With the stock market meltdown these days, I've noticed an increase in telemarketing calls.
My assumption is that this is because these scams think that people are more desperate for "free" stuff and will be more inclined to say yes.
And I've noticed too that telemarketing has switched to recordings a lot more, where the "victim" can voluntarily choose to be put through to an "agent". That tactic ensures that the live call (which goes through an autodialer) is more likely to bear fruit for these scam artists.
My wife still thinks that there is a telemarketer on the other end of the phone when it rings. I've told her that it's done with an autodialer now, and typically the first five or so to answer get put through to a live telemarketer, who is also waiting for the phone to ring (announcing the presence of victims). If you answer after that, then all you hear is either a dial tone, a busy signal, or no tone at all. So, if my wife picks up the phone and she hears a tone, I tell her that she was not fast enough to be in the autodialer screening. Sometimes, she'll pick it up and hear a click and she says "Hello . . . hello . . . " and finally a person comes on. That click is the autodialer putting the call through to a telemarketer.
On recordings, there is an option to get taken off the call list . . . typically the recording says something like "press 1 to speak to an agent, and press 9 to be taken off the call list".
There are two that are particularly infuriating to me.
One is that "auto warranty" nonsense. They say something like "Your warranty is about to expire" (the unspoken sales pitch being to extend the warranty by buying it from them). What's particularly annoying about this is that the car we have is vintage 1994 (it's a Honda), and the warranty coverage has long since expired and is certainly not renewable, neither for time nor for mileage.
So, one time when we got one of those calls (interrupting dinner of course), I rushed to the phone and got it in time for the autodialer to put me through. I was furious, and right away I told the person on the other end that I was going to report them to the FCC for not taking us off the call list (as we had requested more than 30 days before that . . . the FCC gives them 30 days to take you off). There was a click and the phone went dead. They had hung up on me.
So, the next time, I acted nice at first, and gained their confidence. The telemarketer first asked me for the vehicle ID number, making it sound like I had already agreed to this outrage. That's a standard sales tactic. After a few more questions, for which I remained pleasant and compliant, I finally sprung my trap. I asked the telemarketer their name. They gave it. I asked for the name of their supervisor. They gave it. Then I asked for the name of the company. I asked it again and repeated the spelling slowly as though I were writing it down. At which point I threatened, nastily, to report them to the FCC, and sue the pants off of them, their supervisor, and the company. They said, sheepishly, that I might get the call again within 30 days. I said "I'd better not, because I already requested this more than 30 days ago!". I haven't heard from them since, and that was several months ago.
Here's another one that gets under my skin. The mortgage refinancing scam (which is what got us in this subprime mess in the first place). As it happens, our house is fully paid for . . . no mortgage. Clearly then, the call list they're working off of, has only a phone number on it . . . maybe a name . . . and nothing about whether or not the victim qualifies, or even indeed needs a mortgage refinance at all.
So far, these have been recordings only, but I plan to catch the autodialer and spring my standard trap.
I was going to get call blocking, but now it's down to only this mortgage scam, and I want to have some fun with it.
And I was going to keep them on the line with nonsense questions just to make them pay more for the call, until I found out that they get large discounts in a package, and get a certain number of minutes for free, so unless I kept them on VERY long, they wouldn't pay any extra. And I don't have the patience with these morons to be nice that long.