Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Summer of Robo Calls

I have been receiving a dizzying array of robo calls in the last week.  Until these calls came in I did not know that I had delinquent student loan debt (I don’t), my credit card had been compromised (it wasn’t), my social security number had been stolen (it wasn’t) and someone from the IRS needed to talk to me (they didn’t).  On top of that I had been receiving credit card offers, bogus charity requests and odd calls from a woman’s obviously recorded voice that just kept saying “Hello?  Hello?”.  I had reached my breaking point.

Today I received a call from an 877 number with a computerized voice which intoned that my social security had been compromised and only by pressing one and speaking to the government advisors could I possibly save my lifetime’s savings.  Naturally, I pressed “one”.  

In my experience, anytime you connect with these phone scams, they are inevitably answered by someone with a Pakistani/Indian accent.  They must be the #1 industry of New Delhi.  Sadly, I am not well versed enough in the regional dialects of that part of Asia to really zero in on the likely geographical source of the scam.  I do appreciate that someone that sounds like they are doing a terrible impression of Apu from The Simpsons answers the phone and says in a herky jerk accent without any trace of self consciousness, “Hello!  This is social security office.  I am Brad.  Please have your social security number?”

This is a key time in the call.  I am a firm believer in using the opening as a way to turn the tables.  I like to create a surrealistic world where up is down and down is up.  Everything they thought they knew is wrong.  Right out of the gate I went with this:  “Hello, my name is Mr. Walsh and I am glad to be speaking with you.  I believe your social security number has been compromised.  May I please have your name, bank account number and PIN numbers?” 

No!  I called you about your social security number!  “Sir?  I hate to correct you, but I called you.  I am certainly happy I did because I believe your account has been greatly compromised.  May I have your home address?”  Ahh… Ahh.. It’s Houston.  “Sir…. I am going to need more information than that.  Perhaps you do not understand the situation you are in.  I just thank that Lord I was able to reach you.  Now…. Your street please?  “2345 Dilliard Street”. 

I thought it was interesting he made up Dillard Street.  I could barely understand him past the accent.  He might have said “Dylan Street”, in which case we could have discussed the regrettable mid 1980s records of Bob Dylan.  However, I pressed on.  “Your zip code sir!  Your zip code?”  67231.  “Sir, that is not Houston’s zip code.  Is this a matter of trust sir?  Please…. Give me your bank account and PIN numbers so I can earn your trust by performing a scan of your accounts to make sure that swarthy men in cheap shirts and rubber sandals haven’t tried to steal your life’s earnings…”. I am with the social security office.  I know my accounts have not been compromised!  “Brad!  Godammit, if we don’t take care of our own, who can we trust?  Give me the numbers Brad!”  Ahhh… Hold on… Talk to my brother…. “You work with your brother?  How wonderful!”

This is when they passed the phone to The Supervisor of The Worst Criminal Operation In India.  “Jess…. Jess… I am brother.”  Hot shit on a shingle son!  Do you realize what trouble your brother is in?  His social security number has been compromised!  Now I am going to need your entire family’s banking information… PIN numbers, account numbers, the whole bit.  Thank God I called you!”  This is when things turned…

You son of bitch!  You motherfucker son of bitch!  I take you money!  I take all you money!  We are social security!  Not you!  (This is when I went to an old favorite.  There is nothing better than suggesting a man from that part of the world has been confused with a woman.)  “Ma’am!  Ma’am…. I hate to disagree with you, but I called you, not the other way around…”. Ma’am?!?  Ma’am?!?  You dirty motherfucker! I am not ma’am!  “Ma’am!  I am not going to argue about your gender as you are clearly a woman.  I can tell from that very feminine voice, which I might add is quite melodious, and…”. YOU SON OF BITCH!  I KILL YOU!  I KILL YOU!  “Ma’am!  Ma’am!  Why are you turning this into a violent confrontation when I just called to help you?  Now if you can just be reasonable, I’m sure I can help.  You are a woman in distress, and…”.   I CALLED YOU MOTHERFUCKER!  I AM SOCIAL SECURITY!  NOT YOU!  “Ma’am… I hate to correct you, but it is I that called you.  I am the one clearly sitting in the social security office while you are likely doing your housework…” YOU FILTHY SON OF BITCH!  (CLICK)

Now, on the upside, I experienced a great deal of satisfaction tweaking that guy into a rage.  On the down side, I am now a target of extremists in rubber sandals making calls from a sweaty cinderblock building in an Asian hellhole.  I hope I don’t get blown up by a suicide bomber in an explosive vest because I called some dude halfway across the world “ma’am” that was trying to rip me off.  To me, it seems reasonable for him to expect that once a shift.  I miss the good old days when people from that part of the country went in on family hotels or convenience stores to rip off overfed Midwestern guys like me as opposed to telephone death threats, but the world is ever changing.  I suppose you have to change with it.  


At August 21, 2019 at 1:13:00 AM EDT , Blogger Unknown said...


At August 21, 2019 at 7:38:00 AM EDT , Blogger Cy Zibrik, MPA said...

So you’re saying I should have picked up the call that showed as coming from Romania?

At August 21, 2019 at 9:12:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Only if you wanted to get the very best credit card rate possible

At August 21, 2019 at 1:32:00 PM EDT , Blogger vfh159 said...

I find it to be my favorite sport these days and, like you, I know engaging only means more calls. Yet, so,so educational and fun-filled. I've learned that the local number on my caller ID is not a spoofed number but normal business practice and used by all businesses in these modern times.


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