New York Calls

Okay, so this was odd: yesterday I had a phone call, a private number.

That’s not the odd part.

The guy ringing me was American (probably still is): “Hey Phillip, my name’s (something, something) from the (something, something) Group in New York. Do you recognise the name?”

Shit. This is obviously someone I’ve sent a script to or an ad I’ve replied to, but I have no idea who he is. Partly because I wasn’t really paying attention when he said his name, but mostly because I send stuff off and immediately forget I’ve done it.

When I’m at home, I stall and burble for a bit while I use Google Desktop to find any mention of the guy or the company on my PC. Away from home, as I was yesterday, I don’t have that luxury. I can access my PC remotely, but not quickly enough.

So I have no option but to be honest, something I hate doing.

“Erm … no, sorry. I’ve no idea who you are.”

Always a good way to impress a potential employer.

“Okay, well I manage stocks and shares. All I want to do right now is get my secretary to send over my portfolio so you can take a look at it, then maybe we can talk again in seven.”

“What?”

“This is Phillip Barron, the writer, yeah?”

“Yes.”

“And you do invest in stocks and shares?”

“No”

And he hung up.

What the fuck was that all about? Some stocks/shares trader guy is randomly calling people he found on the net? He’s somehow (how?) heard about my scribbling genius and wants to get in on the ground floor? He knows something I don’t and I’m about to inherit a shit load of cash?

He knows my name, my phone number and I’m a writer – why does he think that makes me a good target for a cold call? Is there another, more famous writer with the same name as me? Was it some really lame phone hoax?

Seriously, what the fuck is going on? I don’t need this sort of thing on a … I want to say Monday, but I’m not 100% sure what day it is. Whatever day it is, the world has obviously gone a bit skewy and I don’t like it.

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Categories: Random Witterings | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “New York Calls

  1. It’s more common than you think. They cold-call, selling unheard of shares that they’re tipping you off about, which are ‘about to sky-rocket in price’. Needless to say, the shares are crap, although legally it’s not a con-trick as you do eventually get to hold worthless shares in your hands. Sounds like he’s got your details from your blog website, More commonly, when you’ve got an ISA or hold individual shares they’ve obtained your name from some list of shareholders. (Or your broker has sold your name on, (they get so much per 1,000 leads) for not ticking the box ,”Do you want us to contact you with associated offers from time to time?”

    You must be further up the totem pole of ‘let’s find another mug’ than lesser mortals as you’ve leap-frogged getting an email from Nigeria – the country with as luck would have it, the largest contingent of secret million dollar accounts on planent earth that can only be released if paid into your bank account – if you tell us your bank details, whereupon a fortune will be deposited in your name, as a commission for your assistance. There are so many financial experts in Nigeria I don’t know why the London Stock Exchange doesn’t up-sticks and decamp to over there. They come out of the bush ready trained in high finance, but with such a poor grasp of English it’s worse than all other Nigerians put together. English Dave has just been tapped by the Nigerian con-men.

    Somewhere deep in the impenetrable bush of outback Africa, there’s a class of Nigerian con-men swapping stories round a campfire whilst slowly cooking the entrails of a wildebeest that the ‘next big thing in high finance’ to make money out of, are British screenwriters with blogs.

  2. Scam was my first thought, but he gave up pretty quickly. He genuinely seemed to believe I invested in stocks and shares and made no attempt to convince me it was a good thing when I told him otherwise.

    And my phone number’s not on my blog or my website. I know it’s on hundreds of lists sold by various websites and finanncial institutions and such, but it’s no where to be found around here.

    Although it used to be, I took it off when people started texting me and asking for writing advice. Why me?

    Does anyone actually fall for those Nigerian scams? To be honest, I get more phishing emails from The Royal Bank of Scotland – 10 -15 a day. You’d think they’d have got the message by now. Although, maybe they have, since they seemed to have switched to Nat-West.

    You’ve got to wonder about the mentality of these people, if it didn’t work the first time, why do they think it’ll work after the 100th?

    And who actually types this shit all in?

    You know those adverts: make thousands working from home in your spare time? I reckon it’s spamming the fuck out of people – probably get 1/2p for every ten they send.

  3. I don’t think they type them out as such. They use a template and then get software to self-replicate until they find someone gullible. They use software similar to that used by Google – (Google have, quote: ‘robot-crawlers’ that scour every website searching for key words, then attaching them to their database, so that when someone searches via Google they always have, or hope to, the latest links to whatever it is you’re searching for. That’s why it’s best not to type your email in a blog or post – it’s not individuals picking up on it, but robot-crawler software thingies put to criminal use. Wonder if they look like those ones in Minority Report?

    P.S. When it comes to computer and Internet technology I usually end up talking out the back of my . . . .

  4. I like the image of an army of bored housewives feeding the baby with one hand and typing with the other:

    Good days to you sir, I am being King Wiggly of Nigeria …

    Nigerians have a much better standard of English, so do computers – it must be the work of Britain’s finest.

  5. Jon Peacey

    From my experience of this whole Nigerian scam thing I always found it sounded like a variation on the veritably ancient Spanish Prisoner scam. The emails I got (well before I got in on this whole blog thing) always stated they wanted my cash to bribe people so the sender could retrieve a far larger amount which I could have a share.

    As for getting hold of phone numbers, you don’t even need to pay for the first ten on some websites: the amount of information is virtually a stalker’s charter. I was surprised to find my full details on one and so, from curiosity and not stalkerish tendencies- alright I was bored-, I started to look up ‘celebrities’ with rough locations and I was suitably staggered to find that they’re readily available- full addresses and telephone nmbers.

  6. “. . . it’s worse than all other Nigerians put together.”
    Damn!
    That didn’t come out right.
    What I MEANT to say, (if I had a proper grasp of the English language), is that the written English of the Nigerian con-men is: “worse than all the non-English speaking Nigerians put together”. So apologies to any law-abiding English speaking Nigerians looking in. I make this apology because I’m starting to get my comments deleted on other blogs today for what I assume is offensiveness.
    That’s my middle name that is: Danny-offensive-K

  7. King Wiggly

    Did someone mention my name?

    Actually, esteemed Mr Barron (perhaps you are a nobleman like myself?) it’s handy that you’re covering this subject because you can probably help me out.

    A few of my guards are rather annoying staging a coup d’etat as we speak and they’re trying to hack into my bank account.

    Therefore, just as a precaution, would it be possible to deposit my funds in your account until the coup has been viciously quelled?

    I have a balance of approximately a million squillion gazillion pounds sterling and you would of course avail yourself of a one percent commission, which will be a tidy sum let me tell you, oh most honourable scribe.

    If you will do me this service, in addition to your commission you will be invited over to Nigeria as my honoured guest, accommodated at our top Travel Lodge hotel and treated to a night of belly dancing from my lovely wife Bertha.

    I hope this meets with your approval.

    Yours dishonourably,
    King Wiggly

  8. Dear King Wiggly,

    Sorry to hear about your coup, guards can be buggers, can’t they? By an amazing coincidence, I happen to run a company which specialises in just this type of troublesome situation.

    In short, I would be happy to look after your money for you.

    Please send me a cheque made out to Coup Assistance Service Holdings or CASH for short and I will be happy to keep your money safe for you. Unfortunately I can’t give you my home address (for legal reasons) so send it to PO Box 1169, London and I’ll make sure it finds a good home.

    Yours anticipating a bloody good Christmas

    Phill Barron

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