Social Engineering, Identify Theft, and “Vishing Attacks:” How to Avoid Being Ripped Off by Phone Scams

By Denise Montgomery

New technology is a marvel. Every month, it seems, there’s a new breakthrough, and for the most part, we grow to love it. After all, who really wants to return to the days when we had twelve channels on TV? But every new technology also seems to usher in a new wave of unscrupulous, enterprising scammers looking for ways to make a dishonest buck. In fact, if you’ve begun to notice that most calls you receive on your mobile phone these days are robocalls from numbers you don’t recognize, you’re onto something. Americans are receiving (and for the most part, rightly ignoring) around four billion automated phone calls per month —many of them attempted scams. It is estimated that over half of all senior citizens receive at least seven robocalls per week — the kinds of calls that often lead to identity theft. In fact, in 2023, identity fraud hit an all-time high. The FTC received almost six million fraud and identity theft reports, with losses of $10.2 billion. That means the time to get smart about robocalls is now. And in the case of unsolicited phone calls, the best phone etiquette is to be rude.

Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering relies on psychology and good manners to gain cooperation. It is targeted psychological manipulation. And it is nefarious. (In 2016, a skilled social engineer was notoriously able to add herself to a tech journalist’s cell phone account, change his password, and add a nonexistent daughter to the account, all on camera while he watched, simply by playing a recording of a crying baby in the background and acting flustered and grateful…while a naïve, customer service rep essentially handed his account over to a total stranger.) One of the earliest types of social engineering attacks came in the form email-based identity theft scams called “phishing”—a novel spelling of “fishing.” In phishing schemes, legitimate-looking emails trick people into clicking on links that send them to fake web sites that look like legitimate bank, credit card, or other trustworthy sites, where they “log in” and “verify” their identities using real account data and sensitive personal information (full names, account or social security numbers, account passwords, and so forth). As consumers have grown wiser about these scams (and spam filters have grown more effective at deleting phishing emails), scammers kept up, finding new ways to try to obtain that information. Thus, Voice Phishing, or vishing, was born, also known as a phone scam. It’s easy, after all, to ignore an email. But it’s sometimes harder to ignore a person (or “company”) who took the time to calls and try to help you. That’s where the power of social engineering comes into the equation. The truth is, most of us have been trained since birth to be kind, polite, and grateful. And unfortunately, that very training is weaponized by vishers, who rely on our social graces to worm their way into our wallets. Then there’s the phone scam fear factor. What if you received a frantic phone call about a beloved niece, traveling alone in a remote area? (Thanks, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter selfies!) What if the caller told you she’s been in a terrible accident, her parents can’t be reached, she needs lifesaving surgery, you’re listed in her phone as her next-closest relative, and…you need to urgently wire $10,000 for emergency surgery to the hospital at Account Number XX-XXXXXXXXXX? Family emergency phone scams are so common, in fact, the United States Federal Trade Commission has issued a specific warning against them. It’s almost enough to make you consider never answering your phone unless you recognize the caller ID again, isn’t it? How to Protect Yourself from Vishing Attacks and Phone Scams
  • Use your voicemail. Let your phone do the heavy lifting for you and let voicemail screen your calls. If you don’t recognize the number of an incoming call, let it go. Check the message afterwards and decide whether it sounds legitimate or not. If a message says there is a problem and you should return a call, double-check the number online or with directory assistance. Don’t simply call the number without verifying it’s a legitimate number.
  • Turn the tables. If you answer a call and an unsolicited caller asks you to verify your identity by providing secure details only you would know (such as account information, PINs, or other personally identifying information), ask for the caller’s own verifying information, including full name, department, branch, and a main switchboard callback number. Then insist on calling back in your own time, at your own pace. Very few things are so urgent they require immediate action within the next ten minutes to one hour. Slow it down. Take your time. “Urgent!” is Almost always a red flag.
  • Never provide sensitive, personally identifying information over the phone if you did not initiate the call. Medicare, the IRS, credit card companies, and other legitimate organizations never call consumers directly, out of the blue, and ask for personally identifying information. It’s really that simple. (If you called them, of course, then it’s not only OK to verifying your identity; you should be thrilled they’re asking.)
  • If you have a smartphone, use a spam-call blocking app. Hiya and Truecaller, both free for IOS and Android phones, offer powerful caller identification and blocking capabilities beyond the built-in features of most cellphones and can be useful adjuncts to help manage the ever-increasing number of junk calls that aren’t covered by the national do-not-call registry (which many vishers, located outside the U.S., simply ignore anyway).
  • Ask your cellular provider about enhanced spam and scam call blocking technology. Nearly every cellular provider offers low-cost or no-cost add-on features for an extra dollar or two per month that can significantly cut down on the number of unsolicited calls you receive.
  • Get ready to avoid the next scam. Smishers are out there, working on the next version of identity-theft. (Smishing? What’s smishing? Glad you asked. It uses SMS [text messaging] for the same goals as vishing or phishing. In other words: Same scam, different day.)

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132 thoughts on “Social Engineering, Identify Theft, and “Vishing Attacks:” How to Avoid Being Ripped Off by Phone Scams

  1. Anonymous
    April 8, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Be careful even if you initiate a call. I know someone who called a number she found on line (a scammer) who asked for gift cards.

