My name is Jennifer Howard, and I abuse scammers. And spoofers. And conartists.
By Jennifer Howard
Is there anyone who hasn’t been harassed by these nefarious people? They call
from the bowels of some secret call center in eastern somewhere-or-other, most
often with names they have lifted from 1970’s sitcoms. Their names do not match
My belief is that these people should get what they deserve. So I dish it to them.
Truth be told, my abuse of scammers began when my children were young. I’ve
previously confessed some of my parenting “skills” to this group. In that same
vein, when one of these people would call, I would agree to put the decision-
maker on the line. Then turn the phone over to my young son.
He was keenly interested in rockets and space, and could talk about the subject
How about those people who had nothing better to do a year or so ago but call
us about buying a car warranty 20 times a day?
They stopped calling me after I told one of them: “I don’t use my car anymore. Since I had some magic mushrooms, I ride my pink unicorn everywhere.”
Anyone else received the call that their son is in a Mexican prison? And the only
way to save him is to send $1000 in Walmart gift cards — apparently that’s the
local currency in Mexican prisons.
I said, “Oh, then please tell him to tell his father hello for me.”
They hung up, but their “associate” Toby called back. “Madam, aren’t you
concerned about your son in those terrible prison conditions?”
“Not really. But tell him to get a better looking bitch this time.”
They have not called again.
How about those calls when “Kevin” wants to speak with the business owner
about a serious data breach?
“Well,” I said, “he was here a little while ago. But suddenly a blue light shone into
our office and he was lifted up into a space ship.”
They have not called again.
“Billy” called me, concerned that I have a sedentary job. “You are entitled to free
carpal tunnel and back braces,” he told me. All I had to do was provide him with
my credit card number to cover shipping charges.
“Awesome,” I said. “Can you please send me four back braces?”
“Four, madam,” Billy asked. “Why do you need four?”
“I have a dog and two cats, and they are sedentary all day, too. They must need
free carpal tunnel and back braces.”
Billy hung up. Apparently, he was not an animal lover.
I recently received a call from super-helpful “Charlie” who informed me someone
had purchased a $1500 iPhone on my “Amazon account” — whatever that
MIGHT be. Charlie was awesome. He kept repeating his Amazon employee
number. Sadly, the number changed each time he shared it with me. He should
have written it down.
Cutting to the chase, “Charlie” told me that he could make the $1500 charge go
away IFFF I gave him my banking information.
I told him I didn’t use a bank.
Charlie was incredulous. “Madam, everyone has a bank account.”
“Well, I don’t,” I said. “My father robs banks for a living and has never been
caught. So I don’t trust banks.”
“Charlie” hung up.
Then there are the spoofers with the (850) area code. I answer those because I
often get calls for business from numbers I don’t recognize. You hear that weird
little click, and know it’s a spoofer and time to hang up.
But if you answer once, they try back with another (850) number a few minutes
I answer again: “Mama, is that you? Are you up in heaven? Mama, we miss you
so much. Daddy said you were probably in Hell because of what you did with Mr.
Jones but I knew you would be in Heaven.” And so on …..
The spoofer gives up to try again another day.
My personal favorites are the folks who call to sell me health insurance. I am self-
employed which in the world of scammers is like fresh meat to a starving wolf.
“I don’t have any health insurance. I don’t need it,” I tell them.
“But Madam, why not? The cost of health care is very expensive and you will not
be able to afford the life-saving treatments you may need.”
“No, I’m good,” I said. “I went to Madame Zara and she told me I will die on April
12th. So I don’t need health insurance.”
There is usually a moment of silence — likely out of respect for my imminent
demise — before they hang up.
But as we all know, karma is a bitch. The closer my calendar came to April 12th,
the more nervous I became.
On April 12th, I answered every single scam or spoof call I received. I politely
said, “No, thank you.” And hung up.
So yes, still alive and kicking … and being a smartass to scammers.