Eight scam phone calls yesterday. Time to dump the landline, it seems. No-one uses it these days. No-one with friendly intentions, anyway.
Meanwhile, I have set myself a challenge: if I have the time, and inclination, I consider it a victory when the scammer hangs up on me.
Scammer: Hello, madam. I am Chris and I am calling from the NBN. Your connection is about to be closed—
Me: Chris? Come on. What’s your real name?
Scammer: Yes, madam, my real name is Chris—
Me: Well, I’m going to call you Ranjit.
Scammer: No, madam, my name is—
Me: Okay, would you prefer Rahul?
Beep, beep, beep …
Scammer: Hello, madam. I am Peter and I am calling from Telstra Technical Department—
Me: You are NOT calling from Telstra Technical Department. Isn’t lying against the Hindu religion? I’m sure that the priest at your temple would have something to say about that!
Scammer (on one occasion): But madam, I am Roman Catholic!
Me: Aha! Thou shall not bear false witness!
Beep, beep, beep …
Script Three (my favourite)
Scammer: Hello, madam. I am John and I am calling to tell you that your computer subscription service will be renewed for $299—
Me: John, I’m so glad you called! I’m having real problems here. Can I ask you a question?
Scammer: Yes, madam, of course!
Me: Does your mother know what you do for a living?
Scammer: Excuse me, madam?
Me: Have you told your mother what you do for a living?
Me: You haven’t told her, have you. I bet you told her that you have a real, productive, honest job, didn’t you.
Beep, beep, beep … (or, yesterday, ‘Bloody idiot’, then beep, beep, beep … Rude!)
And they do tend to keep to the script.
But I usually don’t have the time or inclination, and after those few, opening, tell-tale seconds of background noise, I just hang up.
So, soon our landline will be going the way of our CD player, our street directories, and any sense I had of integrity or accountability in our political classes. So if you want to talk to me or the Mechanic, please call our mobile numbers. But if you still have a landline, and you’re in the mood, you’re welcome to try any of the above on your next scam call. All yours.