Credit Card Services: Payback

If you have a landline telephone number, you’ve probably been robo-called by “Rachael” from “Credit Card Services” with an offer to lower your credit card rates. She gives you two options:

  • Press 1 to speak with a live operator
  • Press 3 (or, sometimes, 2) to prevent further calls

I presume you’ve discovered that pressing 3 has no effect.

Credit Card Services is obviously a scam:

  • We’re on the FTC Do-Not-Call Registry
  • We don’t have a pre-existing business relationship with CCS
  • They use a robo-dialer
  • Pressing 3 (or whatever) doesn’t discontinue the calls
  • Their caller ID is spoofed

Rather than get mad, play along. CCS obviously preys on suckers willing to read off their credit card information to total strangers, so you can retaliate by stringing them along as far as possible, thus increasing their cost-per-sucker. Admittedly, their “agents” are (at best) minimum-wage slaves, which means you’re messing with their income stream, but after the first few months it becomes pretty obvious that the calls will never stop and you may as well roll with the punch.

Suggested topics, all presented in a slow monotone with long pauses:

  • Making sure they’re not associated with any of your credit cards (they aren’t)
  • Understanding whether they’re offering a loan to pay off your cards (they lie)
  • Asking for a callback number in case the call gets dropped (it’ll be a junk number)

They expect a minimum $4k account balance with the usual usurious credit card rates. Getting them to admit any of that requires carefully paced inquiry, because their script requires getting my balance before they devote any more time to me. I haven’t fed them any (totally bogus) numbers yet, but that may be the only way to get beyond the preliminaries.

Topics I’ll investigate in upcoming calls:

  • Their current interest rate
  • The repayment schedule
  • What they hold as collateral
  • How’s the weather where they are (it’ll be terrible here, for sure)

Thus far, I’ve discovered that any mention of these topics produces an instant disconnect:

  • Why pressing 3 does not discontinue further calls
  • Inquiring about their company mailing address
  • Asking to speak with a supervisor
  • Whether lying to strangers all day affects their personal relationships

My record so far is 3:05 from picking up the phone, which includes the recorded message and a bit of hold music.

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  1. #1 by George Martin on 16-December-2011 - 08:47

    My question to them is “Does your mother know what you’re doing”
    Satisfies my by asking, don’t know what they think.

  2. #2 by Raj on 18-December-2011 - 07:44

    We have here in India robo calls that just rings and if you pickup the line disconnects. Now they know that someone is there at that time! A day or two later a card or insurance company rings and gives you the usual!

    • #3 by Ed on 18-December-2011 - 07:59

      if you pickup the line disconnects

      Huh. Maybe that explains the occasional ring-and-click call we get here, too. At some point we’re going to get rid of the land line phone, which should solve much of that problem; the evidence suggests they haven’t found our other numbers…

      However, our answering machine always picks up when we don’t and I think that’s true of most phones, so maybe they get over-optimistic results.

      • #4 by hexley ball on 18-December-2011 - 21:17

        A buddy of mine who ran for local office — dogcatcher, or tax collector, or something — said that often political robocalls are specifically set to hang up if they get a human (saying, no doubt, “Hello?…Hello?).

        For some reason, they prefer to leave a recorded message on the answering machine, so they disconnect at any sign of life.

        Odd, but then that’s politics for you :-)

        • #5 by Ed on 19-December-2011 - 07:18

          saying, no doubt, “Hello?…Hello?

          We say something like “Good morning” and then wait silently for about two seconds. If they’re worth talking to, they’re paying attention and will respond. If they’re a robot (mechanical or human) switched to our line, then we hang up before they get started.

          I have always hated the intrusive nature of phone calls. After all these years, it’s pleasing to see other folks have come share my opinion; email may be obsolete, but text messaging has taken over.

  3. #6 by John Rehwinkel on 19-December-2011 - 12:16

    They’ve stopped calling me. The trick, apparently, is to treat them as phone-sex operators. “What are you wearing? Do you have any lotion?” I suspect they have an internal “no, really don’t call these people” list, and the goal is to get on that list. At the same time, the auto warranty people also stopped calling, so I’m hoping they share that list.

    Note: this is especially fun to do when I’m at work, with a half-dozen other people overhearing.

    • #7 by Ed on 19-December-2011 - 12:29

      Do you have any lotion?

      Instantly producing the click heard ’round the world…

      Unless, of course, one of those operations also shares the CCS demon-dialing front end, which could result in an interesting conversation.

  4. #8 by Mick on 11-April-2014 - 10:21

    this is awesome; she’s been calling my cell phone, even though I’m on the do not call register, too. But I used my cell phone for business for several years, and has been listed in the phone book…I too have spent as much time on the phone with them as possible, but since the 1 ring scam thing, I’ve stopped answering out of area numbers.

    Been getting messages from a company wanting to do search engine optimization. LMAO

    • #9 by madbodger on 11-April-2014 - 10:27

      Telemarketing cell phones violates federal law, even if you aren’t on the DNR. The good folks at Lemberg Law prosecute this sort of thing, and even have an app you can use to report violations. You don’t have to pay them, they work for a cut of the fine if they manage to prosecute. While I’ve never made a dime this way, it’s fun to harrass the scammers. do-not-call-complaints.com

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