Two weeks ago NPR ran a story saying it is a myth that the crime rate increases when the economy sours. They used colorful examples from the depression and the Bonnie and Clyde era, arguing that crime did not soar and it was all just an American fabrication. I was driving to work at the time and recall thinking: lies. Because NPR wasn’t differentiating between violent crime, white collar or other non-violent crimes.
Just because people aren’t knocking off banks or each other at a high rate during economic downturns doesn’t mean that crime isn’t happening. People are just getting smarter about how they commit crimes. Nowadays, you don’t need a gun to rob someone anymore. You just need a computer and their credit card information.
For the record, let me say that I hate always being right. Because two hours later my bank was on the phone saying that my card information had been stolen from my own ATM and they were shutting down my account. I just got my new card in the mail and am now afraid to actually use it. And for the past two days I have received phone calls from a random 866 number. The callers never leave a message. And they always seem to call in the most inconvenient of times – while I am standing in line for coffee, merging onto the expressway on ramp, etc.
Growing up, my mom taught me that if a call was important the person on the other end would leave a message. I adhere to this philosophy to this day. However, I was now fully annoyed by the latest call so I decided to conduct an investigation on my own.
I Googled the number and found that several other folks have been contacted in the past few days. All were l0oking for answers. So I visited a few more sites – I recommend www.whocallsme.com– and discovered that the number was from a fake collection agency. They are after your name and social security number. People warned not to give these low lifes any information over the phone.
So I called them from another number.
LADY CRIMINAL: Hello? [sounds as if she is chewing gum.]
ME: Hi, who is this?
LADY CRIMINAL: Who is this?
ME: I have received several phone calls from this number and no one ever leaves a message. Who is this?
LADY CRIMINAL: [growing impatient.] What is your name?
ME: No, what business is this? You people never leave me a message.
LADY CRIMINAL: This is Mrs. Turner. What’s your name?
ME: What business is this?
LADY CRIMINAL: We do a lot of things here.
ME: I bet you do.
LADY CRIMINAL: [Hangs up on me.]
So, I am calling an all out war on Mrs. Turner and her fake collection agency. I am calling her every hour on the hour to harass her and her associates. Will my little scheme work? Unlikely. Will it prevent others from being scammed? Probably not. Will it give me satisfaction to annoy person on the other end? You bet.