Another Scam

Another scam call today:
Indian accent as well.

Number from Farmingdale, NY rings on my phone. Not totally out of the realm of credibility, so I pick up.

ROB: Hello?

INDIAN ACCENT: Am I talking to Mr. Pagnani? (with incorrect pronunciation)

ROB: Mr. Pagnani (with correct pronunciation emphasized) Yes.

INDIAN ACCENT: Mr. Robert Pagnani? (incorrectly pronounced)

ROB: Yes. That’s Pagnani (correctly pronounced)

INDIAN ACCENT: Mr. Robert Louis Pagnani? (incorrect pronuciation again, but I let it slide)

ROB: Yes


ROB: Yes, what do you want?

INDIAN ACCENT: This is an urgent communication. This is the support department at Windows. Your PC is corrupted.

ROB: You are with windows?

INDIAN ACCENT: Yes. And your PC is corrupted?


INDIAN ACCENT: We need some information. Somebody has been trying to access your credit card through your Windows.

ROB: You mean somebody opened my window, walked into my home, and took my credit card? That’s kinda hard. I live on the 3rd floor. What did he have, a ladder?

INDIAN ACCENT: No no, through your PC. We need your credit card number.

ROB: You know, I don’t have a PC.


ROB: I have a mac.

INDIAN ACCENT: But we need your credit card number.

ROB: You’re not even trying. No!

INDIAN ACCENT: No? You won’t give me….?

ROB: No. I know what you are doing…..

INDIAN ACCENT { hangs up}

Will whoever keeps sicking these incompetent crooks on my wife and I please stop. This is the second in a matter of days. They’re a joke, but the joke has gotten stale!


IRS Scam, Part I

MARY: I got this voicemail that I am being sued by the IRS
ROB: Nah. Scam. Let me listen to it.
VOICEMAIL: This is to advise you that you are being sued by the IRS. Call (###-###-####) to make payment arrangements.
ROB: Scam. Don’t worry about it.
MARY: Are you sure.
ROB: Yes, I’m sure. If you owed the IRS money at all, you’d get a series of scary letters, then registered mail. They wouldn’t leave you a voicemail that says “We’re suing you”. They also wouldn’t be calling you from a cell phone in Gainesville, Florida.
MARY: I got that voicemail again.
ROB: I’m going to call them, just for fun!
MARY: Why?
ROB: Just to mess with them.
[Calls number, phone rings once]
INDIAN ACCENT: Good afternoon, Internal Revenue Service.
ROB: Hello, my wife got two voicemails saying you were suing her.
INDIAN ACCENT: Yes. It is a very serious matter. We can settle this now with credit card number.
ROB: Ha ha. Yeah right.
INDIAN ACCENT: You are being sued!
ROB: And you are not the IRS.
INDIAN ACCENT: Yes we are. And this call is, uh, being taped.
ROB: Oh, that’s good, because you are a scam!
INDIAN ACCENT: No we are not, we are the IRS.
ROB: Sure you are. Scam artist.
ROB: You are calling from a cell phone in Gainesville, Florida.
INDIAN ACCENT: Where did you learn that?
ROB: Idiot. I’ve already reported you to the Feds. You’ll be getting a little visit from the FBI.
INDIAN ACCENT: [hangs up]
ROB: [calls back, phone rings once]
INDIAN ACCENT: Good afternoon, IRS
ROB: Yeah, It’s me again. We were talking a few minutes ago and you hung up. I’m not done with you.
ROB: You are a persistent little bugger. First off, stop calling my wife. I already have the FBI on you. Do you want me to call the Gainesville cops, too? Do you want to get carted off to jail? Because I am recording this call and I will turn this recording over to the local and national police departments, and they will send a SWAT team to your door! They are already well aware of what you are doing!
Of course, you can pay the fine right here over the phone, if you have a credit card. I’ll also take cash. Nearest Motel 6, twenty minutes. Brown paper bag. Unmarked bills. Fifties and Hundreds. Or the FBI will….
INDIAN ACCENT: [hangs up}
Had a good laugh and I told Mary. She also had a good laugh.
Waiting for him to call again, and I’ll have more fun!

