Someone Asked “What Is Something You Say To Scammers Instead Of Hanging Up?” And 50 People Gave The Best Responses
According to a recent report by Truecaller, around 68.4M Americans (26%) have fallen victim to a phone scam in the past 12 months. While the numbers are rising, so is awareness, as some of the biggest scams in America are continually exposed in the media to prevent people from falling for fraud. In fact, people opt for various ways of dealing with scammers. Most hang up, others download robocall blocker apps, and, well, some give them a taste of their own medicine.
A while back, someone asked the Ask Reddit community, "What is something you say to scammers instead of hanging up?" Over 15K people jumped on the thread to share their experiences replying to scammers. From funny replies to scammers to scammers getting pranked themselves, people shared how to reply to scammers in many original ways. Hanging up is one way of reacting; however, taking time to respond is, in fact, doing a public service. Sure, you might be wasting your time, but at the same time, you are wasting scammers', meaning less time to find more victims to prey on.
Below, we've compiled some of the best replies from the thread featuring people pranking scammers themselves. Make sure to upvote the responses to scammers you enjoyed the most, and let us know whether you reply to scammers!
"My grandfather let them do their whole speech for about 20 minutes. He then told them he didn't have his hearing aid in and asked if they could repeat it all. They hung up immediately."
"Had a very pushy insurance salesman want my address so he could meet me in person to better show the value of his products or some nonsense. I gave him the address of a brothel. Got an angry call back a couple of days later saying that I gave him the wrong address. I told him I thought he was looking for someone to screw over and then hung up on him."
"Depends on the scam call. Recently I’m getting a lot of “we’re calling in regards to your recent car accident” I relied on “how dare you! I died in that accident!”"
"Scammer was Indian, I'm Indian, I put on my Indian accent then accused him of putting on a bad fake Indian accent to make fun of me and told him he should be ashamed of himself. It was a few seconds of fun."
"Just start chanting in Latin. Most hang up quickly. One begged me not to curse her family."
"You've reached the FBI telephone fraud division, how may I help you?"
"Mr. Smashing Stuff, I'm calling about an accident you were involved in that wasn't your fault."
"Oh it wasn't an accident, I meant to hurt those people."
The pause you get before being immediately escalated to a 'manager' is like a crack to me."
"I once got a scammer to say "I love you too." It was one of those resort/vacation calls and I kept him in the line for his whole spiel. When he asked who else would be vacationing with me, I asked if he would go with me. I was like, ”It will save on airfare because you're already there.” Ended up with him saying he had to end the call and I was like, ”Okay. I love you.” And he reflexively goes ” I love you too". The high point of my life."
"I have two things I do. 1) I try to sell them WiFi. I personally have nothing to do with internet services. But I can guarantee that my services are the cheapest in town and seeing as how you called me you must be interested. Now before you think “man I’m really not gonna get as good a deal as I’d like.” I can promise no buffers and high-quality streaming at a fraction. Yes, you heard it a fraction of what you currently are paying, if you just give me your first and last name we can get the ball rolling. No one has ever lasted that one.
2) in a very heavy southern accent. “Now the lord spoke to me today and he told me that I’d be bringing another one of his lambs that had been led astray back into the flock, I’m gonna open this conversation with a prayer real quick.” Most people hang up. Some and very few last through my 10-minute prayer. After that, I go straight into asking about their addictions and why the lord is telling me about how their browser history is causing demons to enter their home."
"I whisper into the mic to make them turn the volume on their headsets up then suddenly start yelling."
"Me - do you believe in our lord and savior Jesus Christ? Them - yes
Me - he wants you to quit calling."
"Hello, sir. This is the Microsoft Office. We're calling to inform you that your computer is infected with a virus."
"Yes, sir. And if you do not take steps to correct it we will be forced to shut down your system remotely."
"Which computer? I have a couple."
"The one running Microsoft Windows."
"They all run Microsoft Windows."
"Yes, well, I am showing they are all infected." (you can literally hear him salivate.)
"So you're monitoring my systems right now?"
"Despite the fact that doing so is a violation of multiple federal laws?"
