Reluctant to be rude?

Fraud Affects Every Community logoRespectfulness and politeness — they’re valued in many close-knit communities. But when you’re dealing with a scammer, those values can backfire, as we’ve heard during our ongoing effort to fight fraud in every community. Scammers try to take advantage of your politeness to get you to hand over money or personal information.

Here are some situations when it would be just fine to interrupt, hang up, and not give a caller the time of day: 

  1. They want personal information. Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you unexpectedly. If someone claims they are from a government agency or organization, find the number for the agency yourself and call to verify their claims. If you have already given someone your financial information, call your bank or credit card company to stop any transactions. 
  2. They want you to send money right away. If someone calls and asks you to wire money — like on MoneyGram or Western Union — or buy prepaid debit cards — like Green Dot and others — stop. That’s a sure sign of a scam. Even if the caller says you won a prize, you owe a fee, or your grandchild is in trouble, talk to someone you trust before you pay anybody your hard-earned money.
  3. They keep talking. The more questions they ask, the more likely they are to get personal information from you. If someone won’t take no for an answer, just hang up. 
  4. They’re threatening you. Government agencies won’t call and threaten to arrest you. Debt collectors can’t threaten you. If a caller starts threatening you, it’s time to hang up. If you’re concerned about your safety, call your local police.

For more on avoiding scams, take a look at Speaking of Scams, a tipsheet from the Department of Justice and FTC available at

We also want to hear from you. If you see a fraud or scam, tell us online or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP. Every complaint makes a difference.


I am very tired of getting phone calls, after I am on the Do Not Call list. I don't get them as much, but a least once a day. I have learned not to answer them, but it is very annoying. Today I go a call that only had 5 phone digits.

I understand your frustation. You might be interested in our recent blog post Your top 5 questions about unwanted calls and the National Do Not Call Registry.

A caller with an Indian(Asian) accent calls us regularly to try and get us to turn on our computer and give them our IP address so they can link to it to fix security problems and/or virus issues. The caller id is blocked and they will not give us their company name or additional info. We always keep them waiting on the line until they finally hang up. (laughing) :)

briansmac, I had a simialiar call to me this guy called and was from a Government agency to get 2 things off my hard drive. I told him my computer hadn't worked in 2 weeks, he kept insisting that I turn it on. I just yelled SCAMMER! and hung yup.

I get rude with these guys, tell them there's no way they can see my computer and ask them how they would like someone stealing from their mother or grandmother.

I don't seem to be getting these calls, lately.

these jerks called me 3 times recently. Each time I was matter of fact and told them to quit calling. This last time I screamed at them telling them they called when my Dad was dying and they are the lowest of low to do this type of job trying to hack his computer while he was on death bed! Will see if it works to stop the calls. He says he is "Victor Gonzalez" with an Indian accent . I told him I wasn't born yesterday quit . Their caller id isn't a valid number so I'm sure it's nothing ft can can do, calling and how evil what they are doing.

For 4 months now we have been contacted by a group calling themselves" Federal Grant Commision"They promised it was legitimate, but wanted money that would be returned.Finally they wanted taxes for the FTC, and that brought us to our senses. We Paid them a total of $4,350.I have all the adresses they said, and the phone numbers. These are probably all false, but we can almost always reach them.their current # is 6465831733.the last 2 grant people were Edward and Sara. The FTC man who is holding our file until april 1st is NicK Freman, atthe same #. Smart people do this pecause of hope. they promised to give us $25,000.

I'm getting calls from the same scam, or at least one also claiming to be the federal grant commission, but the number is 202-222-2000 (obvi a fake) and already made an official complaint. How do these scammers get our cell number in the first place? Is it because my number is on the DNC list?

How come even though a scam is reported, like the Jamaican one, which is identical to the one propounded upon me, which I reported to the FBI and the FTC, and Consumer Fraud Division in depth, with evidence of same, names, telephone numbers, amounts provided etc., nothing is ever done? I have never ever heard a word back. They must think I am crazy to have fallen for the scam, but I did, because I desperately wanted to help my family. Is that so bad? Now I am out $65,000 which I can never recover, and basically its' my own fault. People please beware these scammers they are slick and skillfull and can make you believe anything!

My phone is registered on the Do Not Call lists, both state and national ... I continue to get Solicitation calls. How can I put a stop to this blatant violation?

Please report your experience at so it becomes part of the FTC database that's used by investigators nationwide. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice.

If you're getting calls from a certain number, you could ask your phone provider if it charges for a service that blocks a phone number. But fraudulent telemarketers change the numbers they use easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will almost always change.

What can FTC do about the increasing number of calls coming from overseas from scammers who feel they are safe to be prosecuted by US law enforcement. Most of these scammers are using VOIP services like Magicjack and Skype why cant the FTC subpoena them for IP addresses and locations and work with foreign governments to stop the scammers. A few exemplary punishments of scammers in their respective countries wwith widespread media coverage would stop a lot of these current and would be scammers.

