Ah, the world of phone scammers. Surely, they think when they hear my sweet mother’s voice on the phone, this will be an easy target. I mean, who wouldn’t? Butter wouldn’t melt in that woman’s mouth.
Not so fast, imposter account manager from India, Nigeria, Kalamazoo, or wherever you are! My mom may have a senior citizen discount to IHOP, and she does in fact know every word to the Hokey Pokey, but make no mistake. She’s nobody’s fool.
To clarify, my mother does in fact shop at physical stores and use an archaic form of payment known as a “check.” She actually visits her bank in person, and knows the tellers by name. She doesn’t shop with those newfangled “online” gizmos everyone else uses. So from the very beginning, the scam is pointless.
Tired of receiving multiple phone calls daily from “Microsoft” or “Windows” representatives who inform her in heavily accented voices that her computer is sending out “illegal signals,” my mother decided to have a little fun of her own. She knows that these scammers only want access to her computer to pull out any financial information they can. I told you, she may have seen Elvis in person (good Elvis, not bloated Elvis), but she isn’t stupid. My mom is far from demented. She is slick as an oil spill, but now, phone scammer from India or Nigeria, you made her mad. You won’t like her when she’s mad. Trust me.
As soon as one of these calls comes through these days, my mom just pours herself a cup of coffee and sits out on the porch to feed her
minions wild “pets” while she talks to the oh-so-helpful con artist on the other end of the line. Little Miss Sugar Sweet has a backbone of steel and wit as sharp as a Ginsu knife.
A typical phone call with her scammer friends may begin innocently enough. The heavily accented voice warns her that she is about to lose everything…EVERYTHING, we tell you…because her licenses are expiring. You read that right. Her licenses. Her computer licenses. She greets the man warmly, thanking him so much for caring about little ol’ her and her big, bad computer.
Voice quaking in fear and sorrow, she asks the kind gentleman to discuss her options. He advises her to turn her computer on. Mom makes clunking noises as if she is walking to the computer. She may thud her coffee cup and bang the phone a few times for emphasis. Then, she sighs heavily and in apparent frustration.
“I’m sorry, how do I turn this thing on again? I hate computers, I’m not used to this…oh wait. Wait, there it is.” She clicks a fingernail on the table. “There. It’s coming on.” She sets the phone down and sips her coffee; she gives it a solid five minutes before picking the phone back up. “It’s on. Now what do you need me to do?”
The patient account representative from Microsoft Windows of India or Nigeria or Kalamazoo advises mom to hit the control and ALT buttons. “Control? I don’t see a button that says control.” Clicks fingernails against table. “I found something. Let me get my glasses…well, this thingy says CTRL. You’d think a computer could spell better than this.” She allows a few minutes to go by as she throws some bird seed to her adoring fans. “ALT. As in, alternative? What is this an alternative to? I always prefer originals. Delete? This thingy that says DEL? I thought that meant delicate.” More fingernail tapping, than a horrified tone of voice. “DEL means delete? I’m sorry, sir, I don’t want to delete anything. Why would I delete my alternative button? Then I wouldn’t have a choice at all.” And so it goes, until the scammer is nearly yelling from frustration. She made one cry.
Mom likes to play with the scammers; she feels the longer she keeps them on the line, the less time they have to scam someone else. More power to her, I say.
The best secret she keeps, though, is how fruitless her scammer’s efforts really are after all is said and done. I mean, even if he were successful and got into the secret vault that is her computer system, all he would find are funny cat videos, pictures of kittens, about a million pictures of my kids, a video of my brother’s dog, funny memes and joke pages, and links to America’s Funniest Home Videos from the entire past decade. Her favorite is a link to a local zoo who has live-cam footage of a giraffe on “birth watch” who we both agree is just having a joke at all our expense because this sneaky giraffe has yet to give any indication she’s going into labor. I think she just wants the romaine lettuce treats they’re giving her…good old April the giraffe is likely running a nifty scam of her own.
The moral of this story, dear scammers, is it’s just not worth it. God love her, mom has a new hobby now though, and that’s cool. Keeps her occupied.
And be warned, she will out-scam you every time.