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.
“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).
“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.