There are a lot of scams about these days.
I keep on getting calls from numbers in the North of England. I don’t answer. They don’t leave messages. I don’t call back. But they do, three or four times a week.
I have been asked three times in the past month to pay delivery charges for non-existent orders. I have not yet got a call about my health, though such has been my interaction with the HSE over the past twenty-two years, it’s kind of inevitable.
Fortunately, we haven’t yet been stung.
There was an occasion oh, about ten or eleven years ago, when I got a call which, right from the start, was obviously a scam.
But I was in the right kind of mood. Maybe I’d had a glass of wine. Or two.
I answered the call and, immediately, a lady with an American accent shouted (some Americans DO tend to shout) “CONGRATULATIONS!”
“I beg your pardon?” I replied.
“CONGRATULATIONS. You have won a three-week CarIBBean Cruise.”
(I knew she was really American the way she stressed the “IBB” in Caribbean.)
“Oh,” I said warming to my task and aware already that it was bullshit and putting on my best Darby O’Gill/Wild Mountain Thyme/Far and Away Oirish accent) , “what does that mean?”
“Well, sir,” she said, “you and a partner get to cruise the Caribbean on a five star liner for three weeks, calling into Nassau in the Bahamas, Ocho Rios in Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica among others.”
“Wow,” I said. “Be the hokey, amen’t I the lucky man. Janey. It’s just brilliant. How much would dat cost if I was to, like, buy it?”
“Oh,” she said, warming to her task and sure she had me hooked, “upwards of $30,000 EACH.”
“Holy God Almighty. Sure and be the blessins of St Patrick haven’t I struck it lucky,” or words to that effect.
She lapped it up.
So I kept pressing her for more and more detail which she was delighted to supply.
“Well that’s grand. Ye can put the tickets in the post and sure, I can’t wait to tell the missus.”
“Good,” she said. “There is only one small thing. The port charges are not included and so they would have to be paid in advance.”
“Ah sure, I don’t mind that. How much would they be now?”
“A total of, let me see, $3,000.”
“Grand. Sure I’ll tell you what I’ll do, if you give me your address, I’ll write a cheque this minute and I’ll send it off to you.”
“Eh, I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m afraid we can’t accept cheques.”
“What?” I said. “Sure how can I pay you if you won’t take a cheque. Do you want me to send you cash?”
“Oh no. If you give me your bank details, you can make the payment right now.”
I said nothing for ten seconds.
And then I spoke again.
In my proper voice.
“Do you seriously fucking think, that I’m going to give a cheating bitch like you my bank details and…”
The line went dead.
And I was happy.
I’d just wasted 15 minutes of her time.