"I always screech "welcome to shining dragon buffet you place an order" if they ask anything else I get angrier and go "YOU CALL SHINING DRAGON BUFFET, PLACE ORDER OR GET OFF MY PHONE". I'll probably get into trouble one day but its a lot of fun."
"I once saw caller ID (landline days) with a number that I figured was a telemarketer. In a “tough” voice, without saying hello I asked, “Is he dead?” And about a beat and a half later I said, “Because if he ain’t dead, don’t you even think about coming back here.” Then what sounded like a young woman on the other end said, “Um, uh, uh Bye!” Hope she had as much fun telling her friends as I had telling mine."
"I keep them on the phone for as long as humanly possible. I switch up the conversation, ask questions, stray completely off topic, slip in a few personal questions and just do whatever I can do to waste as much of their time as I can. My personal record is over 15 minutes of useless conversation which ended with me trying to proposition the male caller for sex. (For the record, I am a straight male and I assume that the caller was also straight.) I've been able to get an Indian telemarketer named Allen or Alex to give me his real name and location, and one telemarketer to stray from the script and admit that like me, he's also tried drugs. In one instance I was able to get the caller to admit that she hated her job and was only doing it to put herself through school. As much as I despise getting calls, I also try to remind myself that they are human beings, doing a job that everyone hates them for, and they probably hate themselves. I figure, at least perhaps I'll give them something fun to talk about after they get off of work."
"If they are calling about windows and doors, I tell them I live in a tent. "You are calling a tent, did you know this?" If they call about HVAC, I tell them I live in a castle, and we heat it in the wintertime by burning witches."
"My new thing is to heavily troll them for as long as possible. If they're going to waste my time with endless calls, well then I'm going to do the same. Here's a good one - I recently encountered a very low-tech health insurance scam that used an actual phone line and not a spoof. I called them back literally over 1000 times for two days straight and eventually got to the main person. He actually pleaded for me to stop calling and apologized profusely, lol it was very satisfying."
"I can't talk right now, I'm actually here to rob the place."
“HELLO, caller number two! You’re on with The Sturge at numbitty 902 WA3DFM. What do you have to say about the Lizard Illuminati?”
"I usually get the duct cleaning guys calling so I will just yell out to my wife and ask if the ducks need to be cleaned. I will respond back that we are good. They will keep pressing and I will keep playing on them eventually I will be like the ducks are cleaned but if they have any fix for the quacking that would help. The call ends right after."
"I pretend to be the dumbest guy in the world.
Them - “You should update your home's security”
Me - “Like how?”
Them - “A camera on the front door is a good st..”
Me (interrupts) - “Front door? My front door is on the side of my house. How will that work? Do you have a side door camera?”
Them - “Yes sir of course. We have many dif...”
Me (interrupts again) - “PHEW! I have looked for so long for a side front door camera salesman. You, sir, are my savior. Are you married?”
"You’ve reached your local morgue, you slice ‘em, we dice ‘em. How can we help you?"
"I used to get a lot of “home security” calls offering alarm systems and cameras. I would of course ask all the curious questions and then lead them to believe I was using the alarm system and cameras to keep people inside the house."
"I got the IRS call on my day off one day while sitting on the porch. You know the deal. If you don't get X amount of Visa Gift Cards the police will come etc. So I stayed in the line for like an hour playing dumb- like saying which target do I shoot to get the gift cards cuz I'm at the gun range, do I have to drive or can I order online, etc- then since my morning coffee had begun to do its work and it was getting hot outside? So the guy once again told me if I don't comply the cops will come. I say send them. He says oh no, all we need is 2k or whatever it was. I say no again, and this time he tells me the police are on the way. I say where I can see the local station from my house. I'm told they are undercover (why? It's an IRS thing but I digress). I tell him since they aren't here I'll just go turn myself in and that I'm walking there. Cue panic on the other line. Saying everything he can to get me to go to Target (even Walmart works now!), I tell him too late just got to the station (bathroom), and that I'm gonna put him on with the desk clerk so they know how to book me. The dude hung up immediately. Which was a bummer, cuz I was about to pull out a wicked Boston accent and play dirty cop. But instead, I continued with the coffees work.
