Yesterday's post on how to string along scam callers got a whole lot of feedback, and plenty of reader tips. Here's your best feedback on how to avoid getting hooked by scam callers.
Picture: ToastyKen While some of you appear to be exceptionally lucky in never getting scam callers, that appears to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of us have to put up with them, and sadly for some readers, it's been after somebody they know has been ripped off by these scam merchants. So, based on your feedback and suggestions, what are the best approaches to take?
- Dawdle wherever possible: The object of scam baiting is to waste their time, and you can't do that any better than by simply being slow to take up their commands. Get them to repeat commands as many times as possible, because it's an excellent way to spend time.
- Multi-task: It is possible to scam bait purely for the giggles, but it's much better if you've got something else to do in the meantime. Watch a match (with the sound down), sort your socks, or get your tax affairs in order while they try (and fail) to scam you.
- Be kind to charity callers: Charities are exempt from the Do Not Call Register, and while it's feasible an unprompted charity call could be a scammer, many of them do vital work in our communities. Simply politely inform them that you're not interested, and hang up.
- See how far out you can steer the script: Scam callers prey on the less technically literate, and based on reader feedback, especially the elderly. Play on those stereotypes; tell them about your dodgy hip, or how things used to be greener "before the war". See how far off script you can get them to stray.
- Don't do what they tell you: This one should be obvious -- you don't want malware, you don't want to reveal valuable personal information such as credit card details -- but there's no reason you can't use that to keep the stringing along going along. Why yes, I am Mr Alfonso Turtlesnerfer, and I will go to that website you've just told me to go to! Meanwhile, I'm actually cleaning out the toaster.
- Have fun: While it's worthwhile doing something else while stringing the caller along, there's no reason you can't have some fun along the way. You may as well get something valuable out of the call. They're certainly trying to get something valuable out of you.
- Tell everybody about the scam: As with most malware -- and scam callers are malicious users of technology, so the label fits -- education can go a very long way. Inform your less technically inclined relatives and friends that they won't get this kind of call as a genuine thing, and they'll be better equipped to deal with the calls as and when they come.
Anyone got any further tips to add to the list?