Spams and scams

Illustration by Cara Seccafien

I am so tired of getting calls from scammers!

By Craig Allan, Staff Writer


As I was in the middle of our pitch meeting at the Other Press, my phone rang. The caller was an 1888 number. Knowing what it was likely going to be, I dragged the red phone icon left and ignored it. They did leave a message, however. It was from the Bank of Montreal (BMO). Apparently, there is some important information about my account, and I should contact them immediately. One problem with that though, I don’t have a BMO account. This was another call from the growing nuisance that has been dominating my life in the past month: spam and scam callers.

Whether it’s BMO calling about my fictitious account, Services Canada calling to say that there is a problem with my social insurance number and that the police are coming to arrest me, or just a call with someone speaking Mandarin, these calls are happening more and more frequently. It’s gotten to the point where I get one of these calls every day! You can’t even call these numbers back, because every time I try to, I just get a message that the number is not in service.

The truth is I am not worried about myself with these calls. I am smart enough to never fall for them. There was even a time where someone was asking me to give them my credit card number because of a problem with my card, and while deliberately leading, I caught them in their lie causing them to hang up the phone. The people I am worried about, however, are the foreigners and immigrants who are in this country. When they hear that someone is coming to arrest them if they don’t do something like put $2500 on gift cards and mail them to this government address, they may be confused and scared about being deported that they just do whatever the person wants. All because they are simply unfamiliar with Canadian customs and these shady calls.

With the election on now, and new player has entered the ring: Sarah from the Conservative Party. She keeps asking if I am going to vote for them this election. “Sarah” calls and texts asking for an answer. The voice on the call is so realistic, that it almost sounds like you are talking to a real person, which is creepy.

A couple of weeks ago she texted me asking again if I was going to vote for her and since I am writing this article now, I decided to give her a message back. That message said “Sarah, at least take me out to a nice dinner before you try to f**k me!” (The f-word was not blurred).

What do I have to do to get these calls to stop? Hunt down the call centre? Destroy all cellular towers? Get a new phone number? (The hardest of the three) Unfortunately, they all seem unrealistic. I think the only thing I can do is remember to block the number when I see it, and to stop getting excited every time the phone rings, because I’m sure it’s not going to be Publishers Sweepstakes.

Just as I left the meeting, I got a text telling me to “Accept your GOV. REFUND**65” from a site called, because I am sure that’s how the government does business. Sorry spammers and scammers, but unless you want me to help catch my running refrigerator, I have no time or patience for you.