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Stories about breaking the law!

Persistent, But Not Overly Creative

, , , , , | Legal | May 5, 2022

Our front desk receives its share of junk calls: scammers, cold-callers, magazine shills, and also conniving recruiters. The first time I get it, I have no idea what’s going on.

Me: “Good afternoon, [Company #1], this is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller #1: “Hello! This is [Caller] with [Company #2]. I’m looking for [Employee #1]; I wanted to talk to him about collaboration on an upcoming project.”

I start looking up the employee.

Me: “Let me just check to see if he’s available. Can I ask if this is about a project that’s currently underway?”

Caller #1: “No, it’s not a current project, but it’s about a prospective upcoming project we want to collaborate on.”

Me: “Ah. Can I get some details on the project in case I need to take a message?”

Caller #1: “Of course! The project is—”

The line goes dead; there’s a hang-up tone in my ear — just as I find the employee, too. At the time, I think that it’s a glitch in the system that caused the call to drop. I pass along the few notes I have to the employee, but as we didn’t get a callback number or anything, there’s not much to do with it.

Within two days, I’m picking up another call.

Me: “Good afternoon, [Company #1], this is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller #2: “Hello! This is [Caller #2] with [Company #2]. I’m looking for [Employee #2]. I wanted to talk to him about collaboration on an upcoming project.”

NOW it’s twigging. The formula is almost identical, and it hasn’t been that long, so I remember it pretty well.

Me: “Can I ask if this is in regards to a project that’s currently underway?”

Caller #2: “It’s not. We’re trying to get collaboration on a future project.”

Me: “Can I get some information on the project in question?”

Caller #2: “Of course! The project is—” 

The call dropped.

One time I could call a freak accident, but twice almost the exact same way? I looked up the company name. The results I saw were for a recruitment firm, not a firm in our actual industry. I sent out the message to watch out for them so anyone else picking up the phone knew that we didn’t want to pass them along.

To date, I’ve picked up six calls from these folks. I’m waiting to see if they come up with an actual fake project to talk about. So far, they haven’t.

Third Time’s The Charm For This Specimen

, , , , | Legal | May 3, 2022

I work as a specimen receptionist in a pathology laboratory that is connected to a public hospital setting. I do data entry for bloodwork so it can get tested. The area I work in has seven workstations. Each workstation has a phone. I am by myself for whatever reason and the phone rings.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from pathology. How can I help you?”

Scammer: “Hello, I was just wanting to talk to you about your overdue power bill. We can help you set up a payment plan today.”

Me: “Um, just so you know, you have reached a hospital.”

Scammer: “Oh.” *Hangs up*

I chuckle slightly and go back to work.

The next phone along rings. I transfer it to my phone.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from pathology. How can I help you?”

Scammer: “Hello, I was just wanting to talk to you—”

Me: “Hi. Hospital again.”

The scammer sighs and hangs up. Even more amused, I go back to work again.

The NEXT phone rings. I transfer it to my phone. By this stage, I am suspicious.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from pathology. How can I help you?”

Scammer: “Oh, for God’s sake.” *Hangs up*

I laughed openly and then stared expectantly at the next phone. Disappointingly, it did not ring.

Road Rage Can Lead To Road Wrecks

, , , , | Legal | May 1, 2022

I’m driving on a two-lane highway — one lane going in each direction. It’s a beautiful day, with no bad weather or other dangerous driving conditions. I get stuck behind a car going about twenty miles per hour UNDER the speed limit, and because of the curves and hills in the road and oncoming traffic in the other lane, I can’t get around them for a while. Soon, there are several cars lined up behind me, all following this slow-moving car.

We finally get to a straight stretch that doesn’t have any oncoming traffic, and I look in the rearview mirror and over my shoulder. There are no other cars coming to pass me, so I pull out into the other lane and speed up to get around the slow-moving car. As I pull into the other lane, another glance in the rearview mirror shows a giant SUV coming up WAY too fast behind me — so fast that he can’t slow in time to stop from rear-ending me before I can get back into my own lane.

I manage to keep control of my car, and when it’s safe to do so, I pull over to the shoulder, stop, and pull my phone out to call the police. The giant SUV stops in front of me, along with a few other cars who I assume witnessed the incident and want to make sure everything is okay. As I’m calling the police, I watch the driver of the SUV get out and start walking toward me with a clear road-rage attitude. I keep my doors locked and my windows up, and I ignore the SUV driver’s shouts and gestures while I’m on the phone with the police and then my insurance agent.

A few other people convince the SUV driver to get back in his SUV, and a state patrol car and local sheriff’s deputy car arrive. The SUV driver sees them and immediately gets out of his car to talk to them. I choose to wait until the officers approach my car before trying to get out or say anything.

Finally, one of the officers comes over, so I roll the window down and acknowledge him and then get out of my car. Both my insurance agent and the SUV driver’s insurance agent have also arrived by now, and they have joined the group after their initial inspections of both my car and the SUV. The police officers tell the witnesses that they can leave unless they want to give an official statement, and then they pull me, the SUV driver, and both insurance agents together for the “official” discussion of what happened.

