Let Me Go Get My Teeth!

 

Click!

I should preface this by saying that I am generally a very polite guy. As @arahant would say, I think it is mostly due to my “Southron” upbringing. But even my tendency to politeness has a limit!

I have been getting a lot (10+) robocalls per day — I think mostly due to the coming end of open season on health care options and my age. At one time, the caller ID showed a legitimate company and I would answer and explain — politely — that I’m not interested in changing.

Now, however, the caller ID shows random numbers from all over the country. If I answer, there is a delay and then a foreign voice asks how I am doing and says he has some options on improved health care options. I say I am not interested and hang up.

I am trying different call-blocking options and I will see how that works, but in the meantime, I have decided to get what entertainment I can get out of the process.

My last call:

me: “Herroo” (think of Larry the Cable Guy doing one of his weird impressions)

caller: “How are you doing today”

me: “Jutht fine!”

caller: ” uhhh ok, ….. I’m calling about some options on health care we have. Do you have medicare part A or B?”

me: “Leth me go get my teefth!” Click!

Other options:

me :” let me check with my nurse”

me: ” I’m not sure, the warden takes care of that for me”

me: “I’ve never gotten a call from Mabank, Texas, before. Where is that?”

me: “I see you are from Ipava, Illinois. Do you know the Goldarnets?”

Do you get these kinds of calls? What is your response?

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I ask about thier Mom! Did they have a nice Thanksgiving? What is your favorite pie? 

    I did have one guy,  presumably from India, become very abusive.

    There is another guy who routinely calls for the FOP, or some such questionable charity,  who always starts his conversation with “Is Karen there?” Now i respond “yes, i’ll get her for you,” and yell into the ether “Karen, phone call for you” and tell him she will be right there, and lay the phone down until he hangs up. 

    • #1
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I like, “Let me go get my teeth.” Hilarious!

    I’ve told this story before, but it is my favorite interaction with a scam caller from India. 

    Scammer: “May I speak with Mrs. Chauvinist?” [in thick Indian accent]

    Me: “Speaking.”

    Scammer: “Mrs. Chauvinist, my name is Mike Smith [pronounced Mike Smeeth] and I’m calling from the IRrrrrrrS. You are being investigated for tax frrrraud.

    Me: /total deadpan: “Mike Smith. You gonna stick with that?”

    /click

    • #2
  3. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I don’t even answer my landline anymore. 

    • #3
  4. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Me: I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name?

    Me: And what is your social security number?

    Me: People have personal identity numbers from Social Security for their Social Security accounts.  What is yours?

    Me: I need to know your date of birth, social security number, full name, and current address.  This is how we do legitimate business.

    I have actually used this, but only once has it gotten through to the end before he/she hangs up.

    • #4
  5. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Randall is actually my middle name, so I know that anyone calling and asking for William is looking for money.  I usually just say “Williams’s not here.”

    • #5
  6. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I have a friend who is about 4′-10″ tall. Back when she was in her 20s and had three children, the sales person at the door when she answered asked if her mother was at home and she simply said “No” and closed the door. I know it’s not a call, but along the same lines.

    Me, I often answer Ola, como estas?  If they continue in English, I say No comprendo.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I have a friend who is about 4′-10″ tall. Back when she was in her 20s and had three children, the sales person at the door when she answered asked if her mother was at home and she simply said “No” and closed the door. I know it’s not a call, but along the same lines.

    Me, I often answer Ola, como estas? If they continue in English, I say No comprendo.

    I used to answer, Bueno Dia! and, like counting the seconds from the lightning to the thunder, try to figure out how far down the script they have to look.

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Yep, we get ’em all the time, and I never answer, ever.  Why waste my time?

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Most of the ones I get seem to be computerized, so I just hang up. We have an answering machine on the home line and caller ID, so we can see the numbers are bogus. My business line, on the other hand, just has a very generic phone that does not have caller ID capabilities. (The line does, the phone does not.) A few years back when we finally converted from POTS to an Internet-based phone, the phone company seems to have decided to re-list things. Even though the bill comes to me, my wife is the one who logs into the system and pays it. The phone company seems to have decided to list her as being the owner of my business phone line. Now I know a call is bogus when they ask for her.

