Wanted, Dead Or Alive, For The Crime Of Scamming

, , | Legal | June 16, 2020

Recently, scammers have been calling my grandmother’s landline using local numbers. She has caller ID, so if the scammers call using, say, John Doe’s number, it shows up as such. I live nearby and visit nearly every day to make sure she’s okay, so I’ve intercepted quite a few of these calls. 

The phone rings, showing John Doe as the caller.

Me: “Hey, Gram, are you expecting a call from John Doe?”

Grandma: “No, he’s in [Local Hospital].”

I answer the phone.

Me: “John! How’s that anal leakage?”

Caller: “Um…” *Click*

A moment later, the same number comes up, this time listed as “unknown caller.” I can’t believe they’re actually this stupid, so I answer. The caller has an accent you rarely hear in the middle of Bumble, Nowhere.

Me: “County Mortuary.”

Caller: “Uh, I— Sorry, what?”

Me: “County Mortuary.”

Caller: “I need to speak with [Badly Butchered Version Of My Grandmother’s Name].”

Me: “I’m sorry, who’s calling?”

Caller: “Um. I need to speak with—”

Me: “Do you need a body picked up?”

Caller: *Confused* “No. I—”

Me: “Are you calling for the status of an autopsy?”

Caller: *Frustrated* “No, I—”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

Caller: “Where is [Badly Butchered Name]?”

Me: “I don’t see her name on any of the drawers. Was she supposed to be picked up? Which facility are you calling from?”

Caller: *Angry* “She lives there!”

Me: “If anybody lives here, I have a problem.”

Caller: *As he hangs up* “What the f***…”

My grandmother gave me a stern look for messing with the caller but couldn’t hold it for long.

This story has been included in our June 2020 roundup as one of that month’s most memorable stories!

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Brutal Honesty Is Often The Best Policy

, , , , | Working | June 4, 2020

My grandmother recently passed away after a long hospice stay. Her loss has been extremely hard on our family, especially for my mother. My grandmother worked as my mom’s secretary at my mom’s office and used to receive a bunch of scam phone calls.

After my grandmother passed, I took up as my mother’s secretary and scam phone calls kept coming in for my grandmother. One day, after four of the same scam phone calls keep coming in for my deceased grandmother, I have this exchange.

Scammer: “Hello! Is Ms. [Grandmother] there? We have an exciting offer for her for a free vacation!”

Me: “This is the fourth time you’ve called. You know she won’t be answering the phone, because she’s passed away.”

Scammer: “Oh, but can we get her phone number? This is a once-in-a-lifetime offer!”

Me: “Well, here is what you’re going to need to do. First, go to the store.”

The scammer hmms and uh-huhs agreeably.

Me: “Then you’re going to buy a ouija board, gather your summoning circle, and contact her yourself because she’s dead!

Scammer: “Oh.”

I heard a click as the scammer hung up the phone, and I haven’t heard back from them since. I know it wasn’t the most polite way to handle it, but each call was causing fresh grief for my mother and me. The scammers were not getting the clue. And to be honest? I got a dark sense of satisfaction out of the exchange.

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I Pronounce This Scammer Vanquished! For Now…

, , , | Working | June 3, 2020

Thanks to Not Always Working and the Internet, I’ve read about the “Your Windows Computer has a virus” scam, but I’ve never heard of it done in Germany.

One day, I’m home during the day when the phone rings. The caller immediately talks to me in English, which is very unusual here; while many people know some English, you don’t just assume they do.

Caller: “Hello, is this [bad pronunciation of My Husband’s Name]?”

Me: “Who’s asking?”

Caller: “Is this [bad pronunciation of My Husband’s Name, this time going so far as to spell out the ‘difficult’ German sounds]?”

I realize this could be good.

Me: *Pauses* “Okay, fine, yeah, that’s me.”

Caller: “I’m calling from Windows customer support—”

I start giggling because I can’t believe they’re actually trying this.

Me: “Really? Oh, dear.”

Caller: “Ma’am, why are you laughing?”

Me: “Sorry, sorry. I’m nervous; I’ve never talked to Windows support before. Please, do go on. I’m dying to hear this.”

Caller: “Well, we have noticed your computer has a virus and it’s important that you—”

Unfortunately, I burst out laughing at this point and decide that’s enough.

Me: “Thank you. So much. That made my day! I can’t believe you’re trying that scam in foreign countries now!”

I hang up. Later, I recount the scene to my husband. His first reaction:

Husband: “Oh… Um, but did they say which virus?”

Maybe it’s a good thing I answered the phone that day, or they might’ve just succeeded.

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These Scammers Are Just Sick

, , , , | Legal | May 25, 2020

I’m at my grandma’s house one day, helping her go through some stuff. While she’s not very tech-savvy, she’s still pretty smart and knows when something’s up. She also has no problems wasting someone’s time if she knows they’re up to no good.

The phone rings, and she answers. I can hear the caller on the other end.

Grandma: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, this is [Caller] at Microsoft. Your computer has a bug.”

My grandma rolls her eyes.

Grandma: “A bug? But I’m not sick!”

Caller: “No, not a sick bug. It’s like a glitch. We can fix it for you, though.”

Grandma: “Really? How can you fix it?”

Caller: “Are you at your computer?”

We’re both in the kitchen, with the closest computer halfway across the house.

Grandma: “Yes, I am.”

Caller: “Can you open the start menu? It’ll be the icon with the squares in the bottom left corner.”

Grandma: “Okay, it’s open.” 

The caller then gives instructions on what commands to enter. If done, it would allow him remote access to the computer. When it comes time to actually input the final steps:

Grandma: “Actually, can you hold on? My show’s about to come on.”

Caller: “Ma’am, it’s very important that we fix this now. This bug could ruin your computer.”

Grandma: “Really?”

Caller: “Yes, ma’am. You could lose everything on the computer.”

Grandma: “Huh, because ten minutes ago I ran [Security Software], and it came back fine. I also know Microsoft doesn’t call about computer bugs. Do people actually still fall for that? Next, you’ll be some prince trying to send me millions!”

The caller is silent for a moment and then hangs up. My grandma puts the phone down.

Grandma: “Bug, my a**.”

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You’d Have To Be Blind To Call Again

, , , , , | Legal | May 22, 2020

I have been getting many, many calls over the past several months telling me my vehicle warranty is about to expire. Usually, I just hang up, but last week I had enough and decided to call their bluff. 

Me: “Hello?”

Robotic Voice: “Hi, this is [Name] with the vehicle warranty department. Our records show your car’s warranty will expire soon. Press one to speak to an agent.”

I press one.

Scammer: “Hello, can you please verify the make and model of your vehicle?” 

Me: “A 2019 white cane.” 

Scammer: *Confused* “What, miss?”

Me: *Repeating* “A 2019 white cane.”

Scammer: “Uh, what was that?”

Me: “Let me help you out. I know this is a scam. I do not own a vehicle. In fact, I am completely blind and have been my whole life. Therefore, I am not able to obtain a driver’s license, let alone buy a car.”

Scammer: *Absolutely shocked* “Uh… Um… Really?”

Me: “This is the fourth call from you I have received this week, and I have all the different numbers you use in my phone’s history. I will ask you once to remove me from your list. If you contact me again, I will file a complaint with the FCC.”

Scammer: *Click* 

The next day, they called me again! As promised, I hung up and filed a report with the FCC. I wonder if they would actually give me a warranty on my cane, though!

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