Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Favorite Scammer Ever

I was sitting here watching The Price is Right minding my own business, when the phone rang. I have caller ID, so it was obvious that the call was either a telemarketer, or something equally exciting. I couldn't answer the phone quickly enough.

When I did, I heard someone with an accent, and lots of talking in the background. It was a call from a boiler room.


Everyone knows I love a good telemarketer call, and this one had all the promise to be a great one. Read on for what may have been the greatest telemarketer scammer call I ever received. I only wish I had recorded it as it was so good, I hope I don't forget any of the nuances.

It started, as all good calls do, with the scammer asking for the Crotchety Old Lady. Actually, he asked for Frances, which is her name. This confuses most telemarketers as her name could be man or woman. Well, except for the fact FrancEs is traditionally the spelling for a woman, while FrancIs is usually a man. Ok, I can fogive that most aren't aware of that, so it's all good.

I told him she wasn't here. He then went on to tell me he was from the FTC, and I had been scammed. He gave me the name of the company that scammed me (or Frances, it didn't seem to matter to him.) And because he was from the FTC, he was going to replace all the money that was scammed, plus give me $25,000 insurance to be sure it wasn't going to happen again.

Woohoo! My government at work.

And, the best part is, I didn't need to send him any money. Nope, just give him my checking account number, and he would forward the money Frances was scammed. Oh wait, you're not Frances? No problem. We'll send the money you were scammed, because it turned out both you and Frances were each scammed out of $2,000 in 2002 by eVoice.

Good thing he called. Let me give you a bit of the dialog that followed between me and SG (Scammer Guy) after he asked for my checking or savings account so he could forward me all the money that had been scammed from me.

Me: But I don't have a checking account or savings account. Can you just send a check?

SG: No, the US Government doesn't send checks. They don't trust the mail. Anyone could just steal my check and cash it. (Nice to know the Fed doesn't trust the Postal Service or the banking industry)

Me: Ok, just give me your phone number and I'll call you back.

SG: No, there is no way for you to call me directly.

Me: The US Government doesn't have a phone number?

SG: I'm not from the government.

Me: But you told me you were from the Federal Trade Commission.

SG: Well, yes, but not the regular government.

Me: Oh. Ok, then just send me the check.

SG: Can you go and open a checking account so we can send you the money?

Me: No, I can't leave the house. It would be so much easier to just send me a check.

SG: Ok, let me check your information. Your name is Frances?

Me: No, I told you 10 minutes ago it wasn't.

SG: So, what is your name?

Me: Joe Ungatz. (this is my official fake name)

SG: Can you spell that.

Me: Of course I can.

SG: So, will you please.

Me: Sure. U-N-G-A-T-Z

SG: And your address is (he had my real address. This was a well prepared scammer)

Me: Great, so you can send me the check.

SG: No, direct deposit only.

Me: But I don't have an account.

SG: Ok, I'll have to call you tomorrow.

I am so looking forward to his call today. I'm trying to think of goofy stuff to ask him. Any suggestions will be considered.


tahtimbo said...

Contact the bank and let them know, maybe they can set-up a false account and catch this swine. Good luck and have fun:)

Da Old Man said...

@ Tahtimbo: That's a good idea. Maybe I should call the bank in case they call back.

A New Yorker said...

You have way too much time on your hands. You need to get out of the house. LOL

Kirsten said...

You can't outsmart me Joe!! I AM calling you back tomorrow!

Unknown said...

Curses! Kirsten foiled me again.

Mr. Condescending said...

He's probably calling from a trailer somewhere

Chelle Blögger said...

When he calls back, tell him you are actually part of an FBI sting operation, Frances is your undercover name, and the calls have been traced.

Then tell him that he can expect to share a cell with a large homosexual nymphomaniac named Bubba. :)

Autoseller Network said...

I feel your blog really useful and inspiring me. Thank you.

Deb said...

Whoa! You have inspired Autoseller Network, the commenter above me? Are you a telemarketer magnet, or what?

I rarely answer the phone for numbers not familiar (thank you caller ID) but if I happen to get lucky enough to get a telemarketer, I just put the phone down and continue doing whatever it was before they called while listening to them yell 'HELLO?' repeatedly. Then they try to hang up but the connection won't break. More of 'HELLO!!' It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Vince said...

Haha! Why don't I get calls from telemarketers? It's unfair, I don't get to have fun with them like you do. Haha. Oh well, good luck! Have fun!

Unknown said...

