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Secret Service agent or drunken bozo?


I got a series of calls tonight (on my cell phone, the number for which isn't publicly known as far as I know), a little after 11 p.m., from someone unknown to me who sounded like he was drunk and at a loud party; I couldn't make out much of what he was saying. Eventually, I went quiet in confusion, suspecting that it was either a prank call or a wrong number; he said "Don't hang up on me!" and then, a few seconds later, while I was still debating what to say, he said to the people around him "Motherfucker hung up on me!" and then he hung up. Then he called back and I hit the Ignore button on my phone, and he didn't leave a message. Then a couple minutes later he called back from a different phone number. I answered, and asked who he was, and he claimed his name was George as if I should recognize his name; when I said George who? he shrieked something unintelligible, and kept saying, drunkenly, "This is George, man! Jed, this is George!" I hung up and turned off my phone. (The fact that he kept using my name suggests that it was a prank rather than a wrong number; on the first call, I answered the phone "Hello, this is Jed" as I usually do, so I suspect he originally reached me by dialling a random number.)

(Part of what made me tense about this call, I should note, is that he had the same kind of overemotionally overwrought tone and slightly slurred words that my father used to have when he would call me while drunk. And Peter's legal first name was George, though he never went by that. This guy's voice didn't otherwise sound anything like Peter's, but it still put me on edge.)

A while later, I turned the phone back on and found that I had voicemail. Far as I can tell, it's the same guy; this time, in a very weak attempt at falsetto, he claimed to be a female Secret Service special agent and told me he had questions for me regarding an investigation and gave a phone number to call him back at.

So now I have two phone numbers from this guy (one in the 650 area code, one in 408), plus a third one that he said was his (in 415), which should make him easy to track down (I'm tempted to post the phone numbers, but that would be mean), and I have a recording of him impersonating a Secret Service agent.

So I'm wondering: should I write it off as a drunken prank call from some random bozo? Or should I sic the Secret Service on him?

Or maybe I should call him back early in the morning to verify his credentials and compound his hangover. But I guess that would be mean too.

Hmm. I don't seem to have a blog category tag for "bewildering phone calls." Maybe I should add one; I get enough of them.


I got one early last Sunday morning (my only day to sleep in!). Woman's voice said, "Get your ass down here because the police want to talk to you about what you did to my truck!" Then hung up.

You shoulda called him back during hangover time! He was asking for it!!

Wow, that is truly freaky...

We got this weird phone call a couple of weeks ago. The phone rang, the caller ID read "000-012-3456" or something similar. I picked up the phone, and there was a lot of background noise, but no one actually talking, so I hung up. A couple of minutes later, the phone rang again, with the same weird caller ID. Matt answered that time, and as soon as he said "hello", some guy on the other end started talking really fast. He said that we had just been conferenced in on another call, and that he had nothing to do with it, that we were innocent bystanders and that the police had already been called. (Those were the exact words he used: "innocent bystanders", and "the police have already been called".) Matt kept asking the guy questions, trying to get a better handle on what exactly was going on, but the guy just kept repeating those same few bits of information, and eventually Matt hung up.

Then, just to cover all the bases, we called the Berkeley police just to let them know. It was one of those things where, I don't know, obviously this was just some weird prank or something, but on the one-in-a-million chance that something sinister was going on, it's better to have the whole thing logged in the system somewhere.

Jed, I would call the US Secret Service about the guy since you have his phone number(s) and a recording you could share with the USSS.

Generally govt agents really do not like people impersonating them, whether the impersonator is simply a drunk idiot or has more nefarious objectives in mind. If you call them, USSS may say "too busy," or they may be interested. It may be possible that an USSS agent will take three minutes to call the number(s) and give the fellow a warning he will not soon forget.

As a side note, I have always felt the USSS provides a very important service in connection with going after counterfeiters. If not for the grave consequences of being caught, counterfeiting would likley be rampant (with today's high-end copying capabilities) and our currency would be be substantially de-valued. I even applied to be a USSS agent during my last year as an undergrad, but they didn't get around to asking me in for interview until a year later, when I was already a banker.

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