“You are the winner of the Publisher’s Clearing House $150,000 prize.”
That was the emphatic but difficult to understand announcement in a phone message from a stranger with a distant dialect.
“This is Mr. Frank, right?” the caller continued. Answer was distinct and loud: “No.”
With obvious background sounds, perhaps a baby’s cry and ringing phones, seeming agitated the voice persisted. “Mr. Frank, you are the winner. We will come deliver your award. Where do you live?”
Insisting it was Frank Buchman, sometimes Frank, or even Mr. Buchman, it was not Mr. Frank. “Oh, Mr. Frank Bushman, Mr. Frank, we want to deliver your prize.”
Come on over, anytime somebody wants to giveaway money, it’ll be readily accepted.
“Now you realize there are always taxes on prizes like this,” the phone caller clarified.
Yes. Taxes are add-on to all purchases and cost of owning property. The Internal Revenue Service gets plenty of money every year.
“You must buy a $500 cash card at a ‘major box store’ for us when we deliver your prize.”
No way. Its 25 miles to a store, and there isn’t time. Besides, that requires funds, and none are available.
“Well, where is it you live?” question repeated. “Surely you have the time to drive that short distance, and can find the money for a gift like this?”
No, but it’s fine to bring the prize and anything free will be gladly accepted.
“I’ll have my supervisor call you and line up the presentation Wednesday morning. Make sure you have the cash card ready to accept your prize.”
There’ll be no payment for anything “free,” but bring the prize. Somebody will be here to take it.
A woman even harder to understand called minutes later, repeating the inquisition, finally hanging up in disgust. At least seven more pleas, all nearly-undecipherable voices, came within the next day demanding: “Get a cash card.”
Personally a persistent salesman by profession, these callers still got the prize for diligence. Finally, they gave up, although every other type of solicitation continues dozens a day.
The prize would have been nice, even if charged taxes by the government. But not paying a schemer for a hot check or another kind of rip-off.
Reminded of Isaiah 32:1: “Fools exploit with scams but He will carry out justice.”