6.1 How To Tell That It’s A Scam

I never thought I’d get hit, so fast, so soon.

But early this afternoon, I woke up to the horrendous ring produced by my room’s telephone. It was an automated machine telling me I’ve got someone from the post office who needs to deliver an urgent package. So I patched him through.

He asked my name and “looked up” the package. He said that through their “scanning technology” they were able to decipher what the document was about. Apparently, it was a bank notification for a credit card in my name from the city of Kunming (which I have never set foot into) that got charged more than eight thousand yuan.

I freaked out.

My mind was still naive and gullible. This guy seemed pretty legit, especially since he was very well-mannered and had good customer service.

So I told him that I haven’t been in the country for long. There was no way I could have had a credit card set up in a city I’ve never been to. He was very kind. He told me that he can patch me through to the Kunming police office and told me what to report to the police officer (ie. the last 4 digits of the credit card, the location of the bank where it was set up, how much was charged, etc.)

And I let him. I ended up getting a very frustrated and annoyed police officer on the other end of the line.

Then it hit me.

This is the norm. This is what the average Chinese people doing customer service of any kind, is usually like: annoyed and impatient.

So why is the first guy so nice?

And that, ladies and gentlemen was how I realized I was being scammed.

Yes, the fact that the guy was very kind, offered to “help” me in my “personal” problem, and even went so far as to patch me through to the police, made me realized he was scamming me. A normal person working at the post office would have simply told me to pick up the package and deal with my problems on my own. They wouldn’t have even given me so much detail about what the document was about nor even given me the number of the police office in Kunming, let along patch me through to them.

So I hung up on the police officer, who by the way, was still ranting on about the bad reception of my phone, my apparent lack of knowledge on what I wanted to report, and just spewing hatred toward the world in general.

The important message here? For those of you who are in China and is reachable by phone. If the person on the other line has customer service skills comparable to the West (or at least to Canada, ie. they act sympathetic toward your personal troubles), you might want to seriously consider whether or not it’s scam.

Chances are, it probably is one.

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