Rants on business, science, technology, society, politics, police, and justice, plus life hacks and tricks, since 2003. header image 2

Scam baiting and the art of reverse prank calls

December 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

The name’s James Bond – James – Bond. As far as you know, if you’re a telemarketer. Enter the world of scam baiting – according to 419 Eater, perhaps the #1 scam baiting forum, scambaiting is “[entering] a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their time and resources. Whilst you are doing this, you will be helping to keep the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves.” One of the most interesting parts about scam baiting, to me, is the power reversal – the supposed victim can easily turn the tables on their predator.

One of the first steps to scambaiting is laying the trap, so I make sure to put a throwaway number out there whenever asked for it just to see what sketchy people will call. So when I started getting phone calls telling me I’d won a $1000 online shopping spree with no catch besides the 5 year contract for magazine subscriptions, at first I just assumed it would be like the rest of the telemarketing calls I received. After all, I’d also get calls that my auto warranty had expired, that my debt problems were over, and that so-and-so charity was having a fund drive – so this was no different at first. Except they kept calling over and over again, with epic results. The company was “Nature Coast Publications”, almost certainly a fly-by-night shell company not intended to last more than a year or two, doing hard-sell robo-dial telemarketing pitching magazine subscriptions in exchange for a “shopping spree”. I can only imagine what kind of shopping spree it would be. If you can’t tell from the calls, the company virtually refused to say their actual name, wouldn’t provide call-back numbers or other information a legitimate business would, and falsely asserted that they were somehow affiliated with the credit card companies they named.

The calls speak for themselves, with perhaps just one note. I started to really get to know the people on the other end after a while. One of the operators rages when I ask about an “electric fence”, before calling me “Henry” – because by the time these calls were being recorded, this company had already called me 50 to 100 times, and that operator had probably spoken to me 5 to 10 times already. Enjoy.

[WARNING: These are intended for an adult audience and may be offensive to some listeners. Try to chill the eff out and just enjoy.]

That’s a catch by Publishers Service

Angie tells me that even though I’m not who they were calling for, I was selected to receive a $1000 shopping spree because of my preferred status – with no catch. It turned out, there was a catch. When I confront her, she accuses me of being under 21, then argues with me about whether 21 is over 18.

You can go to the library by Publishers Service

Sharlene calls me about some kinda online, but I’m not good with online, because I can only type with one finger. She reminds me I can use the computers at the library, and I remind her that libraries have magazines too.

This has nothing to do with long distance by Publishers Service

Maria tries to trick my wife into switching long distance, then yells at me when I intervene.

That’s over $9000! by Publishers Service

Eric calls me from Publisher’s Service telling me that I’ve won over $9000, but I’m not willing to subscribe to magazines if he doesn’t like cookies or orchestral music.

We can hang up friends by Publishers Service

Tom congratulates us for being selected for a $1000 online shopping spree. He messes up the script and says the magazines are free for 60 months but the cost of maintaining the service is $20 a month, or else they’d go broke. I wasn’t listening, so I ask Tom to repeat the whole pitch. I don’t have caller ID, and he won’t give me a callback number, so I ask for my friends Nathan and Amber, but he says they’re not there. Instead I tell Tom it was nice to meet him and now we can hang up friends.

Stop calling her, Eric [EXPLICIT] by Publishers Service

Jennifer doesn’t want to talk to Eric, and Eric rages when I tell him this. I’m not going to let my girlfriend take that kind of crap.

So it’s “or” not “and” by Publishers Service

Matt doesn’t understand the difference between “and” and “or”, so I explain my love for semicolons and the English language. I tell him I’m only 19 and I’m a student and then he backs out on the shopping spree – what a dick!

My friend did Robert DeNiro’s lawn by Publishers Service

Mike calls me personally to let me know I’ve been selected for a $1000 shopping spree, but when I seem uninterested in the sale he tells me about how he cut down an orange tree with a chainsaw. In return I tell him about my friend, who is Robert DeNiro’s arborist. Mike doesn’t seem to get that I’m not interested, and insists I’d be better off buying magazines than playing McDonald’s Monopoly.

Magazines are flammable; you wanna party or what by Publishers Service

When Ashley calls with the great news that I was selected for a $1000 gift certificate, it sounded too good to be true. I invite her to my bar, but she argues with me about what credit cards I carry. When she suggests that I would throw magazines away, I explain magazines can be burned for fuel. When I try to take our relationship to the next level, she tries to get rid of me, and I then decline the magazines.

I’m a pro golfer by Publishers Service

Michelle and I have a touching conversation about putting kids through school. I break down the math of her offer for her, and she tells me she doesn’t even deserve the very offer she’s giving me.

I said “booyah!” by Publishers Service

Jen calls me, and I confuse her for her friend Angie. When I tell her I am an amateur pharmacist, she explains I have been selected to receive PC magazine, so I ask why anyone would read a magazine about computers when you could just read the articles online.

Didn’t you call about the electric fence? by Publishers Service

When Don confronts me about my alcohol abuse during his sales pitch, I wax with him about the thrill of the sale. When he insults me, I ask him about the electric fence, but he’s still out of stock. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m going to report him to his supervisor.

Electric fence is backordered until 2010 by Publishers Service

Don is having trouble communicating his name, let alone the offer he’s calling with. He calls my wife a ho, then tells me to prank call He puts down the phones for a moment, and when he returns, Henry the electric fence guy is on the other end. Don tells us the promotion excludes electric fence because electric fence is backordered. Then Don and I get meta.

These next two parts were from a Blog TV webcast that had nothing to do with prank calls where, by special request, we get the publishing company on the phone.

[EXPLICIT] Elizabeth is eager to sell magazines, and I’m just excited to talk to a girl, so I ask her if she uses the Internet, and assure her that if she does, I will find her.

[EXPLICIT] Donna tells me I sound young, so I tell her I’m in bankruptcy, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to sell me magazines. I tell her about my job in sales, and when I explain loan fraud, she tells me about her experience defaulting on loans. Even when I tell her someone’s trying to kill me, she tries to sell me 5 years worth of magazines.

Immediately after, Amber calls from Visa for Sean, but when I tell her Sean’s debts are not my problem, she accuses me of not paying attention, and explains again that Sean has preferred status. I beg to differ.

Tags: pwn3d! (Hacks and Tricks) · Spam and Telemarketing · Telephones

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment