Tennessee Mountain Stories

Scam Phone Calls

I was working on a story about feuds for this week until I had such a neat experience, I really thought I needed to share it.  We'll get to feudin' next week, don't worry.   Until then, today’s story is a bit off-subject for my history blog but I think you will enjoy it.

Despite being registered on the National Do Not Call List, I have been receiving a number of calls from “computer technicians”.  Specifically they all identify themselves as “Microsoft Certified Technicians” although they stop short of saying they are actually working for Microsoft – it took a few calls before I caught that nuance.  Now, I’m not quite naïve enough to think that Microsoft is carefully watching my computer and yours to ensure we are having no hiccups in operation.  In fact, I’ve actually tried to talk to Microsoft a few times and it’s not an easy feat.  I’ve had to talk to multiple people, wait to be transferred, been told that there is no solution to my particular problem and generally ignored by this monster-company.  It’s the same reception I get from a lot of big companies so it could just be me.

At any rate, I’m immediately suspicious when the caller tells me they are in anyway affiliated with Microsoft.  The first few times I got the call I just got off the phone as quickly as possible.  Because I knew it was a scam I didn’t want to give them any chance to somehow catch me off guard.  I still don’t know what they are after although I suspect there would be a point when they would ask for my credit card in order to complete some kind of service on my computer or they might just gain access to my files and try to find what information they could use to rob me.

Then one day I quickly ended one of these calls and I think the Holy Spirit whispered that this would be a good opportunity to witness.  If it accomplished nothing else, it would be good practice of an incredibly necessary skill.  Now, I accept Peter’s admonishment to always be ready to give an answer for my joy (1 Peter 3:15).  And, I strongly believe when Paul tells us the lost world can’t hear the gospel without a preacher (Romans 10:14) he is not referring to Brother So-and-So who delivers your weekly sermon.  You and I are that preacher and the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) was given to all of us.

However – you knew there was one of those coming, didn’t you? – witnessing takes practice.  At least it does for me.  There have been times that I was more aware of opportunities to share the gospel or at least hand a tract with a word of encouragement.  I have no excuse for being out of practice but I’m confessing to you that I don’t speak up nearly as often as I should.  Therefore, when I think I hear the Lord hinting that He might just be sending me some opportunities, I want to be sure to respond, “here am I” (Isaiah 6:8).

And that’s how I came to answer the phone during the dinner hour on Tuesday.  Little do they know that the dinner hour is actually my best time to talk because my children are quietly stuffing their faces then.  I answered and told “Jack” I was so glad he’d called because I had a question for him.

I turned my Bible to Romans as I was asking him, “Have you ever thought about what would happen if you died?”

After the answer that he would go to heaven and the way to get there is to be good, I continued asking directive questions, prepared to lead him down The Romans Road

Here’s where it got really exciting.  “Jack” says “I want to tell you something, I am a scammer.”

Despite the smile it brought to my face, I was pretty shocked.  I know I’ve encountered a number of scammers on the phone and online but I have never ever had one admit it. 

He did go on to tell me a very sad story about how he was desperate for a job and this was the only thing he could find.  However, he did not ask again for me to turn on my computer, nor did he ever ask for my credit card or any other personal information. 

“Jack” was being recorded and monitored and he indicated our conversation would be ended any minute.  So I boldly took the opportunity to say to his monitor that he too could know for sure that he is going to heaven and that the only way is through faith in Jesus Christ.

I planted a seed.  I throw those seeds out about once a week when I get such a call.  I am fully aware that many – maybe even most – of the seeds fall on parched soil.  And maybe Jack’s soil wasn’t fully ready to nurture God’s Word but he heard it and he was instantly convicted and I find that too exciting to keep to myself.

Now it’s up to God himself to provide the water and ultimately the fruit (1 Corinthians 3:6-7) and I’m confident He will.

If you’ve had witnessing opportunities drop in your lap recently, I’d love to hear about them.  Just leave a comment below.