Phone Fraud Fun - Fight Telemarketers With A Vengeance!
‘Please hold for an important call for this number.’ It was a recording with a distinctly American voice. And it was giving me instructions what to do in the privacy of my own home! How rude! I couldn’t quite grasp what it was all about. That is until a robotically treacle-friendly voice came on the phone.
It was John Smith! How kind of him. John had changed his name from Sudhanssu Vishwamitra to a much more Anglo-friendly name for the purpose of his call. ‘How are you today?’ he asked. ‘I’m asleep!’ I moaned, hoping that this would be the end of our dialogue.
‘Werry sorry,’ he quickly mumbled, ‘I have some exciting news for you.’ Without missing a beat from his well rehearsed script, Sudhanssu,...excuse me, ‘John,’ or as he pronounced it ‘Yawn,’ told me that I had been specially selected to receive a ‘brand new Motorola BCSD49KG (or something like that) phone, including a million free minutes of talk time, 'photo capabilities,' texting, and 'the ability to download the latest cricket scores from...' (he paused for a nano-second before he filled in the script’s blank with the name of the country he had just phoned,) 'England!'
I told him I already had a phone and thanked him for calling. But Yawn was persistent. He asked me how much I paid each month for my phone. I told him I had no idea. And I don’t! Have you ever once paid what you thought you would when you signed up for a mobile phone?
Now I was really irritated. He waffled on, but I never heard what he said. Somewhere in the midst of his script Yawn heard what must be a most familiar sound – the disengaging of a telephone call when someone on the other end puts the receiver down!
Okay, I was awake - on with the day. And 'Yawn’s' call was out of my mind until shortly after 9. The phone rang again. This time it was Chitragandha Bhagyalakshmi! But I didn’t receive one of those recordings to tell me to hold for an ‘important’ call. Chitragandha got straight through. She had been kind enough to change her name to Mary Smith. And she had some ‘exciting news’ for me! I had been specially selected to receive a Sony WiiSCRU-U2 mobile phone, which included a trillion gazillion free minutes, camera, ‘Blue Teeth’ (someone needs to check the spelling of their scripts), and a billion free texts. ‘Not interested!’ I said, as I put the phone down.
Dharmendra, posing as ‘Sam’ (A previous Big Brother show immediately came to mind), was asking me what type of mobile phone I used. I said ‘I don’t’ and angrily put the phone down. I dialled 1471 only to discover that the call registered as an international call. Therefore I was unable to block the caller.
We were out for the rest of the day. But shortly after 7PM the phone rang. ‘Good evening,’ I answered. ‘Good evening to you!’ The caller responded in a friendly manner. There was a pause. I asked who was calling. It was Lalitaditya Jnyaneshwar!
It was just Lalitaditya’s poor luck I suppose. We were sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes and plastic bags, filling each bag with an assortment of toothbrushes, toothpaste, flannels, miniature bars of soap, cheese and cracker packets, and hard candies. They’re all destined to go out to Eastern Europe and to be honest, filling the bags is a mindless task. The telly was on and I had been half ignoring the fortieth rerun of something on the History Channel.
Lalitaditya, (this time using the nom de plume of Joe…or was it Hoe?) had, (you guessed it), exciting news for me. I had been specially selected to receive a Nokia OMGFU2 clone with a billion gobzillion and 3 free minutes of loco calls, blue teats, camera possibilities, and an eternity of free tests.
‘How exciting!’ I told him. ‘This sounds wonderful.’ You could almost hear Hoe squirm in his seat all the way out in Bangalore! He launched the reciting of his script and I willingly replied in the affirmative to each question he asked. I really didn’t pay that close attention to what he was asking. When he got to the point of requesting payment details I told him I first had a few questions to ask.
I explained that the bulk of my calls are made to Moldova and Romania, especially to Chisinau and Transylvania. And before I could enter into any agreement I needed to know what those calls would cost. Hoe, (excuse me), Joe, told me I would receive ‘all the answers to those questions’ when I phoned the customer support line after I finished with him.
But I explained that I certainly couldn’t enter into any agreement until I knew what those calls would cost. Hoe Hoe stuttered for a second as he told me he’d have to place me on hold. After a few minutes he returned and said he ‘thought’ the calls would be twenty pence for each call – that’s what calls cost to the European Union, he proudly added.
I pointed out to HoJo that Moldova was not part of the European Union. There was a pause and again he said he’d have to place me on hold. He came back after a few minutes and told me he would have to ‘transwer me to a superwisor.’ The next voice I heard was a lady. I asked her for her name. She was Miss Madhumalati Indumukhi, ‘but everyone just calls her Liz.’
And off Liz went, reading the same script all over again. I let her go all the way through her script. And when she began asking me details regarding payment, I explained that I was quite excited about the phone, but as I had explained to HoJo, I needed to know the cost of the calls to Transylvania Romania and Chisinau Moldova. Not only did I have to spell Transylvania and Chisinau for Liz, but I had to spell Romania and Moldova for her as well.
She placed me on hold and after about ten minutes, she came back on the line. The calls would cost me 90 pence per minute to either country. I told her that was fine and I was looking forward to having the phone.