I let the SUV driver go first, and of course, he rants about how I must not have checked my rearview mirrors, because I pulled out right in front of him, so the whole thing must be my fault. The officers let him rant for a minute or two, and then they tell him to be quiet and let me speak.

Me: “Officers, I did look, both in the mirror and over my shoulder… and my dashcam will show that, because it shows both the interior and exterior views from the windshield. I also have a rear-facing camera on the back window, and that should show that he was nowhere near me when I pulled out to pass, but he caught up to me going way too fast. I can email you the videos from the app on my phone, or I could give you the memory cards if you prefer, as long as I get the cards back when all of this is done.”

As soon as I mentioned the words “dashcam”, the SUV driver went silent, and the color drained from his face. One of the police officers and both insurance agents watched the videos on my phone, and they all agreed that the SUV driver was driving way too fast trying to pass the entire line in one go.

When everything was said and done, the SUV driver’s agent assured me and my agent that all repairs from this incident would be covered by the SUV driver’s insurance, no questions asked. The police officers also gave the SUV driver a reckless driving ticket for trying to pass the entire line of traffic in one go but explained that they couldn’t issue a speeding ticket or any other ticket with only my videos as evidence.

Always Check Before You Park

, , , , | Legal | April 29, 2022

I work in a police dispatch department. Since we operate around the clock, we also get to cover a few other duties that would otherwise necessitate someone else to be kept on call. One of these duties is responding to the intercom of the only publicly-owned underground parking in our city. Said parking garage has a toll bar at the exit, so you pay for the time you’ve parked there after you return and then insert your paid parking ticket to lift the toll bar and exit the garage. Most people don’t realize that the intercoms on the pay machines and toll bars connect them to the police.

A guest who parked his car in this garage walks up to the pay machine and rings the intercom.

Me: “Good evening. How may I help you?”

Guest: “Hi, I’ve parked my car here and I would like to pay, but I can’t figure out how to pay with my card.”

Me: “Unfortunately, the pay machines in that parking garage don’t accept cards. The only way you can pay is with cash.”

Guest: “Well, I don’t have any cash on me. What should I do?”

Me: “I guess you’ll have to find a way of procuring cash somewhere.”

Guest: “That’s no good. I’m in a hurry and I have to leave.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m unable to help you here. I can’t just let you out without paying simply because you don’t have cash on you.”

Guest: “Well, if that’s the case, then I’ll just have to drive through the toll bar to get out of here.”

Me: “I wouldn’t advise that, since we have surveillance cameras all around the premises.”

Guest: “Okay, then. Still, this is ridiculous. Who has heard of a pay machine that doesn’t accept cards nowadays?”

Me: “I agree that it’s inconvenient, but it’s far from the only parking lot that only accepts cash payments.”

Guest: “Nonsense, I’ve used many a parking space around this country, and they all accept card payments. In fact, I’m pretty certain that it’s illegal to only accept cash and no other means of payment.”

Me: “I’m not so sure about that.”

Guest: “But I am. I’m absolutely certain that it’s illegal to only accept cash.”

Me: “Sir, do you have any idea who you’re connected with?”

Guest: “No.”

Me: “You’re talking to the police. And I know for a fact that it’s not illegal to only accept cash payments.”

Guest: “You’re wrong. I know the law.”

Me: “Oh, well, in that case, can you please tell me what law states pay machines are required to accept card payments in addition to cash payments?”

I guess getting called out like that threw him for a loop, but after stammering for a bit, he told me that he’d figure out a way to get out of there.

I’d mentioned that we had surveillance cameras all around the parking garage, which was true. However, what I didn’t tell him is that we were not allowed to record any of it. It was just used for real-time surveillance on our large video wall, not as a means of recording video evidence. I decided to pull up a couple of views of that parking garage, specifically the exit, in case I managed to get a good look at his license plate if he decided to make good on his threat of running over our toll bar.

I also had another view visible of the pay machine he talked to me from. Not five minutes passed before I saw him walking back to that pay machine and paying for his parking ticket with cash. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was after all the nearby shops had closed and the nearest ATM was at least ten minutes walking distance away, so he either had some spare change in his car and just wanted to try his luck with me, or he begged someone else he encountered there to help him out.

Scamming Grannies Is A Low Blow

, | Healthy Legal | April 27, 2022

My grandmother got taken in by a scam commercial. They claimed something like:

Commercial: “If you have Medicaid or Medicare, you may be eligible for this brace free of charge!

The problem is that they charge the insurance for a medical visit to get prescriptions for multiple braces, even though you never even speak to the doctor or whoever.

By the time my mom and I stepped in, they had sent enough braces to immobilize Granny from head to toe — neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, back, knee, ankle, etc.

We contacted the Medicare/Medicaid folks, and they said they were investigating the commercials. We still notice their ads on TV, and it’s been four years already.