Skip to content

Scamming The Scammers

August 4, 2015

It’s hard to not overhear people’s phone calls when you work in a cube farm. Mostly we just pretend that we didn’t hear and move on. But, Steve’s call really caught my attention. 

Listen, listen, listen. I’m not at my home computer. I’m at a work computer. You wouldn’t be allowed to access this computer. When I get home I will check my home computer and see if it’s affected. . .Yes, of course, I will call you tomorrow and let you know if I have a problem. 

I was only getting half the conversatin, bu the surprising thing was that Steve is a highly skilled IT worker. Why on earth could he not recognize a scammer. And do I dare say anything? 

In addition to being a brilliant writer, my brother is a board game consultant. He plays board games, and helps promote them; games like Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Star Trek Armada and others. It’s not exactly Monopoly and Risk. 

He’s really good at the games, but he also wants to promote the hobby of board games. He will often find himself teaching a group of friends how to play a new game. At these times, he has a dilemma. If he plays to win, he will easily crush them. Losing isn’t any fun for anyone just starting to learn a game. So, my brother will intentionally play to lose. He’s playing the long game. If he can get these people hooked on board games, he’ll have helped expand the hobby. 

This strategy worked well until he was playing with a group that included a young kid named Mark. I say young kid, but Mark was probably in his early 20’s. Mark didn’t take direction well. My brother kept trying to explain strategy to the group and Mark was having none of it.

If you’re so good at this how come you haven’t won a single round? You’ve lost every single turn.

Let’s just you and me play.

It wasn’t pretty. 

When I managed a team of engineers, I worked very hard to make sure that they didn’t think of me as particularly technical. I talked to my project manager about it one time.

Curtis, what would you guess my major was in college? 

I don’t know. . Political Science? Maybe English? 

I was a Computer Science major.

Really? I would have never guess that.

It was important for my engineers to not feel threatened by me. I wanted them to think they were the experts, because in reality, they were. And by, at times, playing the dumb manager, I was able to drill down on issues to a level that surprised people. It helped me to evaluate the engineers’ recommendations. 

And in a sense that’s what Steve was doing. 

I didn’t mean to overhear, but that sounded a lot like a scammer.

Oh yeah. Absolutely it was a scammer.

Well then, what was your side of the conversation about? 

I just like to mess with them. I once had one of them going for over two hours before he got frustrated and hung up. I asked them to put me on their do not call list, but they still call me. I figure I might as well have some fun with them if I have to talk to them anyway. 

Next time my brother’s in town I’m going to introduce him to Steve. they have lots in common. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply