Stories about breaking the law!

Scammers Need To Get More Creative

, , , | Legal | February 2, 2021

I work for a large multinational retailer. My coworker answers the phone to a caller with a foreign accent.

Coworker: “Hello, [Retailer]. This is [Coworker].”

Caller: “Hello. I am from the Internet provider. I am calling because your Internet is slow.”

Coworker: “Okay.”

Caller: “Are you the only user on your connection?”

Coworker: “Yes.”

Caller: “Yes, I can see that.”

Coworker: “You know you’ve called [Retailer], right?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Coworker: “You know they’re a huge company, right?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Coworker: “Do you want me to put you on with the owner?”

The caller hung up. We joked that they were going to ask us to pay them in iTunes gift cards, which is actually something that we stock.

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That Scam Nearly Blew Them Over

, , | Legal | January 29, 2021

I’m out to do errands with my husband. He has just parked our car in a large-ish free parking lot that serves several shops. As I exit the car, there’s a strong gust of wind and I can’t avoid the door hitting the side of a car nearby with an audible “thunk.” My husband comes around from the other side and we contemplate the damage; our car is all right but for a small dent, but there’s a visible scratch on the other one.

Husband: “We can’t stay here waiting for the owner to show up. Just leave a note with our phone number under the windshield wiper and let’s go.”

While I’m doing this, a well-dressed man in his forties appears.

Man: “Excuse me. Is something the matter?”

He says he works in one of the offices above and the car we’re standing nearby is his wife’s. We explain what happened, apologize, and offer to fill out the Accident Statement so that our insurance will cover the cost of repairs. During the entire conversation, he’s understanding and polite.

Man: “You know what, it’s a pity to go through insurance; your fee will go up. Personally, I wouldn’t even bother with such a scratch, but it happens to be my wife’s car. Why don’t we just settle the matter between us?”

He offers us a deal: 100€ in cash to cover the bodywork costs and no need to go through insurance with all the related hassle. I’m tempted to agree, as we’ve been standing in the parking lot long enough and I’m freezing. My husband is not convinced and would still rather do the Accident Statement. While they’re talking, two elder ladies with shopping bags show up.

Old Lady: “What are you lot all doing right by my car?”

Realization of what had happened struck us like lightning. I turned around from looking at the ladies to speak to the man, but he had already scarpered!

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Better Business, Stupider Scammers

, , , , | Legal | January 27, 2021

I manage security for an aeronautic electronics plant. My position is at the front visitor’s desk where I answer the main phone line. I take a call from an obvious scammer.

Caller: “This is the Better Business Bureau. We have a complaint against your business, so put me through to the owner, now!”

Me: “Oh? Well, you called the [Local] sub-division of [Corporation], owned by international corporation [Parent Company]. He would probably be in the business offices in either Newark, Milwaukee, our new Mexican office, Tel Aviv, or Los Angeles. Would you like me to find those numbers for you?”

Caller: *Click*

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So Much For “Personal Bonds”

, , , , , | Legal | January 25, 2021

I work for a small contracting and landscaping company. The crew is about a dozen guys, the owner, and me in the office over the owner’s garage. Every Monday morning, I meet with [Owner] to discuss our plan for the week — progress on jobs, bills to be paid, new clients, etc. — and then [Owner] is gone for the rest of the week. He calls or texts to get updates, but otherwise, I almost never see him.

One Monday, we are having our meeting when his phone rings.

Owner: “I have to take this. Play some music or something?”

Me: “Oh, yeah, sure.”

I plug in my headphones.

Owner: *After his call* “Okay, I’ll see you later. I have a few prospective clients today. I’m gonna go to the bank and pay [Vendor] $2,000 today.”

Me: “Sounds good.”

[Owner] often pays bills in person if he’s going to be in the area, as he believes it builds a personal bond between the vendor and contractor. I mark off the bill and go about my day. On Wednesday, [Vendor] calls the office.

Me: “[Landscaping Company]. How can I help you?”

Vendor: “Hey, uh, just a reminder that your bill is overdue.”

Me: “[Owner] paid $2,000 on Monday.”

Vendor: “What?”

Me: “[Owner] said he stopped by.”

Vendor: “No, he never came in. And you owe last month, too.”

Me: “Oh. Uhh… Okay, just a minute.”

I log in to the banking website and see that the money was taken out on Monday.

Me: “Maybe he got caught up. I’ll give him a call and call you back.”

Vendor: *Annoyed* “You need to pay by the end of the week.” *Hangs up*

I call [Owner] but his phone goes straight to voicemail. I leave a message telling him that [Vendor] called, and I explain what I said to them. An hour later, he calls me back.

Owner: “Why did you tell them I’d be there?”

Me: “Because… you said you would?”

Owner: “And I’ll get there. I’m gonna take another $2,000.”

Me: “Okay, for bills?”

Owner: “It’s my money!”

Me: “Your paycheck?”

Owner: “Look, I gotta go. Just don’t worry about it.” *Hangs up*

I was in charge of documenting payroll, so I noted that he’d taken it — tax-free — on our payroll website. I went back through the bank statement against my notes from our meetings and saw that he had taken money from the account every day he’d said he was paying vendors. I contacted each vendor and they all said he hadn’t paid.

[Owner] was out of contact for the next week, not even showing up for the Monday meeting. I called his phone several times but he never answered. I went down to the main house and knocked on the door. Before I could say anything, his wife told me I was fired and closed the door in my face.

Two weeks later, I received a paycheck and a letter from [Owner]’s wife. She had followed [Owner] on one of his “business trips” and found that he had been visiting sex workers and using the company’s money to pay them.

I found out through the workers that [Owner]’s wife had filed for divorce and full custody of their three children. The company went under during the proceedings, and last I heard, [Owner] was in prison.

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Superior In Name Only

, , , , | Legal | January 23, 2021

I live in a second-floor condo when this happens. One night, I’m watching a film and having a couple of beers. At 23:30, the outside doorbell rings.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Police, open up now!”

Something isn’t right. It’s been a quiet night.

Me: “One minute, please. I’ll come downstairs.”

I walk down two flights of stairs. I open the door, confused, to find four police officers.

Me: “Can I help?”

Officer: “Is this 17 [Location]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Officer: “Open, mate, we have business to do.”

I stay where I am and hand him my police ID. It has my picture and name and says, “Sworn in [date one month ago]”.

Officer: “Oh, hello. We haven’t been introduced, I’m Sergeant [Officer].”

Me: “Reserve [My Surname]. What’s going on, Sarge?”

Officer: “A hoax emergency call was placed for an ambulance to this address. Do you know anything?”

Me: “Huh? A hoax ambulance call? Not me.”

Officer: “Is there anyone else on the property?”

Me: “My roommate. Speak to him if you like; he doesn’t know much English. What’s the address again?”

Officer: “17 [Location] Boulevard, [postcode].”

I’m annoyed. He’s got the wrong address; a cop should know the area. It also isn’t how I planned to introduce myself to a superior officer.

Me: “Sergeant [Officer], this condo block is [Location] Plaza, not [Location] Boulevard. Can I help you find [Location] Boulevard?”

Police: “Please.”

Me: “Street over there. Odd numbers are on the left.”

Clarity, people. Google Maps is there for a reason.

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