As I was arriving home this afternoon, the phone was ringing. I managed to answer it (Answerphones? We don’t need no stinking answerphones!) and it turned out to be a call for one of my roommates, who we’ll call… Robert Alphonse Jacobs VII. (“John Doe” is just so boring a pseudonym, don’t you think?) Anyway, Bob was evidently still off doing whatever it is that Bob does during the day, so I informed the caller that Bob was unavailable. Could I take a message, perhaps?
“Just let him know this is a courtesy call from the Voter Identification Project, please.”
“That’s it. Thanks.”
Now, maybe I’m a really suspicious bastard, but the first thing I did after hanging up the phone was to search Google for the Voter Identification Project – not least because we have cats who are more interested in politics than Bob is, and because this seems a really strange time to be doing any sort of political survey or money-begging.
Imagine my complete lack of surprise at finding absolutely nothing about the VIP. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. Doesn’t appear to exist.
My guess? A social-engineering or identity-theft scheme – “pretext calls”, I think they’re called, digging for exploitable personal information.
We don’t have Caller ID, or I’d post the phone number; it suffices to say that if you get a call from people you don’t know, asking for personal information, you should probably tell them – politely – to get lost. (Or accuse them of being “ACORN operatives”, if that’s what floats your boat. It’s a great way to confuse the heck out of telemarketers – “Are you now, or have you ever been, in the employ of ACORN or one of its subsidiary operations? No? Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure? Well, would you like to be? We have several openings in our Detroit office. Attractive starting salary, relocation bonus, good health plan? No? Not even a little bit tempted? Alright, well, have a nice day, and thanks anyway.”)
Oh, and if the Voter Identification Project really is legitimate, get a freaking website already, okay? Get with the times already, would you?
…says the guy whose household doesn’t have an answering machine or Caller ID, heh.