My home phone goes off at 1230 am this morning. I stumble out of bed and answer it as it will either be something really important or the drunk Hungarian girl who called from Strasbourg earlier that day.
It is neither. It is someone called Rev Jones calling about my e-mail. He does not have great English and I am half asleep so it takes me a while to comprehend. I don’t know what e-mail he is talking about, and say so. He repeats his name and I say I really don’t recall an e-mail and anyway it is past midnight so can this wait until tomorrow.
He remains insistent, and finally he says something about the $5 million money transfer. It slowly dawns on me he is a (probably) Nigerian scamster. Hell – I didn’t know they were now calling random people to try and con them.
I politely but firmly tell him that I have never e-mailed him and that he is either mistaken or someone else contacted him. I tell him I am going to hang up now and being unfailingly polite I even say I regret if there has been any confusion.
Ten minutes later the phone rings again. I ignore it. He phones back ten more times over the next half hour. Finally I go stick the fax machine in, hoping a loud buzzing will drive him off. Sadly, the fax is too smart for my own good and won’t pick up on a phone call. So instead I just take the phone off the hook.
Around half an hour later – close to 1.30 am now, and my mobile phone goes. I reach over for the phone (which I keep next to the bed in case Andrew Williams is texting) and I see the number is an international one, starting with +234.
I ponder briefly. It might be the Hungarian girl. She did call on my cellphone. But the timing is suspicious so I turn my cellphone off. I check on the iPad what country +234 is from, and what a surprise – it is Nigeria.
So far, he has not called back again. If he does I will just transfer him to the talking clock or something.
I feel a bit sorry for the little old ladies who fall for these scams. This guy was very very persistent. I also slightly regret that I did not try and have some fun with him – such as ask him to send me a photo of him holding up a sign saying “Nigeria is sad that Chris Carter is yet to visit us”. If the call had been during the day I might have been quick enough.
But I also reflect that someone out there must have forged an e-mail from me to this guy, giving him my home phone and mobile phone numbers. Unless it was one of my mates, this irritates me somewhat.