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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Call and Response

Say goodbye to scammers

Published: Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 16:38

Isn’t caller ID wonderful?! Every day we get calls that are listed as “unavailable,” “out of area,” “name not found,” “anonymous,” and “toll-free caller.” Most of the calls are scams and generally we don’t answer. But on occasion, when I want to have some fun, I relent and pick up the phone. Following is a sampling of how I handle some of these scammers.

When “Rachel from card services” calls, I inform her that I do not have any credit cards and thus any special rate they want to offer me on my so-called existing account is not needed. “Rachel” quickly becomes exasperated and hangs up.

It’s always fun to receive a call from a phony IRS agent telling me that unless I send $500 immediately there will be a sheriff at my door to arrest me. When I inform the caller that I am an IRS agent and have traced his call, and that a sheriff will be arriving shortly to arrest him, the line suddenly goes dead!

Last week we received a call from a court representative informing me that I had missed a court appearance on a jury, and unless I paid $500 I would be arrested. Seems they always want $500. My response is that I am a convicted felon for third-degree mopery and thus I am not eligible to sit on a jury. Again the call goes silent.

The one call I like the best is the one where I am eligible for a medical alert system along with $1,000 in grocery coupons. When I inform the caller that I already have a medical alert system and I just want him to send me the coupons, once again the line goes silent.

When I receive the call from a phony Microsoft representative telling me that there is a problem with my computer, the caller gets confused when he learns that I do not have a computer. He seems a bit incredulous but after a few minutes of my nonsensical talking and jibber-jabber, he hangs up.

Somehow we are supposed to be protected from these calls by entering our phone number on the national do-not call list, but that has limited success. In addition, our phone service allows us to block certain phone numbers, but these scam artists keep changing their numbers and thus they are able to avoid being blocked. We do have a call blocker attached to our phone which most of the time blocks computer-generated calls but sometimes the calls do get through. Our system can identify a call being generated by a computer and automatically cancels the call. You can tell if a call is generated by a computer because when you answer the phone there is a short pause before the caller comes on the line.

Most of the scam artists are foreigners, which you can tell from their voice. So sometimes when I answer the phone I speak in a foreign language that I just make up. Other times I tell the caller that I have to get my credit card to pay them for their scam and then I just leave the phone off the hook for about ten minutes. When I pick up the receiver again guess what? The caller is gone!

Well, have to go. I’m now getting a call from someone purporting to be Elvis who wants to cut my hair in Alpena, Michigan, for free. Hmmm. I do need a haircut. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.


Fun article!

I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks. I'll have to try to be as creative when fielding scammer calls.