When The Call Comes In

I was sitting in my car this morning.  Parked in the parking lot at work.  I usually get to work early and read a little before work.  My phone rang.  The caller id said “Unknown Number”.  I rarely answer those.  Not sure why I did today.  Here is a transcript of the call.  And by transcript I mean it’s what happened to best of my recall.  I will be the bold comments.

“Hello”  

“Hey….(unintelligible sounds) …you doing?”

“Excuse me?  What did you say?”

“What are you doing?”

“Who is this?”

“You’re …….phew”  (obvious intention to be difficult to hear).

“What?”

“You’re nephew”.

“Which one?”

“Your favorite one.”

“And which one is that?”

“Aw come on, your favorite.”

I hung up.  He tried to call back, twice.

Why.  WHY didn’t I think to play his game?

Why didn’t I lead him in to believing I was going to give him $10,000 dollars.  Hell, he’s my favorite nephew, I’ll give him a million!

Sadly for him I not only know about scams I help educate people about them.

Heads up people…  There are wicked evil people out there who will do anything to steal the money you earn, the money you save.  They want to make it their money.  That they talk you out of.   All you have to do is give them an opening to talk to you.

If you think it’s not possible let me guarantee you it is very possible.  It happens every day.   Intelligent, hard working people are being scammed every day.

And it just burns my ass.

Especially when it’s an older, lonely adult, who answers that phone.   Thinking someone calls.

If you don’t mind me sharing.   I’ll give you a few tips.

When you answer your phone and someone says “grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle” or whatever term of endearment and you do not know them.   Ask for their name.   These people are professional skanks.  They know to make the sound iffy so you can’t tell.   They will play on your embarrassment for not knowing their voice.  They will beg you not to tell “mom” or “dad” or whoever.    If you get one of these calls, call the person they are trying to convince you they are.  And do not GIVE them a name.   When they say “your favorite……”  do not say “Johnny?  Is that you?”   Because then they know they can be Johnny.

Ask for their name.   Do not cave in to their pressure that they are upset you don’t know who they are.   Hang up.

If it truly is Johnny and he’s offended you didn’t know his voice tell Johnny to get the garbage out of his mouth and speak clearly.  Or be nicer and say he sounds just like his dad/brother/who ever.   Johnny will get over it, he really will.   Especially if you tell him you were worried.  Johnny should love you enough to want you to take safe measures to protect yourself.

Never tell someone who you are.  If they’re calling you, shouldn’t they already know your name?

Do not stay on the phone with someone you don’t know.  If they are scammers they are professionals at keeping you on the phone.  The longer they keep you on the phone the better chance they have of you giving them information.   And the sad thing is, you may not even know you are giving it to them.  They will eventually get what they want.  And what they want is every single penny they can get from you.

Do not ever give your Date of Birth, Social Security Number (or partial), credit card numbers, bank name, bank account, address, family members, or other information over the phone.   Or to anyone who shows up unexpected and uninvited to your home.

The FBI, IRS, Social Security Administration, Nigerian Royalty, Jamaican Lottery, Grandson from prison or Niece stranded in Italy will never call you on the phone asking for your information.  Or asking you, pleading for their lives, on the telephone.

If you get a call and someone is trying to say they are a relative, call that relative.  If you had no idea your grandchild was kibbitzing around the world chances are good they are not.  And you don’t need to bail them out of a dirt floored jail where dinner is cockroach stew.

This isn’t make believe.  I have been witness to people losing their fortunes.  No matter the size of their fortune.  Hundreds of dollars, to hundreds of thousands of dollars.   I promise you this is real and this is scary.   I’ve been in the homes of people when these scammers call, they are good.  And by good I mean they are excellent at what they do.   They not only take money from people, they destroy trust, security, family relationships and health.

I have no kind words for the type of persons who will callously, cruelly and with intent to destroy-scam others.

