Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

scam alert


“Hello, madam. I am calling from the Technical Department of [insert telecommunications/broadband company here]. I am calling you because we have noticed you have suspicious activity on your computer and people could be stealing your information.”

What do you do when you get these calls? Hang up? Get annoyed? Do you not even get this far, hanging up the phone as soon as you hear that telltale pause when you answer the phone?

In the MOSY household, we greet these calls with glee. Ooh, goody! It’s “Torture the Fake Technical Department Caller” time!

If I’m busy, eg in the middle of cooking dinner, my standard is to wait long enough for them to get to the point of asking me to turn on my computer and then I say “Okay. Hang on a minute.” I then put the phone down on the bench and walk away. I’ll come back later and hang it up.

Once, a very persistent caller rang me back after this procedure. He accused me of hanging up on him.

“I did not!” I said. “I went and turned the computer on and when I came back to the phone you weren’t there.”

“I was here!” he retorted.

“No, you weren’t!”

This went on for a bit. Finally, he decided to get on with the task at hand.

“Okay. Well, is your computer on now?”

“No. I turned it off when you weren’t there.”

Deep breath.

“Well, can you turn it on now?”

“Yep. Hang on a tic.”

He didn’t try to ring back a third time.

If I’m not busy and in need of some amusement, I try and keep them on the line for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to pretend your computer won’t turn on. I once had a call escalated up three levels as they tried to figure out why my computer wouldn’t work.

It’s important, also, to feign as much ignorance as possible. I managed to string out the instruction to press the Control key on my keyboard for about five minutes.

“Which button?”

“It says C-T-R-L. It’s on the bottom left of your keyboard.”


“The bottom left corner. Can you see it?”

“No. I don’t have a button like that.”

And so on.

But our all time favourite was this one:

“Madam, is your computer turned on?”


“Okay, I need you to…”

“There’s smoke coming out of it!”

“Madam? I need you to…”

“My computer’s on fire!! What did you do??”

“I did not do anything, madam. I need you to…”

“Yes, you did!! You made my computer catch on fire!! IT’S ON FIRE!!”

The poor girl tried to stick to her script while I kept screaming about my incendiary technology. Then she hung up.

Sigh. Such simple pleasures.

So next time you get one of these calls, don’t get irritated. Get as much fun out of it as you can. It’s cheap entertainment and while they’re on the line withΒ you, they’re not ripping off some poor unsuspecting innocent.

Have you got your own favourite method for dealing with these callers?




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95 thoughts on “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

  1. Ha! Love this 😁 a favourite of ours was to give the phone to small child in the household and tell them it’s Father Christmas for them – it took a very hard hearted person to hang up on a little person telling them what they would like for Christmas 😁

    Liked by 5 people

  2. OMG – you would LOVE my husband. I didn’t realize there were 2 of him in the universe. God help us all!!

    We have been actually been blacklisted by the Jehovah Witnesses who won’t come to our house anymore. Gilles would invite them in for bible discussions. He’s not mean or rude … he just asked UNENDING questions. Why? Why? Why?
    Anyone who has survived a 3 year old knows how torturous that is.

    Liked by 12 people

    • You need people like us to teach people like them a lesson. πŸ™‚

      We don’t tend to get door-to-door visitors here. The advantage of living at the top of a very steep driveway that’s on a steep, dead-end street that runs off another steep, dead-end street. One man did come once on a very hot day to try and join me up to a telephone company. The look on his face when I told him my husband worked for the opposition….

      I’ve used the “why?” technique on these calls too. (I realised after I posted, I’d forgotten about that one.) “But why would they want to hack into my computer? I don’t have anything worth stealing.” “Why aren’t they hacking into banks?” “But why do you have to use my computer to track them down? Why can’t you use yours?” He got very irritated. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 4 people

      • You people (I’m including you with Gilles … and son#1) are outright scary!!
        I belong to the meek passive-aggressive group that simply doesn’t answer the door or the phone.
        … it actually drives Gilles a little crazy that I occasionally just don’t answer my phone. I think the ringing is like a Pavlov bell for him πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

          • “Theatresports” — improv acting with motive and intent.

            Have you thought about whether you are more shy or introverted? A bit of both? Do you find yourself effortlessly approaching strangers to obtain information but freeze or become severely self-aware if someone else approaches you to obtain information?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Definitely both. I tick all the boxes on any test for an introvert but I was also painfully shy as a child. I’ve learnt to push past it but I still find some social situations nerve-wracking. And I can still find it difficult to speak to some people even when I know them really well. I tend to get tongue-tied, particularly if they are very confident, outgoing people whom I admire greatly.

              Would you think me weird if I told you that I suffer from the opposite? People approaching me for help doesn’t tend to faze me at all but I would find approaching a stranger for information really difficult. Maybe the former is because I have a rather over-active servant gene (inherited) and the desire to be helpful would override any nervousness.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I was also very shy when I was a child. It was as if I didn’t like hearing the sound of my own voice…unless I was talking about very basic needs/demands for food and more comfortable temperatures. I grew out of it via a self-preservation mechanism in junior high and high school by practicing speaking to strangers (aka retail sales associates). Social situations without adequate architectural, interior space makes me uncomfortable and having to stand or sit too close to other people (even those I know well) provokes the need to flee the vicinity.

