Today, there was an Indian gentleman from the local police on the line saying he’d called about a federal complaint filed against me.
I laughed and hung up.
Before you think I over-reacted and am now writing this blog from the comfort of my own federal prison cell, I’ve had these calls before. Every couple of months I get a whole spate of them. There are probably some very nice Indian police officers in the U.S. and maybe even some on my local police force, but they don’t usually make threatening telephone calls for the Feds.
These are calls from my friendly neighborhood scammers. The calls started about a year ago with my friends impersonating U.S. Immigration and then they got promoted to the IRS, now it seems that the local police department is home.
These guys are nothing if not persistent and clever (and here), even when you call them out on the blatant procedural errors – the IRS has no power to deport my husband, who admittedly is an alien with a not-so-green card (it’s actually beige).
I never get to the end of the conversation to find out what they want – I assume they’re after something green (not beige), but they start by playing the irrational fear card. I say “irrational”, but these guys are pretty good at making it seem rational. I could see the fear tactic working on generally law-abiding citizens who don’t usually pay that much attention to how government agencies do business – and haven’t honed their cynicism to a point. The fear kicks in and common sense runs away and hides behind the sofa.
For a while I was angry at my scammers and argued, then I tried to get off the call list, now I just laugh and hang up. You’d think my scammers would figure out that I’m onto them and not waste their time, but maybe they think I’ll get lonely if they don’t call. The most depressing thought: if this wasn’t a lucrative business, my scammers would find something else to do with their time – maybe run political campaigns.
I should mention at this point that I regularly update our number on the Do-Not-Call list, but once it’s out there… I’m thinking of resurrecting some of the more popular forms of medieval torture if I ever figure out which company broadcast my phone number.
There should be a law against this type of thing – and there probably is – but I can’t seem to find much evidence that scammers like mine having been sought, caught and prosecuted. The IRS is really slipping since they brought down Capone.
I know the curriculum is pretty packed in our public schools, but Avoiding Scams 101 should be mandatory (sample syllabus).
Now, every time I reach for the phone, I put one hand on my wallet. I’m not paranoid if everyone really is out to take my money.
I’m Jae and this is a message from the IRS telling you to send me all of your money.