The polite scammer and Me

Yesterday In the early afternoon the phone rang, Call display showed it to be a long distance call originating from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I answered the phone and this is what I  heard on the recorded call.”There is a warrant out for your arrest  by the Federal government for income tax invasion please call this number immediately. Thank you,  have a good day and God Bless.” How could anybody have a nice day after hearing that message? l knew this had to be a scam. As a matter of fact I.had received a similar phone message a few weeks ago and just ignored it..This time however,I decided to be a responsible  citizen and report this scam. I called the Federal government and I was given the number to the anti fraud department.I dialed and when the call was  answered I told my tale of woe.

The gentleman on the other end  verified my name and address and told me to have a nice day and God Bless. My stomach dropped, and my heart started beating rapidly and my knees were shaking. This was the voice of my ,who I believed to be  scammer. How could this be? The voice continued  and informed me that there was $1876  owing for 2009 income tax and if it was  not paid within 45 minutes I would be under arrest. I was told a policeman was  on his way and would be knocking on my door to take me to jail, if I  didn’t  follow these simple directions. I was instructed to pay electronically. I protested  and said I couldn’t do that. He said my other alternative was to pay at the bank of Nova Scotia quickly. This was surreal . Canada isn’t  a third world country. Was I having a night mare ? Was I losing my mind ? I felt like I was playing the leading role  in an Alfred Hitchcock  movie.

I pleaded for an extra couple of hours to give me time to consult with my accountant and family. I told him I was sure an error had been made and to the best of my knowledge nothing was owed. I was told I had  ignored previous warnings and that I  must pay within forty Five minutes or be thrown in jail. He told me if I didn’t comply I should hire a lawyer because I would need one.

I wasn’t afraid of going to jail.  it would be a new experience and  it would make great material for a blog. However I couldn’t bear the the thought of my neighbours in my condo complex  looking on as I was dragged through the halls kicking and screaming. The thought also crossed my mind that the building has excellent security and the staff are very protective of the people living here and wouldn’t let me be dragged away.

I was told time was running out. I answered that this was ridiculous and even though my hands were shaking I managed to hang up the phone. I didn’t pay anything. The police never showed up and I didn’t go to jail. With the help of others I did some investigating and was assured I didn’t owe income tax for 2009. The long distance number was an unassigned number. How the scammer managed to acquire this number is a mystery. When we later dialled it the phone rang continuously  but there was no answer.

Other questions haunted me . How was the Federal government involved?  Was the government or someone in the government  involved in the scam? I thought it was more likely that the scammer had bugged my phone and was able to intercept my calls. This upset and frightened  me. Then another thought trickled into my head, Was it possible that I had mistakenly called Mr. chillingly polite instead of the government anti fraud department. Both numbers were written on the same piece of paper and  If any of you have read my blog or book you will see that I tend to be a little absent minded.

I had the need to know. Occasionally I have a good idea. I called my phone server. The representative was most helpful and was able to confirm that I had indeed made a long distance call to the scammer– and I was charged for it. She reversed the charge. I also took advantage to consult with her regarding my long distance plan and she modified it to reduce the monthly cost. All was not lost.

Hopefully I will not be bothered with any more scams. I learned a couple of lessons to pass on.  Hang up immediately if you suspect a scan. Better yet if you have call display, don’t answer the phone unless you know the caller.  Most important pay attention to the number you are dialling and insure that  it is directed to where it is intended to go. Had I followed this advice I would have saved myself a lot of anguish. I feel a little foolish.

