A New Brunswick couple has been bombarded with phone calls from across the United States after they upset a telemarketing scam artist.

Sandy and Art Baxter say the trouble started one morning last week when they received a phone call from a fraud artist seeking computer information.

“Art was talking to them and he said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have any Windows, we don’t have a computer,’ and ‘click,’ he hung right up,” says Sandy.

About 20 minutes later, they received a phone call from Pennsylvania. Sandy decided to call the phone company’s fraud department and report the incident.

“When I got a hold of her she said if you hang up on them too many times, or get nasty with them, they will do it for revenge, and then they will use your number 20 or 30 times to call 20 or 30 different people,” she says.

The Baxters say their phone started ringing off the hook as they received more than dozen calls from all over the United States from people who were simply returning their phone call, which was planted by the scammers.

“How can they get my telephone number in Collina, to show up on your telephone in Nebraska?” asks Art.

Some of the callers even accused the Baxters of being scammers themselves.

“I had to convince them that I wasn’t the one doing this, that they used my number, they called me,” says Art.

Experts say the unsolicited calls the Baxters have been receiving are not that unusual. They say it’s called spoofing, and it’s designed to bring phone harassment to a new level.

“Really, there’s not a whole lot you can do when someone starts spoofing your number,” says David Shipley of IT services at the University of New Brunswick.

Shipley says it’s unfortunate, but consumers should be careful not to offend scammers.

“If you’re engaged by telemarketing scammers, people impersonating services like CRA or Microsoft, do not engage in adversarial conversation with them,” he says. “As tempting as it may be to give them a piece of your mind, remember that they can do a lot to ruin your day.”

The Baxters say the calls have stopped for now, but they were warned they could start up again.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron