| After a four year hiatus, The Fixer comes out of |
| retirement and returns with... |
| Pranks, Revenge, and General Mayhem |
| File #20 |
| 20 Ways to Handle Telemarketers |
| (C) 1997 The Fixer - A Free Press Release |
(1) " 'Dead' phone..."
More often than not, when a telemarketer calls there is
an annoying delay before they actually start speaking.
The first couple of times I got this, I answered "Hello?
Hello?" as if it were a prank call. After that, when the
telemarketer would finally start speaking, I would just
pretend I couldn't hear him. I just kept on saying "Hello?
Who's this? What is this, some kind of prank? Goddamn
(1a) During that delay, the telemarketer (or his phone) is
listening for your "Hello?". See to it that this is
all he hears. Not even a click as you hang up, just
hold the line, breathe quietly and let him start his
spiel. The delay is to screen "dead" and busy lines
quickly - this trick defeats it.
(1b) Immediately after the telemarketer finally clicks on,
put the handset as close to your mouth as possible, cup
your hand over your mouth and the receiver as if you
are going to whisper, and yell, very loudly, "HELLO..."
and then continue with one of the above...
(2) "Telephone Fraud Hotline"
Now that you can identify telemarketers by that three second
delay before they talk, you can scare them off really
quickly by answering with "Fraud Hotline!" in a gruff voice.
I usually get a meek "Uh, I think I have the wrong
number..." before they hang up.
(2a) It is against the law to impersonate, but if you are
really frustrated and if you think you've nothing to
lose, why not answer:
"911 Emergency! Police, Ambulance, or Fire?"
"AT&T Security Department..."
"FBI, Special Agent Glitz speaking..."
"Bell Canada Line Disconnections Department..."
(3) "Roll Your Own Recordings"
This takes some advance preparation. Record a phone company
"not in service" recording and transfer it to your computer
in .WAV format. Link that sound to a desktop icon so that
you can bring it up, at high volume, with a single click.
Next time a telemarketer calls, before they can start
speaking (you will need Caller ID or have a telemarketer who
delays before speaking) put the phone receiver up to your
PC's speaker and click that icon. If they keep a list of
dead numbers, this will also assure that they never call you
To be convincing, fidelity of recording and playback has to
be excellent. Make a few takes and keep the best one, and
have a friend call you to do sound level checks in advance
so you know how loud to play the sound.
(4) "Call 'em back..."
When a telemarketer calls, you just politely tell them "No
thank you, I'm not interested" and hang up. Then you call
them back with *69 and start a sales pitch for some
fictitious product... this is called "giving them a dose of
their own medicine".
(4a) If you used a scare tactic to get a telemarketer to
hang up on you, you don't need an excuse to call them
back. After all, they phoned you. *69 'em and ask why
they hung up. Be scarier than before. Don't repeat
when they hang up again; they already have your name
and phone number.
(5) "Never underestimate the power of the handicapped!"
I have a friend who used to do this to phone company
operators at random, but it works excellently on
All you have to do is act retarded. Make them repeat
*everything*. Talk slowly and slurred. Explain how you are
brain damaged and how you got that way. Take *forever*.
The smart ones will end the conversation quickly and add
your number to a dead numbers list; the dumb ones will humor
you for up to 15 minutes! Wasting their time is wasting
their money and trashing their bottom line; an excellent
incentive to explore some other line of business.
(6) "Out of Area my ass!"
So they've got their caller ID marked "Private" or "Out of
No problem! Interrupt them, and make up some bullshit about
a state law, or town ordinance, or whatever that "All
telemarketing calls shall transmit valid Caller ID data".
Then tell them you are going to trace the call. When they
tell you you can't do that, fire up R*Box or some other
phreak tone program and give them a nice long string of MF
tones, with some random red and green box thrown in for good
measure. Then blast them with 2600 Hz. If they're not
disconnected by the 2600, tell them "I hope you've got your
affairs in order." and hang up. Most people have never
heard such noises, so against non-hackers this trick is
(7) "So how 'bout a date?"
Sound interested for a while, then interrupt the
telemarketer and tell her, "You know, you have a really
lovely voice..." and then proceed to try and "pick her up".
If she tries to get back to selling, get back to asking her
out. Be as persistent as she is. The very worst that can
happen is that you'll get a date. If this happens, stand
the bitch up...
(see www.seduction.com for some background material if you
really want to get a telemarketer, or anyone, to put out)
(7a) This is wholly more effective as a deterrent if the
telemarketer is the same gender as you and is not a
(8) "Rock Box!"
Turn your stereo WAY up and speak quietly to the
telemarketer. Let him run his spiel as long as he can stand
to without being able to elicit an audible reaction from
you. If he asks you to turn down your stereo tell him you
can't hear him.
(9) "House of Cards"
If they are trying to sell you a credit card, tell them:
"Wow, things sure have changed since I went in. I didn't
even think I could GET a credit card anymore, what with just
getting out of prison last week and all... I don't have to
have a job yet, do I?"
