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FOULDS: The joy in scamming a telephone scammer

Wasting their time and messing with their minds can be sweet retribution.
Foulds Christopher column head

So, I get a call on my cellphone from an Edmonton number I don’t recognize.

I answer.

There is an automated message from someone with a heavy South Asian accent telling me to stay on the line as my social insurance number has been linked to dubious transactions and I may be in trouble.

Failure to stay on the line and speak to an agent with Service Canada may lead to me being “under the rest” by the RCMP, I am told.

I press “1” to speak to an agent and a guy answers. With a similar thick South Asian accent, he introduces himself as Service Canada Officer Martin Roy and asks me for my name.

I tell him I am Frank Booth (from Blue Velvet, the undisputed best movie of the 1980s).

He then asks for my postal code. I give him an old Abbotsford one I remember. He asks for the last three digits in my social insurance number. I tell him 0-0-K.

He asks me to hold, then comes back a nanosecond later and says he has my file and has confirmed I am indeed Frank Booth.

He then gives me his Service Canada badge number (TLC411) and my file number (8860928CB) and proceeds to inform me that my social insurance number and credit cards have been used in Montreal and other places for illegal activities, including drug dealing, money laundering, tax evasion and illegal importation of something or other.

He asks me if I am aware. I say I am not aware.

He then says the call is being monitored and recorded and warns that I should make sure I am being honest.

He gets a bit tougher and orders me to not interrupt or hang up or the RCMP will come and place me “under the rest” within 45 minutes.

I say, “Of course not, Officer Roy.”

I don’t want to be placed “under the rest” anyway as I am naturally quite busy.

He then goes into detail about my social insurance number and credit cards being used by some bad people and he wants to help me before the cops charge me.

He asks me for my personal banking information.

“Where do you have the bank and what is the account number and how much money do you have in the bank?” he asks in a very quick clip.

I then tell him I do not use banks, that I don’t trust them, that banks are the ones that created the COVID.

He pauses and asks again.

So, I tell him again.

He pauses again, then asks me how I make my money if I don’t use a bank.

I tell him I trade stocks from home all day and only use cash and I have a lot of cash — a whole lot, I tell him.

Where, he asks, do I keep this cash?

I tell him I keep all my cash in boxes in my garage.

He then asks how much money I have in those boxes.

I say, “A lot. A lot of cash because I don’t trust the banks because they started the COVID.”

He asks again; “How much cash is a lot?”

I say, “One hundred dollars.”

He pauses, then asks, “One hundred? You mean one hundred thousand, yes?”

I say, “No, $100. But it might be $99 now because I just bought a coffee at the store.”

Officer Roy seems confused, so he starts his bad cop routine, reminding me that my social insurance number and credit cards have been used for nefarious reasons and that he wants to help me before I get in trouble.

He asks me to give him the phone number of my local police department so he can call them and tell them not to put me “under the rest.”

He says he can then help me once the police know I was not using my social insurance number and credit cards and that I was probably scammed by someone.

I remind him that I don’t use a bank, nor do I have credit cards.

“Why don’t you have credit cards?” he asks.

I tell him: “Because the credit card companies are in cahoots with the banks on that COVID thing.”

I can tell he is now getting really frustrated.

So he asks me again to check the Google for my local police phone number

I quickly use my computer to search for RCMP in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and read him that number. He pauses, then says that is not the correct local police department number for where I live, based on the postal code I gave him when he first spoke to me — the Abbotsford postal code.

He asks me to check again.

I give him the same number.

We do this a few more times and his frustration is mounting.

Then I suggest we confirm he has my correct postal code. He says that is a good idea.

I quickly use my computer to find the postal code for Iqaluit and read it to him. It is X0A 0H0. The first one I gave him at the beginning of the call was V2S 1T9 (Abbotsford).

When I read out the Iqaluit postal code, he must have seen the RCMP number and suddenly realized I was messing with him because, right after I said, “X0A 0H0,” he paused for a second, then bellowed, in an angry tone, “Motherf-----!”

And I laughed long and loud right in his ear and he yelled something else and hung up. 

I wanted to have him stay on the line for a long time, but I only got to 16 minutes before he bailed. I am hoping those 16 minutes helped save someone, somewhere, from being ripped off.

Next time, I am going to aim to beat my record and, when they ask for my personal information, I will spell out my address: G-E-T-L-O-S-T S-C-AM-M-E-R.

Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds