Most telephone scammers use software to generate a fake caller ID that is from the same area code (and often same exchange) as the target phone number. I have an out-of-state phone number, and I pretty much know that any call from that area code, (and is not in my address book,) is a scammer calling.
I mostly just let these calls go to voicemail and then I mark the number as spam so the phone service provider just may be able to track them (if they really cared).
Sometimes I answer and lead them on to waste their time while I am busy doing something else. I figure that the longer I can tie them up, the less chance they have of scamming someone. Sometimes I get as far as me having to give them my credit card and I leave them hanging while I 'fetch' my credit card. Of course I am doing nothing of the sort, just working at my computer doing whatever I was doing. Every 10 minutes or so I will pick up and and saying I am still looking, or, that I need to go and look in the car, etc. Once I even said I had slipped on the ice going to the car and badly hurt my hip, but they offered no compassion at all, and got straight back to asking for the credit card number!
Sometimes I will yell at someone who does not exist...
"Have you taken my credit card again? Didn't your probation officer say you were to stop doing that?"
Sometimes as soon as I start talking, they disconnect, this even happened at a friend's house (in a different state) when they handed me the phone to handle it, and so I suspect that some scammers have voice recognition software that does not let them engage.
Well, last week I took another call, this was the scam in which they try to renew my car warranty. (I don't buy extended warranties ever, so I know from the outset that they are liars when they say my warranty is expiring.) I made up the year, make, and model of the car (which they kept repeating back to me incorrectly) and my name, (sometimes I go by the name Jonas Savimbi). Then he wanted me to download some "3D form" from somewhere and asked if I had a computer. Yes, I said, I do, but why not just email it to me... "No, this cannot be emailed" Well, I said my email system could handle everything, and I asked him what sort of email system he had, that it could not send me this special thing.... "That has nothing to do with you", I was told. But that wasted another minute...
So OK, I said I was not at the computer, it was in another room, and it would need to get started up....
"OK, go and start it up and come back"
Perfect! This is all I needed, this would take a while. I left the handset hanging by its cable and went back to what I was doing. After about 10 minutes the phone rang again, - same guy - he had hung up and redialed as he was convinced he had a certain victim on the line.
Did I remember he called me earlier? Yes indeed, I was starting up my computer. I said it runs Windows 95 and is very slow. It takes ages to start up. He was aghast that I was running Windows 95 and I assured him that I was... but eventually he suspected that I was leading him down the garden path... and he asked:
"Are you a motherfucker sir?"
I said, when you call someone a motherfucker you do not add the word "sir".
At that point he lost it and started ranting and raving about what he was going to do to my mother - and that reminded me that I have spoken to this Indian fella before, it sounded all so familiar... I laughed as I hung up.
I think next time my name should be is Sur Mumpaker, (which is spelled "Momaphaka") and I'll still be driving my 1993 Honda Civic..... maybe I'll upgrade to Windows 98 though....