"Paranoia, the destroyer"
-- The Kinks
Crap. Crap. Crap.
I get home from a day out to find an urgent message on my machine - a request to speak with a name that sort of sounds like mine but clearly isn't, her first name, a non-toll-free phone number, and an emphasis on the importance of a call back.
Now, 95% of the time my phone rings, it's a telemarketer. I stopped answering my phone years ago. My message used to give explicit instructions for removal from phone lists, no telemarketing, and such; and telemarketing companies used to not leave messages. Of course, a lot of that has changed, so I'm used to coming home to all sorts of pitches and gimmicks to get me to call someone.
This woman definitely sounded upset, if not a little panicked. But why not a last name? Why not a hint as to what is so important?
This certainly smells like a scam. But her voice... and a non-toll-free number? And every telemarketer from here to Paraguay knows my name. A web search is in order.
Reverse lookup, of course. And, of course, it can't be found. Well, no surprise there. I've never been able to find something through reverse lookup. But I can at least find out where the area code maps to.
San Angelo, Texas.
Oh, shit. There are people in San Angelo who would have a legitimate need to contact me. But one of San Angelos's largest employers does telemarketing.
Now what do I do?
Well, I keep plugging the phone number into every reverse lookup service I can find. I plug in the number mod 10, 100, and 1000, to see if perhaps this was a private number hanging off a corporate block. No joy.
On the one hand, that's good. If it were a hospital or something, I would have expected a hit. Of course, I would have expected that on the message as well.
Now I'm getting pissed. Pissed at society, when I can't even discern whether or not a personal emergency is occuring because of today's telemarketing tactics. Pissed at this person, if she is a telemarketer, for stooping to such tactics.
I'm scared and furious. The easiest thing would be to call the number (I've got free minutes to use), collect as much information on who's at the other end, and file a neverending stream of complaints against them. But I've been sufficiently scared by enough reports of people doing that and still being tricked into thousands of dollars worth of scams. Perhaps they're collecting phone numbers of everyone who calls back. I don't know. Paranoia will destroy ya.
Besides, if it's that important, she'll call back, right?
Googling for the phone number outright produced nothing. The phone call was made ten hours ago, so if it is marketing, she's probably off shift. I'll call. Chances are, I'll get some sort of indication of who I'm talking to long before a person actually picks up, anyway.
Voice mail. Personal voice mail, most likely for a business, as she gives her full name. No other information given. I hang up.
Back to Google. Who is this person? What, if anything, has happened? Still no results. Oh, well. That rarely works, either.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
[Edited to fix lyrics.]