It seems the spam or scam callers (Which is it?) are employing new, more tricky methods for trying to cheat us out of our money.
Lately it's been calls from local numbers to make it look like it's not just a random criminal from Teaneck, N.J. No, you think, "This might be someone I know. I better take it."
Instead, you pick it up to get that recorded female voice: "This is cardmember services. There is no problem but you should contact us right away..." Blah. Blah Blah.
Note that she never said she was calling about my Citibank card or my Discover card. Just "cardmember services."
Yeah, good job, folks.
An even more interesting version came in recently when the call came in that said "Withheld" or "Private" or something like that. While many people wouldn't take such calls, I deal with police officers often in this job, and some of their calls (understandably) come in with the same labels.
So I picked up.
The guy on the other end had a strong (I mean really strong) Indian accent. He told me his name was Bill. (Sure it was.)
The rest of the call went as follows:
"Bill": I am calling about the problems with your computer service.
Jared: What was that?
"Bill": I am calling about problems with your computer service.
Jared: I really don't understand what you mean.
"Bill": (Sigh, then slowly) I am calling about problems with your computer service.
(At this point, he was clearly getting upset. I had been genuinely confused early on, but at this point I figured I'd ask once more, just to get him a little more flustered.)
Jared: I'm sorry but I'm really not sure what your talking about. And you're kind of hard to understand.
"Bill": (Longer, more exasperated sigh) Your computer service.
Jared: What kind of computer service.
"Bill": Your Microsoft Windows computer service.
(Our boy "Bill" had now made his misstep so I made my move.)
Jared: Microsoft Windows you say? That's interesting because at home and at work, I use nothing but Macs so I don't have Microsoft Windows on anything. You know what I think this is? I think this is one of these bull***t scam calls and...
"Bill": (Interjecting) YOU ARE THE BULL***T!!!
Interesting use of that curse word, I must say. I've been called a lot of things. I've even been accused of being full of that particular sort of animal waste.
But I've never been accused of actually being the manure of male cattle.
I've always been told not to engage with these people. Just hang up. Perhaps block the number.
But I just couldn't resist this time and I have to say the results were totally worth it.
I guess the takeaway is that when you get these scam calls, be smart. It's usually quickly obvious what's going on. Once you've figured it out, do what you're comfortable with.
Hanging up immediately is probably the wise move.
But if you hear from "Bill" (or "Steve" or "Dave" or whatever other boringly Anglo name they drive to fool you with) make sure you really mess with him in the process. The results can be hilarious.