 

 

 

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About epsnider

E.P SNIDER is the pen name that I used to publish "WHY ME- a memoir". I used a pen name so as not to embarrass my spouse, my offspring, their offspring, my grand dogs and my friends. A dream came true when I had my first book published at the age of sixty-nine. "WHY ME? "is a collection of memoirs recounted from various stages of my life and the lives of those that I love or like at least some of the time. Most of the incidences are humorous-some are not. I am a senior but I feel more like a junior except for the aches and pains. When I look in the mirror I often see my mother or some other aging lady with wrinkles and sun spots. The amount and depth of wrinkling depends on which mirror I am looking into, the degree of lighting and how well my skin absorbed the moisturizing cream that day. Although I am mature in years, maturity is definitely not one of my virtues. If something strikes me as funny I get the giggles. Most of my family and many of our friends have a rather warped sense of humour-so I giggle a lot. Laughter plays an important role in our lives. My friends were a significant inspiration for me to begin my writing career. For the past number of years hubby and I have been spending part of the winter season in Florida to escape the sometimes bitter cold climate in Toronto Canada. Every year I send emails to those left behind. To my delight they find my emails to be hysterical and a cure for their winter doldrums. They compare my style of writing to that of the late Erma Bombeck. For those of you not familiar with the author-- she was a beloved American humorist in the 1970's and 1980's. I have loved literature and creative writing from an early age. I spent some of my growing up years in Alberta and won a prize for a best poem commemorating Alberta's bicentennial year. My grade seven teacher was a large and forceful woman, with white hair and course bristly white chin hairs to match. We were all intimidated by her and thus listened intently as she drilled us about parsing sentences and adverbs and adjectives. She provided me with a good basis of the English language. In addition to "Why Me" I have had a short essay published in a book of assorted memoirs by Canadian woman. I currently write for our Toronto Condominium newspaper. I hope to do more writing, although I am not sure if my family can cope with any more of my meltdowns when blocks of written material mysteriously disappear off of my computor. I admit I am computor and electronically challenged, but I will persevere. - - - - - - - - - - - Writing has been a passion of mine through out my life. Ever since I took a step forward and entered into the world of computers, a new world of opened up for me. I found myself engrossed in writing emails with lengthy updates about my life's recent highlights. To my delight, people found me...funny! I then offered to write for my condo newsletter, and I recently had a short memoir published. For the last several years I became glued to my computer, transferring my hand-written life adventure notes to an actual story of my life's defining moments. Finally, at the age of 69, I was done... I wrote a book! AND it's actually published. People are reading it. People are enjoying it. I am thrilled! Plus, it's one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my family. Talk about a dream come true. My advice to you: Think positive, keep your eye on the prize, and you too can enjoy as your dreams and desires come to fruition.
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6 Responses to The polite scammer and Me

  1. epsnider says:

    I would love to hear of some of your scams and how you handled them.

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  2. Hi, Elaine and congratulations on your 100th blog post. I’m so sorry for the terrible anguish caused by this scum. I get scam calls, emails, and messages all the time. I’ve never actually been scammed and in this case neither were you. You did the right thing and I’m so glad they didn’t get anything from you.I think the only reason I’ve never fell for a scam is because I have such a super suspicious mind and I’m terribly rude if anyone calls that I don’t know. I’ve even been rude to legitimate people on the phone until they’ve explained who they are. Believe it or not, my mama taught me to be polite but when it comes to strangers on the phone, all those lessons fly out the window. I’m just terrible. Hope the rest of your week goes well. 🙂

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  3. Scammers easily find numbers via computers, random dialing etc. They can now invent the number they are calling from too. If you answer, you are more likely to get more. We have had them too and just bought a phone that allows us to program out undesirable callers – which requires collecting their numbers, but I think it will be worth it to us. We get many more robo-calls than we do calls we want to receive, even though we scan via call display or our answering machine before picking up. Very unlikely that your phone could be bugged, but it’s more than a nuisance isn’t it? Nice that the phone company reverse your call ( so Mr scammer got charged 🙂
    …. and I like your comment “All was not lost.”

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  4. epsnider says:

    Nice hearing from you Cinda. I have a record of some of the numbers but some are registered as a private caller and I can’t retrieve the number.
    I think I am getting neurotic. There was a police car parked outside our condo building and I thought
    “Oh No”.They have come to get me. The problem wasn’t even in our building, but in the adjacent building where all kinds of things go on and a few people of questionable character reside there.Who knows. Maybe my scammer lives there. If I ever meet him I will kick him you know where.

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