Sunday, February 03, 2008

Living with fear- the telephone trick

Brazil is not the safest place to line in. Actually I don't think any place is totally safe. there will always be  something you have to worry about.

We have just had visitors and we talked bout how it isn't just celebrities who wears luxury watches that get kidnapped and robbed but "normal" people. People like you and me. And it happens every day.

One very used trick to rob people is to call and say that someone in your family has been kidnapped and they want money. Usually the person answering the phone panics and end up giving information about the family and in some cases even money. Afterwards it turns out that there never was a kidnapping. Usually the person is safe and sound.

This trick happened to a girl where I worked. She arrives at work and someone calls her and says there has been an accident with two cars and a motorcycle. Had her husband left the house with their car? Yes he had. Could she describe the car? She did. She was told her husband  was badly hurt and that they would transfer her call to the emergency unit.  After a little while and something that seemed to be a transferred call she hears this; Your husband has been kidnapped and we want 10 000 Real! If you don't give us the money he will die. (about $4800)

She didn't have the money and knew there was no way she could get the money so she hung up in tears. Shocked she called home and talked to her husband who was not kidnapped at all but at home safe and sound.

And do you know where these people call from? From prison!

Every time the phone calls I always make sure not to give out any information about myself. Normally in Sweden I wouldn't have any problems telling my name or so but here I ask who they want to talk to instead of telling them who I am. It is very common to say "who's talking" when you call someone instead of saying" Hi my name is Linda and I want to talk to Sarah". Now in the above example of what happened to my colleague she gave the information they wanted instead of asking for confirmation.

This is typical Brazilian daily life.

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