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Phone Scammer

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Michael Tanczos

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So today I got a random phone call.. It was from a phone scammer. "ooooooooh, my first real phone scam!", I thought. This was not an opportunity I would pass up.

For the next few minutes I was fed a story about this company called "Grant Procurement Corporation" based out of Champlain, New York that would help me to get $5,000 of grant money from the government for the low cost of $345.

(okay, time for me to sound really enthusiastic)

"Oh man, I can get $5,000 for only $345?!?? How could you possibly go wrong with that?"

They asked me what I would do with the money.. trying to get me excited and feeling good about actually having the money. Would I use it for business.. for travel.. for personal reasons?

"Business.. for sure. I've been wanting to start up my own little scam hotline for a while now and I figure the startup costs have to be pretty low. This is a pretty exciting opportunity!"

You would have thought these guys would have caught on.. but the thick chinese accent lead me to believe they weren't understanding everything I was saying anyway.

"Do you guys have a website?", I ask. They respond with: "Yes, just look up 'Grant Procurement Corporation' in Google." okay....

First they needed to verify my personal information.. I just said yes to whatever they said. Then if they needed information, I made it up and repeated it back to them if need be.

They said:
"Okay, now we have to verify that you are who you say you are. Do you have a blank check handy?" (yes! of course!)

"First, what bank are you?"
I answer, "Wachovia bank, W-A-C-H-O-V-I-A".. (a bullshit answer)


"Could you please read the numbers in the bottom left corner?"

I go and get a real check.. open up notepad.

"Ready?" (they say yes)
I proceed to say numbers into the phone as I pound them out in the keyboard. I gave just the right amount of numbers for the routing number.

They then passed me on to another person to continue my verification process. That person asked me for the account number portion in a less thick chinese accent. I proceed to pound out another set of fake numbers for them to chew on.

... a pause from the other end ... I hear voices of frustration .. they come back:

"Sir, are you sure that is the correct number?"

I answer, "Oh YES, absolutely! Want me to read them back to you?" (hehe)

I sound out each number, identical to the last number.. they try it again and I hear more voices of frustration. A guy with an indian accent comes on who can understand me much better.

"Sir, do you have a bank statement handy?," they ask.
"Oh sure, sure.. quick question, do you guys have a website?"

They respond, "Yes. Just go on the net to www.grantpro.com"

"Okay, awesome! One sec.. let me get my bank statement." I do a whois lookup on grantpro.com and quick ask the person if I can speak to Gregg Ostrick.

"Oh, this is a branch office. He's not available from here right now."

I quickly retort, "Oh, damn.. okay then.. can I talk to Joe Schumaker?" (He's not available, this is a branch office, blah blah)

"COME ON! You know.. JOE SCHUMAKER! He's listed as the president of your company on your website."

They reply, "I know! I know! But I can't forward your call at this time.. he's not available."

"Can I have his phone number at least?," I ask.

They reply, "I don't have that information handy at the moment.."

I then propose an idea.. what if they give me *THEIR* bank account number and I wire the $345 into their account. I promise that I won't take any money from their account. They can trust me.. I just want my $5,000 like the next guy. No bites.. they're not seeing things from my perspective.

I then do a 180 and proceed to take them on a small tirade about not trusting techonology and preferring good old horse and buggy drawn postal service using paper, envelopes, and stamps. I insist that I'd mail them a check but they don't give up their address because that's not how they do business.


"Ahh damn.. okay, ok.. I have my bank statement. Ready?"

"Yup," they respond eagerly.

(this is going to be funny, let's fuck with them first)

I fire a quick battery of questions:
"Do you want the second part first or the first part second?" ... "There are symbols here I don't understand.. one looks like some sort of egyption hierglyphics. What should I say there?" "Should I also be reading the zeros, or are those not important?" .. "Do you want me to read the numbers front to back or back to front with the first part first and the second part after the first part is done?"

"Okay, routing number first then. 536694395" ...
"Got it, the next part sir"

I reply slowly, "okay.. here is the account number: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5"

"What?? How is that possible?"

Okay, time to let the cat out of the bag.. my fun is done and it's time to give up the ghost.

"BWAHAHA! You know, you got me! It's NOT possible.. Do you honestly think I'd fall for something that is so CLEARLY as SCAM?? Actually, I've been making up everything I've been telling you and wasting your time for the past 15 minutes.. I FEEL SO SORRY FOR YOU. Man, are you guys gullible.. I really had you going. You know what's funny?? JOE SCHUMAKER doesn't even exist! I made that shit up.. oh man. You would think scam artists like yourself wouldn't be so stupid as to fall for this sort of thing. I can't believe how you really thought I was excited about the prospect of getting $5,000. I really sounded genuine didn't I? Man, first thing I do after we're done here is call the cops.. we've been on the line long enough that this call will definitely be easy to pick out."

For the next 30 seconds the guy yelled a bit.. sounded very pissed off and said, "Just forget about this call and hang up." He hung up.. I did the same.

I hope I don't get shot.
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you managed that whilst not obviously laughing and giving the game away? I'm impressed!

I suck at those games - I always end up laughing or generally giving the game away [headshake]

Jack

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People in those call centres aren't allowed to converse in any language other than English, so if you get a call centre type with a thick accent and you know their language, I highly recommend insulting their mother until they snap, then talking to their manager. [grin]

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