I want to start out this blog post with a caution – DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, I AM A PROFESSIONAL.
Phone scams are common and a large problem because they are unfortunately successful. Victims are naïve, underinformed, negligent, inexperienced and gullible. These scam calls range from claiming to be from the IRS or other government agency, policy departments, lost relatives in a foreign jail, from Apple or Amazon, pretending to be your CEO on a plane urging quick action all these scenarios have one thing in common, trick you to send them money.
Even as a cybersecurity professional I get these calls all the time or at least I used to.
My advice to everyone is if you get one of these just hang up. If you use security apps on your phone like AT&T Call Protect you block the number and move on. That’s the best defense.
If you are like me, you want to understand these scams to better help others identify them. That means you stay on the phone as long as you can and waste their time. That’s what I started to do a few years ago. At one point I was thinking of writing a book from the experience but then realized there is a sub-culture of websites and YouTube channels of guys that do this all the time. That didn’t stop me from recording some of them a while back and sharing them. You can hear them over on the sister blog BinaryBlogger.com – Scams Archives – Binary Blogger.
Now, I used to get these on my land line and cell numbers regularly, a few a week. I would talk with all of them and drag it out. Most of them would end with a flurry of profanities from the scammers after they realized what I was doing. The last few months I noticed I haven’t gotten any. They just seemed to stop.
I think I got blacklisted by these scammers.
The idea about this possibility I got from watching another guy that does this all the time. He will spend hours and hours with these scammers and most of the time he counter-hacks them and steals their files. In several of those episodes he showed spreadsheets of victims numbers and notes. The scammers will make notes if you are a problem or non-victim.
Remember, they are a business, and if you are flagged by them as a trickster or someone that wastes their time… would you spend time calling them? No, time is money and they are a for profit service.
Although it’s risky and I do not condone anyone from doing this, there may be a positive twist that in your efforts to waste their time they will flag and blacklist you from being called again because they know you will.
We’ll see if this theory holds but going from 2-3 a week to zero is not a coincidence.
Be aware, be safe.