    1. Marguerite Clarke
      October 29, 2019 at 8:44 pm

      I never answer the phone, unless I recognize the number or caller ID. I feel this stuff is like being under siege. It is effecting my mental health and my well being. It has effected my quality of life daily. It needs to be made a criminal offense.

      1. Betty hayes
        November 8, 2019 at 11:07 pm

        I am a senior citizen and I think it’s a disgrace that we are hammered every hour of every day with this crank calls.the telephone companies or government can surely do something about it. I have as many as 25-30 calls a day . I don’t care to spend my last days being bombarded with these calls. Please can’t something be done ?

        1. anonymous
          December 1, 2019 at 1:45 am

          I agree completely. They have no idea who they are calling or disturbing. The other thing is the mail. I will never send a donation asked for in a letter again. One time, and over the months, I can barely get the mail out of my box, EVERY day. Many of the same ones. They want money so they can send out more information, yet I continue to receive the same letters every week. So they are keeping the money, and they sell the addresses. What has become of our world

      2. Dan McSwiggen
        November 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

        I agree, Margueritte Clark. And the solicitation calls on my CELL PHONE only began after the Dumpster connived his way into office. I never had that happen when Obie was in office! But, I suspect that initial batch of bills Dumpster signed contained one that gave these scamsters free reign on our cell numbers.

        1. Bruce Davis
          November 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

          You’re saying the these scammers have only been around for three years??? What an idiot…

          1. Bonita R
            November 29, 2019 at 9:50 pm

            THEY SHOULD ALL BE LOCKED-UP for what they’re doing. Especially the ass**** that swiped $5,000. from me – his name is JAMES CARRINGTON was in PHEONIX. I HAVEN’T FROM HIM SINCE. I have NO IDEA where he’s at NOW – He is a thief

  2. Anonymous
    April 9, 2019 at 2:31 am

    Yes! It happened to me. I googled the number to I-Tunes because I received a (fraudulent) invoice stating my account would be debited $78.00. Turns out it was a scam and the guy on the other end wanted me to buy an ITunes card for $100 and he would stay on the line while I went to the store. It would all be refunded…. Be careful out there!

    1. Frank Hunt
      October 22, 2019 at 11:16 pm

      I went thru a scam like this “John” with Msn from MY was helping me and said he enter 2,200. Instead of 200.00 and he could not clear it out can I go to Wal-Mart and buy a gift card for 2000.00 so I did!! I was a fool gave him the # off the card got screwed 2000.00.

      1. Anonymous
        November 2, 2019 at 3:01 pm


    2. Mary Sue Wilson
      October 27, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      That is why I got a loud whistle. Just talk softly then give it all you got!!! It seems to work!

      1. Dan McSwiggen
        November 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm

        That’s a great idea, Ms. Wilson!

  3. Elizabeth Ponterio
    April 9, 2019 at 5:13 am

    I went through this with what was presented as Apple fraud protection. I got calls and e mails at least four times. I was told my account had been hacked by 267 people all over the world. I had to immediately act or all my accounts would be quickly depleted. I gave no information and was told I had to purchase Google play cards that would be used and immediately refunded. I hung up immediately. Told him he ought to ashamed trying to victimize a 73 year old grandmother on Social Security. I doubt he cared.

  4. Tressa A Stevens
    April 10, 2019 at 2:24 am

    I have a call blocking app on my cellphone.It really helps.

  5. Gretchen
    April 10, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    My grandpa who is now deceased had a phone scam a few years ago. He got a call that my brother had been arrested in another country and needed bail money right away. My grandfather actually withdrew the money from the bank and went to a western Union. The lady there told him not to do it that it was a scam

  6. Anonymous
    April 11, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    For a while, I answered suspicious calls with a bogus company–like Ozarks Mule Company or Jones Creek Fraud Investigation. Don’t get many now. Did answer one that was from our local oil company. Was immediately suspicious when the caller said there was a problem with our credit card. Why? We always pay by check.

  7. Anonymous
    April 12, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I finf that screaming f#$%## off works pretty well.

    1. Mary Sue Wilson
      October 27, 2019 at 4:05 pm

      But not as good as a good loud whistle!!!!!

  8. Anonymous
    April 12, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Also…if you are ever asked “can you hear me” never answer this question….never…with a yes response you have just agreed to buy the product. Also, got a call from my health insurance company about a claim. Told the caller the claim was a fraud and he had better get his crap right before making a call. Never gave out any of my info. Just hung up on the idiot.

  9. Marcia Proctor
    April 12, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve gotten the fake IRS car many times. I am well prepared to see the police come and arrest me in the next 10 minutes if I don’t give them what they want. One time I was out in the car when I got one of those calls and I live close to Washington DC. I told the man that I would be happy to come to his office at the IRS since I was close by. He hung up very quickly.

  10. Judith W Hughes
    April 13, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    You didn’t mention spoofing … my latest bane. Someone is using my phone number to generate robo calls – most recently the Microsoft license scam. My local phone company tells me there is nothing I can do.

  11. Lin
    April 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Got a call from some scammer trying to send a refund from Apple. I don’t have such an account they wanted banking info. Gave them nothing called them a scammer and blocked the number.

  12. Anonymous
    April 14, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    They tried to get me also so I gave the number to police it’s been added to the list.

