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COFFEE WITH WARREN: The Orange Handcuff Scam

It all began when our Iraq-born Calgary coffee companion DijlaAl-Rekabi received a threatening scam call, and she decided to have some fun.
Dijla Al-Rekabi sports orange handcuffs after being served a “warrant.” Photo by Warren Harbeck

It all began when our Iraq-born Calgary coffee companion DijlaAl-Rekabi received a threatening scam call, and she decided to have some fun. Here’s her account of the conversation that she originally shared in our June 4, 2015 column –a timely revisit in view of the flood of phone scams we’ve been enduring lately:

Dijla: Hello?

Voice: Hello, is this Ms. Dijla Al-Rekabi?

Dijla: Yes. . . .

Voice: Ms. Al-Rekabi, this is officer John from the U.S. Federal Department calling.

Dijla: How can I help you? Officer John?

John: Ms. Al-Rekabi, we have received a complaint about you.

Dijla: Oh no, not again. It must be another person complaining about how pretty I am. Well, what can I say, I am pretty and people will always complain (sighs).

John: Ms. Al-Rekabi, you've committed a serious federal offence under U.S. law.

Dijla: No way! You mean,my beauty is now considered a federal offence under U.S. law? Well, it’s about time someone finally paid attention.

John: The police will be there in 10 minutes to arrest you.

Dijla: Police officers are gonna be here shortly? You're joking! I hear they're pretty sexy and hot; can't wait to meet one of them.

John: Hold the line.I will transfer you to our senior officer.

New Voice: Hello, this is Senior Officer Miller.Is this Dijla Al-Rekabi?

Dijla: Hi, officer Miller.

Miller: Ms. Al-Rekabi, you need to understand the seriousness of your offence. You need to pay a total of $1,732.52 immediately to avoid any criminal record. If payment is not received immediately, we will be sending your local police to handcuff you and put you in jail.

Dijla: Ooo,handcuffs! I've always wanted to experience how those feel when placed on my pretty hands by a good looking police officer. Would you please ask them to bring orange handcuffs? My pumps are orange and it would be lovely to have matching handcuffs.

Miller: Excuse me?

Dijla: I'm so picky, no wonder a lot of people complain about me. Of course, they’re jealous.

Miller: Your local police will come to your house and arrest you. Where do you live?

Dijla: You have to guess, officer. Come on, you can do it.

Miller: (Bleep) you, (bleep, click).

Dijla: Hello, hello, officer Miller? “Stupid me,” Dijla concluded in her email to me. “I just annoyed a scammer to the point he was the one who got angry, swore at me and hung up in my face. I was so ready for those police officers to show up. All I told them was the truth. I am pretty, and I was wearing orange pumps,and there is no way I would have settled for handcuffs that don't match the colour of my pumps!”

Well, there’s more than one way to have fun with these irritating phone scams. My wife and I created a “warrant” for Dijla’s arrest, bought a pair of plastic handcuffs, spray-painted them bright orange, and invited her for coffee. Immediately upon greeting Dijlaat at Coffee Traders, I served her with our little surprise. It read, “Warrant for the arrest of Dijla Al-Rekabi for the crime of looking so beautiful in orange pumps.”

She was just breaking into a wide-eyed smile over the warrant,when I placed the orange handcuffs on her. “I have never dreamt of having handcuffs on my hands,” she beamed. “Well, unless, they’re orange, that is; then that’s a different story!”