    Caller: “Is ‘Mrs. Arahant’ there?” (Using her first name, of course.)

    Me: “No, may I have your spouse’s work number so she can call you back?”

    Caller (if they don’t just hang up): “What?”

    Me: “You have called her spouse’s business. I assume you want her to reach you the same way.”

    • #9
  10. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    I get them all the time for “Frank.” Frank used to have the cell number I have now. I think his kids thought it would be a good idea to get him a cell phone, but soon discovered that he would fall for every scam call in the book. So, they took it away from him. Now I have his number. I learned a lot about Frank from the different Doctor’s offices he had appointments with. He was a widower, diabetic and had heart problems. I wasn’t surprised that a lot of the scam calls I got for Frank were for medical devices, or something the callers guaranteed medicare would pay for. Usually, I explain that Frank isn’t at this number anymore, and after doing that consistently for a few weeks, the calls would slow to nearly a stop. Then periodically they would start up again. It’s been nearly ten years, and early on I didn’t think it would go on for very long, so I didn’t ask to change the number. The call ratio over this time is around four to five Franks for every one for me. Frank passed away last year. He was in his 90s. I learned from his obituary that he was a Coast Guard veteran, he worked in a factory, and raised four fairly successful children. His death hasn’t entirely stopped the calls, and so far (and maybe out of respect), I haven’t been willing to say anything about it, like, “I’m terribly sorry, and I hate to break it to you, but Frank died of the ‘Rona. Did you know him well?”

     On the other hand, when I get a call that says that my Social Security Number has been involved in illegal activity, and I need to clear up the matter before an arrest warrant is issued for me, I do as the computer-generated voice instructs to get a live person, and then yell, “You’ll never take me alive, copper!”

    • #10
  11. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    No-Mo-Robo stops probably half of the calls I would get.  I don’t answer numbers I don’t recognize.  The other day I got a call purportedly from Egypt.  I didn’t answer, but later noticed that a voicemail had been left.  Out of curiosity, I listened and it sounded very much like Chinese.

    • #11
  12. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Coupla things:

    My cell phone seems to have been owned by an elderly priest and a middle-aged democrat woman.  The calls I get are mostly for him, andthe texts for her.  Just the same, I have Verizon blocking likely spam, and only the fast-moving auto-warranty scams seem to bust that with ease.  Still, even the leakage from there is sufficient that I never answer unknown calls, unles I am no-kidding expecting a call.  My answering machine explains that if you want me to answer or call back, either call right back, or leave a text telling me who you are.

    My mother went back to her maiden name after the Big Divorce, and she would get calls for Mr. [Maiden name].  We all loved it when she would chirp that she’s handing the phone to him and the put the receiver next to her father’s ashes.  Have at it, pal.

    I once called an uncle out of the blue, as I was stationed in the SF bay area, and he was up in wine country.  I called, the phone was picked up, and a silence ensued.  Eventually… he blew into the handset.  WWHHWW.  So I blew back into it. WWWWHHHHHWHWWWW.  I heard laughter on the other end, and he said “Hello?”  He said that anybody with the good sense to just blow back into the thing probably wasn;t selling life insurance or whatever.  That was the 1980s!  It’s not a new problem.  But it sure is worse now.

    I fellow Ricochetti (I have mentioned this before, conversation ensued a couple of months ago) is fond of asking simple math problems — what’s the square root of 36, say.  I have my own password systems for things, and from time to time they need sprucing up.  I am considering asking random callers to tell me the square root of banana.

    The elderly priest whose phone number I now have seems to have moved to a old folks’ home.  Whenever I get voice mails for him, I call back and explain what little I know.  The Democrat lady can get bent.

    • #12
  13. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I like, “Let me go get my teeth.” Hilarious!

    I’ve told this story before, but it is my favorite interaction with a scam caller from India.

