This advice is especially for our friends in India: You may not realize it, but you speak with a recognizable Indian accent. It is therefore a bad mistake to begin the conversation by saying, “Hi, my name is Sean,” or “Bill,” or “Charlie,” or whatever other supposedly American name your supervisor has assigned you for the day. It begins the call with an obvious lie, and your victim expects lies from then on. Every American has met Indian immigrants in America: begin by saying “My name is Sanjay,” or some other name that Americans regard as stereotypically Indian, and you will get off on the right foot. Following this advice will increase your bilking rate considerably; and your supervisor, pleased with the revenue you generate, may raise your salary, or sell you back your firstborn at a reduced rate.


  1. RepubAnon says:

    Plus, one shouldn’t combine telephone scamming with one’s stand-up comedy routine. I had one call up and tell me I had qualified for a free government grant of $5,000. He seemed nonplussed when I told him to keep the money and apply it to the national deficit.

  2. I’m still waiting for some witless scammer to begin with, “Hi, my name is Tarzan.”

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  3. Sean says:

    My wife went to a law school in western Virginia, which hosted an oddly high number of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants studying for their American law licenses. Most took on regular western names such as Charles or Samantha. There were several reasons behind this including a desire to fit in and having a name that Americans could easily pronounce. One other important factor, though, was the aspirational component. Most people from mainland East Asia who work with the West follow the practice of taking a western name. These people are typically either upwardly mobile, or at least have the appearance of being such. Taking a western name can feel like the first step on the path of becoming wealthy and successful in your career.
    Of course, care must be taken. When one of my wife’s friends announced that she had decided to go with “Crystal”, my wife had to inform her that, while that might be a good professional name, it wasn’t, perhaps, suited for the profession that she wanted.

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