ACTION ITEM! Fascinating VIDEO about a common phone scam and big time payback with glitterbomb traps, stink bombs, and law enforcement – UPDATED

UPDATE 24 Oct:

This is pretty funny. This afternoon in a space of an hour I got four scam phone calls which went to voicemail (because my phone doesn’t ring for non-contacts).

Here is one of them.  Each one is a bit garbled, but in the conglomerate they say that $729 was charged in my Amazon account from “Dayton, Ohio” and “for dispute this charge” I am to “press one”.

I am really tempted to call and torture one of them.

UPDATE 22 Oct:

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been watching videos on YouTube of “scambaiters” torturing scammers, wasting their time, completely controlling and frustrating them in their greed.  The scammers can get pretty violent in their reactions when they reach maximum frustration.

Usually the scambaiter will, in the end, reveal that this has been cat and mouse role reversal and then, perhaps far more kindly than I would, suggestthey find something else to do.

In the meantime, I’ve learned a lot about the types of scams that are being run and their techniques.

I wonder if we might not create an order of Cyber Knights – the Order of the Cyber Knights of St. Dismas – which would have Virtual Machines and VPNs by which scammers could be taken in and taken down.

Someone needs to fight back against this sheer evil industry.

Perhaps with the help of the Catholic Signal Corps!


Originally Published on: Oct 20, 2021

This is really important to watch and spread around.

My mother has received these calls.   However, mom was a cop.

Apart from being informative – how the scammers work – it is highly satisfying.

This guy is amazing.

I wonder if he could do something about Jesuits.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Lighter fare and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Irish Timothy says:

    That was AWESOME!!!!!!

  2. monstrance says:

    The glitter bomber has got one awesome well equipped workbench.

  3. threej says:

    Haha, Fr. Z has been introduced to Mark Rober. I await your comments when you meet Fat Gus and the rest of the squirrel maze contestants.

  4. redneckpride4ever says:

    A friend coworker of mine once got an IRS scam call, so I called them back and had fun.

    I told them my name was Koichi Sugiyama (rest assured I have no Japanese ancestry). Somehow, “Mr. Sugiyama” owed about $5200 to the IRS for a “clerical error”. Needless to say they didn’t collect.

    To this day when I see my friend she still calls me Koichi with a laugh.

  5. grateful says:

    Yes, the India Amazon thiefs called here; made friends with my husband.
    He believed them, but was having problems coming up with all the infor
    mation they wanted.
    Meantime I came home and the computer was frozen, so I turned it off,
    but when I turned it back on, I needed a password.
    I took it to a computer repair shop, they were able to turn it back on and
    remove whatever they had installed on it. They only charged $45.00.
    Thanks be to God.

  6. Sandy says:

    My Mom has gone “home” now, but years ago, at an advanced age, she was the victim of the “grandparent” scam. She went so far as to go to the bank and draw out cash. Thank God she stopped to talk to a friend and financial advisor, and he urged her to call me (across the country). I was shaking, but managed to settle the whole thing. Another example of listening to our Guardian Angels and the Holy Spirit, which caused Mom to stop and get advice.

  7. All: I have looked around and found that there are “youtubers” who spend their days scamming the scammers. The post their videos. One guy hacked into their internal CCTV feed and network and was monitoring what they did. Really turned the tables.

    Seriously… this is a real problem and more people need to know about it especially if they are older or vulernable loved ones.

  8. Cafea Fruor says:

    This reminds me a little of comedian James Veitch’s TED talk. He responds to email scammers, leads them on, and totally messes with them just to waste their time so they have less time to scam others. A couple of things are a little off color, but most of it is pretty hilarious.

  9. redneckpride4ever says:

    @Fr. Z

    The call center flooding ones are great, but be forewarned that scammers don’t use the cleanest language when their call centers get flooded by a bot.

  10. KateD says:

    I like the skate boards and bikes attached to invisible chains….

    Play, rewind, repeat….

    It NEVER gets old! Pure entertainment….

    Or the purse bait. lol

  11. redneckpride4ever says:

    Since you suggested a name for an Order, how about:

    The Poor-Cyber Crusaders of Christ and the Blog of Fr. Zuhlsdorf?

    In all seriousness though, an association of tech savvy Catholics would make for a fantastic humanitarian service.