  13. Pat Christensen
    April 16, 2019 at 6:53 am

    I decided to no longer be kind or polite. I will tell callers, “I don’t want that”, “I didn’t order it”, “I think you are trying to scam me” (and hang up). I also threaten to sue the (fake) company if they call me again. Those won’t stand up to any really determined scammers, but they have worked so far

  14. Barb howlet
    April 18, 2019 at 4:46 am

    A new twist. My cell phone rings. It is my number showing yo on the screen. I am puzzled. I answer and it’s Microsoft telling me I have a refund coming. All I need to do is give my info. It calls me at least ten times a day

  15. Anonymous
    April 18, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I had 26 calls one day by someone who was using my phone number. My number was showing up on my caller ID. It was on my “land line”, so I picked it up and put it right back down finally and that ended the calls. I do that with all calls that I don’t know. Don’t ever let them hear your voice. They can use it.

  16. Anonymous
    April 19, 2019 at 3:01 am

    How do we talk rudely to a record? Abouhalf of these calls are recorded.

  17. Anonymous
    April 21, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I have had 3 calls come in on my landline that looked like they were coming from me!! Showed my phone # and my name. The first time it happened I called the phone company to report it and was told it was impossible!!

    I also found that when you get a call and they say they are calling from the electric company to help lower your electric bill, cable bill, etc. If you question them by asking why it doesn’t show the name of the electric company on the caller I’d, they usually hang up.

  18. Cat Cavanaugh
    April 21, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I go the route of being not only ride but silly. Love to waste their time! Examples are:
    Can YOU hear me or are you just stupid?
    Talking quickly so they can’t get a word in…Hey! Are you ever getting over here? I have had breakfast on the table for 30 minutes!! OR. I thought I told you my husband is MARRIED!

    Anything silly and said loudly will work!!

    1. Anonymous
      November 23, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      I know a few words of a foreign language that is not common in our area. I say a couple of sentences in that language, and they hang up.

  19. Anonymous
    April 22, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Everyone should tell there phone co they’re going to shut there phone service if they don’t do something about it watch how fast they come up
    With something to stop it

  20. Barbara
    April 23, 2019 at 2:43 am

    I get the calls everyday on my cell and my landline. If I don’t recognize the number I don’t answer. Then I block the number and they call back on another number. I’ve got those can you hear me calls also.

  21. Barbara
    April 23, 2019 at 2:46 am

    It said I had already commented with that same message. I have not. Is this a scam also.

  22. Rick Sebastian
    April 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I have received several calls from obviously “eastern” males, telling me they can no longer serve my computer malware acct. so they are offering a refund– I don’t have a malware acct. and I never paid anyone who would be able to refund to me– that is as far as they get- I hang up. as I do when any “HAJJII” calls me — I dont know anyone in India or middle east.

  23. Paula
    April 24, 2019 at 2:18 am

    I got a call that my grandson was in jail and needed money for bail. I said, “What? Again? He’s no good. Let him rot in jail.” They hung up.

    Another time someone called on a federal holiday, saying they were Medicare and wanted to verify my information. I said, “Sure. Read me what you have and I’ll tell you if it’s correct.” End of call.

    Yesterday I got two who asked, “Can you hear me?” I said, “Speak up! I can’t hear you.” And I hung up.

    I usually don’t answer unknown numbers p, but now they are spoofed to look like local numbers.

  24. Susie
    April 25, 2019 at 4:32 am

    I once saw a video where the person answers the phone and says to the telemarketer we are the police and the person you are calling has just been murdered If you’re a friend we need your name and phone number

  25. Anonymous
    April 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    We got a call that my husband answered about selling us a condo. My husband said “you want to sell me a condom? The guy hung up.

  26. Verna Wilson
    April 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    I got a call from a scammer that I had told to take me off their calling list. I told her she had called before. She said no, I haven’t. I replied, yes you did and you had the same cheesy line then. She hasn’t called back. Be careful of calls claiming to be Microsoft and Windows. Also got a magazine scam claiming to be Cat Fancy.. I called them and they said they only correspond through the mail.

  27. Connie Parham
    April 28, 2019 at 12:52 am

    I don’t answer a number I do not recognize, also my phone tells me likely scam! I really do appreciate that!

  28. Beth Richards
    April 28, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Exactly. All the calls I get these days are recorded, and they are spoofing local numbers.

  29. Anonymous
    April 28, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I just don’t answer the phone anymore. If it’s a number in my contacts I will. Otherwise it can go to VM. 99 out of a 100 times they do not leave a message. Just don’t answer it!

  30. Shirley Duff
    April 29, 2019 at 2:13 am

    I answer the phone sheriff’s office fraud unit if I don’t know the number I usally hear a click right away

  31. Louise Skrabut
    April 29, 2019 at 6:16 am

    A real estate company is using my home (sketch of a house) COMPARISON with their house selling on a computer, , they are giving descriptions of my bedrooms, baths, etc … they never asked my permission to give details . I never dealt with them . These details are not correct today. This is a scam.

    1. Anonymous
      November 10, 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Sue. They can’t do that w/o your permission.

  32. Julia
    April 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Student loan forgiveness scams are the worst ones out there. I probably receive 20+ calls a, week. these people are insistant will not take no for an answer the try and bully you into giving them info. When you hang up and block them they just call from a difrent number using a difrent Americanized name. Same guy or gal just difrent first name. The numbers look legit since they are coming in as local calls. FYI my student loan has been paid off for going on three years now. However if you ever had a student loan they somehow know and try and scam you when you ask them were they got your name the will say things like federal government. Or American education services or you were on a list. AES will never give out your info these people are just phishing for you SS # name ect.

