Phone Scam Targets Optometrist

on September 29th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

Yesterday I had 5 minutes of my life wasted by a telephone scam.

My optician takes a call from a “Mike Randall” in California. I’m occupied at the moment, but he won’t leave his number. He says he’ll call back in a few minutes.

I’m free the next time he calls. I’ll loosely quote the conversation.

“Hi, I’m Mike from CSI in California. Listen, my boss asked me to call you because– You have a 4100 printer right?”

“Yes.” We do, in fact, have an HP laser 4100 printer.

“A customer nearby your location has been sent a supply of toner for the 4100, but the customer failed to notify my boss that they’d switched to a different model, so we’d like to call FedEx and tell them to reroute the package to your office.

“Okay. . .”

So, how do you spell your last name?

“L-A-N-G-F-O-R-D”

Okay, so I’ll send those on over. What was your zip code again?

That’s when one too many red flags went off. I had never had any contact with this person before. In my government setting (Indian Health Service), my supervisor asks for printer toner by making a requisition. Everything goes through the Supply Department. If we had ever done business with “CSI” (a rather dubious business name), then they would only have the supply department’s contact information, not my clinic number.

“Wait a minute, Mike. You are confusing me.”

“I’m confusing you? Well, let me explain. . .”Then he starts to launch into the same schpeel as before.

I interrupt him. “So, are you going to charge us for the toner?”

“Well, we would offer it to you at a dramatically reduced rate since it–“

“Do you realize you are calling a government facility?”

“Uh, yah. Uh, Health and Human Services, right?”

“Yes, and you see, in the government, everything is done by requisition. I am not the person you should be calling. I have nothing to do with ordering printer toner, and–”

CLICK. He hung up on me. I am positive this was some kind of scam. If he were from a real, reputable company, then he would not have hung up. He was also trying to confuse me. I’m sure if I hadn’t interrupted him, he would have continued with questions like:

“Oh, and I need to confirm your billing and shipping address.”
“Oh, and I need your credit card information to secure shipment for the toner.”

What I still don’t get is: how did he know I had an HP 4100 printer? Afterwards, I was thinking he could have guessed, since it’s a popular printer. If he guessed wrong, he could have danced around it. Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if my optician told him on the first phone call. I’ll have to ask her. I’ll bet he told her part of his schpeel and said toner and asked her about the model we have.

Anyway, I thought I’d give everyone a heads up that someone out there has targeted an optometrist for a scam. I’m sure you already have policies in place about your staff ordering stuff from people named Mike with CSI in California.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Phone Scam Targets Optometrist”

  1. ryan says:

    Hey i just got the same call from CSI but i have a 1012. HMMMMM. Weird stuff. 298 a toner when i get them for 68 bucks funny

  2. David Langford says:

    Wow, so they’re also trying to scam printer companies! That’s amazing you found this site! The power of Google is awesome.