September 3rd, 2019

Sepia

"Michael" from "Google"


Today I got a call from “Google” letting me know that my Google Business account might not be Verified.


Gasp!


Carole had mentioned having gotten quite a few answering machine messages from someone at Google about our “Google Business” account.


I had no idea what Google wanted, but supposed it might be an annual re-verification that our phone number was still supposed to be tied to our listing, or some such (and that the real purpose of the call would be to try to pitch us an advertising package).


In any event, I know from long experience that if there’s one thing Carole hates, it’s having to play back long answering machine messages after a long day’s work. I promised her that since I’d be working from home for a few days, I’d definitely take the call when it came in.


So … today around 4 pm, our land line phone rang.


Warning sign #1: the area code and exchange were the same as my home number — 802-434-####. I thought “hmm, maybe this is one of our neighbors calling”.


So, I picked up.


Warning sign #2: It wasn’t one of our neighbors. It was a recorded voice telling me that my Google Business account MIGHT NOT BE VERIFIED and to press 1 to be connected to someone who could help me.


That was when I went “hey, hold on”. If it was really Google, they’d know if my account was verified. And in any event, they wouldn’t be spoofing my local exchange.


But I pressed 1 anyway, just to see who or what I got.1I know that was a bit of a mistake; in so doing, I confirmed that there was a real human at our number, willing to press buttons and so on.


What I got was a guy with a thick accent identifying himself as “Michael” who asked who he was speaking with. He was calling from a very loud room of some kind — I visualized a boiler room call center like the ones 419 scammers are usually depicted working in. In the background, I could hear loud voices of other “Google agents” talking to their marks.


And here’s where I screwed the pooch, as it were: I HUNG UP.


Like an idiot.


I’ve always admired the people who keep phone scammers tied up for hours. THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.


Sigh. Perhaps “Michael” will call back tomorrow. I miss him already.


 


Parenthetically, Carole and I do have a Google Business account listing, even though we don’t actually own a business. It’s just our house, listed as a business called “Carole and Jay Furr”. I set it up a while back under the name “Otter Lodge”, describing it as a retreat center for those who enjoy metasyntactic variables or some such. I figured it’d get ignored; it was just me screwing around.


Well, one rainy Saturday night, we had someone actually show up at our front door, asking if there was a “lodge” there. I assume they were looking for a place to say. I apologized and said “no, no, this is just our house.” I felt really awkward about it.


When I shut the door and told Carole what had happened, she gave me a very hard look, arms folded. I immediately went and changed the listing from “Otter Lodge” to “Carole and Jay Furr”. We haven’t had a lot of contacts regarding the “business” since then.


Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I know that was a bit of a mistake; in so doing, I confirmed that there was a real human at our number, willing to press buttons and so on.