I've done what Deb describes. Such fun. Tahtimbo and The Offended Blogger have good suggestions.

Author said...

You can look them up further and post a complaint on You should post the phone number they're calling from on your blog also.

Michelle said...

I would totally invite TM over for lunch so you could discuss all this in person! Have Old lady prepare some nice tuna salad sandwiches with chips.

Nooter said...

you should break into some variant of the 'daves not here' routine, like:
caller- this is the ftc calling
you- ftc?
caller- yeah, the ftc
you- im not with the ftc youve reached a wrong number
caller- no, im the ftc...


when they call and ask for frances, you go into a rant about how frances hasnt been there for days and how you never know where she is and that now youre thinking of kicking her out, etc. etc. try to get the caller to participate in the dialog

ReformingGeek said...

Good job, Joe. Sounds like you had some fun.

My husband's first name is Lindsey and the girl's version is supposed to Lindsay. He gave up and goes by his second name.

Shawn said...

Hilarious. The U.S. Government doesn't send checks. I guess people waiting on their tax refunds are going to be disappointed this year.

Unknown said...

Lucky for you you are smarter than the average Joe. What a fun way to mess with SG. Too bad for the unaverage Joe , they might not be so well informed.

Too bad you didn't write down the number.. you could have reported it to the real FTC

Joel Klebanoff said...

You have all the luck. Why can't I get calls like that? There's so little good entertainment around these day.

All I get are calls wanting me to switch phone companies or telling me I've won a free vacation to a timeshare sales pitch (an offer that is, for some reason, usually withdrawn when they learn I'm single.) Those calls aren't nearly as entertaining as yours.

Donnie said...

Are you sure that's not the government? Sounds just like another money grubbing scheme they would cook up to me. I think I'd trust the scammer before the gov't. As if there's a difference.

Anonymous said...

If he calls back, tell him you spoke to Frances, she had already had a call from FTC and had provided her details to another caller.

You checked your account this morning to find FTC had overpaid you by $25,000! Ask the scammer for his bank details so you can pay it back.

Sandee said...

Bwahahahahaha. I love it. Playing with a scammer is such fun. Very well done.

Have a terrific day. :)

Moooooog35 said...

Wait...should I NOT have opened that account for him?


Unknown said...

oh brother.

Da Old Man said...

@ Lauren: But then I'd miss scammer calls.

@ Kirsten: Bring your A game. I'm ready

@ FishHawk: You're welcome to try.

@ Mr Condescending: More like a boiler room. Or a big room with a phone bank, and lots of his slimy friends

@ Offended: I like it.

@ Autoseller: You're welcome

@ Deb: I have caller ID and get excited when it's a telemarketer. I have no life

@ Vince: I wish I got even more calls. I love telemarketers.

@ Sherry: Problem is, they usually use a system where they either initiate or go through a foreign country. Makes it impossible to prosecute.

@ Call Catalog: The number shows up on caller ID as "O"

@ Michelle: Tuna and chips sound pretty good.

@ Nooter: I like that. I really need a device to start taping my calls. Most are pretty good, and those ideas could really bring them up a notch.

@ Reforming: It really is fun to mess with them. My favorite part is they just ignore whatever I tell them, like that they are talking to the wrong person, or something similar. And I do have one rule, I only mess with them after I tell them "no" once because I know some of them are legitimate folks trying to earn a living.

@ Shawn: Yup

@ Dizz: It come as "O" not a phone number. Don't know how they do that.

@ Joel: I had so much fun, I almost feel guilty. Maybe I should have let him scam me. He earned it.

@ Don: Well, once he told me he was with the "other government" I kind of figured out he was scamming me. Our government scams us and is damn proud of it.

@ Tiggy: I love it!

@ Sandee: Thanks. It is fun to tease scammers.

@ Moooooog: Now you are in deep trouble. Just forward all the information to me, and I'll sort it out for you.

@ Stacie: It made for an interesting day, though.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a bunch of great ideas. First I am appropriating the name "Ungatz", tho if the scammer is local they're gonna understand. And putting the phone down without hanging up? Brilliant...Not only is your blog full of useful information but your commentators are so clever too.

Jen said...

I like Chelle's idea. Sting him. I have caller ID and usually just let them ring through but lately the daughter has been answering the phone and that is almost as much fun as what you did. Of course I have told her to tell them that no one is home, she has been left with the stove on and the doors wide open. One telemarketer scolded her causing her to thrust the phone at me. I got the bonus enjoyment of telling the telemarketer off for scolding my daughter and because I had asked only days before that I was not interested in what she was selling and had asked to be removed from the list.

brokenteepee said...