Would be nice to block all those stupid emails filling my junk mail.

I have received a few emails saying that I have an amount and I need to pay the activation fee before the amount is transferred or delivered to me. Can I forward this email to you for clarification.

It's usually a scam if they ask you to pay to get prize, or tell you to wire money or deposit a check they sent you. Or, they might use a name that sounds official. Read this FTC article about Prize scams for more information.

What about calls that take a sexual harassment turn. How do you document this and stop them or sue them? They just keep calling.

You can register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry at Most telemarketers should not call your number after it's been registered for 31 days. If they do, go back to and file a complaint. If you're getting many calls from the same number, you can cntact your phone provider and ask if it charges for a service that blocks a particular number. Telemarketers often change the numbers they use, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will almost always change.

I just hit the HOLD button on the phone and hang up! It locks them up for a few minutes.

There is no reason for blocking caller id.The communication companies (the phone companies), are responsible for blocking caller ID. This results in unanimous and flagrant criminal attempts over the phone.The most unsuspecting victims being the elderly and infirm.The FCC and the FTC have no way to communicate this massive and flagrant crime to their agency. Their complaint page demands identification, and the “spoofed” phone numbers, of the criminals involved.They do not want to hear about it.

Unfortunately, until all these scammers and the companies they are part of are stopped, they will continue to make such calls. Something really needs to be done to stop them. They know that as long as nothing is being done to shut them down, they can always make more calls and get away with it regardless if they succeed or not in scamming. If any companies are caught committing the fraud, they should be subpoenaed to reveal those doing the calls if they would like to have a lesser punishment even if those doing them do live overseas.

Also, they really need to be stopped especially due to the fact that they are impersonating government agencies, authorities, and other companies that they pretend to be when they are not and some scammers have been doing this for years without ever getting caught.

their is a notice on the better business site about" trans-worldsystems. I suspect them of fraud.the phonenumbergiven is 866-229-7834.they say they are a debt collection agency.i believe we received a "bill" from these same people last year.When i called blue cross about the bill they said they had no record of this Zia diagnostic imaging bill.

i have been getting this call also, i always let the machine get it

I've filed complaints regarding scams aimed at me and provided accurate phone numbers from the scammers. Why are they not shut down if the number is provided?

I've been getting Telemarketing calls for years, now they are coming in on my cell phone which I kept only for my personal appointments.
I recently found a Telemarketing Comeback that seems as thought it will work so I'm going to try it:
Marketer: Hello,sir, would you be willing to take a short survey?
Me: Absolutely! We here at Evermoon Consulting are always ready to provide opinion based data to our clients.
Marketer: Um... Ok? The survey just takes 5 minutes and when finished you are entered into a drawin to win a 3 day vacation to Cancun.
Me: Ok, our usual remuneration per our standard service agreement is all that is required. However please be aware that our lowest billable period is one hour and this call will be billed for an hour of service even if only five minutes is used.
Marketer: No sir, this will only take five minutes, not an hour.
Me: I understand, however your firm will still be billed the minimum hour as per our services agreements. That comes to $225. How would you like to take care of this today? Do you have billing set up with us already? If so I just need the corporate code for your company.
Marketer: I don't have that...
Me: That's alright sir. We can set this up on a company credit card for a small fee. Your new total will be $257.98, sir. Go ahead and give me the credit card number sir.
Marketer: We aren't paying $257 for this!
Me: Oh, you are absolutely right sir! We are talking right after 6 pm CDT so we are in "premium time". Your total will be $517.54. Thank you for reminding me.
Marketer: What?! The law says we can call until 9 pm.
Me: Evermoon Consulting prides itself on meeting our customer's needs 24 hours a day, but between 6 pm and 6 am is premium time. I am ready for that credit card number.
Marketer: Look, I didn't call you, a computer did.
Me: Oh, I see.
Marketer: So can we just get to the survey?4
Me: Yes, but I will have to add our auto-dialer fee. With that fee your new total is $759.99. What are the first four digits of the card you would like us to use, please?
Marketer: Hold on for my supervisor please.
Me: Ok.
Supervisor: Hello, sir, I understand there is a problem?
Me: No sir. Your total charges for premium time consulting, auto-dialer charge, supervisor respondent fee and credit card processing is a total of $1163.67.
Supervisor: For what?
Me: Consulting on your survey of course. What method of payment will you be using today?


--- I would be worth the 5 minutes or more that it would take to say all this! ---

That is pure genius! Pure genius, I say!

Most of these scammers use a computer that picks an exchange and starts with 0000 and keeps adding 1 number per call until they find someone to answer. Best of all, if it is a strange phone number don't answer it. If the caller has a legitimate reason to contact you they will leave a message. If not, it won't register as a "live" number.

