The “Feds” Wanted To Give Me $9,000!

Late this afternoon my landline phone rang. A woman announced that I was eligible to receive $9,000 from the U.S. Treasury.

I didn’t respond, immediately, because my gut told me she was a fake Fed. To get real here… since when would Uncle Sam ever cough up even one red cent… let alone $9,000?

Well, I could not help but hear the distant voices of the dozens of other operators crammed into their “boiler room” and just knowing that some of them were succeeding got me to weighing the pros and cons of my playing mind games with this woman.

You see… by my way of thinking… every minute of hers I could waste would be one minute less that she’d have to phone other (regrettably gullible) folks. The lure of easy money can and does tend to cloud over common sense.

Now, getting back to the conversation with my scammer… she asked if I was still there and if I could hear her. I then asked her to repeat what she had said. She did so and then asked if I was interested in receiving this money?

I told her that the U.S. Treasury should keep the $9000 and suggested they use it towards paying off the $19 Trillion U.S. debt. At that point, she hung up on me.

Going online, afterwards, my Google search filled in the rest of this blatant scam’s particulars… how they trick folks into divulging their bank account / credit card numbers as well as other sensitive personal info. Oh, and here’s the real kicker… they also expect all who they sucker in to buy them $200 gift cards.

Well, it turns out my decision not to antagonize her was wise. That Google search also reported how some potential victims… when they tell these scammers that they are on to them… well… that’s when things get downright ugly / scary. You see, these crooks can and do go nuts… oft yelling and uttering threats, such as…

“We know who you are and where you live and I’d be careful if I were you.”

Needless to say, it’s usually best not to engage them in any war of the words. The way I had handled this matter proved to be appropriate… I did emphatically say “NO” and proved I wasn’t a sucker… all this accomplished without excessively pissing her off.

But what really pissed me off was that my phone would not immediately disconnect from their phone system… I could not get a dial tone back for about three minutes. Which made me wonder…

What if someone else they had tried to scam, at that crucial moment, had desperately needed to call 911. Those three minutes could be the difference between life and death.

Rachel, Bridgette & Carmen

In the beginning… the phone caller, Rachel, had seemed innocuous enough… her robo-message first offering a lower credit card interest rate and, next, presenting the options of pressing #1 to talk to a live operator OR pressing #3 to be removed from her calling list.

Since I generally do my damnedest not to carry a credit card balance, I knew I’d not likely qualify for that rate reduction. So… logically… I pressed the #3.

Silly me! I had naïvely taken at face value that businesses believe that time is money… i.e., they don’t want to waste time dealing with folks who don’t want to do biz with them. One of the biggest mistakes I had every made in my life! Unbeknownst to me…

I had just signed the death warrant to my peace of mind.

You see, the way this all works is pressing #3 will NEVER remove anyone’s phone number from their list… it merely confirms that they’ve reached someone who they can hound to death… till death do us part!

I’ve even tried pressing the #1 to calmly explain to these live, brain-dead, scammer operators that I have no balance… to plead with them to delete my phone number from their list.

Most of them just hang up. However… there was this one operator who, amidst her wicked laughter, snottily assured me that I’d now be getting even more calls! And, while it is her biz to scam and lie… in this one and only case… she was not lying…

They’ve now stepped up their barrage to the point where I am getting up to three calls per day, every business day and sometimes even on Saturdays. By my calculation that amounts to approximately 500 times per annum… all of this needlessly, pointlessly wearing out both my nerves and answering machine.

Of course, Rachel has been retired for sometime now… BUT… her “sisters” Bridgette and Carmen have both been all gung-ho about filling in her robo-shoes.

Which all begs the questions…

1. WHY are they doing this to hundreds of thousands of us who will never do biz with them?

2. WHAT part of our collective, monosyllabic, two letter word, NO, do they not understand?

3. HOW could our hanging up hundreds of times per year NOT clue them in that it’s time to stop calling?

4. HOW can they ever expect to do biz with anyone who loathes them? I cannot speak for all… but I never patronize any establishment which flat-out disrespects me.

5. WHAT the hell else could possibly be in it for them… other than their being sadists who get off on inflicting psychological torture?

Folks, I used to work in the service industry. I had met customers on a daily basis for three decades. In all that time, no superior of mine (and I’ve had many) had ever needed to explain to me that no one can ever successfully force customers into buying.

And even if a salesperson, somehow, ever did manage to force the sale, there’s always a high price tag attached. Eventually, customers will resent you to the point of either returning ISO a refund or never coming back to buy from you again.

Getting back to the here and now… since directly dealing with these robocallers has not stopped their harassing calls…

I’ve taken the following steps…

I’ve confirmed that I am still up to date on the U.S. Government Do Not Call Registry. Of course, that is meaningless to any robocaller, who is barely operating within the law in the first place.

I’ve complained to my phone company. They’ve tried some call blocking technology… all to no avail.

My phone service provider has offered to change my phone number… but I’ve opted out. I asked them how that could even work when these callers have automated tech that, in a short time, can dial every possible permutation of the 0 – 9 digits? I mean… sooner or later Rachel, Bridgette and Carmen would find me all over again.

I’ve considered cutting the cord on my landline and sticking with my cell… but even get these calls on that device. Furthermore, cell service is not as reliable. I think back to the summer of 2003 when the power-grid crashed blacking out most of the eastern U.S.… and that, of course, had taken out the cell towers, too.

I tried passive resistance by shutting down my answering machine and not picking up my phone… for over one month. At first the phone would ring a dozen or more times, each call. Well… eventually… my phone’s ringer and I did get some much-needed relief and rest.

But… I had no sooner concluded that they had given up on me… no sooner declared victory re my own private war against these telephonic terrorists when… within the very first hour after reengaging my answering machine… the very first recorded message was from them.

Folks, I’ve reached the point of frustration and desperation…

…going so far as to, in one instance, pressing the #1 to swear at the scammer! And guess what? That bastard gleefully stayed afloat in my “sea of blue”.

And so… Bridgette and Carmen continue to “feel” their relentless, fatal attraction to me. These days… I don’t even say “hello” anymore when I pick up my phone’s handset. As soon as I hear one of their names… I hang up.

To get real, here, about the only things about that damned landline (which are still mine) are the monthly bills… which means I am actually paying for my own torture…

And that… folks… has thoroughly nasty ring to it.