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They May Take Our Time, But They Will Never Take OUR FREEDOM!

, , , , , , | Legal | March 17, 2021

I keep an old pay-as-you-go mobile phone at home which I use to maintain a social media tool and for banking, because my bank, like most, sells telephone numbers to marketing lists for profit because they’re scum. Nobody that I care for uses that number, so I know that whenever it rings, the caller is a salesperson or a scammer.

My phone rings and, out of boredom, I pick up and answer in a very frail, old person’s voice.

Me: “Helloooooo… [Fake First and Surname] speaking.”

Scammer: “Good day, Mr. [Fake Surname], this is John Smith from the Internal Revenue Service. Were you aware that you have a significant amount of unpaid taxes?”

Me: “Pardon me… Who did you want to talk to? I’m not sure that they’re here.”

Scammer: “I wanted to talk to you, Mr. [Fake Surname], about your unpaid taxes. Now, really, sir, you need to sort this out or you could go to prison! You’re in very serious trouble.”

Me: “Oh, no, no… There’s—” *shifty voice* “—no Mr. [Fake Surname] here. You must have the wrong number.”

Scammer: “Sir, you answered the phone with your name. This is childish; you are definitely you. Now, this is a serious matter and you need to address it.”

Me: *In a harsh voice* “Well, you got me, you b*****d. You found me out! Well, you’ll never take me alive! COME GET ME, YOU PIGS! COME GET ME! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEEEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMM!”

Scammer: “Sir, sir, stop shouting at me! We’re coming to get you! You’re going to jail! This call is being recorded and will be used as evidence against you! NOW, BEHAVE AND SETTLE YOUR ACCOUNTS, OR ELSE!”


This goes on for a while until, finally, the scammer hangs up. With a raw throat, I put down the phone with a happy sigh, only to hear a wheezing noise behind me.

Wife: “What the actual f*** was that about?”

The scammer never called back. Not that it matters. I’m not allowed to answer the phone anymore.

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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Technically Speaking, I Have No Idea

, , , | Legal | March 7, 2021

I have a scammer ring one day.

Scammer: “Hi. I’m from the technical department and we’ve detected—”

Me: “The technical department of where?”

Scammer: *Pauses* “What?”

Me: “You said you’re from the technical department… of what company?”

Scammer: “Um… Windows?”

I hung up.

Aww, Mommy’s First Scammer

, , , , | Right | March 5, 2021

I’m at the end of my first pregnancy when my water breaks. I page the midwives and wait for whichever one of them is on call to phone me from her personal cell, with caller ID disabled. The phone rings.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “I bought your liquid hand soap and it broke.”

I have a small soap business. I only ever sold eight glass bottles of hand soap; six were to a small store across the country and none were in the last two years. The product is still on my website, along with my phone number.

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Caller: “I got it home and opened up the box which made it break and I cut myself. What are you going to do about it?”

I’ve never used box packaging for this product, and her story makes zero logical sense.

Me: “Look, I’m in labor and I only answered the phone because I thought you might be the midwife. Can you call me back in a couple of weeks?”

Caller: “No! You have to take care of this right now.”

Me: “Well, I can’t, I’m in labor and going to have a baby.”

Caller: “I’m having a baby tomorrow.”

This seems unlikely, but remember, I’m not in the best frame of mind, so I answer sincerely.

Me: “Congratulations!”

Caller: “I had to get stitches when the glass cut me and you have to do something.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do anything right now. I have to go. Call back next month.”

I hang up, and a couple of minutes later, she calls back. I hand the phone to my husband who puts it on speaker.

Caller: “That was really rude. I’m a customer and you have to deal with this.”

My husband tries to explain that this isn’t a good time, to no avail.

Me: *Whispering* “Ask her where she bought it from.”

Caller: “I cut myself really badly. What are you going to do for me?”

Me: *Whisperin.* “Ask her to look on the container and tell you the lot number.”

I don’t use lot numbers, but at least subconsciously I know this woman doesn’t have an actual bottle on her.

Husband: “What is the lot number on the bottle?”

Caller: *Hangs up*

Thankfully, the next call was from the midwife and the scammer lady never did call back.

Ask Me Again And I’ll Tell You The Same

, , , , | Legal | March 5, 2021

I work for a large organisation in the UK. We have about 2,000 staff with individual phone numbers; as such, we have been allocated a batch of phone numbers. After the area code, each number has the same first two digits. Locals know this, but our phone numbers otherwise look identical to any local landline. Consequently, we still get the same scam calls about changing utility providers, etc.

In my forty-person, open-plan office we all have consecutive phone numbers. I am staying late in the office one evening before a late meeting. There is no point going home, so I’m watching movies and doing some admin. Then, a scammer calls my desk phone. I answer with my name and normal spiel about the organisation and explain that he has called an office and I have no control over our utilities, etc. He hangs up. Then, the next phone rings… and I decide to have some fun.

I can answer any phone from my desk, so I give the same spiel again and hang up. Phone number three rings, and so on. I give the same spiel in the same pleasant voice every time and make an internal bet as to whether I can get him to give up before he calls every phone in the office.

The lightweight only makes it to phone twenty-three out of forty before giving up. I killed some time, wasted his time, and finally made a scammer give up!

It’s The Principal Of The Thing!

, , , , | Legal | March 3, 2021

Over the holiday weekend, my sister received a strange email claiming to be from the principal of her kids’ school. When she replied, thinking it might be about a project she was working on for the school, the reply was even odder. And the follow-up reply Monday morning was even stranger. She was telling me about it and we had just thought to check if it was the actual email the principal normally uses — it wasn’t — when the next email in the chain asked her to go buy five $100 gift cards, supposedly for the “Chairman” to give to parents at a special meeting he was stuck in.

So we decided to have fun.

First, my sister agreed to buy the cards, but she was more than happy to run the cards to the school.

When the stranger then claimed to be in a meeting elsewhere, she offered to take them there. He claimed there was no time; she would have to send pictures. She agreed and ignored him for half an hour.

When he demanded to know what was taking so long, she told him that there had been a power outage and all the registers were down. She’d have to find another store.

The second store was also affected by the outage.

At the third store, my sister was in a fender-bender when someone backed out into her and she had to wait for the police.

Finally, about an hour later, she got the cards. But her phone died — it actually did! — so she had to charge it for a bit.

While all this was going on, I was having fun. I know just a little bit of graphic design — just enough to take a picture of the back of a gift card, “scratch it,” and add my own text. It was obviously fake if you looked closely at it, but on a phone at first glance, it could pass.

My sister told him she was sending the first picture, expecting that he would get the message. We were shocked when, a few minutes later, he asked about the other four cards and we had to admit defeat and ghost him.

The code I had put on the card? 1D10T 3104558 — put the second part in a calculator and turn it upside down.