March 23, 2017

"The 'phone Romeo,' as he is known here, calls numbers at random until he hears a woman’s voice, in the hope of striking up a romantic attachment."

"Among them are overeager suitors ('Can I recharge your mobile?'), tremulous supplicants ('I am talking to you, madam, but my body is shaking”') and the occasional heavy breather ('I want to do the illegal things with you'). Intentionally dialing wrong numbers is a labor-intensive way to find a girlfriend. But it is increasingly common in a range of countries — Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and India are examples — where traditional gender segregation has collided head-on with a wave of cheap new technology...."

From "India’s ‘Phone Romeos’ Look for Ms. Right via Wrong Numbers" (in the NYT).

17 comments:

Achilles said...

"Among them are overeager suitors ('Can I recharge your mobile?'), tremulous supplicants ('I am talking to you, madam, but my body is shaking”') and the occasional heavy breather ('I want to do the illegal things with you')."

Sounds like a good way to identify potential sexual predators to be honest.

YoungHegelian said...

('I want to do the illegal things with you')

"Bennie? Bennie? Izzat you? Are you talking about those dodgy tax write-offs again? I told ya, Benny, no funny stuff. I want my accounting books so clean they squeak. And what's with the heavy breathing? You catch bronchitis or sumthin'?"

Etienne said...

The nice thing about Radical Islamic Terrorism(tm) is that you don't have to bother with all that garbage.

You go down the street, kidnap all the women and boys, and then you take them to your lair.

Telephones are for peasants.

Michael K said...

Maybe there is a female equivalent. There are phone calls to my house and when my wife answers them, someone asks for "Michael" and hangs up. Today, there were two, both from Florida.

I got one today from 877 area code and a hangup when I answered. I called the number back and got a recording that the number was disconnected. This has happened several times.

I can't figure out what the scam is. I've gotten a couple of fake IRS calls but these seem useless.

Angel-Dyne said...

Sounds like the standard MO of old-school "obscene phone callers" in the U.S. "Traditional gender segregation" sure does seem to produce a lot of what we called "creepy" or "perverted" behavior back in the day.

Back in college, I always felt kinda sorry for some of the guys from "traditional gender segregated" countries in their attempts to approach the local girls. (Face palm. Dude, no. No, no, no. What are you thinking?) Some of them, however, you really just wanted to punch in the face.

Etienne said...

I can't figure out what the scam is.

The numbers on the caller ID are completely made up. Blocking the number or calling it is not very useful.

What many are doing is collecting data. They want to know if there is a human at this number. They collect data on who or what answers the call.

This data is then sold on the open market. Like $10 for a list of 1000 phones with humans.

Also, you don't have to waste your time shutting off your caller ID info before calling these numbers. They usually are routed to an 800 number service, which doesn't allow the customer to block their caller ID. Then your phone is added as a human number and added to the database.

$10 is a lot of money in Bangladesh.

jaed said...

When I get one of these calls, I google the phone number. If it's used for some sort of scam, this will turn up in the search results.

madAsHell said...

You know there is a whole industry trying to find the demented.

My Dad, a veteran was always sympathetic to veteran causes. He'd receive mail every month thanking him for his donation this year, and could he up the donation by $50. He would have sent a yearly donation every week if they had asked.

In the intervening years, this harassment has migrated to the phone with spoofed addresses coming over VoIP. Now, they are trying to goad the credit card, and bank account information from my mother.

Yes, they all sound like Hadji from Johnny Quest.

madAsHell said...

"spoofed addresses" should be "spoofed telephone numbers".

David said...

Phone. Phoney. Pretty much the same in this case.

Ann Althouse said...

The easiest solution is not to answer calls that aren't from someone you know. If it's legit they'll leave a number that you can check and a message.

Michael K said...

"not to answer calls that aren't from someone you know. "

I got an "unknown" call today and it was from medical records about some records I had requested when I moved to Arizona.

Not that simple.

Michael K said...

"Then your phone is added as a human number and added to the database."

Sounds like a pretty good explanation.

stlcdr said...

This is what happens when you it technology in the hands of a culture that has few merits to 'deserve' that technology. Unfortunately, western cultures suffer the same faults, and it doesn't lead to progress.

StarTrek Prophecy.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Back in college, I always felt kinda sorry for some of the guys from "traditional gender segregated" countries in their attempts to approach the local girls. (Face palm. Dude, no. No, no, no. What are you thinking?)"

I remember an Indian guy trying to pick me up in a college bar:

Him: "Please come to my house with me. I have a very nice car."
Me: "I don't care about cars."
Him: "I have a shitty car!"

Yeah, it was painful. They had undoubtedly heard that American girls were all "easy" and yet they were striking out and they couldn't figure out why. And you could see the desperation and frustration as they tried to find the right lines, the words they thought would work.

walter said...

Life imitates a Laslo character..

Barry Jacobs said...

I'm a little hurt. All the men from India who call me ever want is for me to let them to fix the "virus" they purport to have detected on my computer...