Two Of Nine

, , , | Legal | April 12, 2019

(Like many other people, I get spam phone calls. I’ve been trying to get off their lists, and it’s clear that the automated systems aren’t working, so I’ve been trying to tell the persons on the other end verbally. It’s worked for a couple of callers, but certainly not all of them. One of the common ones is talking about my current credit card account. I’ve been getting it since well before I had a credit card. They ask me to press nine to speak with an agent, which for this one I’m not particularly interested in doing. I’ve had automated systems claim to put me on a list if I pressed two before, even if that wasn’t a stated option, so I try that. It instead starts the phone ringing, so I figure I’ll just tell them to take me off and be done with it.)

Scammer: *in a very obvious Indian accent* “Hello, can I get your name, please?”

Me: “No. Please take me off your call list.”

Scammer: “I will not take you off my call list.”

Me: *thinking I misheard* “What?”

Scammer: “I will not take you off my call list!”

Me: “Uh, yes, you will take me off your call list.”

Scammer: “No, sir, I will not!”

Me: “Yes!”

Scammer: *in a somewhat sing-songy way* “No-no-no-no-no! I will not take you off my list!”

Me: “Why not?”

Scammer: “Because I don’t want to!”

Me: “Are you kidding me?”

(We continue to go in circles for a bit. Admittedly, I’m being a bit stubborn but this is the first time they’ve outright said no. After a bit he changes up his tactic:)

Scammer: “You pressed nine, sir!”

Me: “No, I did not.”

Scammer: “Yes, you did.”

Me: “No. I pressed two hoping that it would take me off your list.”

Scammer: *sing-song again* “No-no-no-no-no!”

(He was persistent but so was I. Eventually, I stopped responding and just left the line open, which seemed to finally wear him down. He tried asking for my name, and I simply repeated my demand without giving it, at which point he finally said he’d taken the name off his list. I didn’t really believe him, but I knew I was not going to get anywhere by taking it further, so I hung up. I still don’t know what he hoped to accomplish, though. Did he think I was going to suddenly start complying if he said he wasn’t going to take me off his list?)

Dial G For Genius

, , , , | Legal | April 7, 2019

(My house phone has been receiving lots of calls from scammers and telemarketers lately. I’ve gotten bored of simply hanging up on them. One day, I get a call from a number that I instantly recognize as a Windows scam number, and I get an idea. I pull up a YouTube video and hold the receiver to the computer speaker.)

Scammer: “Hi, this is [Scammer] with Windows Technical department.”

Video: “We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again.”

(He hangs up. Incredibly, he calls again five minutes later…)

Scammer: “Hello, this is—“

Video: “We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again.”

Scammer: *click*

(This repeated a couple more times before he finally gave up, and I had a huge troll-face on the entire time. I now do this every time a telemarketer or scammer calls my house phone and I’m near my computer. The calls haven’t stopped completely, but they have become far less frequent.)

Call Me By My Name

, , , , | Legal | March 14, 2019

(After receiving what feels like the 100th call about my car’s “extended warranty,” I’ve about run out of patience and methods to get them to stop. So, I try a new tactic, since the robot at the beginning always mentions that they have “your file.”)

Scammer: *with a heavy accent* “Hello, this is the Extended Warranty Services. Can I please have the year, make, and model of your car?”

Me: “Sure! First, though, can you tell me my name?”

(He hung up. I can’t figure out why!)

Robot Chicken

, , , | Working | February 28, 2019

(It seems that prerecorded callers are getting smarter every day, since they’ve started to build in responses like, “You know, you’re talking to a real person,” and “Hello? Are you there?” when I either don’t respond immediately or start talking over them, asking if they’re a robot. But none of them can pass the litmus test I’ve started using. I’m at my desk at work when my cell phone rings. It’s not an 800 number, and I’ve gotten a ton of similar calls from seemingly-normal numbers which turn out to be robocalls. I answer, expecting that this won’t take more than a few moments, since it’s probably just a robot.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hi. Is this [Not My Name]?”

Me: “I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number.”

Caller: *without missing a beat or acknowledging that I’ve said it’s the wrong number* “Oh, well, I’m hoping to update this account information. This [Charity] is—“

Me: *interrupting* “Are you a robot? Can you hear me?” *repeated a couple times, attempting to interrupt and see if it’s a simple recording*

Caller: *after a few seconds* “Sorry, but I’m not a robot.”

Me: “Okay, then say the phrase, ‘chicken sandwich,’ if you’re not a robot.”

Caller: *tries to go into charity spiel again*

Me: “Say, ‘chicken sandwich,’ if you’re not a robot.”

(I interrupt with this request a couple more times, with no acknowledgement from the other end of the call.)

Caller: *eventually* “Have a nice day.” *hangs up*

(Since the person couldn’t follow a simple instruction to say a simple phrase, I could only assume it was a recording. I called back the number and got a recording and a message that said, “If you’re on the National Do-Not-Call List–” I am! “–and wondering why we’re calling you, it’s because charities are exempt.” I waited until it gave me the option to press a number to remove my name from their call list. Hopefully now the calls will stop, at least from whoever this was. It’s frustrating, especially because they seem adamant about keeping up this farce that they’re not using robocalls. Either that, or the person really was unable to say the phrase “chicken sandwich.”)

Can Recognise A Scam in Any Language

, , , , | Legal | February 20, 2019

(I work in a warehouse in Norway. I am doing my usual rounds when suddenly my cellphone rings. I notice on the caller ID that it is a very long number from a foreign country. I answer and, lo and behold, it’s a “your Microsoft Windows has a virus” scam. I am somewhat multilingual; I speak Icelandic and Norwegian, can scrape together Danish and Swedish, and have the bare basics in German. I also speak English, of course, but I decide the unlucky SOB has called the ONE person in Norway who doesn’t speak a word in it.)

Me: *automatically speaking in Norwegian* “Hallo, this is [My name]”

Caller: *very foreign accent but speaking English* “Hello. I’m calling from Microsoft because we have detected a virus on your computer.”

Me: *realizing what it is, does not switch to English and continues to speak Norwegian* “I’m sorry? I don’t understand you.”

Caller: “Ah, do you speak English?”

Me: *switches to my mother tongue, Icelandic* “Is this English? I’m sorry; I don’t speak English.

Caller: “English. Do you speak English?”

Me: *in my absolute worst Danish* “I’m sorry; I still don’t understand you.”

(I quickly whisper to my Danish coworker nearby what is happening and they nearly fall down laughing.)

Caller: “ENGLISH! DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?!”

Me: *pretends like I’m thinking about it, then exclaims in utter joy, in my bad German* “Deutch? Ja, ich sprechen Deutch!”

(“German? Yes, I speak German.” He hung up for some reason.)

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