I wish I had kept Mr. Asswipe on the phone just a little longer this morning.  I wish I had been able to get his hopes up, drag him along, thinking I was fooled.  Let him think I believe he cared.  Making him think I cared.   I wish I had been able to make him believe he was going to receive my hard earned money and he had found an easy touch.  Let him go to Western Union or the local big chain grocery story and get my phones in money order and account information.   Let him stand there and wait.   Wait.   Wait.

Only to discover it wasn’t going to happen.

I think the reason I didn’t think of it, and didn’t do it, was that I’m nothing like him.   And it doesn’t occur to me to torment another human being for fun and profit.

37 thoughts on “When The Call Comes In

  1. I am glad your arse was only slightly singed and not burned. Thanks for the informative post Colleen, there are many out there, didn’t know too much about the phone type, but definitely the email versions. Asswipes as you say rightly say.

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  2. Colleen, Thank you for a wonderful lesson, we all need the reminder, we all need the refresher. Every word you uttered was the truth., I have fielded calls such as you describe only a couple times, with no success on the part of the caller. The 1st give away to me is always when I see the calling number blocked or unavailable. This is a reminder. Thank yoiu and take care. Bill

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    • You’re welcome Bill. It’s amazing how much of this goes on. And sadly these scam people are truly experts at what they do. They know how to redirect a person talking, and how to read what is being said to change their own directions. They are evil.

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  3. Or have a police officer waiting for him at that Western Union? Possible? Impossible?

    I hate these phone scamming scallywags, Colleen. Thank you for your public service message.

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    • It would be possible. However a lot of these transactions use on line everything or so many transfers. AND they actually get the victims involved in being part of the chain.

      They are wicked people Mark.

      And you’re welcome.

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  4. Yes, you are right, Colleen and it blows me away so many people are still taken in by these calls although the warnings are out there. Good repeat, wash, repeat and rinse again.

    To put a lighter flavor on this conversation, no-one can ever tell me he is my nephew (and they use the male relative a lot) because we have no men or boys in our family but one. I am a mean lady. I don’t believe anyone on the phone.

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  5. Great post and a great reminder for everyone to be careful. It’s sad that there are jerks out there selfish enough to prey on other people’s loneliness.

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  6. Well said, Colleen, and excellent point that you ultimately make about one’s world view. We see what we know and what we’re like. That’s such a great perspective. I only hope that in my actions I take a path that doesn’t get me in trouble. My confront of evil ain’t all that high, and unfortunately I’ve been led down some paths I wish I saw coming. Have a great weekend.

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    • Thank you Paulette. The hard part about a lot of these evils are that the victims see them as ‘friends”. We’ve even had them tell us “they’re like family to us” or “they call me more than my family does”. 😦

      I hope your weekend is wonderful Paulette.

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  7. Fantastic advice, CM. You reminded me of some uninvited visitors M and I once had. It was early on a Saturday morning, and two people (a man and a woman) in suits knocked on the front door of our home (in NE Ohio). M answered the door and the woman said, “Let me see your ID.” He was shocked, but not so shocked that he didn’t respond immediately with, “Let me see YOUR ID.” It was the woman’s turn to look shocked, but she did pull our her ID. They were FBI agents looking for a guy that used to live there. It was kind of funny after all was said and done, especially the look on the woman’s face when M refused to show her his ID until after he’d seen hers. Besides, who answers the door with their driver’s license in their hand??

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    • I suppose when dealing with the criminals we want the FBI to be all ‘hardass’. But when they show up at my door and I don’t know who they are they better tell me before demanding. That’s the FIRST thing I would be thinking is “STRANGER DANGER”! 🙂

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  8. Your heart is too pure for not screwing him in return. Pardon my French but you used the “A” word. 🙂

    As sad it may seem, NEVER answer a restricted or unknown caller. If it’s important, they will leave a message which you can listen to in one minute…

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  9. I wrote a post about scams that take advantage of elderly people, too. It is so sad how many different ways people prey on the ‘least’ of our society. And I mean in the sense of the weaker, more vulnerable ones. Children and older people are often victims. I wish those who did these horrible things would be the ones who would suffer more, than the ones who steal from companies. Knowing you are doing this, is truly mean. Hoping karma ‘bites them in the tush!’

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