                It’s definitely important to be self-aware enough to know your boundaries, when to push them (yourself), and when to reign it in.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh that is seriously hilarious. I’m not sure I have the patience for it but it could be fun. I especially like the computer is on fire. Often I say my son works in IT and he would be happy to chat with them. That usually gets me disconnected quite quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hilarious. I give you much credit because I usually hang up as soon as I hear the silent pause. I don’t have time for that nonsense.

    I had to laugh over Joanne’s husband inviting in the Jehovah’s Witness. I remember a time, when I was married…the Jehovah Witness came to the door and my non-church-going husband loudly proclaimed, “Sorry, I’m Jewish.” They did not come to the door for a very long time after that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Convenient lies are good, especially with people trying to sell stuff. So tiled roof restorers get told we have Colourbond, mortgage brokers get told we’re renting, education program sellers get told we don’t have children, etc. Usually gets you taken off the list. I’ve also been known to lie to charities when I no longer want to support them and they won’t stop calling me. Telling them we both lost our jobs and are about to lose our house usually works.


  5. Too funny. When I was a kid one of my best friend’s family never answered the phone in a normal fashion, no matter who was calling. Most of the time I knew better, but when his mom answered the phone in a very professional voice. “Good afternoon, this is (very prominent local company), how may I direct your call?” I was more than a little tongue-tied blurting my apologies…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my goodness, this is hysterical! I usually hang up on them but the odd time I ask if they would leave me their number & I will all them back when they are in the middle of dinner. This is usually met with silence πŸ˜†

    Liked by 3 people

    • But, Yvonne, these ones are trying to hack into your computer and steal your identity or implant a virus to wipe out your files or all manner of other nefarious doings. Telemarketers trying to sell something is one thing but if they’re making a buck by doing something illegal, I’m not going to feel sorry for them at all. In my book they deserve all they get.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Actually they aren’t usually trying to hack into your computer, they want to sell you computer support by pretending that you have a computer virus or something horrible. How do I know this? Because the OH works in IT security and has been writing about these scammers for years. He keeps them on the phone for as long as they can put up with his questions. I just groan and say something like ‘don’t you guys ever get fed up with this?’ He is very disappointed if I get to the phone first πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        • Even the legit ones try and do that. I had to contact our antivirus provider with an issue and he did what I needed but then tried on the whole “I just need to run this scan, oh look, you have all these problems, we can help you with that for just a mere $300 a year”. Yeah, nice try, buster. I cancelled our membership when the next renewal came around and went elsewhere. [blows raspberry at grasping tech company] So there!

          The boys have been bugging me to let them have a turn. I figure if they get up and answer the phone, then go for it but if they wait for me to do it then it’s my bag.


    • I wish I’d had that option. I don’t even remember getting these calls when my boys were little and now they’re too old. But then, they’re old enough now to put their own spin on things so I might (if I remember) hand one over next time.


  7. Ooh…you little minx!!!
    When I had my business I would often get calls asking me if I wanted to sell it…I would typically say no thanks. One day I got the same call again and I was told that there were people lining up and waiting to buy my business; ‘really’ I said, ‘people want to buy my business?’..’oh yes’ they said…’really? They want to buy MY business?’ I said…’oh yes’ they said..’really, they specifically want to buy MY business?’ I said…’oh yes’ they said…’really, they want to buy MY business? They’ve specifically named MY business? They want to specifically buy Green and Brown (that was my business name)?’ I said….’well..’ Came the answer..’they haven’t named your business exactly, but we’ve got lots of people wanting to buy it..’ And so the phone went down…!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I sound very interested while asking them to repeat the name of the company and exactly why they’re calling. I also try to get a callback #.

    That’s when I say my phone is on the Do Not Call registry, they are never to call again, and I’m recording the call to make sure of it.

    But my wiser less-angry sister Meg just uses a device that blares a large truck’s horn into their ear. She hardly ever gets spam calls now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh MOSY, I’m laughing so much I have tears. I confess I’m one of those who hangs up as soon as I hear that pause at the start, but perhaps I should try one of your lines next time. Once my mother strung a scam caller along by repeatedly telling him she was deaf and he needed to speak up. He gave up in the end.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. MOSY oh MOSY. You really are a practical joker. I wonder how many times the caller actually believes that your computer caught on fire. And you call got escalated to three different people once? πŸ˜€

    I get these calls a lot. I’d come home from work and would be listening to music trying to unwind. They’d call, and either I’d hear a *beep* tone of a machine that makes the calls to numbers and then I’d be put through to a real person (probably an overseas call centre). I’d hang up instantly 99% of the time. My attention span is typically short for a still relatively young person.

