People like Ralphige and the Jerky Boys have elevated prank phone calls to an art. Here’s how you can get in on the fun.
Step 1: Have a plan Outline your basic scam. Are you going to call businesses or individuals? What are you planning to tell them or ask them? Try to anticipate their responses so you don’t get tongue-tied.
Step 2: Know the law Know the law. It’s illegal to prank call government officials, the police, the fire department, or an ambulance service; you can’t pose as a fireman, policeman, terrorist, or criminal; you can’t make threats; and you can’t slander a business or product.
Step 3: Practice Do a few dry runs with a friend. It will help you prepare by giving you an idea of how your target may respond.
TIP: Have some buying-time phrases ready in case you get nervous, like 'There’s no reason to get snippy' or 'Let me try to explain this again in a way that you might understand.' Or practice launching into a foreign tongue.
Step 4: Block your caller I.D. Before dialing, hit 67 so your phone number doesn’t appear on the victim’s caller I.D.
TIP: There are services on the internet that, for a fee, will allow you to change the number that appears on your caller I.D. during specific phone calls.
Step 5: Hook them in People are quick to hang up on a stranger, so hook them into staying on the line by suggesting there’s something in it for them -- a quiz prize, a reward, or a big order (if you’re phoning a business).
Step 6: Bide your time Relax your mark with a few softballs before you throw them a curve. If you’re pretending to take a survey, ask, 'What laundry detergent do you use?' before you hit them with, 'Does it remove your crap-in-the-pants stains?'
TIP: Double your fun by pranking two victims with one scam. Phone your first target, then put them on hold while you call someone else and conference them in. Listen as the fun ensues!
Step 7: Have conviction Have conviction. If you call a dog groomer and ask if he’ll give your children a bath, sound sincere as you present your arguments -- the kids will love it, they’re too dirty to wash in the tub, you think they have fleas.
Step 8: Don’t push it Don’t push it. If the person tells you they are going to call the cops, believe them and hang up.
FACT: The average American receives 31 prank phone calls in his or her lifetime.