(9a) Ask them if they can give you the card number and
expiry date over the phone so you can start carding...
err... ahem "buying" things *now*. Give them a
completely different name and address from yours;
basically set off every alarm bell they have that you
intend to commit fraud with the card they are about to
(10) "Reverse Obscene Call"
Start breathing heavy... letting out the occasional moan...
as though you are masturbating... if you don't get a
response just "turn it up" a little until you do...
Speak very quietly, moving the mouthpiece as far away from
your mouth as you can. They will have to turn up the
volume to hear you... make sure they have it WAY up... then
either just yell loudly into the mouthpiece or have your
computer play the LOUDEST, most PIERCING sound it possibly
can - probably a high pitched tone. Use a musical
instrument such as a recorder if you don't have immediate
access to computer generated noises. Do not stop the noise
until you are sure they have hung up.
(12) "Got Name & Number Caller ID?"
If your Caller ID box shows their company name, this is too
easy: just answer the phone as if you worked for them:
"Miracle Marketing Inc., how can I help you?" If they
recover from the shell shock of this, insist that your
number is the local field office of their company. If they
ask you questions to try and prove you are lying, tell them
"How the hell should I know, I'm just a temp!"
(13) "Three Way Freeway!"
If you are blessed with 3-Way Calling, here's what you do.
The telemarketer asks for Mr. So-and-so, and you say "just
a second, I'll put you through to him." You then activate
3-Way Calling and call the telemarketer's own number from
your Caller ID (or *69 if your phone company lets you *69
someone who's on the other "line")! If you get a busy
signal then the telemarketer is on a single line; if not,
he's likely in a multi-line boiler room and the call will
be answered by one of his very surprised co-workers! Now
go back to the telemarketer, verify that a 3-Way call has
been established and then hang up!
(13a) If indeed the telemarketer is on his own line or if
you can't get an answer from that number for whatever
reason, then just set up your 3-Way Call to a Pizza
place or Dial-A-Prayer or something and leave him
talking to that...
(14) "Forward Ho!"
Got call forwarding? As Mr. Burns would say,
Just tell the telemarketer: "I've got someone on the other
line, can you call back in a minute?" Most will oblige.
By the time the telemarketer calls back, you have forwarded
your calls to the Hare Krishna Temple.
(14a) Find out what happens when you forward calls to a
long distance number. Do you pay the long distance
charges or does the person who called you? If the
latter, you are in the enviable position of being
able to forward your calls to 1-900 sex lines, the
"Time and Weather In Moscow" line etc. - at the
expense of whoever attempts to call you! In my area
this is not allowed, and I understand it's quite rare
so ask your local phone company first...
(15) "They'll never know what hit 'em!"
Tell them (politely) that you saw something on TV about
fraudulent boiler room operations. "Do you have an 800
number I can call to continue the conversation?" If they
refuse, use some other tactic from this file. If they give
you one, thank them nicely, say goodbye, and post that
number to alt.sex.pictures 2,000 times as a "free phone sex
line" (hint: it's a troll; you are trying to get spam
haters to call, not perverts). If you get a regular number
on Caller ID or otherwise, post it anyway - but an 800
number will get more callers and cost money.
(16) "Repeat calls?"
Cut them off with: "What the fuck??? You people just called
me yesterday! AND you called last week! How many goddam
times do I have to say No? I asked you to take me off your
list last time, why the fuck am I still getting calls from
(17) "Reach out and touch someone!"
My personal favorite is, as soon as they start talking,
play "Reach out and Touch Someone" (the old AT&T jingle) in
touch tones on the phone. Any telemarketer who is still on
the line after two or three measures of that *really* needs
The song goes something like: #9 #93 #9321 #9 #93#92
(you'll figure out the rest on your own)
(18) "Meet my friend..." ("Three Way Freeway" Part 2)
If you don't have the balls to try any social shenanigans
on a telemarketer, just tell him you've got a call on the
other line and would he mind holding just a sec. Then
start a three-way call to an accomplice who has the nads
and the obnoxious attitude to really make your
telemarketer's life an unhappy one...
(19) "Fuck this..."
Play along with their spiel, act interested and
co-operative but for ONE little detail: you can't seem to
form a sentence without at least one occurrence of the "F"
word... I guarantee you they will say something about it at
some point during their schtick; and when they do, your
line is something like: "Hey asshole, you fuckin' called
me, so fuckin' deal with it!"
(20) "This is the end... My only friend, the end..."
(or, "Three Way Freeway III: The Final Chapter!")
Another Three-Way idea: Connect the telemarketer with the
Suicide Prevention Hotline.
I know, not exactly a climactic end to this file but I
couldn't resist. It will be "The End" of calls to you from
that particular telemarketer though.
Thanks for reading. Now that I'm back in the loop, you can
expect a new Pranks file every other month or so. In these days
of spam and scam, the world needs The Fixer more than ever!
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