The phone rang. I listened to the caller ID announcing the number, and it was not one that I recognized. It was local, but you cannot always go by that. These clever scammers have figured out how to appropriate area numbers to mask themselves.
I listened to the message the robotic voice was leaving on the answering machine. It seems that a suspicious purchase had been made on my Amazon Prime account for $15,000+. If I did not contact them immediately, they would assume that I was okay with the purchase and my credit card would be charged. Oh dear! I did not call them back because I don't have Amazon Prime.
The IRS calls me every so often as well. A stern robotic voice warns me I have underpaid my taxes and unless I call them immediately to resolve the situation, the police will be arriving to arrest me. Except that the IRS is a federal agency and they would have to send federal agents. It would not be the local police and furthermore, we have a lot of faith in our accountant who has never failed to show us what we owe to the IRS. (Even when we did not want to know.) So based on that, I don't bother calling them back either. (Side note: I have never had the police show up at my door to cart me off to jail either. So there's that.)
I get a lot of calls about my car warranty about to expire. Since we do not buy our cars new (and haven't in 24 years) we don't have car warranties to begin with. If I'm feeling especially lively, I'll take those calls just to listen, making appropriate 'oh my!' sounds. And then I say, "So which car is this on again?" They can never answer that question. They never know. They begin asking questions designed to have me provide the answer to that for them. I always say, musingly, "Gees...it just seems that if this were a real call, you'd already know which car you were calling about. Why don't you just send me something in the mail when you figure it out..."
There's the famous "We've been trying to reach you for days about a delivery." I know when I have a package due. If I feel like messing with their minds, I'll pick those up and make the appropriate sounds of curiosity, and then ask for a tracking number so that I can look up the package in question. No tracking number is ever forthcoming.
I had a friend who used to keep a long list of every strange illness she ever heard of. The more intimate the symptoms, the more quickly it was added to her list. She lived for the moment her phone rang. The call always started with, "Hello, how are you today?" and she would start in with a long litany of "her" health woes. The hapless scammer would try to break in and turn the conversation back to the scam at hand. Dixie just prattled on and on about hemorrhoids and female problems etc. until the scammer hung up on her.
Another friend's husband took one of the calls from microsoft. After displaying great concern about his computer, the scammer directed him to go to his computer and do 'x' and 'y' etc. Jeff sat there, quietly, not doing anything of course. After a time. the man asked if he had done that, and Jeff answered that he had. The man inquired what was on his computer screen.
Jeff replied, "Well...porn."
The man was shocked. "Porn?"
"Yes," said Jeff. "I watch a lot of porn."
The man said, "You need to close that right now."
Jeff said, "I don't want to. I like porn. I watch it all the time. Don't you watch porn? What are your favorite sites?" etc. etc. He was obviously speaking to a scammer of high moral integrity. The scammer hung up. (side note: Jeff is not a porn addict, and never has been.)
I once answered a call from Microsoft myself. The heavily accented voice told me that he was calling from microsoft. I said, "Oh, you are not!" He didn't seem to have an answer to that, but after a moment of dead silence said, "Yes I am." I said, "You're not." He got a bit heated assuring me that he was, and I said, "Does your mama know you lie for a living?"
The man began swearing at me, and I began laughing my foolheaded self silly. That made him even angrier. He hung up. It was so unexpected that when he called back, I was still laughing. He cussed me out a bit longer, but as I was still laughing, he hung up once again, and did not call back.
These people are predatory. They are so threatening that it can be frightening. The simplest way to handle these calls is this: Tell them that you never provide banking or credit card information over the phone. Tell them to send the dispute to your lawyer. Ask them if they want the address. Oddly enough, they never do.