Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 30 2009

A ballsy call

I got a call the other day. The woman on the line said that she was from the Xindian police department, and that my home number had been connected to a cellphone that was involved in a phone scam. They wanted me to go down to Taichung to “clear up the issue.”

“Uh, I have to go to work,” I said. Of course, I suspected that this was in itself a scam. I’d gotten scam calls before, but they were crude, obvious attempts (“We’ve got your friend and/or possible relative and are going hurt them if you don’t pay!” “Which friend and/or relative?” “Uh, your….[sound of papers shuffling] great-nephew…?” “What’s their NAME?” “JUST PAY US, DAMMIT!!”), but the pure, unadulterated balls it takes to pull off a phone scam by pretending to be the police investigating a phone scam intrigued me. They were very professional.

The woman said she understood my situation, and then “transferred” me to the Taichung Police Bureau, or so she said. There, another woman, supposedly the desk officer, told me that it was the last day before the case had to be closed, and it was vital that I come down to the station. I’d have thought that using men to impersonate police officers would have been a better tactic, but the women did a passable job. There was a great deal of business sounds in the background, probably other calls.

I repeated my answer that I had to go to work and couldn’t make it. The “desk officer” said that things could “get ugly down the road” if I didn’t come. It seems that the banks have caught on to the scammers’ games and thus making wire tranfers doesn’t work as well as it used to, so they need to actually get the victim to a suitable location to actually get the money out of an ATM for them. At this point, I thought I detected a hint of desperation there, but she remained fairly official sounding. “I’ll have my agent get in touch with you, ok?” I told her.

“Oh, no,” she said, and the pretense of officialdom slipped badly. “You can’t tell anyone, especially family or friends. It’s against the law. You’d be put in jail for two or three years if you told anyone anything about the case.”

Oh, well, I thought. It had been fun for a while, but, ah…no. “You were doing so well!” I told her. “I really liked the premise -very ballsy- and most of the execution, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to dock some points for that last bit. Anyway, thanks for playing!”

And I hung up. I figure they’ll call again, and I’m kind of curious as to what they’ll do if I only speak to them in English…guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

posted by Poagao at 1:13 pm  

2 Comments

  1. sounds like a fun call! whenever there is an unlisted number, or one that i isn’t in my phone book already, i answer and only speak in English. if someone hangs up immediately, it’s a scammer.

    Comment by MJ Klein — December 30, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  2. Hahaha. We got this one before too, tellling us that the $500,000 we have in Huanan Bank (don’t i wish) had been stolen and we best get up to Taipei to settle the issue. They transferred my wife and we could hear in the background a group of young women reading off the same script. Eventually we just hung up.

    It’s actually dangerous to fuck with them. They sent a gangster to my aunt’s house once, posing as a postman, after she refused to fall for the scam on the phone. Scary.

    Comment by Michael Turton — January 7, 2010 @ 8:12 am

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