We've all had the emails. This evening was, I admit, The first time I got the Phone Call. Very American accented young lady. Fortunately my highly tuned sense of paranoia kicked in, perhaps aided by the fact that they quoted my using an email address not used in over ten years, and I simply put the young lady on hold for several minutes while pouring myself a small drop of a certain Scottish libation. After a couple of minutes I asked her to hold while I considered the situation.
How did these scammers get my phone number?
The thing is, my phone number is unlisted, and I am certain I have never, ever typed it into any web form. Ever. Trust me on this. I treat all forms with the abuse, hostility and contempt they deserve (thanks to a old boss I had, John Merry, who taught me The Fine Art of Form Contempt.)
A fairly obvious advance-fee fraud. But how many people would fall for it? A few weeks ago, an acquaintance called me, filled with jubilation: He had Won The Lottery! An email said so!
I sadly had to puncture his bubble, and enlightened him as to how these things work. This is a man who worked in the IT industry as a senior manager for many years. He is far from a fool; indeed he is a highly talented and intelligent individual. But he fell for the scam and was about to (snail-)mail them a cheque! I can only shudder at the thought of the outcome if they had called my Dear Old Dad with the same line of bullshit.
After about ten minutes of playing silly-buggers with the caller - mainly to cost them money - I asked the lady where they had obtained my phone number.
*click* (The sound of the phone being put down.)
A couple of minutes later, the phone goes again. This time a (very American accented) man, with the same line of bullshit. "You filled in a form on the computer. The Com-Pu-Ter!" (Like we Africans have never seen a computer before.) "Using the
I repeated my question: "Where did you get this phone numer?"
"Off the Web Form you filled in."
"No. Really, where did you get this unlisted phone number never before typed into a web form in any shape manner or form?"
The only company who have somehow managed to get my unlisted phone number into a database somewhere were Standard Chartered Bank, with their spam phone calls. Perhaps they're exacting a revenge now for all the pain I caused them over that.
The Unterste Schurrer (Non-Yiddish Readers: "The Bottom Line")
Who the fuck would want to holiday in Florida, anyway?