    1. Robert Brewer
      November 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      I’ve been getting those calls to forgive my student loan for the last 5 or 6 years. They always say that if I don’t respond within the next 48 hours that I will not be eligible but I have gotten that call a s many as 5 calls in the same day. They come from cities that are always near me. When I asked one of them how they found out about my loan they hung up.
      What they don’t know is that I am 85 years old and graduated from college many moons ago and haven’t ever had a student loan.
      Another one that i’ve been getting is trying to sell me life insurance. I always go along with them until they ask my age and I say “104”. That abruptly ends the call.

  33. Anonymous
    April 29, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I ask if the person on the phone is a robot. Usually the robot does not have a good answer for this question.

  34. Anonymous
    April 30, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    You can register for the National Do Not Call List at or by calling 1-888-382-1222. This is mainly for telemarketers (sales). If you still get sales calls after 31 days from registration, you can report at the Web site or by phone at the same number. There’s also some good info at the Web site for handling unwanted calls in general. In any case, if you don’t recognize the caller ID, or if it looks suspicious, let it go to voice mail. If it’s a legitimate call, you can always call back.

  35. Dina Francia
    April 30, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Got a call from electric company. The caller I’d said it was the electric company. They wanted cash for some meter or what have you. I knew it was a scam when they demanded cash.

  36. Anonymous
    May 1, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I answer “Coroners Office” or “ OK it’s done but there is blood all over. What should it do now” then there is a click lol

  37. Carolyn
    May 1, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    The Medicare supplement people are driving me crazy! The calls are recorded. I have tried to call the number back. Won’t work. I have 30 numbers blocked on my land line. About every three weeks I erase these and load 30 more.
    I realize we are discussing fraudulent phone calls but let me mention this. In the past on my computer I will get a website I didn’t ask for nor want. It says! DO NOT SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER! Call this number for help getting rid of this website.
    Don’t do it! It’s a scam! I called one time thinking I had been hacked. The guy was Asian or some kind of foreign. He could not even speak good English. Shut down your computer. Boot it up again and check your firewall. There’s a million of them out there!

  38. Mary Fisher
    May 1, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve gotten the IRS scam multiple times. I know things are weird in DC now but if the US Treasury is so bad off it accepts ITune cards to pay off my tax debt, we’re all in trouble. Usually I post the scammer phone number on Facebook and invite all my friends to call back and tie up the lines. They eventually shut the number down but enough people have kept other victims from being harmed. And it’s funny as hell.

  39. Joyce rodgers
    May 2, 2019 at 2:53 am

    I get all kinds of crazy calls,I never answer scam calls.

  40. Jeff
    May 2, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    The National Do Not Call list is a JOKE.

  41. B.Eatchel
    May 4, 2019 at 10:25 am

    call your phone &get info how to block. On robo other un wanted I hang up & dial star tab 60 star again then #01 # I have blocked over 100 calls and life is less stressed now.betti

  42. Grendel
    May 5, 2019 at 12:32 am

    IRS Call:
    Oh there is a Federal Warrant on me? Let me check with the US Attorney here, we played golf last weekend.

  43. Mary
    May 5, 2019 at 3:28 am

    …you’re on the air!….:)

  44. Anne Peterson
    May 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    I got a call from a woman who left a message saying she did not appreciate getting calls from me. Yes, the thing that happened to me was that the caller used my name AND number which came up on her caller ID. When I called the ADA I believe, they told me there was nothing I could do about it. I did end up talking to the woman and letting her know I was not the caller.

  45. Bob
    May 13, 2019 at 12:53 am

    I received a phone call at 6PM on a Sunday night from a woman claiming to be from the legal department of a magazine service. She claimed I defaulted on a payment and owed $300 to be paid immediately. I could not get a word in edgewise, so I yelled out, “SHUT UP!”, and she said, “See you in court.” Since when does a business call at 6PM on a Sunday night?

    I should note I work for my county’s social services dept.’s Fraud Department, as the intake worker. I recognize BS immediately. My parents did not raise any fools.

  46. Jane
    May 13, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Being on the DO NOT CALL list is a joke.

  47. Anonymous
    May 14, 2019 at 12:10 am

    My son got a call from the Texas lottery telling him that he had won $6 million and all he had to do to collect was send them $6 thousand.he kept calling them just to screw with them and they didn’t like it.

  48. Dorothy Melosky
    May 18, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I always wondered how I could be called from my own number! So, it is Microsoft spoofing?

  49. Anonymous
    May 18, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    My husband answers with “” POOL HALL,8. BALL SPEAKING “”It’s usually goes click!!!

  50. Anonymous
    May 20, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for calling Burger King. Make I take you order

  51. Anonymous
    May 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Got a call from “Com Ed” saying I have over paid and that I will get a $70.00 refund. Then asked if I am the account owner with a name that was not mine. He then,told me to get my get my ComEd bill. I hung up. Com Ed does not call you! I answered the call because I was stupid. DON’T BE STUPID!