    Scammer: “May I speak with Mrs. Chauvinist?” [in thick Indian accent]

    Me: “Speaking.”

    Scammer: “Mrs. Chauvinist, my name is Mike Smith [pronounced Mike Smeeth] and I’m calling from the IRrrrrrrS. You are being investigated for tax frrrraud.

    Me: /total deadpan: “Mike Smith. You gonna stick with that?”

    /click

    Our calls from India are always from “Jack”. I block every call. Amazing how many numbers Jack has.

    • #13
  14. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    JoelB (View Comment):
    Me, I often answer Ola, como estas?

    Yeah. My hubby answers all calls he doesn’t recognize with “Ahlooooo?”

    • #14
  15. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Arahant (View Comment):
    We have an answering machine on the home line and caller ID, so we can see the numbers are bogus.

    We get plenty of messages…”If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.  If you need assistance, please dial your operator.”

    I like to pick up and say nothing.  Sometimes there is a pause, and you hear the other voices in the boiler room.  Occasionally it is an actual call and the caller is very confused.

    I will never give up a land line.  Best call quality and when the SHTF it most likely will still work.  Although given how few actual calls we get, it’s a luxury.

    • #15
  16. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Some years ago while working at my computer, I got a call on my business landline:

    He: “This is Tech Support.  We’ve detected some problems with your computer, and need to access it before it completely crashes.”

    Me: “Oh, wow! Thanks for calling!  If my computer crashes, I’ll be in a world of hurt.  What do I need to do?”

    He: “First, I need to have access to your computer.  Are you familiar with TeamViewer?”

    Me: “Well, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never used it.”

    He: “Okay, the first step will be to download that program.  In your search engine, search for TeamViewer.”

    Me: “Okay, I see a place where I can download it.”

    He: “Okay, Go ahead and download it.”

    Me: (At this point I’m at my desk, back to computer) “Okay. Well what was that?  All of a sudden my screen turned all blue.  There was some writing on it, but before I could read it, my computer shut down completely.”

    He: “So the problem has gone even further than we could see on this end.  Okay, re-start the computer.”

    Me: (at my desk, doing paperwork) “Okay . . . Well, there’s that blue screen again.”

    He: “Okay, well, try again.”

    (And so it went, for 1/2 hour or 45 minutes, making slow “progress.”)

    He: “Let’s try re-opening TeamViewer, and start over.  What’s the ID number this time?”

    Me: (packing my briefcase, checking my email before leaving the office) “Okay, it’s 5437739843.”

    He: “It still isn’t coming up.  Let’s try again,”

    Me: “Well, I have to go now.”

    He: “What? What about your computer?”

    Me: “Oh, it’s fine.”

    (Whereupon he spoke to me in the most unpleasant, elevated tones, addressing me in ways that truly upset my delicate ears.  I laughed until he hung up in a most impolite manner.)

    • #16
  17. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    You can ask the caller what his caste is. The question will not be welcome. But you can give it a try.

    The caller on whom I tried it was infuriated. Maybe I should’ve hastened to add, “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

    • #17
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    We don’t answer, but look to see if they leave a voicemail.  They don’t, 95% of the time.  But when they do, it’s usually for an extended car warranty.  I do get snail mail spam about Mediscare suppliments though . . .

    • #18
  19. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    On the other hand, when I get a call that says that my Social Security Number has been involved in illegal activity, and I need to clear up the matter before an arrest warrant is issued for me, I do as the computer-generated voice instructs to get a live person, and then yell, “You’ll never take me alive, copper!”

    A few years back I got a call.

    Him: I am with the US Dept. of the IRS.

    Me: I’m glad you called. You guys owe me money.

    Him: Click

    A minute later I get a call, robotic recording: The sheriff has a warrant for your arrest.

    • #19
  20. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    When we lived in Las Vegas, I was rarely at home during the day.  So when Mrs. QuietPI had a caller ask to speak to “the man of the house,” she said, “Of Course.”  And handed the phone to our very articulate 2-year-0ld son.

