Honesty Is A Very Expensive Gift, Don’t Expect It From Cheap People

Today my Dad answered a random phone call from a call centre when a young man proceeded to tell him that he was telephoning regarding a minor traffic accident that my Dad had allegedly been involved in. As his car has sat on the drive since last October when he had his first stroke, the young man had become flustered when my Dad interrogated him further and had abruptly hung up. The caller’s number had, of course, been withheld which prevented us from reporting the call to the authorities concerned.

My Dad is a savvy old chap and would enjoy speaking to anyone who would indulge an eccentric pensioner (particularly as he’s now fairly housebound)so most telephone canvassers regret calling our house on account of the fact that they won’t be meeting their sales targets on a day their automated switchboard dials our number.

However, you do have to ask yourself what kind of person deceives the most vulnerable in this callous way to obtain their financial information. What would make anyone want to earn their living misleading and defrauding someone of their life savings? Most people would be startled to receive such a call and in that anxious moment, may inadvertently provide personal details to the unknown caller. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had some crappy jobs, some of which I’ve absolutely loathed but at least I’ve not suffered from insomnia as a result of obtaining my salary through others’ misfortune.

As we live in a techno age where it is virtually impossible to catch the perpetrators, one has to ask how low can scammers sink. I’m guessing most of you will be able to tell me?

cold call

42 thoughts on “Honesty Is A Very Expensive Gift, Don’t Expect It From Cheap People

  1. There are so many of these around! I had a call from a man who said he was from a computer company and he tried getting quite verbally aggressive with me… he regretted that! but as you say you wonder how these scum can con less savvy people

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  2. Cold calling and the hard sell just get worse during economic downturns. There is nothing but shame involved for all companies who seek to profit from ill, older or just plain uninformed people. It’s hard to blame employees sometimes as they must be in dire circumstances to need such a job. If your Dad is bored, we can only hope his number comes at the top of the list always!

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  3. Of course, it is best when we can catch them… when the police can deal with them according to the law. But we may also take some consolation in the fact that these people have to lower their internal sensitivity to such a level, that they are barely capable of enjoying life. They get ‘life in prison’ as a result of their own choices…

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  4. What gets me is they don’t give up! Some of them even have the nerve to just keep calling after you’ve told them to bugger off. Don’t even get me started… btw… How are you Dallas? Good, I hope.

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  5. When we lived just south of Hollywood in an old stucco quadraplex apartment building, there was an old couple next door that we befriended. We were very close, and just before we moved to a house, I hadn’t heard from them and wanted to let them know. I found they were very angry with us, because, apparently someone had gotten my husband’s name from our trash and gotten their phone number and called them up and said it was “Dan” and he hated to ask but was stranded and needed $900. He got the cash, and a black man picked it up at his door. The man came, he gave them the money, and that was that. There was NOTHING, not even the fact that Dan’s father was well-off and still living, we could say, and we tried, to deter them from believing this voice on the phone with the shady story was not Dan. We never had any contact with them again.

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  6. I am ashamed to have to inform you that, over here across the pond in Canada, our current governing party (the non-progressive Conservatives) during the last federal election used robo-calls and call centres to lie to citizens. Their purpose was to target identified non-Conservative supporters with calls, purportedly from Elections Canada, telling the citizen that their polling station had been changed. Thus sending supporters of other parties on a wild goose chance, hoping they would give up in frustrating and not vote. So far, one single young man on a single Con campaign team has taken the fall. However, a large number of citizens in a large number of ridings reported receiving such calls, suggesting a wider elections policy on the part of the Conservative party. And now, the “HarperCons” government is proposing a bill which will curtail the investigative aspects of Elections Canada AND remove their responsibility for promoting good citizenry & voting behaviours. “Honesty Is A Very Expensive Gift, Don’t Expect It From Cheap People”, indeed!

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  7. There is a big news story currently in our area where the scam is to tell an elderly person they have just won a big lottery they simply need to first send along some ‘processing fees’. Unfortunately this is apparently far more successful for the thieves then you might expect. Despicable in my view.

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  8. I pretty much have the phone calls eliminated. I find them annoying, but admire folks like your dad who play with those nasties. Looks to me like you perhaps have some spam in a previous comment as well…. same message twice even!

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  9. Despicable!

    Of course, one way is to just put the receiver down on the table and walk away – to continue what you were doing before the telephone rang. They get fed up talking to themselves after a while and you can replace the receiver.