  52. Anonymous
    May 22, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Yea, I like the robot calls. I ask if they are a robot. The robot usually does not have a good answer for this. Since I have nothing else to do, I usually try to keep these people on the phone for as long as possible, this gives them less time to call someone that might believe their BS. If it’s a human, I ask what the weather is like in India, or is that Theland.

  53. Janice
    May 22, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Carolyn, I have gotten two of those calls. One was several years ago supposedly from Microsoft saying don’t shut down your computer or you won’t be able to start it again. Call this number. Stupidly, I called the number. It was a hacker. I got another one last week everything was the same. I shut down my computer and ran my scans. I don’t understand what these people get out of doing this. I’ve wished I had a button on my phone that would send them a substantial electrical shock. Of course, that wouldn’t work.

  54. Lou Rugani
    May 22, 2019 at 6:38 am

    I work in radio, and they call my on-air line. Makes for a great program. I tell them they’re the 17th caller and that they’ve won the Ford Explorer and they have one hour to claim it. Then I ask for THEIR name and address.

  55. Ellen Shumate
    May 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    I got a call one time claiming that my grandson was in jail and needed money to get out. I never had any kids so how am I supposed to have a grandson?

  56. Anonymous
    May 23, 2019 at 4:21 am

    There is something you can do what I did call your provider and quit

  57. GGMA 18X
    May 24, 2019 at 5:45 am

    I never ever answer a number I don’t recognize. If they don’t leave a VM they get blocked IMMEDIATELY. My phone lets you put in just the first few numbers and block them, too, like area codes.

  58. Anonymous
    May 26, 2019 at 8:40 am

    No one mentioned the DEA call saying, with a heavy accent, that (you/I) might be involved in a case of Fraud. To call back the pH. # (which was from out of the country). But no “agent” name or case# left on the VM. DIDN’T CALL!!

  59. Gail Chasse
    May 26, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I answer my phone as if they called the local police station, stating my name as dispatcher so and so and “how may I help you”?
    It’s an immediate hang up!😂🤣

  60. Anonymous
    May 27, 2019 at 12:38 am

    When we realize it is a scam, we lay the phone on the table and let them talk until they finally realize on one is on the line listening to them. It wastes their time and after a time or two, they quit calling.

  61. Ellen
    May 27, 2019 at 12:53 am

    I will occasionally answer just to mess with the caller….”How did you reach me? I don’t have a phone!

  62. Jackie
    May 27, 2019 at 5:47 am

    I always have fun with those people from India who have called me from various numbers. First I tell them to go f themselves. Then they start trying to talk dirty to me. It ends with them saying I love you and I say I love you more, but it’s too bad that I can’t meet you, because you’re so far away. You’re in India. Then I blow my whistle so hard that it must blow their ears off. I have called four different numbers and the same guy answers every time. Each time it is a different scam, trying to get my credit card number by saying that I am deserving a refund for my computer service. Other times, they pretend that something is wrong with my credit card and I need to get it straightened out. Sometimes I call and pretend I’m a little old lady who is so worried because her credit card is being charged and they asked which one? I say I don’t know and then they try to guess. They said oh, your MasterCard and I say no have MasterCard. They say, yes, is your Visa and I say no have Visa. Then they say it is your debit , me your debit card number. Then I blow my really loud whistle.

  63. I kerr
    May 27, 2019 at 6:02 am

    I bought an air horn and use it on callers who call day after day. When they answer, they get a blast. It’s nasty to do, but they have to stop calling and get a real job.

  64. Deborah Herrick
    May 28, 2019 at 3:23 am

    I ask if they can hold a minute while I check the baby. Then I put the phone down. In a few minutes, I ask if they’re still holding. If they are, I tell them great I’ll be right back, put the phone down and wait till they hang up. Have also blown a whistle in the phone, and once told them loudly to f*** off. It’s fun to pretend to be too simple to understand or very hard of hearing.

  65. Jim Douglas
    May 28, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    I had someone call on a Saturday evening from my “local bank branch” to alert me to a problem on my credit card. I told them no one is on duty in the evening at my bank, and credit cards are handled through a national office. They hung up.

    I find that all calls are made using automatic dialing equipment. Even when a live person comes on the line there is usually a slight delay and you can hear a quiet background change to a different sound, sometimes even with clicks. I rarely give them the opportunity to come on the line when I get the auto dial silence.

  66. ANOM.
    May 29, 2019 at 3:05 am

    I got one last week and when I answered “Oh, hi honey I didn’t think you were going to call me today. He kept trying to get a word in but I just ruled the conversation and he did hang up after a while because I couldn’t convince him that I was in love with him. It was so funny because my husband was sitting right here listening.

  67. Katheryn Clayton
    May 30, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    I remember 50+ years ago I was afraid to leave my apartment because I might miss a phone call. Nowadays I only answer the phone if there is a Caller ID name that I recognize. What really frightened me was to come home from work one day and find six phone calls made to my land line from my land line! My name and phone number. Just can’t trust anyone anymore.

  68. Anonymous
    May 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    I got a bunch of calls one day—from my own number. Started answering like a voice mailbox for the IRS. Asked them to leave name, SS# and date of birth. No more calls!

  69. Anonymous
    May 30, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    I was getting call after call from my number. Finally answered a couple like I was a voice mailbox for the IRS. Asked them to leave name, SS# and date of birth. They called a couple more times but then it stopped!

