You’ve probably encountered the “familiar scammer” from an online friend before. Maybe they left their Facebook open or had their account compromised, and some scumbag decided to hit up a random person from their friend’s list (in this instance, you) with a sob story that they were stuck in a foreign country and needed some money fast.
These kinds of little schemes are usually easy to spot if you just ask the person a few questions.
But some people, understandably, want to help their “friend” out and sometimes fork over their hard-earned cash, even if the person on the other end has some weird ways of receiving that money, like through Western Union or, suspiciously enough, in the form of a gift card.
Gift card scams are a legitimate problem and dirty rotten scammers opt for them over cash and they’re usually more difficult to trace.
So how does one deal with one of these scammers? Some people create all sorts of funny and time-consuming ways to deal with these nerds. Like our hero here who received a text from someone who was clearly trying to get some money from them using the lamest way possible: by saying that they were their “neighbor” and needed help.
Seriously, that’s the best you can come up with? Instead of just blocking the number and going about their day, our imperious Troll decided to have some fun.
They immediately played along with the plot and crafted an entire story around their neighbor and a fictitious barbecue that they both agreed they wouldn’t attend.
The scammer does an awful job of trying to keep up appearances, but our Troll-friend doesn’t pay that any mind, they keep the hilarity going.
They even managed to riff off of the scammer’s lies about a “flat” tire and kept the joke going, until it was clear that the scammer wasn’t interested in playing the game any longer.
That didn’t phase the Troll who still persisted with the joke, until the scammer had enough and begged the person to stop. Props to the Troll who wouldn’t break kayfabe, however, and kept the act going until the very end, even giving a nice little send off to the scammer without ever breaking character.
If you’ve ever wondered how a scammer could get your phone number to text you their little schemes, it turns out it’s actually not that difficult to pull off.
Former CIA officer and writer of the book, Agent of Influence, Jason Hanson has said that “Every time we sign up for an app, or [use our phone number] on social media, or we buy a product, you have no idea who’s sharing that data. Most people have no idea how much data is attached to each of our phone numbers.”
He adds that the second an individual gets a hold of our personal cell phone numbers, then a variety of other different information can be obtained by simply inputting that phone number into a search engine. Go ahead, try your own right now.
Were you surprised by what you found? Thankfully, major smartphone operating systems, like Android’s stock messaging app will allow you to blow and report spam and it’s gotten better at predicting spam artists, like Gmail, and ensuring those numbers never get through. Other apps like Truecaller had provided similar functionality for years.