I first wrote this as a reply to a blog post (https://laurierking.com/2020/07/the-case-of-laurie-and-the-monegasque-prince/) by writer Laurie R. King, New York Times bestselling author of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books and many others. It was such fun to write that I decided to brush it up and re-post it here. My event is a bit dated now , but hers just happened, so don’t think they aren’t still out there!
Please be sure to follow the link to her blog to get the full flavor of the high-jinks!
Dear Laurie R. King,
I’ve never had the opportunity to correspond with a scammer via email, but I once spoke to a scammer on the phone. They managed to freeze up my computer and fill the screen with an appallingly scary message and an emergency number to call (purporting to be Microsoft, I think, but it was years ago).
I was freaked out, so I called — what’s the harm, right? The “technician” wanted me to pay them $3000 (via credit card number) to figure out what was wrong with my computer and “fix” it. I hung up, re-booted the computer and it was fine.
A day or so later I got a phone call from “the IRS” saying that my audit showed problems, but if I paid a portion of what was owed (via credit card number), I would not be arrested for tax fraud.
I played dumb and was able to string him along for a good hour. Finally I asked him what part of Ethiopia (I picked that out of the air) he was from. That’s when the accent really started coming out – he was not Ethiopian! He was furious! He wouldn’t tell me where he was from, though, no matter how nicely I asked.
Finally I couldn’t keep from laughing, and he screamed at me that the sheriff (which soon turned into an FBI agent) was on his way to my door so I’d better either pay up or run! I kept saying, “Well, they aren’t here yet — what’s keeping them? Are you sure they’re not coming for you?” It quickly degenerated into him screeching into my ear about how disgusting American women are and how dare I threaten him. The harder I laughed, the madder he got.
They are trained to stay on the line as long as they can keep you talking, but finally he couldn’t take any more and hung up.
It was a great story to tell over drinks.
BTW, I changed my number!
Sincerely, Eugenia Parrish
Have you had to deal with anything like this? I’d love to hear your story.
4 thoughts on “A Scam in Two Acts”
Thank you! I hope to *see* you again soon. Right now I’m traveling and don’t have the time to participate in Friday Fictioneers, even to read the other folks!
I’m getting a lot of calls from robots lately, mostly with American accents. Some are “Microsoft” telling me my computer has been hacked, some are from “BT” telling me my broadband has been hacked (in an American accent?) and some are from A-ma-zon telling me payment for my Prime account is about to be taken.
There are real voices too, but most of those I can’t understand anyway because their (not American) accents are too heavy.
We had the bank scams last year telling us large sums have been taken from the account. They were sometimes in UK accents, but by then we were keeping an eye on our account so we knew it was rubbish and they eventually gave up. Look out for the email scams too – some of these look very convincing with the brand’s livery at the top. The email addreses are usually suspect though. I never log in to anything by clicking on a link from an email – jut to be on the safe side. In fact, I’m surprised that genuine web sites purporting to care about your online safety (like banks) still offer in-message links.
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I know what you mean! I’m completely paranoid about email. If it peaks my interest at all, I might jot down the address and check it on my protected browser, but even that’s rare. Thank you so much for your thoughts.
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