FILE PHOTO

Scamming the scammer 

A few weeks ago, I got a text from someone who said their name was Zorayna and asked if I was Darlene. I said “no,” they apologized profusely, stated their assistant left the wrong number, called the incident a “beautiful misunderstanding,” and apologized once more. After thanking me, apologizing again, repeating their name and asking my name, that’s when I decided to see how long I could keep things going.

There were long gaps between many of the responses. I imagine “Zorayna” was referring to a complex script to try to figure out the best way to proceed. “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” I answered, barely managing to refrain from singing the familiar catchy children’s tune. Their next text proceeded to tell me I had a “nice name” and that I was “very special.”

“Zorayna” said they lived in “LA, California” – is there another? – and asked where I was from, to which I answered “the Highlands of Scotland.” I began to wish I had given my name as Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod instead. If you know, you know.

Clearly unfamiliar with my references, “Zorayna” said they were 35 years old and asked my age, to which I said I had just turned 64 the previous month “right before my grandson’s wedding.” “Zorayna” said the Highlands of Scotland was a nice place and asked where I was currently living and working. I said I was a clown for children’s parties “mostly in northern Oregon.”

They expressed “a belated wish” for me to have “an experienced age, a happy birthday and a happy marriage for my grandchildren” and asked if I was “living the retired life.” I thanked “Zorayna” for their “most kind wishes” and said I also spent time teaching clowning courses for a friend’s academy, working as a substitute school crossing guard and serving as president of my crossword club.

“Zorayna” said children should like me as I was “hardworking” and asked whether I had “the choice to invest to increase their income.” I stated I had very little money as I had just started my own umbrella company. As I debated whether to incorporate a penguin into the tale, they asked if it was a very big company, sending a message before I could answer with a long string of Asian characters with one English “word” in the middle, doubtless the name of their scamming company.

I said my company so far consisted of “only three umbrellas and a hat stand,” adding we were hoping to expand the offerings to include monocles and top hats, but “good monocle glass” is just “so expensive this time of year, and so difficult to find.”

“Zorayna” wished me luck, I thanked them for their “most kind wishes,” and they said “Amen.” I’m sure we all have our own ridiculous stories of telemarketing scam attempts. What are yours?

To read more stories from my experiences with text messaging scam artists, click HERE.

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