Liz seemed to become extremely pleased that she was about to close a deal. She told me she had to take some financial details.
She asked for my bank's name, sort code and 'number.' I politely and methodically called out the name of the bank: ‘squanders National Bank’ and I read out the numbers - the lot and product numbers from the box of Ritz Crackers sitting on the floor before me. Liz said ‘there aren’t enough numbers.’ I was missing one digit. ‘Oops, sorry,’ I exclaimed; ‘6, I forgot to add the number 6.’ (It was the number of times that revolting insurance commercial featuring Michael Winner in drag had run since the call began.
And she asked me for a 'credit card number.' I told her I’d have to go find my wallet and as it was ‘upstairs’ it would take me a moment. Liz said she’d wait. I apologised to her, explaining that our home was quite large and I would have to travel to the other side of the house then go upstairs. Liz was more than happy to wait.
I set the phone down and watched another riveting commercial of Michael Winner, dressed as a scullery maid, feigning fear of a computer mouse, then back to the show – Crustaceans Through History. I got up off the floor and went to the kitchen to turn on the kettle. Coffee for me and tea for Willem and Mary.
After a long sip of my coffee I picked up the phone, winking to my daughter as I began: ‘Liz, I’m soooo sorry it took so long. I really must consider finding a smaller home, especially as the children are getting older.’ Liz must have thought she had reached Nirvana! I heard pages rapidly being flipped as she began reciting a new script on additional phones for the family. I immediately agreed to her offer and she increased our order to three phones. She then asked me for a 'credit card number.'
Liz’s voice rose an octave. ‘I have to have a "bank number" so you can receive this special offer.’ I put on my best nurturing voice and I profusely apologised to Liz. ‘Oh my goodness! I wish you had told me this before I went all the way to the other end of the house. Now I’ll have to go back and get that number!’
Liz seemed to dispense with her original phone voice. ‘Hold a moment,’ she instructed. There was silence at the other end of the phone. After approximately a minute, Liz returned. ‘How long will it take you to get the number?’ she bluntly asked.’
I actually looked up to the ceiling as I spoke to her. ‘Let me see, well, I’d guess as long as it took me to get the first number,’ I offered with the most gentle voice I could muster up, as I continued to stuff zip bags with items. ‘Hold,’ Liz curtly instructed me.
Liz came back on the phone and told me she’d call me in fifteen minutes- exactly. I asked her to make it twenty-two minutes, ‘just in case the lift at the other end of the house wasn’t on the foyer floor.’ She said she’d phone back in twenty-five minutes. ‘I look forward to hearing from you,' I warmly replied.
Almost exactly twenty-five minutes later our phone rang. It was Liz. She immediately asked if I had the 'bank number.' ‘Of course I do,’ I replied. Liz asked me for the number and I read it out to her: 44 0845 906 4550. Liz asked me for an expiry date. I told her I didn’t understand. She again asked me for the expiry date. I told her that I didn’t think telephone numbers have an expiry date. ‘You mean you’ve given me a phone number?’ she asked, now sounding highly agitated. ‘Well, of course I have! You asked me for a 'bank number,' so I got you the number of our bank.’ I replied with the best perplexed voice I could.
I suppose I better understand the rejection Sudhanssu Vishwamitra (aka ‘Yawn’) experiences every day, because I immediately heard a rather aggressive sounding ‘click’ as Madhumalati Indumukhi (aka Liz) disconnected our call.
I despise these unsolicited interruptions of our private time. Unfortunately, placing our number on a list to block telemarketing calls does not reach to international marketers. Therefore, we remain victims of their relentless and laboriously irritating invasions.
I was shocked to receive yet another call the following afternoon, from the very same group. And although I was busy writing, I thought I might just continue to see precisely how much of their time I could waste as I sat at my desk. The caller went through his spiel, but I stopped him half way. I told him I would only be interested if he could tell me how much my calls to Transylvania Romania and Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei would cost. Of course, ‘Bob’ had to place me on hold.
I was immediately transferred to an ‘awailable superwisor.’ The next voice I heard was a woman named ‘Liz.’ She began to read her script to me and I let her exhaust every bit of her breath in reading through her absurd script. When she finished talking I politely explained that I couldn’t enter into any agreement until I knew exactly what my international calls would cost. When Liz asked me where I was calling, I told her there were two places only. The first was Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei, and the second was Oradea Bihor County Transylvania Romania.
For a brief second or two the silence was deafening! ‘Didn’t I talk to you yesterday?’ Liz demanded. Her voice seemed to have increased by an octave. ‘Why Liz is that YOU !’ I almost shouted as if being rejoined with long lost family. ‘How lovely to hear from you again!’
Three months have passed since my fleetingly brief reunion with Liz (aka Madhumalati Indumukhi), but you know what?.......
I haven’t heard a dicky-bird from a single Bangladeshi call centre since either!!
P e r s e v e r a n c e!
india call centres
Labels: BT india call centres, calls from India, India telemarketing, Kitchens Direct, Nigerian Fraud, Nigerian Phone Scams, Perseverance, Phone, Phone scams, Stop calls from India, stop unwanted calls