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ONDBEAT: Robos and scammers need a wake-up call to buzz off

Just about every morning, I can tell time by my phone — not my iPhone (duh) but my landline.

Promptly at 8:07:15 on the dot, the earth phone sounds, registering a weird or local area code but overall unfamiliar number — yep, another annoying robocall.

Most of the time, I don’t answer because it’s always the same: There’s this little pause, then a mechanical voice informing me I have just won a fabulous Podunk vacation or it has exciting news about my “MasterCard or Visa credit card.”

Sometimes the callers are outright scammers claiming to be your child (or grandchild) stuck in jail and needing bail or offering to fix your not-broken computer.

My sister Ruth once dealt with a call-bank scammer after she overheard his colleague in the next booth refer to his victim as a “(blanking) idiot.”

“I asked my phoner if he was calling me a ‘(blanking) idiot’ and he quickly hung up,” she said.

Another scammer claiming to be with Microsoft Windows had the misfortune of dialing her number and informing her, “We have detected a virus on your computer. If you will follow my directions, I will remove it from your system.”

“You mean I have had a hacker?!” she exclaimed. “Oh, no! What should I do?”

No, no, he said: A virus; you have a virus. “If you follow my directions, I can get rid of it. Are you sitting at your computer? All you have to do is —”

“You know who needs to know about this? — the FBI!” she interrupted. “I think the FBI needs to talk to you. You may be the one who cracks the case.”

She demanded his name and number so she could contact her husband who just happened to be in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The caller lost his focus and fell for it, stating his name was Geddi.

“Did you say ‘Geddi’ or ‘Mary’?” she asked. “Can I call you Mary?”

“I don’t care what you call me,” Geddi said just before ringing off.

Goading these scammers to hang up is the ultimate in defeating them, one call at a time.

“I planned in future calls to tell the caller Donald Trump wants to talk to him and then pretend to push all the buttons he tells me to push like many of those anti-scammers do on their videos,” she said. “But, alas, I have not received another call.”

Just in case the president can’t get a wall built to fend off these flimflam fraudsters, I have every confidence Ruth will.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.