International Prank Calls

I’m going to make a wild guess and say that most if not all of us have by now received a handful of emails from complete strangers asking for help in return of making you rich. What’s amazing is how keen those people seem to be in taking their chances in a random fashion. Sending the same emails, same stories and even same titles. “I Need Your Urgent Reply”, “From the Desk of Mr. Zayyid Amir”, you name it.  With time, no one had to ask “what’s the catch?” anymore, because, if anything, the abundance of these emails gave them away.

The news is that this whole thing seem to have turned a new corner, and moved to a more direct and liable stage: Telephones.

The other day my friend called me saying that something very weird happened to her. Her mobile phone rang and the caller ID showed an international number, which later turned out to be from Senegal. When she answered, someone said with a heavy Arabic accent: “Inta saheb had raqam?” (Does this number belong to you?) She said yes, and the man on the other end started telling her this “interesting story”. He said that he was sleeping in the woods with his friends when he had this dream in which he saw her mobile number. He said that he had a message from God to her…

At this point, my friend freaked out and hung up. Later, she was so curious that she called him back. He started telling her things about herself and her family, when freaked her out even more, then he said that she was “mas7oora’’, which means that someone has cast a spell on her. At this point, she could see that he was bluffing, so she just hung up.

Well, in fact I’m still curious to know what was the point of all that. Is it an extension of fraud emails or have prank calls entered a new stage? Well, I have to admit that I have once made a call to Spain just for the heck of it. I wanted to hear someone speaking Spanish, there was no black magic talk involved, I assure you. Anyway, I spent a good amount of my credit on that, and I can’t say for sure that the woman who answered the phone spoke Spanish, it sounded like Philippino. If you’re wondering, I asked to speak to Carmen, but apparently that Spanish number I dialed didn’t belong to someone with a very common name.

About International prank calls I’ve received, I did receive one on my birthday 2 years ago. My phone rang and the number was from Turkey. I answered and there was a girl saying that she was form “sharika 3alamiyya” (International company), and she knew my name. I was puzzled, then after going back and forth with conversation she burst out laughing. It was my friend Kolita. I think she’ll be laughing now if she read this.

The funniest International call I received, which I can’t call a prank call, was from this Indian guy from Saudi Arabia. I called his phone once thinking it was my cousin’s, so he called me after that a couple of times. I don’t know what he wanted because I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I just remember yelling “I don’t speak Urdu”…

Anyway, maybe it’s a good thing that international calls are pretty costly, because I think I wouldn’t have resisted making one every once in while…

Originally Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008  on


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