I attempt to annoy a scammer by engaging in time-wasting correspondence with him – Part 1


Most of the scam and spam emails I receive go straight into the electronic circular file, but one captured my imagination today and I thought it would be rather fun to reply to it – all innocent, like.

“The Better Business Bureau has been filed the above-referenced complaint from one of your clients concerning their dealings with you,” was the shocking news that popped into my inbox.

“The details of the consumer’s concern are presented in attached document. 
Please give attention to this matter and notify us of your standpoint. 
We kindly ask you to open the attached report to respond this complaint. 
We look forward to your prompt reply.

The email was signed by a “Paula Tap”, who holds the position of “Dispute Counselor” at the “Better Business Bureau”. It was actually sent by a “Susanne Cook”, whose email address appears to be in Japan, though I rather doubt this.

Presumably the idea is that one opens the attachment, for what purpose I’m not sure, but not having been born yesterday I didn’t. Instead I thought I’d write back to my new penfriends and see if I could waste a portion of their time.

I replied:

“Dear Susanne and Paula

I was very upset to learn that a complaint had been filed against me. I have always done my best to give a good service to my clients and it is obviously a cause of great concern if a client is unhappy enough to contact a leading authority in business matters, such as yourselves.

I am asking myself, why did the client not contact me direct in the first instance? Maybe I could have explained matters to their satisfaction. Had things got so bad that we couldn’t at least TALK, and try to reach an amicable settlement?

Could you please outline the basic details of the complaint? If it was that matter of the member of parliament and the lady snake charmer, I can say in my defence that I did my best under difficult circumstances and that I always strived to maintain a sense of dignity, diplomacy and good humour. I really feel I can vindicate myself if you could tell me the exact nature of the complaint against me.

If privacy considerations prevent you from revealing the precise details, I will understand, and please could I ask to you tell my client that any shortcomings on my part would have been the result of a concatenation of events, namely an unforeseen shortage of office stationery, the pressures of maintaining a long-distance relationship with a married man in Nether Wallop, Hampshire, England, and my boss’s unfortunate dependence on prescription drugs.

It’s far too long a story to go into now and in any event, I fear you would think I was making excuses for my incompetence, but if you could let me have sight of the official complaint I will do my best to remedy it, even if that means not getting to Nether Wallop in time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

We at the Scottish & Caledonian Allied Manufacturers of Buns and Sweet Tortillas are at your service.  

S Fenton (Mr)

Customer Service Representative”

The words are all mine, and I’m rather pleased with the unspelled-out acronym at the end (SCAMBUST), but I owe the initial idea of getting into correspondence with scammers, with a view to irritate, to www.scamorama.com, which has indulged in some hilarious exchanges of emails with various internet penpals whose sole aim in life is to extract money from half-wits.

If “Paula” or “Susanne” reply I will report back.

5 thoughts on “I attempt to annoy a scammer by engaging in time-wasting correspondence with him – Part 1

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    There was a time when pesky telecallers selling anything and everything from candy to real estate on the moon were a menace to soceity. At this time, an initiative i had taken on, on my own, was to engage these callers in lengthy conversation asking all sorts of questions. My thinking was that by wasting their calling money, I would make it sufficiently unremunerative for them to stop using this channel for selling. And, guess what, it stopped after some time. But government regulation was to blame for it and not my individual effort.

    1. Sue Fenton says:

      WERE? Still are, in my house. I had one today telling me I can reclaim the payment protection insurance on a loan I took out in 1995. I told him I had no recollection of taking out a loan and if I did, I certainly didn’t have PPI – he said not to mention that when I put in my claim for a refund. Basically, try it on and see if you get away with it – the caller’s company, of course, gets a percentage.
      My own ploy has been similar to yours, to engage them in conversation. I like it when they say “Hello Miss Fenton, how are you today?” Of course, they don’t actually CARE how I am today, so it’s a ridiculous thing to say. I reply along the lines of “Thanks for asking, actually I’m not feeling too good today. I woke up with a sort of dull, throbbing headache and I think I’ve got a cold coming on” then I ramble on about my symptoms.

  2. Ankur Mithal says:

    Ha ha ! sounds like a familiar strategy. Then you cough into the phone and say “and did you know that nowadays viruses can be transmitted through the phone lines ?” after which you might hear a click and the line go dead.

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