A Very Cold Caller

, , | Working | May 8, 2018

(My father died unexpectedly last year, and I decided to re-register a website domain he used to own and turn it into a memorial page for him. I do all the HTML coding myself, buy hosting, and put the site online. The first thing you see is a big picture of him, with, “In memory of [Father],” in huge writing. This is very clearly all the site is for, and the design isn’t bad, even if I do say so myself. The very next day, from nine am onwards, I’m getting cold calls about SEO and web design services. Some variation of this conversation happens literally eight or ten times over the course of three hours:)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name].”

Cold Caller: “Yes, am I speaking to [My Name mispronounced]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s me.”

Cold Caller: “I’m calling from [Company] about the domain you recently registered, [Domain mispronounced].com?”

Me: “Yes?”

Cold Caller: “We offer comprehensive web design, and Google search engine optimisation services. What sort of site were you looking to create for your business?”

Me: “Why don’t you go to the site now and maybe take a look?”

Cold Caller: “Yes, I’m looking at the site now.”

Me: “You are? You see the webpage in front of you now? And you’re still calling to try to sell me design and SEO? REALLY?”

Cold Caller: “Well, sir, our packages are very well-priced—”

Me: “Mate, look at the webpage. Read it out to me right now. What does it say?”

Cold Caller: “…”

Me: “Does it look like I need a web designer? Or SEO?”

Cold Caller: “I see. I’m sorry, sir—”

Me: *click*

Not A Very Powerful Scam

, , | Working | April 19, 2018

(I’m working the front desk at a tire and repair shop when I get a call from an anonymous phone number. This happens fairly frequently, so I think nothing of it and answer.)

Caller: *in a thick accent* “Hello, I am calling to verify that you are aware that [Power Company #1] will be turning off your power in 45 minutes.”

Me: *uncertainly* “Uh-huh.”

Caller: “Please call this 800-number and enter this verification code to reach the customer service hotline.”

(I Google the number, and the first result is the 800-number followed by a string of Chinese characters. I promptly hang up. Later:)

Me: “Hey, [Boss], who do we get power from?”

Boss: “I’m pretty sure it’s from [Power Company #2].”

Me: “So, I guess the call I just got from [Power Company #1] saying they were going to shut off our power was a scam?”

(We had a laugh over that one.)

Must Have Missed That In Train-ing

, , , , , | Working | April 12, 2018

(After a long day of work, a few coworkers and I are waiting for the train. Suddenly, the emergency phone at the station — literally just a box on a pole — rings.)

Coworker: *after a pause* “I’m going to answer it.”

(Answers the phone.)

Coworker: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, sir. I am calling from Microsoft; your computer is in danger.”

Coworker: *huge grin* “You sure about that, mate?”

Caller: “Yes, sir. This is very serious. We need to fix this immediately.”

Coworker: “Mate, this is a train station.”

Caller: “Yes, I can see that here, which means your computer is very important.”

Coworker: “Nah, mate, this is a train platform. There is no computer here, just a phone on a pole.”

Caller: “Are you sure?”

Coworker: “Yup. How did you even get this number?”

Caller: “Um, never mind.” *hangs up*

Granted, They Didn’t Know Who They Were Calling

, | Working | April 11, 2018

(I recently retired from a job with our county where my job duties included administering various government grants. The phone rings.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: *a young woman with a strong Indian accent* “Hello! I am calling from the Federal Government Grants Office. You have qualified today for an eight-thousand dollar government grant!”

(This is, of course, a variation on the Nigerian prince scam. In order to get the $8,000, you’ll be asked to provide financial details, including your bank information.)

Me: “Really? I didn’t apply for a grant.”

Caller: “Oh, no, ma’am, this is a perfectly free government grant you qualify for.”

Me: “How interesting! I used to be a grants administrator for the government. Can you tell me which agency—”

Caller: *click*

Next Caller Is From The Read Digest

, , , , | Working | April 5, 2018

(I’m having a pint when my phone rings. That’s unusual enough, and the caller ID says that it’s from Jamaica, of all places. Hmm, that’s not suspicious at all. The chances of this being a scam rise to 100% at the caller’s first badly-accented words, but I resist the urge to hang up for a moment.)

Scammer: “Hi. My name is Arthur Winters, and I am calling from the Publish Clearing House company.”

Me: “Can you say that name again?”

Scammer: “Yes. My name is Arthur Winters, and I am calling from the Publish Clearing House company.”

Me: “You mean the Publishers Clearing House.”

Scammer: “What?”

Me: “The company; it’s the Publishers Clearing House.”

Scammer: “Yes, I am from the Publish Clearing House.”

Me: “Yes, dear, but that’s not the name of that company. It’s okay. Come on. Say it with me—”

Scammer: *swears at himself and hangs up*

(Poor guy sounds like he’s going to have a tough time at this.)

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