Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Adventures in Identity Fraud

I somehow failed to write about this in my 4 July Post, which is unfortunate, as I now have follow-up information on the story. What is to be done? I shall have to set the whole story straight now:

I've been working at the Alex Hall Front Desk this summer, and obviously we get
a lot of phone calls. One caller, however, really stands out for me, and I
think you'll get a kick out of this story.

It was a little after one in the afternoon on July 4, and I was working a fairly
uneventful shift. The phone rang, as it is wont to do, and the caller shouted
that she was from Bulgaria and 'Cold Case' was her "favourite movie." I wasn't
quite sure what to make of this, and after trying in vain to communicate, I
hung up, thinking it was a prank call.

Moments later, the phone rang again. This time she had calmed down a bit,
though she was still obviously distressed. She explained to me with great
difficulty that she was a university student in Bulgaria, and she wanted to
become an actress. She was sure that I could help her realise this dream, even
though her parents did not believe in her. They wanted her to study economics.
She begged me, she was desperate, I must help her! I couldn't really blame
her--I'd probably feel the same way about econ.

I explained to poor Maria that I was the receptionist in a university, and tried
to figure out where she wanted to be calling. She was adamant that this was
the correct number, and that if I did not help her, she would die. She said
that if I helped her I would become her favourite actress, and she would tell
everyone she knew that I was wonderful and beautiful. While this is a tempting
offer, I haven't done any acting since middle school, and my meagre connections
would get her into Latin class, not movies. I explained to her for the twelfth
time that I could not help her, and she should go to acting school. Finally, I
had to hang up on her.

No doubt you are wiser than I am, and have made the connection already. I
couldn't figure out why she was calling us, and I wrote it off as a bad day for
Bulgaria. I never assumed I would hear from her again.

Today, however, about a month and a half after the first call, the loud and
broken English crackled through the receiver again.

"I am Maria, I am in Bulgaria, and I want you to come to visit me for my
birthday. You can stay with me in Bulgaria, and with my family. I want to be
an actress!"

I was prepared this time, and I tried to ask her who she was calling. "Maria,"
she told me.

"No, no, who is the person you want to talk to?"

"I want to be an actress! You will help me!"

"Okay. Um. What is my name?"

"Kathryn Morris!"

"Oh! I'm sorry, I'm not Kathryn Morris." My first thought was that Dr. Morris must
have a secret talent scout life that I know nothing about. My second thought
involved frantically Googling 'Kathryn Morris,' and then it all fell into
place. Of course. 'Cold Case.' Acting.

Interestingly enough, the second hit on Google for "Kathryn Morris phone" is Dr. Morris's King's contact info page.

I don't think Maria ever did understand that she got her Kathryns mixed up. She
had a pretty fixed vocabulary, and "wrong number" didn't seem to have any
effect. When I told her she had called the University of King's College, she
replied "Yes, yes, I am in university!" In the end, I had to hang up on her
again, ending what must have been a ridiculously expensive call. Poor girl. I
hope she manages to do some acting.


Steph said...

That is simply the best wrong number story EVER!

But now that we all have the desk number for Kings College, your phone is going to be ringing off the hook. When is your next shift?

Lesley said...

I am laughing, yet sad for that poor girl who is running up her phone bill.

Suzanna said...

LIZ! I love finding people I know who are blogging=)

Anonymous said...

*hahahaha* Oh, god, the poor girl. Poor you.

The only wrong number story I have is from when I was growing up, our phone number was one digit off a local doctors office. We would get almost daily phone calls from elderly people looking for him. They would usually call a handful of times in a row until we convinced them that they were dailing the wrong #.