Called by the FBI

Given the quiet life I lead I found this surprising, but according to the caller The FBI were about to issue a warrant for my arrest. However, if I contacted a law firm – Walsh & Peters LLP (number supplied) – then they could act on my behalf and, presumably, spare me the risk of an orange jump suit and shackles.

This was a strange call. Firstly I live in the YUK, where the FBI’s writ does not run. Secondly, the message was recorded, so the sender had no way of knowing who would pick up the phone. It might have been a visiting five-year-old or our resident baboon, Bernard.

Let us assume Bernard takes the call. Are they really telling a baboon that the FBI has a warrant out for his arrest? I don’t think so.

Either this was a nuisance call or scam. I suspect the latter, and whoever answered at ‘Walsh and Peters’ would attempt to reel the target in by extracting information from him which they could then use – for example, to drain money from his bank account.

Given that the incoming number was 01196, suspicious in itself, and also that the caller’s command of English left something to be desired, it amazes me they thought they could bring this off with anyone. Even a baboon.

Two scams in one day

The first was from someone who claimed to like my work because of its ‘snappy dialogue’. The message was fairly long but generic in that it could have been sent to any author of fiction – unless there are some who don’t use dialogue at all. While laudatory in tone it was entirely lacking in specifics.

A little research brought out several things, but the most notable were that an author who wrote only in French had received this message, as had a man who didn’t write fiction of any sort. Producing snappy dialogue when you don’t write is quite an achievement.

How had the sender found me? Through Goodreads where, it turned out, he had read nothing, reviewed nothing, rated nothing and had no friends. Since mentioning all this on a Goodreads group I find his account has been deleted.

Why had Emmett Moten (a real name, but not the real name of the sender) bothered to do this? What was his game? He was directing authors to a website which would publicise/market their work. Only quality writers like us need apply. At some point down the line money would change hands.

Hi Roderick Hart.

I just want to say hi and introduce myself – I’m a huge fan of your books! Your dialogue is snappy and it’s like I could physically hear every word. Thank you so much for sharing your talent.

As an aspiring author myself, I thought I’d send you a quick message to share a recently discovered website specifically designed for authors to increase the sales of our books. I’ve personally tried what’s offered on that website for the last month and honestly, I was blown away with the results I got! I love your work and admire you as an author, I want more people to experience your books! Everyone deserves to hear your stories so I’m excited to share this website as friendly act of kindness.

You can find it here: http://goo.gl/Wkt2Fy. This website features only the absolute best products for independent authors and publishers.

I want quality work to receive the audience it deserves – nowadays it’s so hard to increase sales. P.S. I assure you – I’m not affiliated with this website in any way. Good luck, Roderick Hart!

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Enjoy!

The second scam came in a phone call. The caller said his name was William. While there may be some gentlemen in the Indian sub-continent called William, I’m fairly sure he wasn’t one of them. According to him, I had been mis-sold insurance with my credit card or, failing that, a loan I had taken out. He could reclaim this on my behalf.

Firstly, I hadn’t been mis-sold insurance and secondly, even if I had been I could have reclaimed the money myself without paying him to do it for me.

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