A few months ago, when we were still in China, my wife almost fell for a telephone scam. Phone scammers are good. They know just what to say to get you to believe them. Chinese scammers are especially good. This guy had my poor wife almost believing that he was with the police, and there were pending criminal charges against her. Apparently, that particular scam is very sophisticated. It ends with the victims giving the scammer their bank account information. The end result, of course, is that the scammers take money from the victims. Which is the whole point of scams. Happily, my wife eventually smelled a rat, and ended the call before any damage was done. The only loss was some wasted time and a bruised ego.
This afternoon I got a call on my cell phone. It showed up as being from an “unknown” number. That’s warning sign #1. A reputable caller would never block his number. In fact, showing the number indicates that the caller has nothing to hide. So I was suspicious even before I answered the phone. The guy on the line had a very thick Indian accent. He said that he was from the United States Government. Yeah, right. He said that he was calling to give me information about my “grant.” Yeah, right. He said that I didn’t have to do anything, and that I would receive $9,700. Yeah, right.
What he didn’t know is that unlike him, I actually have experience with federal grants. Also, unlike him, I actually do work for the United States government. I had a few minutes to kill (I was making permanent repairs to my eyeglasses, see my previous post), so I put the clown on speakerphone and toyed with him.
He tried to start in on his script, which was pretty transparently a scam. I derailed him every few seconds.
Where do you work?, I demanded. Where are you calling from? What department of the United States government do you work for? What is the weather like in Washington D.C. now? How do you get to work? What monuments are near you workplace?
Of course, the guy was unable to answer any of these questions. He kept trying to get back on his script, but I wouldn’t let him. He would start to talk in vague terms, and I would interrupt him demanding details. For someone who likes to argue (boy, do I like to argue!), it was a lot of fun.
After 22 minutes of this, the guy finally lost his cool. He asked me if I was a douche bag. That’s when I knew that the call was almost over. He had given up. I told him yes, I probably am a douche bag. Are you a douche bag? He hung up.
By wasting 22 minutes of his time, I prevented him from trying to scam anyone else for 22 minutes. Besides, it was dinner time, my glasses were fixed, and I was hungry.
What did you do today?