    Once I was actually bothered to listen up until the caller said, “Hi, how are you?” I said, “I’m good, how are you?” He went with a lot of gusto, “Good. This is the first time I’ve been asked how am I!” He went on to try to sell me a better electricity deal, and I interrupted with a “Thanks, bye” πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. First it went to her supervisor, then to someone in the technical department and then to a higher tech person. They were giving me all these instructions on how to get my computer started like unplugging it and plugging it in again, turning it on and off, etc. Each time I’d hold them on the line while I pretended I was waiting for it to start again when I was actually having a cup of coffee or reading the paper. Eventually, after this had gone on for about 20 minutes, the techie said he was going to check something else that might work and he never came back on the line. πŸ˜€

      I think I just love the acting challenge of coming up with a scenario and making it convincing. πŸ™‚


      • I often wonder what buttons you need to push in order to the call to get escalated. I’ve worked in quite a few places where I handle incoming calls from the public, and we have to try our best to not to get the caller to escalate the call.

        A few more of these calls, Heather, and I bet you will in line for an Oscar nomination of some sort πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I haven’t been able to come online these few days and I am reading your blog and I feel so happy and this post was just hilarious… haha the final joke was just too awesome! Hands down to you ma’m!! Have a rocking time ahead

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh this is so, so good. I’m normally a hanger-up, but I think you’ve given me something here I can really work with. We’re contemplating getting rid of our landline because the only calls we ever get on it are from telemarketers and scammers. Maybe I’ll persuade the Big T we can have a bit of fun before we cancel.
    I had to laugh at Joanne’s comment about Gilles too. I used to do that when I was younger and had more time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I tried your technique a little earlier, Heather, but I’m not sure it worked so well. “My wife’s computer’s on fire! What did you do?” I screamed down the line. The scam caller panicked and hung up. But then could I get that fire out? No I could not. Burned my wife’s computer to a crisp, so I did. It’s funny too, because it had been really hard to get it to ignite in the first place. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Catching up! I get a number of calls but cannot use these techniques – they hang up which is very frustrating when you have to belt out to the phone at my age! maybe you lot have somehow sooled them on to me to get their own back!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. M husband pretends to hand the phone over to the actual mister they asked for (himself) and gets back on with a different voice. i think his record is 4 different voices before the scammer decides he cannot go over their script a 4th time and hang up. Lol

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Acting The Fool | Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

  17. I always find it hard to navigate on your blog finding your latest post! As I had to block email notifications from WordPress, due to an overwhelming inbox, I visit my blogroll at random times, and when I visit your blog I end up at some old blog post! Often that means I don’t comment, but this post I felt I needed to. Years ago, I worked as a telemarketer because I had to, I tried to sell wine to people, soit wasn’t anything nefarious. If people said no to me twice, on the phone, I thanked them for their time, hung up, went to the next call, and that is what we were trained to do. Telemarketers should not be persistent or annoying, If they are not doing their job in the most efficient way. If people clearly don’t want a product, nefarious or not, why are the telemarketers wasting their time talking to you? Better to get to the next call and possibly make a sale (it is commissions based industry so more calls= more potential sales). And whilst my husband plays this game that you mention with Telemarketers, I really feel for them. Some of them might be in a position where this is the only job they can do at the moment in their circumstances. If it is a question of putting bread on the table or being righteous about one’s job, I know which option I would have to take. Perhaps I am thinking of the good in people, but I believe most of them do it because they have to, not because they wish to deceive anyone. Perhaps they are misguided, or been mislead about their product or mechanisms by their bosses, ( I know I was deceived when I was telemarketing, and this was in relation to credit card details and what we were “told” happened to them once they were given out). This was later to be false. So could I be blamed for what happened to the credit card details of the caller? I was doing my job and trying to do it well as instructed. Yet, after a time I could see that the line we were told to tell customers wasn’t true, and I left shortly after this. i was lucky, I had the luxury of being able to leave. Some do not. I think the best way to handle t/marketers is to simply say, no thanks and thank them for their call and hang up. That way you spread a little joy in what is really a shitty mentally draining job, where people often abuse you. The other thing to do is screen your calls; generally they call around dinner time when people are likely to be home, and that is the shifts they are given to work. If the phone rings more than five times, it is not a telemarketer! If there is a pause when you answer, it IS a telemarketer and hang up…. sorry if this sounds like a rant, but I can’t condone the abuse of someone trying to earn a living, whether they are consciously duping people – or forced to do it. Let the buyer beware is the capitalist mantra, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry about the difficulties. I’m hoping to fix that when I can find some time.

      Also, sorry to take so long to reply (time issue again). I appreciate your experienced view of the situation. If I get calls from people trying to sell something, I usually say “Not interested, thank you” and hang up. Or I’ll say I’ve already got what they’re selling (even if I don’t). But I simply can’t have sympathy for the ones who are trying to hack into people’s computers for nefarious means. Even if it’s the only way they can earn a living, isn’t it the same as condoning stealing because it’s the only way they can get those items? And I understand your view that they may not know what they are doing is illegal/unethical but perhaps they need that pointed out to them.


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