You must trust your instincts as an entrepreneur and if you do you should be able to tell when someone is shopping you or a competitor is trying to get information from you. Then you have to ask yourself why, as that in itself will tell you a lot. Sometimes competitors will give them selves away and once you catch them they will ask; How did you know or why did you think that I was pretending?
Be careful because any information you give them will help them hone their skills. Just tell them it was obvious from experience, common tactics, third party misrepresentation, unfeasible and unconvincing story, lack of plausible deniability, another in a string of contacts or the usual.
Some entrepreneurs are simply rude to the competition when they catch them. Sometimes the competition will say something like; why do you have to be rude? Simply tell them; No one has to do anything that would be a choice of course. I chose to be rude to you.
When you finally do catch someone who is trying to get business intelligence from you, they will usually say something like well everyone does it so you got me so what. It is amazing that someone can be so dishonest, deceptive and such a piece of dirt and not even care. But this is what they teach you at Harvard business school.
There are actually classes on corporate intelligence gathering. They tell you all the legal ways and all the illegal ways that you should watch out for. Of course in telling you the illegal ways they’re actually telling you how you could if you wanted to and since we know that most university students admit to cheating on tests, papers and in schoolwork it shouldn’t surprise us what happens.
So with all their education this is the best they can do go around cheating? It is laughable even worse some of these people go on to be politicians and then they want to run our country? I guess when you’ve heard enough BS for the day with fake calls from competition, just hang up the phone.