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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Howard

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

their accents.

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

for hours.

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.

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