Hey, my publicist lives in a trailer. Her male person is builder her house. He promised her it would be built in a year. It is now going into the third year. She knew this....

But back to the scammer. Heh heh. I think you should call your bank and try and catch them. Call the police too before they do get some unsuspecting poor fool to go along.

Me-Me King said...

When the TM calls back, let him know you have opened an account and the bank is ready to accept the transfer. Then, tell him he is to call Frank Gannon, your personal banker, and he will provide him with the transfer details. Of course, the number you give him is the non-emergency number for your local police department. Good luck!

Winky Twinky said...

Sounds like you had a blast!! I particularly like Deb and Nooter's ideas....

Da Old Man said...

@ Grace: That is my favorite alias name. Few know what it means outside of this area.

@ Jen: That is a nice twist.

@ Pricilla: The bank is notifying all its customers. Not a lot more that can be done.

@ Me-Me: I think I'll give him Fran's number, and it will be the local police. I like that idea.

@ Winky: Lots of good ideas.

Chris said...

SEE! Boredom is a choice, like I've always said. If you can turn a telemarketing call or a scam into fifteen minutes of entertainment, you are my kind of whacko.

Sandee said...

I took off the 'no ads' icon. Hope it shows up for you now. :)

Da Old Man said...

@ Chris: Thanks.

@ Sandee: That fixed it.

Unknown said...

that is awesome. i can't wait to hear how the next call goes!'ve been tagged!

nonamedufus said...

You know in Canada we have a "No Call Registry". The idea is to sign up with this government department to prevent telemarketing calls. One thing: in making their lists public, every off-shore telemarketer in the world now has their own "do call" list and they can't be prosecuted because they operate outside of Canada's jurisdictions...sigh, government!

Julia D said...

brilliant. simply brilliant.

Mrs Sweetwater said...

Joe have you tried the reverse 419 on them yet ?

when you answer the phone, immediately cut in to their speel loudly with "What's Your Name ?"

then when they tell you their name.

Ask for Their Phone number to verify that it is them who is indeed calling. by this time they will be struggling to think.

then when they start to dawdle and make any comments, immediately again cut in with -

" Hey I'm Asking The Questions Here, Not You"

this is guaranteed to throw them off balance for you to tip them over the edge.

now you say, while they are not sure what to say..

"When will you be sending Your Payment ? I said When Will You Be Sending The Payment, Make sure end the sentence with whatever their name is to let them know you are talking to THEM.

then say it once again only a little louder with more authority in your voice

"When Will You BE Sending THAT Payment I Said Joe (whatever their name is instead of joe)? "

this will press that final button with them confusing them to no end.

next you tell them that they have called the Western Collections Division for National bank of America; and that the Bank has been trying to reach them; and that since your phone system located them; and you have them on the phone, you want to know when they'll be sending that Overdue Payment ?

and also ask for an immediate payment form such as a Credit Card Number; don't ask for a bank acct no.

this will push them into the depths of confusion and probably make them hang up with total confusion; thinking this job is not worth this.

trust me it works.
I learned it from a master.

I also enjoy getting those unknown caller calls.

I answer the phone
"You Can't Fuck with the Un-Dead"
and then slam the phone down.

it makes folks crazy because if they call back, the second time they are calling back to see if you'll do it again - so oblige them with the same version.

if they call a third time, then you use an accent to say the same thing. it sounds particularly frightening in Patois for some reason. LOL.

oh the joys of telephoning for comedy.

Da Old Man said...

@ PJ: Thanks I'll be by in a while.

@ Nonamed: I signed up for it, and am pretty sure that is what I'm getting, overseas calls.

@ Julia: Thanks

@ RE: Some good ideas. I need to implement them next time I get a call.

Isolated Existence. said...

LOl, I would've loved to hear it. I agree with Chris ;-)

Skip said...

Part 2 of this saga has been at the edge of my seat.

Bunk Strutts said...

How about offering the scammer a job?
Tell him you need to hire a staff assistant asap as your last one just quit. Tell him it pays $67.50 per hour, full time. Then collect HIS personal information to turn over to the police.

CastoCreations said...

Actually, I think you should also call the police. It is a crime and sadly there will be someone who falls for it (and even more sadly it is often someone elderly).

I love that you mess with telemarketers! :)

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