You Have Not Really Lived In New York Until…

It occurred to me that I have been living here in Manhattan since 2003. I’ve seen friends come and go, and then come back. Made me start thinking what you need to complete your residency in New York City. In other words, you haven’t really lived here until you have to your credit:

1: A Shitty Apartment Story:
Preferably a place you, personally, lived, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a friend’s apartment, too, as long as you spent a significant amount of time there.
It has to be perfectly wretched, considered a barely habitable slum anywhere else in the US.
Some good elements might include:
A: A rodent problem. Even better they are large and you can hear them in the walls. Better yet if they are smart and aggressive.
B: An insect problem. Bonus points if extermination is a Sisyphean task.
C: Plumbing problems, especially ones that require you to be creative in your day to day ablutions.
E: Electrical Problems, even better if it results in a shock or electric fire.
F: Illegal activity in the common areas or neighboring apartment.
G: Roommates from hell.
H: Your creative solution to a physical problem. Stories of MacGyvery.
I: A psychotic landlord/manager
J: A shifty or useless super
K: A colorful description of how utterly filthy, gritty, grimy, dark, grim, redolent and horrid it was.
L: Nostalgia about how much you loved the place.

2: A Gross Grocery Store Story:
This story CANNOT include a national chain, not that NYC has many of those. To wit: No Shop Rite, No Stop & Shop, No Food Emporium, No Trader Joes (how could you find fault with TJs anyway?), and absolutely, positively NO WHOLE FOODS!
The one exception to this rule is C-Town, because they’re they’re inherently crappy in or out of NYC.
Associated, Dagostino, or Gristedes reluctantly tolerated.
Of course you can use the bodega on the corner!
Some good elements might include:
A: Grossly marked up prices on substandard products.
B: Grimy, grubby, pestillential and filthy conditions.
C: Long expired food. Bonus points if it is meat or dairy.
D: Rusty, rickety, poorly aligned, mismatched shopping carts “borrowed” from other grocery stores. Bonus points if it has a big, orange Home Depot Cart (especially if the nearest Home Depot is seven miles away and across a bridge)
E: A paranoid owner/manager.
F: A mangy mascot (dog, cat, or goat) wandering around the store.
G: An intoxicated bum who wanders around the store and constantly shakes customers down for handouts.
H: A robbery.
I: How you complained bitterly about the store, yet continued to shop there.

3: A Bum/Pervert Story:
This story cannot be about someone who is simply homeless/down on their luck. It cannot be simply about panhandling. It has to evoke disgust, not pity.
This has to be about someone who is doing something so socially unacceptable or disgusting it warrants a story.
Some good elements might include:
A: Perverted behavior: Flashing, groping, indecent exposure. Can run the gamut from amusingly gross to downright creepy.
B: Creating unsanitary conditions with no regard to modesty or decorum.
C: Inappropriate conversations either with you, someone else, or an imaginary being.
D: Either drunk or sober.

4: A Job From Hell Story:
This can’t simply be a story about a job you would rather not be doing in favor of a job you wish you had. The world is full of those. This job has to be about a job so bizarrely awful that “Dear Lord, what have I gotten Myself Into?” is your mantra every day at work.
Good elements may include:
A: An insane, abusive or sociopathic boss.
B: Obnoxious, insufferable, creepy, obtuse or just plain weird co-workers. Bonus points for crackpot conspiracy theorists, brown-nosers, or lunch thieves. Extra bonus points for stories of embezzlement, or revenge.
C: Your bafflingly horrible tasks and duties or your disgusting work environment.
D: A colorful description of your last day. Bonus points if you got fired, or told them to take the job and shove it.

5: A NYC Disaster Story:
NYC is pretty well prepared for a lot of things, but every now and then the city gets blindsided. Recently we’ve had Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and a few pretty intense blizzards. We had the transit strike of 2006. We had the Blackout of 2003. Good rule of thumb is if it has a name or title: e.g. “Hurricane Sandy” or the “2003 Blackout”, it is good fodder for a story.
Good elements may include:
A: What you were doing when it went down.
B: How it affected you. Did you lose power? Were you stranded? How long? Where were you inte city?
D: How you coped. Did you have to light candles? Sternos? Get creative with food? Hunt rats?
E: How you spent your affected days? Did you get drunk? Hole up and play games? Have sex? Socialize?
G: Were you able to help someone else? How you helped them?
H: Did you make a friend? Start a relationship? Conceive a child?

6: Some bonus things may be:
A: A date from hell story
B: Wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but a getting mugged story.
C: A stranded story: How you were stuck at point A, needed to get to point B and couldn’t.
D: A story about how you met your love.
E: A story about how you got your drunk friend home, or how a friend got drunken you home.
F: A story so bizarre and off-the-wall everybody thinks you made it up.