Friday, October 7, 2011

Mistaken Identities

A bit of a lighter post this time around, folks.

Am I an heiress?
A few weeks ago, I was intrigued to find a letter had arrived for me in the mail from Spain, of all places.  I tore open the envelope and was disappointed to find that it was just a would-be scam.  It was the old "I'm a lawyer and I'm trying to track down the closest living relative to someone with your last name so that I can give that person a large inheritance for a small administration fee" scam.  I think it even said something about a locked treasure box.

A damsel in computer distress?
A couple of days after that, I got an early morning phone call from another scammer.  I had just heard about the scam the day before, so I knew right away what it was all about.  Somebody calls, pretending to be from a computer repair company, and says that your computer has contracted a virus or malware.  Here's my recollection of the phone call:
Me: Hello?
Scammer: Hello Mam!  This is Window Repair Company calling because there is a problem with your computer! [Excuse the excessive exclamation marks, but everything he said was exclaimed!  Bam!]
Me: Really?  Oh dear.
Scammer:  Yes, Mam!  Can you please go turn your computer on?!
Me: Of course.  Would you like me to turn on the remote assistance and give you access to my computer?  Would you like to access my credit cards and bank account to in the interest of saving some time?
He was talking at the same time, so I don't think he heard that part.
Scammer: Can you please turn on your remote assistance so that I can fix the problem with Windows?
Me:  I don't have Windows.
Scammer: What?  You don't have Windows?
Me: No.  Where are you calling from?
Scammer: Toronto, Canada.
Me: Okay.  First of all, do you know what time it is here?
Scammer: No.
Me:  It's 7:00 in the morning.  It's pretty early to be calling.  Second of all, I know this is a scam, so don't ever call this number again.
Scammer:  I will call you every single day!
Me:  Excuse me?  You will call me every single day?
Scammer:  Yes, Mam!  You think that every company is a scam?  This is not a scam!  This is very serious!  Your computer has a serious problem with malware and viruses!
Me: Can I speak to your supervisor?
Scammer: I don't have a supervisor!
Me: Well, if this really is a computer problem, I should get somebody else in the house who knows more about computers to call you back.  Can I have your phone number?
Scammer: There is no phone number here.
Me: No phone number?  How are you calling me?
Long pause
Scammer: Are you still there?
Me: Yes, I'm waiting for that phone number
Scammer gives me a Toronto phone number which I'm sure is just a stolen cell phone number.
Me: Well thank you for calling then.  Bye bye.

I sincerely hope that I brought some annoyance to his day.  At least I wasted some of his time which hopefully prevented some poor person from being suckered into losing $150.  I saw a blurb on the news the other day about this scam making its way through our city, and numerous people have turned on the remote assistance to the caller only to be extorted into paying $150 to have their perfectly functioning computer turned back on.

Am I a juror?
A few days after that, I got another letter in the mail.  When I opened it, I was wishing it was a case of mistaken identity, as it was a summons for jury duty.  Thankfully, I was excused the day after pleading my case: breastfeeding an infant, waiting in pain for gallbladder surgery, in the middle of moving, and not actually even living in that city most of the time anymore.  Phew.

A mushroom famer?
I switched to a new phone number last month when we moved out here so that we aren't paying long distance charges when we live here.  Every time I forget to turn my phone off when I go to bed, I get phone calls in the middle of the night from people who sound just as out of it as I do when I answer it.  I kept wondering who had this number before I did to get phone calls from people all through the night.  Last night, I received a text message saying " still deliver?"  And another one a few minutes later: "Hey person's name!  I'm a friend of name and name from place.  Any chance you have a quarter of shrooms?"  All those late night phone calls suddenly make sense.  Great.  Whoever had this number before me was clearly a supplier of non-culinary mushrooms.  Probably more than that.  I might be in the market for another phone number soon!

1 comment:

  1. Is your life ever dull?

    Sorry to hear about your cousin. It grieves me to hear about your loss and the loss of his family...especially before their time.


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