Here’s some hints should you decide to become a Tormentor:
Do sign up for the National Do-Not-Call List
It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps. It does weed out the ethical Telemarketers. Also, if some telemarketer calls you because you signed up for some contest of offer in the local mall – shame on you. Ask to be put on their Do-No-Call list and don’t do that again. If you give them your number and they call you, it would unethical to continue to lead them on. Don’t punish them for your mistake.
Never give out real information
The Telemarketer will likely ask you questions. If possible, delay the conversation by asking additional questions about the product/service. If you do give out information, use fake information. Have a fake name you use for Telemarketers. The nice thing about using a fake name, is that if someone calls asking for that name, you know it’s a related Telemarketer.
For Robocalls (pre-recorded calls) that never have a person to get points for, but ask for your name and number, giving out a fake name is a good approach to finding out the true callers. Give them the fake name (but not your number, they already have that), and when they call you back asking for ‘Seymour Butts’, get as much information about them as you can. One for points, but also for the FTC complaint should you decide to do that.
Never say “Yes”
If you pay attention, Telemarketers will always try to ask you simple questions where ‘Yes’ is the obvious answer. Don’t do it. Say “That’s correct” or “I understand” or something else instead. Some of the more unscrupulous Telemarketers record phone calls, and have been know to edit the call using your ‘Yes’ to make it sound like you agreed to something. If you don’t say it, they can’t edit it in!
You don’t have to say “No”, either
A lot of Telemarketers have a “3 No’s” rule, meaning they will continue to talk to you until you decline three times. By not actually declining, they are often encouraged to stay on the line longer.
Being polite keeps them on the phone. You want to be polite and be an informed customer. Ask questions about their product. Remember that they called you hoping to get your business. If answering questions makes them irritated, that’s a clear sign of a scam. If you can’t think of anything, it’s okay to be quiet. If you allow them to fill the silence, they often will.
There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Yeah, they’ll tell you something is free, but it never is. The ‘free cruise’ is on a converted cargo ship. The ‘free installation’ requires years of monthly fees. Don’t get hooked into the deal while talking to them. There is a catch, and it’s probably an expensive one. If you feel tempted, often you can Google the company along with keywords “complaints” and “scam” and find enough information to convince you otherwise.
Even though it may not help, take notes for when you do file a complaint with the FTC. The more information you can get, the better. And the more complaints they get about a particular company, the more likely they will take action against them.
Never Call Them
Mostly, there’s no point. Sometimes the number, especially robocalls, is faked. And if you do call it back, there’s never a real person anyway. The voice mail is full, you can only push # to be put on the non-functional Do-Not-Call list, or worse, the phone of programs to falsely tell you ‘This number is not in service’. The number is in service, it’s just programmed to play that ‘not in service’ announcement. Besides, I do find it unethical to call them to waste their time, and could even be considered harassment.
File a Complaint with the FTC
You may be like a lot of others that feel like the FTC is worthless at fighting illegal telemarketing, and the Do-Not-Call list doesn’t work. I agree that they alone will not stop it. However, every little bit does help. File a complaint. Make your voice heard.
After all, you’re doing a public service!