Ring, ring. [abridged office phone call - actual lasted about 20 minutes]
Gaelic: This is Gaelic.
Caller: Hi, Miss Gaelic. This is Marcus Brown. I'm calling to tell you that you won three five five million dollars.
Gaelic: [mental alarms going off]
MB: We want to deliver the check to you today. Can I have your address?
G: Do you know who you're calling?
MB: Yes. Miss Gaelic. What is your address?
G: [decides to play along] U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC.
MB: I'm sorry. That's not a valid address.
G: Try this. One one zero zero Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515.
MB: Our company will pay 99% of the tax bill. You just have to pay 1% of the tax bill.
G: Oh, really?
MB: Just send a money order to Courtney Evans, Brownstown, JAWI, St. Ann. As soon as the check is deposited I'll call you back.
G: Do you know where you're calling?
MB: Yes. Miss Gaelic. I'll call you back as soon as the check is deposited.
G: Okay, but before I go I just wanted to make sure you know who you're talking to. I work for the United States government and I've had you on the phone long enough to have this call traced.
MB: [dial tone - he hung up]
Dial, dial, dial.
Committee Staff: Financial Services Committee. How may I help you?
G: [explains preceding phone call]
CS: Just a minute. We have a Secret Service agent detailed to the committee. Let me get him.
Secret Service Agent: Can you give me all the details you have?
G: [repeats story to SSA complete with notes taken during phone call]
SSA: [finds the phone number registered as a cell phone in Sarasota, FL]
SSA: It's probably a Nigerian scam that wires the money through Jamaica.
G: But he called on my office phone.
SSA: It's probably some sweat shop where they're going down a list of numbers.
SSA: [finds address that I gave him in, wait for it... Jamaica]
SSA: There are one-star generals who have lost thousands of dollars in scams like this. It's a good thing you were smart enough not to get hooked.
G: [thinking to self - If I won $355,000,000, I don't think they'd be asking for 1% in taxes. And besides, don't people watch TV, read the paper, or listen to the radio to know about these scams?]
Just in case you didn't know about these scams or you assumed they would never call you, think again. They're out there. And you've been warned.
Oh, and if you ever do get one of these calls, take copious notes and let me know. I'll put you in touch with a really nice Secret Service agent who'll send the report to Headquarters.
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