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Messing with Scammers


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There are far more people who've done a better job than I, but a few years ago I uploaded a series of videos called "Messing with Scammers" to my YouTube channel. I generally didn't go seeking them out, but I'd take their calls, pretend to fall for whatever crap they threw at me, and just generally waste as much of their time as I could. I think my record was about 110 minutes.

Even though I haven't produced any videos for 5 years now, I still mess with them when I have the opportunity. Just got off a phone call with one, in fact.

{phone rings}

Robot call: "This is Apple Support. We have noticed suspicious activity on your Apple device. Please press 1 to be connected to Apple support."

Note: I do not own any Apple equipment.

{presses 1}

"Human" (I'm feeling charitable) agent: "Apple Support, how may I help you?"

"I just received a call warning of some suspicious activity?"

"Yes, our automated system called you. I see that there have been two attempts to make a purchase with your Apple ID. Have you been travelling?"

"No."

"According to our records, most of your activity comes from Utah."

Note: Good job figuring out my area code meaning, scammer!

"Yes, that is correct."

"The two suspicious activities came from Nigeria. Have you travelled to Nigeria or do you know anyone from there?"

"No. I get spam messages claiming to be from Nigeria, but I don't know anyone there."

"There is a $1200 and a $2400 attempt to purchase iTunes gift card, have you attempted to order these?"

"No, not at all!"

"Okay, you will need to reset your password. Please open your Apple device and go to settings."

{time passes} "Okay, I'm there."

"Next you need to tap {something I don't remember}."

{time passes} "Okay, done."

"Do you see two transactions for $1200 & $2400?"

"No, I don't see anything like that."

"Did you tap {something I don't remember}?"

"Yes, of course."

"Okay sir, what do you see."

Note: At this point the game is up; I have no experience with iPhone devices to bluff my way through what I should see at this point.

"I don't see anything, because I actually don't own any Apple devices, I've just been trying to waste as much of your time as I could and" {click}

Kind of disappointing. I was only able to waste 4 minutes including the robocall at the beginning, and he didn't react at all, just hung up on me. Oh well.

Edited by Scott Robison
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Consider using Google to play the scammers along by looking up a screenshot on what they are asking you about. 

I normally just ask for a moment when I contacted by a scammer, put in my earplugs then blow my 120 dB whistle. Eventually they get the message.

 

 

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In the past I've setup a pristine virtual machine for scammers to log into and "fix" so ... I have no problem taking time to play out the long game. Today, however, I didn't have the desire to go to great lengths. Normally I do get a better reaction from them though.

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Give them something that has nothing to do with what they asked you to do. "I see a picture of my niece, and a box is askingwhether I want to make it my background," Then they have no idea how you got there, but will patiently explain the correct starting point and step you through again. THEN when you get back to the "picture of my niece" again, ask, innocently, "this is one of the Samsung iPhones, not one of the Apple ones. Does that make a difference?"

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I sometimes say to scammers and to spammers: "Your call is very important to me. Please stay on the line." And then turn on some music.

Or I just politely ask if they can wait for some time, then I mute call, and see how much he can really wait.

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So far, when I answer by saying "This call is being recorded for fraud prevention purposes, is that okay?" I get either

(A) They immediately hang up.

(B) "No sir, it's not being recorded." to which I reply "No no, I'm recording it to prevent fraud" after which they hang up.

(C) [BY FAR the most common] the computer-controlled message-spewing system has no idea how to respond to that, and so it cavalierly  proceeds to tell me I promised them a $35 donation six weeks ago. I usually respond by saying "It's taped to the back of a tortoise, he'll eventually wander your way."

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