Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Scam’

On the scale of 1 to gullible I give myself a 3 or 4. I can usually sniff out bullshit pretty well and just ignore it. This is a story about almost being taken.

I had arrived at work just in time to be asked about a situation the day before involving a cross-eyed German guy and a t-shirt. After being told to never ask someone to explain a sensor laying in a fitting room again, I let my boss take a break and begin to start my day. The phone rings.

“Overpriced clothes for Douchebags, This is Matt”

“Yes Hi is this Matt Shanknasty?”

My back stiffened. You see I’m the only Matt working there. Well there’s another but he works less than Andy in the last two minutes. No reason to use last names. This can’t be good.

“Yes what can I do for you?” “Well my name is Christy and I’m calling from (some credit collection agency whose name I missed) in regards to your federal student loans”

Calling at work will get anybody’s attention. She continued.

“You’re aware you are in Federal default currently on the amount of ten thousand dollars?”

“Federal default? Is that like double secret probation?” “What?” “Nevermind, go ahead.”

Well she goes on to say that they don’t have up to date information for me and were only able to contact me ON A NUMBER THAT I’VE NEVER PUT ON ANY APPLICATION FOR A LOAN EVER. At this point I should have given my cell phone number and ended the conversation but it was just after 2pm on a tuesday at the mall. What else did I have to do?

She goes through the standard anal probe of my finances, starting with my monthly take home pay and subtracting out expenses to arrive at a residual income figure. Presumably to figure out how much she could take me for. But right around the time we’re starting to haggle on a monthly payment things started to take a turn for the bullshit.

“Now in order to get involved in the program, you have to put down a down payment and make the agreed upon payments for 9 months. After that we’ll stop compounding interest per day, which is about $1.30 per day, and refund collections costs, which are around $2,000.”

$3,650. That was the down payment she chucked out. So heavy I’m surprised it fit into the phone line. Who the hell would have that and not be able to make payments I wondered. (sidenote: $3,600 is a years worth of $300 payments, my guess is the extra $50 were for lapdances)

The conversation doesn’t get much farther after that and I make her assure me she will not contact me at work again. She asks me not to talk down to her. I hang up.

A few hours later I leave for my hour lunch and check my phone. Voicemail from Chrissy. She’s left a number to call and a “reference number” with a letter and numbers attached. This scam is involved.

I call the number, say that I received a call and give my reference number.

“Please verify your social security number” “I just gave you a reference number, verify that”

“Verify your date of birth then” I did it. I figure the worst they can do is send me a card.

I tell her I spoke with Chrissy and we were trying to figure out a payment plan to get my loans out of default.

“You mean you spoke with Christy, I’m Chrissy” “Sure if you say so.” “Ok sir well the total balance of this loan is due and the U.S. Department of Education would like to offer you terms to pay off this loan. This is only being done as a courtesy. If you decide to let these loans lapse further, you’re looking at a 15% wage garnishment and a deliquency mark on your credit report. Now I have some terms I’d like to discuss with you if you’d like” “Yeah sure go ahead” “Ok so with a down payment of $1,800 you’re looking at payments of $249 or with a zero down payment you’d have payments of $300.” “Ok so you’ve got me bent over with a gun to my head here” “Sir you agreed to take these loans out and you have a responsibility to pay them…” I cut her off. “Don’t lecture me on responsibility, I have parents for that. And those terms aren’t going to work for me. What else ya got?” “Hold on”

She puts me on hold and I put the phone to the side and start going through my accounts in my head. Then as I’m taking another bite my mind wanders. I look at the radio as I’m sitting in my car but realize its off. No way. There was a ton of static and the audio was really low quality but it seemed to fit the music being played…

I’m trying to place the song as she clicks back on. “I just spoke with my supervisor and our client will accept a down payment of $518 with a monthly payment of $109.” “Well now you’re in the ballpark. Is this the kind of offer that expires when I hang up the phone or can I think about it” “The end of this phone call without an agreement to pay constitutes non-compliance and all deals would be void” “So now I’m bent over, theres a gun to my head AND a ticking clock. I was worried this was going to be high pressure. Sure, what the hell. Let’s do it. Game on”

With that she puts me on hold again. No music this time and I’m disappointed. When the line comes alive again I’m told its Christy on the other end and she’s ready to fax me a contract, help find me a fax machine (“Staples, Kinkos many places have fax machines”) and take my bank account and routing number over the phone. “Well I don’t have that information on me right now.” “Well do you know your bank account number, I can look up the routing number for you” “No I don’t know it off the top of my head”

That’s what saved me. Having direct deposit prevents me from writing a deposit slip for my check every other Friday and so its not a number I have memorized.  She tells me that I have to call back with the info by 10am tomorrow or they’ll take my first born or something. I hang up, finish eating, and remember that the address they kept asking me to verify was my dads. I call and ask if there had been any mail sent there he had forgotten to give me. I explain why I’m asking. “Its a scam son, don’t call them again” I curse the fact that I almost fell for it and go back to work. I had to hand it to them though. Calling me at work, using an official tone and all, very professional. There was just one problem: No collections agency has “Houses of the Holy” as hold music.

Read Full Post »