Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Ten Times…

, , , , | Legal | April 15, 2021

I am the minister of a city-centre church in the UK. This means that we have a good number of down-and-outs and other needy people come to us, and we rarely turn people away. Unfortunately, this also means that we are often targeted by scammers trying to get money out of us.

Some years ago, we had a rash of men claiming to be oil rig workers from Northern Ireland who needed money to get back home due to an emergency. These were scammers. One even pulled an elaborate scam on a generous couple in the congregation to get over £200 out of them. The tell-tale sign was that not only were the stories similar, but in many cases, they were verbatim the same, as if memorised.

After a morning service, a visitor asked to speak with me. I went into the back of the church with him, and to my horror, he began the whole, “I work on an oil rig, I’m from Northern Ireland…” spiel.

“Let me stop you there,” I said. “You are the tenth man to stand there and tell me the exact same story. Get out, now.”

He left in rather a hurry, and he was not only the tenth but also the last man to stand there and tell me that exact same story. It seemed there was a community of scammers, and once I had told one to get out, nobody else tried it. There are quite enough genuinely needy people in this city to help, without scammers taking the resources of a small church.

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Really Phoned That One In

, , , , | Working | April 14, 2021

We have a junior support staff worker with us. She answers phones, emails potential customers, books lunches, etc. It’s not a very busy role, suitable for those without experience wanting to climb the ladder. She does an okay job but tends to chat a lot, and her stories seem to get more and more unbelievable every week.

She has told us about her famous family (that she can’t then talk about,) her murder suspect uncle who is apparently at large, her fabulous holidays (that she never has any details on), etc.

She doesn’t harm anyone, so I play along for the most part.

One morning, I get back after a work-related task and see [Coworker] in the owner’s office. He looks angry and she looks very uncomfortable. After a while, she goes back to her desk, refusing to talk to me.

I give it a minute and then walk over to the owner’s office.

Me: “Is this a bad time?”

Owner: “Hmm? Oh, no, it’s fine. Shut the door, though.”

Me: “Problems?”

Owner: “[Coworker] has been getting some nasty and aggressive phone calls from a withheld number. They called her by name, so it must be a customer. I’m going to find out who it is, and when I do—”

Me: “Sorry, did this happen today?”

Owner: “Well, yes, this morning.”

Me: “Okay. Well, you know our phone system has been down all morning? I’ve just got back from talking to the supplier.”

He sinks back in his chair.

Owner: “So no phone calls.”

Me: “No, no one can ring in at all. And it won’t be fixed for a few more hours.”

Owner: “When did the problem start?”

Me: “Last night. I can pull the logs, but I think…”

Owner: “…she made it all up.”

Me: “I’m not sure how she thought she would get away with it. All of our IP phones log calls.”

Owner: “Okay, I will deal with it.”

As far as I know, [Coworker] didn’t get into any real trouble for making that up, but she did stop with the stories after that.

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Gosh, Is There Anything That Isn’t Fraud Anymore?

, , , , | Legal | April 13, 2021

I work for a construction-related carded system in the inbound call centre that sells the cards. All cards have qualification requirements; some are one-day courses and others are full university degrees and multi-year NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications). We have access to a database of individuals that work within the construction industry or have taken construction-related courses.

I’ve informed this caller that he doesn’t have any of the qualifications on his file needed to get a gold bricklaying card, and I ask if he’s done anything more than his carpentry NVQ 1 qualification.

Caller: “No. I’ve only done the carpentry one. But I need the gold brikkie card.”

Me: “I wouldn’t be able to do the gold card, then, sir, just the green carpentry one. The system doesn’t allow overrides; it has to be in the file to produce the card.”

Caller: “Can’t you just… add one in? One of them NVQs, level 3?”

Me: “No, sir.”

Caller: “Why the h*** not?!”

Me: “That’s fraud, sir.”

Caller: “I won’t tell anyone, sweetheart.”

Me: “The calls are recorded, sir.”

Caller: “Oh.”

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Whatever Happened To, “Hi, Nice To Meet You”?

, , , , , | Romantic | April 9, 2021

I’m in a coffee shop drinking a coffee, and some guy approaches my table with a glowing smile like he has spotted a close friend.

Guy: “Jamie! What’s up? Long time, no see! Remember me?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Guy: “We used to hang out at that thing…” *Snapping fingers repeatedly* “God, I forgot the name of it. It was such a while ago… but how’s it going?” *Taking a seat*

Me: “I think you’re mistaken.”

Guy: “Jamie, right? It’s me, [Guy]. You don’t remember me, do you? That’s okay. I’m sure you’ve had a crazy schedule. How’ve you been, though? It’s awesome running into you here!”

Me: “If you are referring to the ‘Jamie’ stitched here on the front of my shirt, that’s my dad. I’m just wearing his shirt because I’m out of laundry. That’s not to mention that I’ve only been in this town for about a week because my husband and I are here visiting him. Can I drink my coffee in peace, please?”

Guy: “Oh… uh… Sorry.” *Slinking away*

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This Is Honestly True

, , , | Right | April 8, 2021

I recently finished building a shelf and ended up with an extra piece of wood that had been untouched throughout the project, so I head to the store with my receipt to return it.

Me: “Good evening. I need to return this board. Turns out we had an extra piece of clear pine in the scrap wood by mistake. Here’s my receipt.”

Clerk #1: “No problem! We just need to measure the piece and then we can process the return.”

I blink for a moment in confusion.

Me: “Why would… Wait, do people actually just cut off what they need and try to return the rest? I’d never thought of that.”

A second clerk picked up the board and headed off.

Clerk #2: “Honest people never do.”

Either my genuine befuddlement was good enough proof, or I just threw the employees off their routine, because I walked out of there with my money without them ever actually checking the board length to make sure I wasn’t stealing. Whoops?


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