If you heard the phone while out at the washing line and ran in, tripping over the cat, hands cold and damp and just missed the call, it felt like a sliding door to a parallel universe had just closed. Or they might have called back later and the path to destiny resumed. But supposing they didn’t?
The best missed call was the one you never knew you missed: When you were out and the phone rang away in the silent house. Your mind was untroubled by the different trajectory your life might have taken.
Now you at least know who calls you or their number.
The most recent missed call was a variation of one we all got last week. I saw it. ‘00235 something something’ said the number on my phone.
At first I thought “025 maybe it’s from Clonakilty or Bandon”, and my mind raced through the possibilities of what work I might get down there. A Tip for Scammers: If you want to get a higher rate of return on scam phone calls, target freelance people. There’s a high likelihood that we will return any call in case it might be work.
Even returning a call to a Chadian premium line might still cost less than taking on work for which there wasn’t a budget “but had great exposure”.
Chad: That’s where my Wangiri came from. Wangiri means one-cut in Japanese — clearly a Wexford dialect of Japanese. The scammer rings you and then hangs up so it doesn’t cost them anything. You ring back hoping to get some work in Bandon but instead you are charged more per minute than those numbers advertising singles who are active in your area.
If nothing else, these total Wangiri introduced Irish people to countries all over the world they may not have been aware of. I hadn’t thought about Chad (the North African country, not a Yank wearing chinos with vaguely racist beliefs) in a while and now there I was googling away. Chad has it hard. It’s half-covered in desert, it’s poor and it is surrounded by failed states. The factfile.org website gamely tries to stay upbeat with its
53 interesting facts about Chad. But you know life is not a picnic there when the section “Fun facts about Chad for kids” includes such party-starters as “Chad has ample supplies of uranium”.
Other than learning fun facts though, the calls can reinforce the feeling that EVERYWHERE WE TURN SOME B*LL*X IS TRYING TO DEFRAUD US. During the same week, it was claimed that every wifi connection in the world is hackable because of an innate flaw in the WPA2 protocol.
No I don’t understand WPA2 protocol either but think of it like finding out that every car boot in the world has another key hole and if you just put a particular trolley coin into it you can steal away groceries to your heart’s content. The worst thing about all these frauds is they’re so faceless. At least with the Indian fellas ringing you up telling you there was a virus on your computer, there was a human connection. You could chat away to them, admittedly making them more and more angry.
And maybe there was a virus on the computer. Especially after you had been telling Norton/McAfee/Symantec to FECK OFF AND STOP BEING SO PUSHY. I JUST WANT TO CHECK THE LOTTO NUMBERS. But even those humans seem to be cut out of the loop. Automation is going too far when even fraudsters are out of a job. Thankfully there’s still a bit of artisan fraud going on: Irish banks scamming their customers out of tracker mortgages. Home-grown, individually crafted thievery; they missed their calling.