    Another idea is to blow a whistle loudly down the receiver – that seems to do the trick, too 🙂

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  10. My exs mum spent ages letting them run up their phone bill the other day letting them talk her through opening up various things on her computer and giving them lots of strings of numbers, this could be quite worrying except she is a complete technophobe and does not even own a computer, she just played dumb and every time they asked for a number she asked how many digits it should be then made one up, she carried on like that and pretended to be confused when they got frustrated because she hadn’t given a convincing bit of info. Finally the door opened and my ex walked in so she told them her son was home and as she was so confused they should talk to him, he was a policeman and it was his computer really, surprisingly the phone went dead very quickly

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  11. I have this same quote on my wall at work!!

    I never give these people the time of day.. When we were living in Toronto we had to have a house number because that’s what was linked to our buzzer, but all our family and friends knew to call our cell phone if they needed to reach us! Since I worked from home, I would hear the phone ringing through out the day! It’s so irritated and the fact these people get so angry when you tell them you are not interested in their product!

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  12. The best way to catch them is to play along; as though you plan to provide information. You can even ask for bank details to enable you remit payment (depending on what scam they have come with). You can even suggest meeting up physically for a business meeting, and just act and sound dumb and naïve. That way you eventually pass the info on to the police, or send the police or media to meet-up with them. So many scammers have been caught that way. Really horrible what they do to senior citizens especially, conning them of pension and life savings.

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  13. My mom taught me early on to never provide personal information over the phone–social security number, bank account number, routing number, credit card number etc.

    We are on a Do Not Call list which reduces the number of telemarketers/scam calls, but we are always getting calls from non-profit organizations/universities we attended looking for donations (I don’t think universities do this in other countries, I think it’s a distinctly American thing) One university calls us multiple times a week because my mom did her MBA there, even though we tell them she’s already donated/does not live at home during the week. They keep calling. I’ve successfully evaded my own university by not being home/not picking up my cell phone when they call.

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    • Universities don’t call us in the UK …. yet! But I arranged to donate to the charity Water Aid by direct debit and within a couple of months, someone rang me from a call centre to ask me to increase my payments so I asked whether he was a paid call centre operative & he admitted he was so I disconnected the call to cancel my direct debit; if any charity can afford to pay telemarketers then they don’t need my money

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  14. I answered a call at my grandparents’ house a while ago, and was repeatedly accused of lying when I explained that neither of them even owned a mobile phone, never mind a computer, so faster broadband would be of no interest to them! Luckily (for him) I saw the funny side. Jx

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  15. Such pond scum. The operate everywhere, phone and e-mail. The latest scam over here is the e-mail scam of eviction notices. Because we have had such a terrible housing market with so many foreclosures, this one got many people. I don’t know all the details of it, but in a nutshell a very ‘important’ notification is sent from what appears to be a sheriff office notifying of intent to seize your property by order of the court. You have one opportunity to save you property, paying all back taxes and other fees ordered. One click will save you.

    So many people panic and click. All is lost the moment they do.

    My rule? No clicks. No answered phones.

    Good on your father for playing along, wasting the pond scums time but not providing one iota of info. Hope all is well Dallas.

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    • This is truly low and I wonder how many have fallen for it in true panic mode. Fortunately, Dad although welcoming a good chat would never part with any sensitive information but I can appreciate that a lot of more vulnerable people do

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  16. You have an amazing dad!!!

    Fraud is a decision that leads to tragic outcomes for all….
    “Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth.”
    Phaedrus

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  17. Your dad is a trouper – good on him. It has become terrible with all those fraud calls – we don’t have that many over here yet, but it has started. Terrible. In Sweden by law are you not allowed to sell to or take up details of elderly people, but who is reporting them.??? We have to be safe and we have to inform. Great post, Dallas

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  18. Good thing your Dad is so savvy. I don’t answer our landline anymore because I know that there is a 99% chance of it being a telemarketer – our friends all have our mobile no’s. There is an answering service on the landline so if it is a genuine caller they have the option to leave a message or call us on our mobiles. I also don’t answer my mobile when I see “private number” come up on the screen because that is almost certainly a cold call. If not the caller can leave a message. Believe it or not some of the telemarketers here in SA actually do leave a message and expect you to call back. One company called me repeatedly asking me to update my account details on the phone which I refused to do because it could have been anyone on the other end. The calls eventually started coming in on the landline as well after I blocked the no. on my mobile, nothing short of harrassment.

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