Many of you have probably had cold callers wasting your time.
Rather than putting the phone down on them, you might want to waste their time. My most recent call (the second one today) went like this.
First, he asked about ‘my recent minor car accident’. So I asked him what made him think that I had a minor car accident.
Encouraged, he told me that he got my number from the Road Safety Authority and went on to ask me if I had a minor car accident. The inconsistency of his question was completely lost on him, so I wasted a few more of his minutes by pointing out that he just told me that I had ‘a minor car accident’.
After a while he hit on the line that he needed ‘to validate it’ to help me out with compensation. As he floundered I was writing down what he was saying so that I could compose this blog. Usually I simply carry on with my own work while they talk away into thin air.
Eventually he asked if he was speaking to the right person so I said: “Probably not.” So he asked if I would “find out who at this number had a minor car accident”. I said: “No, as I don’t see why I should do your work for you.” So then he wondered if this was a home number or a work number and when I would not tell him he began to realise he was getting nowhere and rang off abruptly, as they usually do – such is their love of helping people.
Another way of handling such calls is simply to put the phone down beside you and carry on working. Let them speak into thin air and eventually they will realise that they are talking to no-one and will ring off. Don’t put the phone down at that stage, for then they can simply phone someone else. Keep the phone off the hook as this keeps the line busy and prevents them making another phone call. In a short while the phone will begin to buzz, reminding you to hang up your phone again.
Have fun instead of getting annoyed. You might even find the opportunity to put across the Gospel to them – for free. It is all part of the Christian service.
5 Nov 2018: the surreptitious gathering of information.
1 Nov 2016: there are many types of bogus calls.
- Some of them begin with blatant lies about ‘your recent car accident’. My new line is to suggest to them that they are in the wrong job which requires them to tell lies. If they do not hang up, I take the opportunity to say: “Do you know that the Bible says that there are no liars in heaven?” Rev 22:15. This usually ends the phonecall but, if not, it gives you a chance to point them to Jesus Christ as the Saviour of sinners. This is ‘telephone evangelism’; you have the opportunity to convince them of sin and to point them to the Saviour of sinners. You can be a missionary in your own home.
- the important point is not to give them any information beyond what they already know. Admitting anything is information that they can sell on to someone else. Even reputable companies are adding questions to their websites and telephone calls to gather more information.
- some of them try to scare you into reacting immediately. They claim that money has come out of your bank account or your PayPal has been temporarily locked, or that your internet connection will be “turned off within the next 24 hours”. Of course, it never happens. Reputable firms don’t bounce you into acting today. The same scan occurs in emails and ask you to click on a link. DON’T do it, not even to ‘find out what it is about’. The mere clicking on a link can yield information – even if it is nothing more than that you are gullible enough to do so. This is information, and you will receive more emails until one day you are caught out.
- Today 1/11/2018 I got this message (not for the first time): Your PayPal has been temporarily locked. You have 36H to confirm the account information or your account will be closed: http://paypal.co.uk.vbqr.pw/m/ Notice 1. that it is http and not https; 2. the URL is not paypal but another one disguised as paypal; 3. PayPal does not temporarily lock your account if you have one; 4. it came by a text message; 5. it came from mobile number 07845 873895, which you can put into a search engine to help to identify and blacklist such numbers, and 6. my mobile number has been sold by some nefarious company and is now circulating among the criminal fraternity. I don’t need to change it; when they contact me I will engage in telephone evangelism; see above.