  70. Anonymous
    May 31, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Answer: Sheriff’s Office, Fraud,Waste, and Abuse!

  71. Roberta McCord
    May 31, 2019 at 4:15 am

    On Jan 18,2019 i was browsing on Facebook when I came across an ad for “cure Diabetes “. I was interested so I followed thru and was not intending to order it if I didn’t want it. To get the price and more information i had to give my credit card number so I did. I found out the price was 199.99 with a free little of pills……….but they changed their sales pitch to “Keto Pills”. I tried to cancel at the point of purchase but there wasn’t a place to do that. I didn’t want Ket O Pills and I immediately emailed them to “stop this order. I didn’t want these pills. Don’t charge my bank account. “. These people had immediately deducted the 199.99 from my account I even had my granddaughter email them. (She is an attorney in my state). I called them also and they told me I had to get the pills and then send them back THEN I’m would get my money back.5 months later ,I am still not refunded. I wonder if anyone has had experience with this kind of scam. I am 76 years old. I have called them over and over but they say ” you’re going to get it shortly. “. They won’t let me talk to a supervisor……..So sorry .

    1. Me
      November 2, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      Contact your bank, I did and they helped get my refund.

  72. DEL
    June 1, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    For most calls I just remain silent and the call disconnects after 12 seconds. If it’s a legit non-robo call the caller will eventually say something. If the call is from “Windows” I ask the caller what color his (it’s always a man) badge is. This confuses most. Only one apparently understood I was asking about his Microsoft employee ID badge. Any Microsoft employee would instantly understand the question. Of course no one from Microsoft will ever call to claim they have detected trouble with my computer.

  73. Ronald Masters
    June 2, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    When I get a call I let it ring. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message

  74. Louise
    June 6, 2019 at 6:30 am

    If I do not recognize the name or number and they do not leave a message, I block the call. “Unavailable” must have a million phone numbers and it does no good to block them. One annoying call that I finally did answer was re student loans. A recording, of course. I am 82 and I have never had a student loan but I can’t get rid of these people.

  75. Mark Hoines
    June 7, 2019 at 2:25 am

    Block spam calls on your landline using Nomorobo ( It’s free with landlines but not cellphones. Spam calls ring only once and do not go to voice mail. Occasionally such a call slips through, but so far it has not blocked any legitimate calls. Here’s the evaluation on Consumer Reports: “Nomorobo intercepts all calls after the first ring, compares the number to its vast list of robocall originators, and decides whether to let the call go through. Recipients hear the first ring; if the call is legitimate, the phone rings normally. “Only blocked one call that I wanted,” raved one tester. Once he added the number to the wanted-call list, “they got through the next time. I seriously could not be happier.” Among 40 testers, 25 gave Nomorobo top marks on a scale of 1 to 5, and nine rated it 4.5 or 4.” I give it top marks, too.

  76. Anonymous
    June 7, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Keep my husband’s referee whistle handy and when I receive a call I don’t recognize and am sure it’s a scammer, I “blow the whistle” after warning them what I’m about to do. One had doubt I would do that, so I did.

  77. Kathy McConnell
    June 9, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I know we are talking about phone calls but just about everyday I get a message on my computer saying there is a Microsoft account problem it says we need to fix your Microsoft account most likely your password changed, Select here to fix it in Shared experiences settings, I think it is a scam what do you all think I just been deleting it but I get this message and so does my husband everyday at least once,

    1. Anonymous
      November 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Did that once. They put a lock on my computer and tried to extort money from me to release my computer. I ended up rebooting my entire system. I lost some recent files but I made sure I backed up my important files on the cloud.

  78. Anonymous
    June 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I have gotten most all of those above calls from scammers. Hey, I’m a retired senior citizen and have lots of time on my hands. Kep them on the line. They get paid by how many calls they make. “Sorry, sir, I’m old and have to use the bathroom. Will you hold with me?” Then go into the bathroom with 1/2 gallon pitcher of water and dribble it into the toilet for several minutes. Makes a lot of noise but the stupid idiots wait for me to finish. For the lady callers who say “Hello mister _____, how are you today?” “I say, I’m naked, what are you wearing?” And my favorite is, “I’m not really doing to well today. I am very depressed and need someone to talk to because I am contemplating suicide. Please don’t hang up on me.” Idiots hang up anyway.

    June 11, 2019 at 9:27 pm


  80. Anonymous
    June 12, 2019 at 2:30 am

    Call Microsoft Fraud Department. If you still have the message they can track it down and burn it.

  81. Maggie Brown
    June 13, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    I have you all beat. I got a call from “PHC” .
    I won 5 million dollars. The guy went though a bunch of questions. Like asking what I did for a living. (I knew when he told me PHC is was a scam.) I told him I was retired. He told me a bunch of crap then finally he told he that since I have won over $10,000.00 he had to get some information to report the winning to the IRS. I started to laugh and told him that I knew he was a scammer and that I fact I was no retired but was a IRS agent. He started cussing me and I hung up. Some how he ties up my home phone line up so I could not use it. Finally it cleared.

  82. brighid
    June 14, 2019 at 3:13 am

    I did something similar a year or so ago and I also couldn’t cancel. I called my bank who cancelled the order and also had me change my card number. Let the bank know you did not place an order but you are being charged. Good luck.

