“You should’ve received a notice in the mail about your car’s warranty.” We’ve all had the calls trying to sell us an “extended warranty” for our cars. They rank among everyone’s favorites right beside the scammers from India who try to steal credit card numbers. Most people hang up on these calls but for several years I didn’t.
The Credit Card Scammers
With many of the Credit Card scammers, I tended to answer a few questions seemingly reasonably (as far as they knew), and then I would ask, “do you feel good with what you do with your life?” This tended to really change the conversation where I would tend to try to get them to admit that they are actually a scammer. Some adamantly refused to give up the ruse, even after being caught in numerous logical contradictions. Most would hang up around this point but I did get a few to start questioning what they were doing.
Then there was one who not only admitted that he was a scammer but was outright proud of it. He talked about how he loved doing it for the “kick” (thrill/challenge). In spite of this, I did manage to get him to question what he was doing by having him answer as to whether the world is better with or without him and the meaning/purpose of his life.
I started doing this under the idea that the more time they spent talking to me the less they did talking to someone who would fall for the scam. If more people did as I, then it could potentially kill their “business model” and end the scourge. Unfortunately I imagine it would take far too many people to have this kind of effect. But the few conversations likes the ones above still stick in my mind. I don’t know if they made a difference to any of those on the other side of the line but I would like to think that it had some sort of impact.
The Car Warranty
Whether or not you consider these to be scams, they are calling people unsolicited and doing so with numbers on the do not call list. So this does make them criminals in my mind and thus deserve the same treatment as scammers. Here I took a different tact and instead worked to “correct” the information they have on the person with my phone number. By repeatedly correcting their information and doing so consistently I managed to get them to update “my” information.
They believe my name to be Mike Wazowski (I even had to spell it for them a few times). They think I have a 2011 Toyota Corolla, which I picked because of the car’s popularity. And finally that I live in a zip code with exactly 0 residents (it’s exclusively for a national laboratory). Occasionally they would call without a computer dialing and ask for Mike. This always brought a smile to my face.
I eventually gave up on this. Over the months I would notice when the scams would shift from one type to another. Then for a long period the scammers were 90% in Spanish. Since I cannot converse with these, I stopped altogether and changed my phone to not ring for any phone number which isn’t in my address book. And so thus ends this little bit of occasional entertainment.