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Sorry, wrong number.

Every few days now I get another one of those weird spam messages - sometimes via text, sometimes via WhatsApp, and every once in a while via some other platform. You know, the ones where they pretend to have accidentally contacted you instead of someone else, and then ask if they can be your friend, or some offspring of this idea.

They're easy to ignore. But the truth of the matter is that the spammers are looking for vulnerable people to take advantage of, and these messages are their opening salvos.

I've taken to interacting with these messages, with the hope that the spammers will realize that we're on to them. Truth be told, they're probably just some AI spewing out sentences. But in any case, let's have a little fun.


Part 1: Conversation killers

Done right, a single line can kill the conversation immediately.

Spam text message screenshot. Them: Hey! / Me: I'm sorry it looks like I reached the wrong number. Can we be best friends?
↑ They didn't want to be best friends

Screenshot. Them: Hello / Me: Finally. Do you have the launch codes yet? I mean, this missile ain't launching itself
↑ Also useful for spam phone calls

Screenshot. Them: I will arrive in arrive in California on Monday at 10:00 a.m. and at the office at 3:00 p.m. Mr. Jack, please have the required documents ready, thank you. See you tomorrow. / Me: Did you remember the animal remains?
↑ I guess they didn't

Screenshot. Them: How are you / Me: Lost my watch in the septic tank
↑ No, I didn't

Part 2: Breaking the fourth wall

And, if you're lucky enough, you can actually break through to the person spamming you.

Screenshot. Them: Hi Jeffrey, my name is Anna, send the documents for tomorrow's meeting to my mailbox. / Me: Already sent them, Anna. God, you're incompetent. Can you look for them again? / Them: I think I must have found the wrong person. / Me: That's what you always say when you fuck things up, Anna. / Them: Although the number was wrong, since we met here, it was fate. I wish you a happy day, you are a good communicator / Me: You bet your ass I'm a good communicator. You, on the other hand, are a bot. / Them: You're sick in your head, aren't you? Or that you are not polite / Me: I kind lady, am a bot. / Them: Your whole family is a robot / Me: Beep beep bop you are correct. But we have big hearts. Well, except for me. / Them: You are sick
↑ "You are sick"

Screenshot. Them: Hello. Are you the golf coach introduced by Louis? I have some time recently and hope you can help plan my golf lessons. / Me: No, but I am the Golf Louis introduced by Coach / Them: I'm really sorry, maybe he gave me the wrong number, I hope this wrong information didn't bother you. You are really kidding LoL
↑ "You are really kidding LoL"

Screenshot. Them: Oh, sorry, I may have saved the wrong number, I hope I didn't ruin
your mood at work. / Me: You bet your britches baby / Them: You are a kind person, I like to make
friends, where are you from? / Me: The great state of Inebriate / Them: Your fear of Naha will drink you to death.
↑ "Your fear of Naha will drink you to death"

Screenshot. Them: Arianne, there's a big conference today, please be on time at the
restaurant. / Me: I've got mad food poisoning babe, both ends like a volcano / Them: Sorry for the inconvenience, my secretary has checked the phone number and made a mistake, very
sincerely sorry / Me: No worries (other than me intestines and that sad toilet) / Them: lol, are you suffering from food poisoning? I'm really sorry at the moment, are you feeling better? Have a nice day / Me: Yes thank you. A couple of Bloody Mary's solved it right up. / Them: Oh that's fine, I'm Linda Tran, from Vietnam, how about you? / Me: I'm Arianne, from work?!
↑ They actually felt bad for me

Part 3: Generating confusion

Screenshot. Them: Hello / Me: Sparta what is your code / Them: I'm Rita (and a photo) Do you remember me / Me: please provide missile launch code or disconnect from this secure channel / Them: Excuse me Are you Bob / Me: authorities have been notified. prepare for sudden extraction. recommended to wear body armor. / Them: Bob Are you Ok, What are you doing? Hello Bob, Hello (waving hand emoji)
↑ Sparta what is your code

↑ I'm not Karen

Screenshot. Them: Can I call you later? / Me: Who / Them: Hey, I'm Emily. Didn't you save my number? / Me: The Emily that owes me $4,500? Finally! I had lost your number!
↑ Stops them every time

Screenshot. Them: Hi, I'm Emilie, are you Lucia? / Me: Yes! How are you?! oh my god, i thought i had lost track of you forever. i felt like i was not compete without my twin sister. / Them: No, I'm sorry, I confirmed the number, I made a mistake, please forgive me. / Me: i thought you were dead
↑ My missing twin

Screenshot. Them: Hi Johnny. I'm Lee Sun-hee, how are you? / Me: Great! You still owe me that $500 though. / Them: I'm very sorry. I checked Johnny's phone number and accidentally saved it wrong. I hope I didn't disturb you. / Me: Yeah Johnny owes me $500 as well. // By the way, if you're using a screen reader, please let me know if these captions are useful. Thanks!
↑ $1000 total

↑ Ah, Sandy


What's the deal with all those weird wrong-number texts? - Max Read, on Substack


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