    A few years ago, Mrs. QuietPI started receiving calls from a pharmacy in India, insisting that she had a prescription for Soma (An analgesic, prescribed mainly for lower back pain).  Her denials were to no avail, so she would engage the solicitor in long conversations: “What part of India are you from?” “What’s the weather like now?” “Do you have children ?”  On and on for an hour or more, before confirming that she was not going to order any Soma, and the calls always ended on a pleasant note.

    The calls continued every few months for at least a year or two.  Finally, she said that she didn’t need any Soma, but she did need some oxycontin.  Immediately the nice lady transferred the call to a supervisor.  He took her request, then put her on hold for a while.  When he came back, he said, oh, we can’t do that!  It’s a vey dangerous drug!  The calls ended soon after.

    Too bad, really.  Mrs. QuietPI was having fun with them.

    • #20
  21. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Stad (View Comment):

    I do get snail mail spam about Mediscare suppliments though . . .

    Us too. Can it really be worth all the paper and postage these companies spend to try and get us to change from what we already have. Surely they should be able to limit their mailings to Medicare newbies.

    I just wish Joe Montana would retire from shilling for Medicare Advantage programs. I’m thinking he had to take TV Commercial Gesturing 101 to learn all those smooth moves.

     

    • #21
  22. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word. Who ever thought that the end-point of the Telephone would be ubiquitous devices in everyone’s pocket that no one answers?

    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something. 

     

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word.

    If my second Jack the Magicless novel ever sees the light of day, I think you’ll appreciate it.

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something.

    I wrote about that, too:

    https://ricochet.com/1062617/never-say-yes-to-strangers-and-other-scam-hacks/

    • #23
  24. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word. Who ever thought that the end-point of the Telephone would be ubiquitous devices in everyone’s pocket that no one answers?

    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something.

    Always answer a yes/no question with a declarative sentence (“I can hear you okay”) vice a yes or no.  If you are inclined to answer at all.

    • #24
  25. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Arahant (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word.

    If my second Jack the Magicless novel ever sees the light of day, I think you’ll appreciate it.

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something.

    I wrote about that, too:

    https://ricochet.com/1062617/never-say-yes-to-strangers-and-other-scam-hacks/

    I remember that!

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    BDB (View Comment):
    I remember that!

    It’s almost as if you were there, right in the first comment!

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    BDB (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word. Who ever thought that the end-point of the Telephone would be ubiquitous devices in everyone’s pocket that no one answers?

    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something.

    Always answer a yes/no question with a declarative sentence (“I can hear you okay”) vice a yes or no. If you are inclined to answer at all.

    Since filling up my Blocked Caller numbers, I give them the “##” and hang up.

    • #27
  28. Bryan Van Blaricom Member
    Bryan Van Blaricom
    @BryanVanBlaricom

    TBA (View Comment):

    I don’t even answer my landline anymore.

    We have a landline mainly so we can call out to friends or relatives and easily share the call on extensions. Said friends and relatives are in the phone book on the phone and hence have their names displayed with a special ring tone when they call us. We answer those calls and ignore all the others. I will say that, since the phone provider updated their system, we have been getting a lot of calls from a Mr. “Potential Spam”.

    • #28
  29. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Bryan Van Blaricom (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    I don’t even answer my landline anymore.

    We have a landline mainly so we can call out to friends or relatives and easily share the call on extensions. Said friends and relatives are in the phone book on the phone and hence have their names displayed with a special ring tone when they call us. We answer those calls and ignore all the others. I will say that, since the phone provider updated their system, we have been getting a lot of calls from a Mr. “Potential Spam”.

    I hate talking on cell phones.

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I am totally on board with a Navy SEAL mission to the homes of the businessmen who run these call centers. Leave a few alive to spread the word. Who ever thought that the end-point of the Telephone would be ubiquitous devices in everyone’s pocket that no one answers?

    BTW, BOLO for robocalls that ask “can you hear me okay?” because they’re fishing for a “yes” they can repurpose to manufacture consent for something.

     

    Thank goodness they finally caught “Rachel from Card Services.”

    • #30