Recently I wrote this post about my frustrations about not only getting robocalls on my phone, but getting them in Mandarin, a language I do not speak. Beyond irritating. After that post, though, a friend sent me this article from NPR that addresses these calls specifically.
Whereas I was irritated before, now I’m outraged. Nothing has changed for me personally. I’m still getting the stupid calls. I’m still blocking them. But now I know the heinous purpose behind those calls, and it has triggered my Capricornian desire to protect others from all things unjust in this world.
These Chinese scammers are not simply trying to sell me something. No. They’re hoping I’m a Chinese immigrant who is understandably nervous about the human rights violations that China is so well known for. These robocalls tell them that this call is from their embassy, and that they’re suspected of committing some crime or other, and that the way to resolve this issue is by sending money to this bank in Hong Kong.
It’s amazing that people still fall for this stuff in this day and age, but imagine what it must be like for these immigrants, who most likely still have family back in China. They don’t want trouble for anyone. According to this article, immigrants have paid out at least 2.5 million dollars since December.
That’s a highly lucrative scam, so rest assured, it’s not going to go away any time soon. It breaks my heart that so many people who have struggled to come to America are now losing their life savings in an effort to stay here. Con artists tend to prey on the most vulnerable among us.
I really don’t understand psychopaths. They are completely devoid of empathy, so do they have any problem at all looking in the mirror after devastating others? Nope. They’re just fine. It makes me sick. (If you are one of these people and you’re reading this, you are twisted and evil and I hope that karma rolls over you like a crosstown bus.)
All I can do is shake my head and do my best to spread the word. I hope you will, too. Meanwhile, here are some things you should do to avoid scammers in general.
If you don’t recognize a phone number, don’t answer your phone. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.
If you do answer the phone and hear an automated voice, hang up immediately. If a company or individual really needs to speak to you, they won’t use a recording. If they do, whatever they have to say isn’t that important.
Do not give out personal information over the phone, especially your bank account number, your credit card number, or your social security number.
I have just downloaded an app to my phone called YouMail. It’s free, unless you upgrade for even more awesome features. It blocks many robocalls, and will even make them think your number is out of service so they don’t sell it on to the next scammer. It also provides you with personalized voice mail, auto-reply when you’re out of town or unavailable, conference calling, and reverse phone lookup. All for free. That seems like a pretty good deal to me. If it turns out to not work, I’ll be sure and let you know right here.
I hope you’ll all take a moment to have a conversation about scammers with the more vulnerable among us: the less tech-savvy, the very old, the very young, or the easily manipulated. This evil must end.
The phone rings. It’s an unrecognized number, but it’s local, so I kind of feel like I have to pick up. And there it is again. An automated voice, speaking in Mandarin.
I don’t speak Mandarin, or any other Eastern tongue, if the truth be told. I suspect someone is trying to sell me something. I’ll never know.
I wouldn’t even know what number to press to speak to a human being and get taken off this fresh hell of a call list. And if I let it go to voice mail, I’d still have to listen to it eventually. So I simply hang up and block the number.
But tomorrow, someone else will call from another number and subject me to the same torture. This has been going on for months. My block list must be a half mile long.
This begs the question: How in the name of all that’s holy did I get on a call list for Chinese spam? What did I do to deserve this? Have I squashed too many spiders in my lifetime or something?
I kind of feel sorry for the random people who are doing these automated calls. They probably got sold a bogus phone list. They were most likely told they’d get a portion of each sale. But the majority of the people they call don’t speak the language, so they get no sales, while the person who sold them the list profits nicely.
It would be just my luck if it were someone trying to tell me where to pick up my lottery winnings. Meanwhile, here I am gritting my teeth, blocking the number, and praying that someday this particular torture comes to a merciful end.