Scam calls? I presume I am not the only person getting them virtually daily. Ever notice they come from a number of recurring sources?

 Firstly, there is that annoying duct cleaning call. This is usually from a guy with a thick accent.  I just know the guy has concerns about the state of my ducts as he starts the call with, “How are you this evening.”  This salutation gives it away.  The duct cleaning pitch is just around the corner. So does the fact that the call is always in the evening in the midst of having our supper. I suppose these guys presume that while enjoying a fine fish delicacy, we are most fertile to his call as we say to ourselves, “Great Chilean sea bass.  I’d enjoy it more if my ducts were cleaned.”

He tells us that his company just happens to be in the neighbourhood this week and that this offer is the deal of the century.

I am actually sympathetic to this guy as I gather from the conversation and the phone number on the call display that he probably lives in a country where he earns about $1.75 per day.  Chances are high he may not know what a duct is as his own house probably does not have any.  I end the call with a polite, “No thank you.”

Then there is the survey call. I instantly recognize this call because the caller starts off saying he or she will not be selling me anything. The subject matter is generally consumer oriented. The first question will be something innocuous like, “Do you own a broom?”

I stop there as I know where this is leading. If I say “yes”, they will likely tell me I am eligible to receive one week at some place like the 10-star Marriott Resort in Bali, all in for $39.99.  I have a good nose for mischief.

I therefore respond, “No broom.  Goodbye.”  Still polite.

At least the duct and survey guys are not threatening, unlike that “Tax Department” scammer. This rogue on a recorded message, admonishes you to respond ASAP or you will be arrested by the RCMP.  I guess some victims fall for this one, figuring if they don’t cough up money, they’ll soon see two officers in scarlet tunics trot up to their house on fine stallions.

And to add insult to injury, if a victim does pay them some money, he or she cannot offset it later against any taxes they actually do owe to the CRA. I doubt even H & R Block will tell you there is a provision in the Income Tax Act for a credit for “taxes” paid to a scammer.

Then again it occurred to me that maybe they are actually benevolent reverse scammers.  Just maybe, can it be that there is some eccentric gazillionaire behind it all who actually wants to give away money to whoever plays along?  I can imagine if you get back to them you’ll reach a live person who says something like, “Oh thanks for calling back. Because you trusted us, our benefactor, Billy Buffet, will be sending you a certified cheque for one million dollars…tax free.”

It does not hurt to imagine.

But more dangerous than the “CRA” caller is the hacker.  The caller tells you something like there is an error with your Microsoft software and that you’re in luck; he will fix it for you now.

I have played along with this guy in the past. He’ll ask if I’m on my computer now and I say “Yes, let’s go.”  I don’t know if that’s wise as in retrospect I wonder whether he can glean any valuable information by me just sitting in my kitchen over a green tea. I’d hate to think that he’s in cahoots with the likes of nearby Alexa or Siri.  I have long suspected these ladies of spying on us.     They’re modern day Mata Haris.

Finally, there is that frequent mysterious Chinese call.  I can’t say too much here. It’s always a female voice recording all in Chinese.  I usually hang up after about 10 seconds. Actually, I don’t know why I still listen to the whole 10 seconds or so.  It’s not as if my Mandarin gets any better after the first 2 seconds.  No clue what she wants. But if she has a team of duct cleaners in the area this week, she isn’t making her sales pitch easy.

I don’t know how to stop these calls. If anybody does, please share this info with us. I even filed my phone numbers with the National Do Not Call List.  I’m not sure if that will help.  I realize it may eliminate my chances of getting that million-dollar windfall from Billy Buffet, but I’ll take my chances on that one.

 

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