TheRobo-Call Selfie

It’s a new low in the world of robo-calling—the Scamming Selfie. As far as I can tell, it works like this:

The telephone of an Innocent Random Person (IRP) rings. The IRP, knowing the game by now, looks at the caller ID before she answers. She has learned not to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers, especially not those from places, like Ipswich, SD, or Tallahassee, FL, where she has no known friends or family.

This time, a bit oddly, the caller ID shows her own name and phone number. However, she is expecting an important return call from someone in a city government agency. It’s faintly possible that this could be that call.

Plus, to be honest, she’s a little bit curious. What happens if someone answers the phone when a call purports to be from the same number it is calling? Maybe she’ll hear an echo of herself. Maybe the caller will get a busy signal and go bother somebody else. Maybe the computer at the other end will get stuck in an endless loop and crash its own hard drive.

Anyway, the IRP answers the phone. She hears a recorded voice: “Hello, this is Kathleen from Microsoft. (Yeah, right. And I’m the makeup artist in charge of gore for Game of Thrones.) We have been trying to reach you. (I just bet you have. Those last dozen scamming calls I ignored? Seven of them were probably from you.) We will be forced to disconnect your license within 24 hours—”

The IRP will never know which license (computer operating system? driver’s? fishing?) she’s about to lose, because at this point she hangs up.

All in all, the IRP found her first Robo-call Selfie quite disappointing. She was hoping somebody’s automated spam factory had finally overreached. It would have been so satisfying to hear a robo caller confusing itself right out of commission.

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