"I sometimes try to sell them stuff. I once spent 45 minutes on a slow day at work trying to sell a 120 kg vibrator to some dude."
"I only do this if I'm at home... I scream. They stop talking..when they start talking again I scream again. "Sir are you okay?!" "I'm taking a sh*t and I swear it's coming out sideways! Oh god please keep talking it helps!" Then repeat steps one and two until they hang up."
"Flip the script on them. Hello, thank you for returning our call. We've been trying to reach you about your car's extended warranty."
"I ask them to confirm my information for security purposes. Breaks their script and they don't know what to say!"
"I wait 15-20 seconds in complete silence then let out the loudest god-awful screech I can manage and listen to them scramble to take off their headset in complete panic."
"Just to let you know, by law I'm required to inform you that this is a premium phone line that will be billed directly to your provider. By calling here you agree to accept all charges. Something like that not only gets them to hang up, but they tend to stop calling me after that."
"Is this what you wanted to be when you grew up?"
"I usually respond with: "Is it your first day?"
"On the job?"
"No, on Earth."
"I usually go for "The person you are calling is deceased and their death is currently part of an ongoing investigation. Please stay on the line as we may need to jot down your personal information." My grandmother picks up every call even when she knows it's a scammer, but she usually just says "Not interested." And hangs up. Showed her my way of doing it one time and she thought I was a crazy person."
"My dad used to get a lot of Viagra salesman. So he pleads with them to stop sending free samples because he's too hard all the time and can't live his life."
"I was like 8-10 years old and had someone call asking if I was a homeowner. Had them on the phone for 5 minutes straight having them repeatedly explain what a homeowner is. They hung up, I was so proud."
"I tell them my name is Billy Madonna, and I drive a '93 Toyota Paseo. Then I start getting pissed when they tell me they actually CAN'T give me an extended warranty on my car. I mean, why can't you?! YOU called ME, and the machine SAID I could get an extended warranty. THAT IS FALSE ADVERTISING! LET ME SPEAK WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR!"
"My son always tells them "I have a belly button". Leaves them speechless."
"Do you tell your friends and family you steal for a living?"
"I take a deep breath and let out a continuous raspberry. (fart noise with your tongue) for as long as I can. When I stop to take a breath I usually hear "..uh.. hello?" And then I take a big breath again and continue. No one has made it to two full raspberries before hanging up on me."
"My favorite one is to just go along with whatever they want, using fake names, then when they ask for my credit card number I tell them it's out in my car in the parking garage, and tell them I'll go grab it, then just put them on hold until they hang up. My longest-ever holder was almost a half hour."
"My brother told me that he sometimes starts to purposely talk in broken English, as soon as he realizes that it’s a scammer. He would pretend to be very interested in whatever they were selling. Then just as it seemed like a sale was certain, he would start asking questions that showed that he really didn’t understand what was being offered for sale or what he has to pay. No matter how much the scammer tries to explain, my brother will at first appear to get it and then will continue not to understand. This goes on until the caller finally hangs up in frustration, sometimes cursing him out first."
"My dad once got a scam call at dinner saying he won a trip to Orlando or something similar. He replied with the biggest, most excited voice: "ORLANDO! I LOVE ORLANDO! THAT'S WHERE MICKEY IS!! I LOVE MICKEY!!" Then he hung up."
"I say OH MY GOD THERE IS A SHARK IN MY HOUSE I HAVE TO GO BYE!!!"
"Grab a metal skillet, place it on the phone, and bang the thing with a metal spoon. Perfect response."
"Got a call from a lady who said she can save me hundreds on my insurance. My insurance is $167. So you giving me money now that's sick."
"I just give the phone to my 7yo and he just curses a blue streak."
"Tell them you don't have this common thing they're calling about. For example, calling about windows checking? Sorry, I live in a basement, and I have no windows. My child got in a car crash and I need to pay? It's a miracle, my child has died a few weeks ago and suddenly they're alive and in a car crash! Are you a wizard who can revive the dead? Amazing! Just confuse them and waste as much time as you can, bonus points if you make them feel like sh*t."