  83. Lynn Davis
    June 15, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I got to where I would tell them — “listen I told you already the body is such and such place” never heard from them again. Once before my husband passed this arabic man (you could tell by his voice) kept calling my husband who was on hospice and 70 years old, he kept telling this man he did not want to sign up for college. Finally I told my husband let me take the next call. I told the man my husband was on hospice and dying please do not call back. Well he laughs and says he is not dead yet is he??? Had me steaming mad. I was ready to lower the boom on him and God tells me to pray for him instead. I told him you know what can I pray for you? My religion says to pray for my enemy and you are my enemy, so I did pray — a real nice prayer for him. Then when I was thru I told him you know what else my religion tells me — that if I pray for my enemy coals of fire will fall on them. OMG he went ballistic and started hollering at me “why did you do that to me” and kept hollering it. It was funny. But you can bet that every time that guy gets hot or burns himself he is thinking about me and the coals of fire. LOL

  84. Judy Davis
    June 16, 2019 at 4:52 am

    When I tried to call back to irs officer Mitchell, they hung up on me.

  85. Vivian Sosnowski
    June 17, 2019 at 2:20 am

    I got a call from? Jay Sekalow agent asking for a donation, have contributed in the past by mail, so seemed as if it was legit –Sent $20 from Debit card, was told that I would receive a statement soon –this was several weeks ago and have heard nothing nor received receipt –apparently it is a scam. ; -(

  86. Anonymous
    June 19, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    I got a call from my “grandson”, so immediately jumped into the conversation asking where he is and doesn’t he know he is supposed to be in Brussels. The ambassador needs the dossier so he can make his presentation tomorrow and where the hell are you? I am in Mexico in jail. I come back with you are jeopardizing world peace by not being where you are supposed to be. Usually that ends the conversation. Other times I say: I told you not to call me again. You got her pregnant, you deal with it. Stand up and be a man.
    I have a lot of fun with them. Never let them get a word in. Also it helps keep me sharp in my old age thinking up scenarios.

  87. Randi Dell
    June 21, 2019 at 3:52 am

    I learned that the IRS was sending the police to pick me up. I was babysitting with my 3 year old great grandson. First I told them to please call the police quickly & then turned the call over to the 3 year old. Have you ever had a phone convo with a 3 year old. I loved it. Just wondered why they talked to him as long as they did. Lol. Guess they get paid by the hour.

  88. Nancy Cannon
    June 21, 2019 at 5:01 am

    These jerks are a detriment to society…have received many calls one was my grandson is in jail deal…I kept saying which grandson and the guy kept saying don’t you know your grandsons voice and I answered “my grandsons all speak the queens english and he hung up on me. Recently bit on a Keto thing free 30 days for 4.95 so decided to try it well before I could conclude it I had to add a detox pill for another 5.95…..//.then called my credit card company who gave me the number and they had already billed me for nearly 200 bucks …after a lengthy conversation and them telling me they could only return 50 %…..finally they agreed to refund all….which they did….the 2nd order never came……

  89. Anonymous
    June 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    I always ask why aren’t they in jail yet? They hang up.

  90. diane trussell
    June 21, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    If I decide I want to have a little fun, I answer in a hoarse whisper, “It’s done, but there’s blood everywhere! ” I usually hear a gasp, followed by a quick hangup!

  91. Gail Foster
    June 23, 2019 at 3:40 am

    All these are great for the unwanted calls, BUT……they will just call back They do not stop! The national do not call list is a farce! I had 8 calls within 15 minutes.I asked if they are aware of the list, & I’m on it. One said “oh sorry, but since. I have you on the line……”

  92. Elizabeth Thatcher
    June 23, 2019 at 6:02 am

    I have a friend who keeps a whistle by her phone, and blows it very loudly when they call…….

  93. Eunice Littlefield
    June 24, 2019 at 4:52 am

    I answer in German and pretend not to understand English , They don’t stay on line long . I’m sure any foreign language Will work .

  94. Katheryn Clayton
    June 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I was shocked (twice) when I came home from work and found phone calls on my landline TO my landline! My name and phone number on the Caller ID. I have learned to answer only phone calls from numbers I recognize. If it’s important and legit, they can leave a message.

  95. Margaret
    June 26, 2019 at 1:08 am

    When I receive a scam call, I answer “Hello” and as soon as they sat something, I say “Hello” again. They keep talking and I keep saying “Hello” until they hang up.

  96. Diana
    June 26, 2019 at 6:14 am

    I get calls about my student loan I have never gone to college never had a student loan and I’m 77 so it’s sickening. On my cell always change numbers or states or cities.

  97. K F Stack
    June 26, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Definitely a scam. Big as they are, and high tech also, they are not yet capable of tracking every single user of their product, monitor all those products, and identify 1 out of millions having a problem. Plus…they do not call you!! Ever!! You must call them and if you do, you must be careful that you are not hijacked!!

    Had a recent message telling me I was being investigated for fraud by Social Security Administration, and to “call this number immediately”. I posted the scam details and number to public Facebook. Hope they had a few thousand nuisance phone calls.

