I got a call today that came as quite a surprise. The woman asked for me using the ‘Mister’ honorific and my last name. No first name. I told her that she was speaking with him. Then she got to the meat of the matter. It went roughly like this:
Her: I’m calling from the Department of Immigration. Are you aware of the charges against you?
Me: Charges against me? No, I certainly am not.
Her: I need to verify your identity by asking you some questions and I’ll then forward you to my supervisor to discuss the matter. Oh, this call is being recorded by the government.
Me: Who is recording this call?
Her: The government.
Me: The government? Can you be any more specific?
Her: The Department of Immigration.
Me: Okay, go on.
Her: What is your full name?
Me: What? You’re calling me. You should know my name!
Her: I need to verify your identity so I need you to tell me your name.
Me: Look, I’m not comfortable giving you any personal information.
Her: I don’t want any personal information, I just need to verify your identity.
Me: I’m not giving you that information.
Her: Okay, please stay where you are as we’re sending the police to your house. They’re going to arrest you.
Me: That’s a good idea. I’ll stay right where I am.
After a pause…
Me: Hello? Did you call the police? Are they on their way? I’m waiting.
<click> then <dial tone>
What first set my bullshit detector off was she didn’t call the department by its proper name, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Also, she spoke with a pretty pronounced accent. I have no issue at all with folks whose first language is not English, but with the plunge in long-distance rates, and the implementation of phone fraud laws in Canada, most phone fraud comes from outside of Canada.
The biggest tip-off was claiming my first name as a form of identity verification. Anyone calling me from any government agency would not keep my first name secret. Indeed they would ask to speak to me by using my full name. It was immediately clear that they didn’t use my first name because they didn’t have it, and they wanted to get it, along with who knows what other information. The next biggest tip-off was the government is all about a paper trail. It’s far more likely they’d mail me a letter than call.
I’m sorry that I didn’t just feed her false information. Fake name, fake address, and so on. Oh well, next time.
To these scammer’s credit, the call-ID showed a 613 area code. On the other hand, their script needs a whole lot of work!
I’m still waiting for the police. At least the scammers didn’t swat me!