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    I love the idea of going after these scammers. There has to be a barbed wire chair waiting for these horrible people who steal money from our dear little olds. The glitter bombs are superb! These are as gratifying as watching westerns, because seeing the bad guy get it once in a while feels excellent. We all see too much.

    My 86 year-old brother-in-law gets a lot of these calls. He’s as savvy as anyone here and just as quick. He is a former salesman, and one of the few people I know who can finish an elaborate crossword puzzle (a tough one) in short order. When he gets these calls, they are often from out of the country, and when they ask his name he gives them names like “Ebenezer Scrooge” or “Abe Lincoln” and the scammers never realize, they’ll say “okay Mr. Scrooge”, etc. He told me today he was just called and the scammer told him he was the lucky 2nd prize winner of a million dollars! (What did the 1st prize winner get!) The only problem was, they would pay 95% of the taxes on the money, but darn it, he would have to pay the remaining 5%, but then he would get a million dollars. My brother-in-law complained that they wouldn’t pay the whole thing and he got the guy to finally admit it was a scam, and my brother-in-law told him he was talented enough to get a legit job. He asked the scammer if his mother would be proud of him doing that work, then he told me the scammer’s mother was probably working the next phone.

  13. Front Pew View says:

    On the topic of Mark Rober, his videos on his backyard squirrel mazes are hugely amusing and educational. (I recommend starting with the 1.0.) But he’s definitely doing a great public service with regard to these scams as well.

  14. Fr. Reader says:

    “one guy hacked into their internal CCTV feed and network and was monitoring what they did. Really turned the tables.”
    This one is fantastic, thanks.

  15. Fr. Reader says:

    It is advised to be prudent with these videos. They are quite addicting.

  16. Fr. Reader says:

    It is advised to be prudent with these videos. They are quite addicting.

  17. Legisperitus says:

    Wow, just realized this is the same guy who made the Jell-O swimming pool.

  18. redneckpride4ever says:

    “I am really tempted to call and torture one of them.”

    Do it up Father! Maybe someday you’ll be the patron Saint of battling phone scammers.

  19. Vir Qui Timet Dominum says:

    I just answer the calls in Latin. Most of the time, the scammer gives up immediately. Sometimes they ask if I speak English. On the rare occasion, the scammer will attempt to speak Spanish, thinking that will solve the language barrier.

    If I get a call from a scammer and the scammer speaks Latin, I may just wire him some money.

  20. One warning to anyone who decides to take on these callers: Remember that even if some of the people actually making the calls may possibly not fully understand what they are doing, the scams are organized by criminals whose cages you may not want to rattle, so be cautious– and they will be probably able to find you again if they so choose. That said, in our office we actually had a “queue” set up on an extension in the phone system that put a troublesome caller on eternal hold. A good phone system could be programmed to recite portions of the United States Tax Code to callers on that hold queue, for example. Also worth considering that the time spent frustrating these folks might be better spent; I know that in the buffet of a finite life, that’s not an activity I like wasting my time pursuing.

  21. Gaby Carmel says:

    My husband, who is not an ultra-pious type at all, simply tells the scammer – with the sweetest voice possible – that it is a lie, a fraud and a scam, not to annoy him anymore, and to go and get an honest job, for the good of their soul. Then he hangs up.

  22. hwriggles4 says:

    If a telemarketer calls and wants you to buy something, just say “I need to check with my bankruptcy attorney first.”

  23. hwriggles4 says:

    About languages:

    I live in Texas and I have several friends who are Hispanic. Seriously, there are scammers, salespeople, telemarketers, headhunters, etc. who go through phone lists and solicit those in Spanish who has a Hispanic last name (i.e. Gonzales, Rodriguez, Martinez, etc.) Years ago I had a roommate who was Hispanic and if one of these calls (normally early Saturday morning) came in I would just say, “no por se su cuenta?” He usually thanked me.

    Sadly, much of this is telemarketers stereotype thinking just because someone is Hispanic they automatically speak Spanish. I doubt there are telemarketers in Southern Louisiana calling in French on Saturday morning. (I think readers will get it).

  24. GregB says:

    I use my voicemail system to pre-screen who is calling. In many cases the other party just hangs up. In others they leave a message. In either case I avoid any direct involvement in the call. If the voice on the other end is one that I recognize and/or whose call I am expecting I answer the call.

Comments are closed.