Archive for December 16th, 2011

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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