So you want to operate a phone scam

Working is just the worst, right? Every day you wake up, shuffle yourself out the door, and spend the next 8 or more hours doing something that isn’t watching “House of Cards” all day long. And if that wasn’t enough of a tragedy, we’re all expected to play out this wretched tableau for days at a time; in fact most of our days on Earth will contain some kind of “work.”

Isn’t there a better way? I’m so glad you asked, hypothetical and morally dubious, reader.

There is no shortage of people willing to tell you just how to get all the money with none of the work; these charlatans peddle whatever trendy tincture or tonic or phone app or low-calorie dessert they can find and hoist them upon an unsuspecting public that didn’t even know what a “goji berry” was until they found out they were going to die without drinking four glasses of goji juice a day.

These people are not to be emulated. If you spend your days chasing fad after fad you’ll never achieve the kind of financial success that only traditional entrepreneurship can offer.

And by “traditional entrepreneurship” I mean “phone scam.”

Is there a more time-honored tradition in the history of these United States than the phone scam? At least, in the post-phone period, anyway.

Now, I know nothing about how to operate a phone scam; fortunately my home has recently been the recipient of one very determined scammer’s efforts.

How determined? After returning from work on Saturday night I checked my often-neglected answering machine. Five new messages, all within a 20-minute period, all from the same caller.

Clearly, this scammer has it all figured out.

Using my scammer as a template, we can walk through the steps necessary to ensuring your financial freedom via telephonic fraud. Don’t worry, there aren’t too many steps; the last thing a potential phone scammer wants is to do a lot of “work.”

Step 1: Hamburglaring

Technically speaking, phone scams are highly illegal and punishable by incarceration and fines that put your student loan payments to shame.

So you’re going to need to look the part.

Gather a large reversible cloak (black and yellow), a Lone Ranger-style mask, a large brimmed black hat and, most importantly, a black and white horizontally striped jump suit.

I cannot stress the importance of the jump suit enough. If you’re not full-Hamburglaring by your first scam phone call you might as well throw in the towel and go get an “education” like a chump.

After your costume/uniform (costuniform) is complete, remember to surreptitiously glance over your shoulder every few minutes. That way anyone within eyesight can immediately tell that you are a high-powered criminal genius and must be taken seriously.

2: Robots = profit

With your costuniform ready the next step is getting a robot to make all the calls for you.

You didn’t think you’d have to actually sit there and dial all the numbers, then … TALK to the people on the other end? What is this, a job?

Head over to the least reputable website you know and start posting that you’re looking for an autodialer. Respond immediately to anyone that wants to set up a meeting.

The seasoned autodialer salesman will pick a safe spot for the exchange, like a police station. Don’t worry about law enforcement and agree to the meeting.

Remember what all those hippie lawyers have said for years: if they’re a cop they’re required to tell you, show up in uniform, and give you a solid 10 minute head start before any kind of “arrest” can legally occur. And hippies are never wrong about the criminal justice system.

Step 3: Script, script, script

Now comes the hardest part: writing the script for the robot.

This is your chance to be creative! Do you want to pretend the robot is some wayward grandchild requesting bail money with their only phone call? Sure, you can tap into that sweet, sweet Social Security money those greedy old people horde, but you’re limiting your pool of customer-victims.

Take a page from my scammer’s process and, instead of a familial ruse, opt for a mispronounced government agency without the proper prepositions.

My scammer elected to claim they were with “IRS” and “I owe money to IRS.” Brilliant. Since no one in the United States has ever said “IRS” without a preceding “The” you know that you’re dealing with an all-star team of international phone scammers that are collecting cash from scared citizens and mispronouncing government agencies all over the world!

Step 4: All the money

You’ve got your script, you’ve got your autodialer, you’ve been practicing your Hamburglar cape twirls and can do at least three in a row before falling down: now you’re ready to start making all the money!

But what to do once you have all the money? Your first thought may be “where can I keep all the money?”

Mattresses, coffee can in the back yard, a large sack with a dollar sign; these are all excellent choices. But to truly take that next step into the world of phone scammery, you’re going to want to keep all the money in a bank.

Won’t the bank get suspicious?

Look who thinks they’re the Pope of Phone Scams! Yes, go ahead and keep depositing the checks with “IRS” crudely drawn over to say “CASH.” The bank won’t have a problem, the police won’t have a problem, and “IRS” definitely won’t have a problem; my hippie lawyer told me so.

All that’s left to do is regularly check the bank records by showing the teller a photo ID at the same time, every day, at the same location and you’ll be gliding down easy street in no time! Working is for suckers!


Stop playing on my phone.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or