on what to do with scam calls like the one she had taken.
“Don’t ever give out your information. Don’t ever verify their information even if they have it,” she said.
“A lot of people want to engage the scammer and keep them on the phone and have a little fun with them,” Capt. Stevens said to WTVD. “But a lot of people don’t have time or are just afraid to do it, so I think they got to live vicariously through us.”
If you want to mess with scammers too, you might take a look at the Jolly Roger Telephone Co.
The site, founded by a hobbyist who turned faking out scammers into a cottage industry, provides a number of semi-intelligent “robots” that have been built and programmed to string scammers along by saying things that no scammer would expect a computer recording to say.
For example, one recording asks the scammer to give little pitch, then asks the scammer to repeat himself, saying “I’m sorry. I had a bee on my arm and wasn’t listening to you.”
The site will even record the conversations their bots have with scammers and email copies to you.
I have personally used the service to confound, anger and drive to profanity many a scammer and telemarketer.
Whether you do what Capt. Stephens did, use the Jolly Roger guys, or just mess with scammers on your own, you’re taking the most valuable thing they have — time. That’s time they could be using to take advantage of someone who might not know it’s a scam.
So, while you don’t have to mess with them, you’re certainly doing a service to humanity if you do.
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