I have a latin last name so I get calls from non-English speaking scammers. I get a moment of hesitation when I answer in English "hello'? Then I get "hola, hablas espaniol?"And my answer is usually along the lines of "why? Don't you speak English"? or "you're calling my home in the USA - why are speaking to me in Spanish?" then I hang up. This really gets me mad & I'm not sure what category these calls fall under. It's bad enough to get calls in English...but now in Spanish?

My standard answer (and I am NOT a rude person or one given to the use of foul language) is: "Go to hell" and hang up........Gonna get a referee's whistle next! Been getting calls from India for Microsoft technical support...........they just don't get the message!These calls are almost weekly now......I'm beginning to wish I never had a telephone..And there's NEVER a caller ID number, so these low-life-pond scum can't be traced or tracked down..........

If not for a manager at my local grocery store, I would be out $500. The "deputy sheriff, Randy Massey, " said he had a warrant for my arrest for failure to report for jury duty. He had a signed registered letter stating my court date. He gave me detailed information and was so helpful. He said since I had no record, he could waive the warrant fee of $186. but I would have to provide a cash validation card for the court in the amount of $500. ($250 fine for failure to report for jury and $250 fine for contempt of court.) I had to get the card from a local Food Lion as the sheriffs department had an agreement with them to sell the cards. He said I would have control of the money but needed to give him the number on the back to show the judge "good faith" on my part. When I asked the manager of the store if anyone could get the money if I gave them the number, she wanted to know why I was buying the card. When I told her it was for a court fine, she asked if it was for missed jury duty. She told me it was a scam. The deputy on the phone said if I listened to her a warrant would go out immediately and I would be arrested. She called the police and they told me to hang up the phone. They have had hundreds of these scams. It was very scary and I am so thankful that the manager was on duty at that time!

We had a call from someone claiming to be from Edison Electric and that our retail store bill had not been paid. I knew it had been, but they claimed they were turning off the power within the hour and was warning us. I wasn't near my computer at the time so I could not verify with the bank (bill pay) and prove anything right away. They said the only way to stop it that day was to go to a local office and pay the bill. That didn't seem unreasonable IF IT WERE TRUE, but I had my son (his business) call the number and ask for the supervisor since I was still driving. He did but the supervisor changed it to getting a prepaid card and giving him the number. BIG DIFFERENCE. By the time I got home, checked with the bank bill pay who called the number they gave me but call was dropped. The now suspicious bank person called her Edison contact number only to find out all was fine with Edison. I immediately called my son, who had already gone and got a prepaid card for about $500!!!!. I had been thinking 1 month for $100 or so. Anyways, we caught it before he gave them the prepaid number. When I first called the Edison number it didn't go through and said something about couldn't find magicjack number. I thought I had misdialed. That should have tipped me off better though. I could call that number and still get them on the phone for days. Gave info to police but they even did anything. They were from Virginia area that we got from fast talking Magic Jack. Watch out for these Magic Jack things. The scammers use them.

please help

I am a retired actor, and I use my acting skills to play around with these scammers. One of my favorite "games" is to play along with them (never, of course, giving them one bit of actual real information about myself) until they get to the point where they ask for a credit card number. Then I tell them that my credit card is in my bedroom, which I tell them is several rooms away from where I am, and that I am I am disabled, so it may take me a few minutes to get there and back to the phone. Then I wait about three or four minutes, and get back on the phone and start reading off number to them (numbers I make up, of course). However, I don't stop after 16 digits. I just keep going on and on and on. Somewhere around the 20th or 25th digit, they hang up. I get the great satisfaction of knowing that I wasted ten minutes or more of their time - ten minutes that they could have used to call someone else to work their scam.

I have been on the do not call registry for years now. Does NO good. Not one bit. I continue to receive call after call, many times same numbers. After so many of them, I will pick up finally and threaten them that I'm registered and they are violating the law, but right back , several hours later, the calls start again, same number. This happens with at least 8-10 numbers, regularly, always the same. What good is registering on a don't call list if it is not adhered to, and worse, not enforced??? And, why do I have to take out precious time from my life ( I'm 70 ) trying to get these uninvited people to stop invading my life? What is our govt. REALLY doing to help us? The list means nothing, unless enforced. Our taxes are supposed to be applied towards this protection!! I'm SO tired of all the excuses for why nothing is being done. If it doesn't work, then drop it, and drop the illusion you are looking out for us. Clearly the govt. is not. Totally fed up. (let's see if this is allowed to be printed...)

Totally agree that the "do not call registry" does absolutely no good. Am getting 10-15 calls per day on my land line and 8-10 call per day on my cell. Have tried blocking calls with my carrier but they do not have the technology to block all the calls I have.

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