  98. Anonymous
    June 26, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve had ” Apple tech services” Call me regarding a technical problem with my phone they needed to fix. I told them I didn’t believe there was a problem with my iPhone. The woman argued with me that yes I did and she should know because she is the technical repair person. Again I told her that I didn’t believe she could help with fixing my phone…she argued with me for a good 5 minutes before I told her she could NOT help me with my iPhone because I don’t OWN an iPhone and wouldn’t be caught dead with an I anything🤣

  99. June lowrey
    June 26, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    When you get calls saying you can get free medical equipment or Pain medication creams etc that your insurance will cover never give out your insurance number or personal info. Ask for the persons name and record the number. Then call your insurance provider and report it especially if on Medicare!

  100. Anonymous
    June 29, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    I ordered some bras, and when I realized their
    sizing is way off, and I would not be able to wear them, I immediately cancelled the order. These
    were on FB. They replied that they were sorry I was cancelling. Weeks later, they sent msg saying they could not refund my money as the
    Package had been opened and there was nothing wrong with the product. I wrote back that they had not even sent the pkg yet. Thought that took care of it. No, 3 weeks later I received the pkg. Now, I cannot get my money
    back, and can’t wear the bras. The initial order. had a US company name, but their products are made and sent from China! The return address on outside of pkg. is in Chinese! This company is a fraud.

  101. Joan Weeham
    June 29, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    I tell them I am on a do not call list. I really wish they would honor it, and then hang up.

  102. Joan Weedham
    June 29, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I tell them I am non a do not call list. I really wish they would honor it. Then I hang up.

  103. Terry
    June 30, 2019 at 3:02 am

    The past 2 days I have had 7 calls all from different numbers about my SScard being compromised; each time they leave a msg. I have reported it, but they keep calling!

  104. Teresa
    June 30, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    I kept getting phone calls from a guy in India. Forget what his scam was. Finally, I told him [in a harsh tone] that I had requested several times for him to take me off his list to call and hung up. He continued to call me every 3 minutes for the rest of the day! Hum…must have made him mad. After several hours I had to leave my phone off the hook…which, of course, disabled my phone for several hours.

  105. Anonymous
    July 2, 2019 at 1:28 am

    One neighbor was scammed by “your grandson is in trouble and needs money. When they called me, I said “I don’t have any grandsons”.

  106. BILLIE
    July 6, 2019 at 9:39 am


  107. Kathy Adler
    July 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I got a call from a heavily accented man awhile ago. While I like listening to accents, (I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist) this guy was barely intelligible. I told him I was having difficulty understanding him. Then I gave him information about accent reduction programs (online and CD). I said, “I hope I haven’t offended you”. He said, “Oh, no! Most people they just yell at me.” I wonder if he put the advice to use!

    July 28, 2019 at 1:48 am

    These guys and their IRS, SS card, computer subscription scams….oh and now they have added their dumb Medicare scams, too, and don’t forget letting you know you have fraudulent charges on your credit card. Or the latest; “you have won a sweepstakes of 19 million dollars. All yo have to do is pay the 1% tax on it.” Hahahahaha I love playing head trips with them

  109. Mary Lou
    August 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I never let those phone calls get beyond the second word, I just hang up. And we give those calls that say nothing, just blank air, about 3 seconds before hanging up,

  110. Cindi sweeney
    August 2, 2019 at 5:26 am

    I will get phone calls and then person state their name and I am calling from, static, can you hear me? It’s got to be a scam when the business name is not clear. I do not want a recording of me saying yes or no, so I bark or meow. They quickly hang up!

  111. Marcia Proctor
    August 13, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I find It’s extremely frustrating that I get so many calls on my cell phone. I work as a therapist and I use my cell phone as my office number and I have to pay for every call that comes in, so if I get 20 calls for therapy a mont, I’m paying over $100 for all the scammers that are calling me. I’ve talked to the phone company and they say there’s nothing they can do about it. I have to pay it.

  112. Anonymous
    August 21, 2019 at 12:13 am

    good grief! Switch to a phone carrier that has unlimited calling! Being charged per call in this century is ridiculous!

  113. BJ
    August 31, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    When any caller mentions Share Connect, do NOT agree to it. This is another name for remote control of your computer. Once connected, they can look at anything on your computer, including data for passwords, account numbers, etc. This goes for online support as well. If you call or chat online with a support person, they will always ask for remote or share connections. NEVER DO IT. Just tell them you are a computing consultant and can follow orders well.

  114. Linda Brunelle
    November 6, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Latest was from my Direct TV company saying they are moving the satellite and need to check my box to see if it will be compatible with the new location. I gave the guy the numbers from my box. He then stated that unfortunately my box would have to be replaced. Asked if I wanted a technician to come out or to mail the new box. I asked for a person to come out. There would be no charge for the new installation. Then it came…the box is worth over $300 so they need me to place a deposit of $119.99 to protect the box. It also includes any service i might need in the future. They could take my credit card info right now to secure the new box. I told them to send me a bill. Then called AT&T to report the call. They verified it was a scam and asked me to report it to their fraud area and to the FTC. Thei fraud dept called me and then I notified the FTC. Dont fall for this one. They are very convincing.

  115. Hesley Butler
    November 16, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    The response I have to the IRS call about coming to arrest me was come I have been buying firearms and ammo with the money saved from paying taxes, they hung up and never called back

  116. marcus
    October 24, 2021 at 6:36 am

    iused to get calls from microsoft saying there is a problem with your computer i always say not possible i dont have a computer that runs windows it is an apple end of call

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