Your phone rings.
It looks like a local number, so you pick it up. A robocall begins.
Uh-oh. Turns out you didn’t pay your taxes, and the CRA is after you! In fact, if you don’t pay within the next couple hours, the police will come and arrest you! Well, no one wants that of course.
Oh, but don’t worry. If you simply go to your nearest Walmart and buy $500 in Google Play cards, that’ll settle the debt.
Oops, looks like they’re all out. Good thing the CRA takes iTunes gift cards as payment as well.
It’s hard to imagine that people still fall these kinds of scams in this day and age, but the reason that these calls keep coming is obviously because people do. In fact, scam calls across Canada have been on the rise lately, particularly after the introduction of all these pandemic benefits, and the general confusion about eligibility.
The sad thing is that even though most people can spot these scams from a mile away, it’s the ones that are least able to that get ripped off the hardest.
Sometimes they’re kids that don’t know any better and are easily frightened by these threatening messages. Or they’re older people that are suffering from some level of mental decline. Scammers take advantage of these groups, and even if just a fraction of those get scammed, it still makes them millions.
There’s something that’s incredibly wrong about this, not just the fact that it’s a crime. Some people have lost their entire life’s savings in an instant, and they’re typically the people that are already struggling to feed themselves. And yet the fact they continue, many of them without remorse, is abhorrent.
However, it turns out that there’s quite a few people on the internet that are trying to turn the tables, to some extent.
Kitboga is a streamer that also posts material on YouTube, and his entire platform is dedicated to wasting scammers’ time. He purposely calls these scammers and plays along with their scams, but in a way that drags out the scenario. Whether he pretends to be a granny that has absolutely no idea what’s going on, or a clueless grandpa with an attitude, it’s funny the different kinds of personas that he puts on.
He’s got the perfect sound effects to go along with his stories, and sometimes even special guests that play other characters on the call. It’s also pretty amazing how smoothly he can play different characters and have them all talk to each other so naturally.
He gets them to stay on the phone for hours, and I mean hours. There was one where he managed to get half a call centre on the phone for several days, desperately trying to get him to part with his money (which they were obviously unsuccessful at doing).
Here’s one that I really enjoyed, it’s a long one but it’s funny throughout, especially at the end when they finally realize they’re not getting their money after spending a ridiculous amount of time on the phone. I want to feel sorry for the guy, but at the same time, not really.
I obviously wouldn’t recommend that you try something like this at home, because he’s a professional at this. He’s got equipment that changes his voice and makes sure that no real data is being lost or recorded on his computer when he does these videos. In fact, the recommendation from experts is simply to not pick up these calls and hang up immediately if you do.
There’s also a thing called the national Do-Not-Call registry, which in theory is supposed to stop telemarketers from contacting you. But I’ve heard of people that end up getting called anyway, so it’s hard to say how effective that is, especially if they are spoofing phone numbers.
But as an honourable mention, Jim Browning is another YouTuber aims to scam the scammers. His videos are not comedic, but rather focused more on the technical aspects, like locking the scammers out of their own computers remotely or running malware on their systems. I would also recommend his channel; he’s been doing great work, and even got a call centre busted by authorities.
Anyway, I’ve had enough with these scam calls, and I hope law enforcement will finally find a way to take them down more efficiently.
But for once, it’s nice to see that the scammers are the ones getting frustrated.
Link to channel here.