Dear Scam Artist,
I was on the floor sobbing when I passed the phone to my husband. You had just informed me that I was being charged with tax evasion from an incident that occurred in 2012. In retrospect I can see that it was in that exact moment that you fully committed to taking advantage of my dramatic nature.
2012—the year I self-published a poetry book that would never gross sales of more than one hundred dollars (in which I had already payed taxes on). Yet because of the publication of that dammed book and the grief it has caused me in the past years when filing, as well as all of the legal jargon you were spewing at me and, of course, the mention of jail time I admit to falling victim to your cheat.
There I was crouched over the couch violently gagging at the idea that right now there were police officers coming to my house to serve me with papers and “arrest me on site” as you so casually put it. I suppose I should have clued in that this is obviously not how the world works but I’ve been watching a load of Doctor Who lately (so it didn’t seem THAT out of the ordinary) and when one’s mind gets set on an idea it can begin to believe some pretty radical things.
I hear Jamie tell you that I will not be going to jail. It just isn’t happening, he says. He starts to raise his voice but then stops. You must have said something that really scares him because now he is telling you we have children and that this is surely just one big mistake. I wonder if you ever paused to think about us as an actual family. Actual human beings that you could have potentially ruined. We are not just a number on a long list of conceivable dupes.
Literally minutes before I answered your call my husband and I had just received some very troubling news. Something that will affect our future with palpable impact. However you couldn’t care less about that. In fact I’m sure it made your game that much easier as we both were not in the right head space to realize that we were being had.
You continue telling Jamie you are about to dispatch an officer to our home. He is frantic and asking what he can do to make things right.
How could this be happening? I thought. Over a stupid little poetry book that maybe ten people read. You are claiming that I owe 4000 dollars in back-taxes. Could the book have been making money and the independent publisher just weren’t telling me? Fraud? Maybe this was an inside job (whatever the hell that means). The possibilities of cons were endless.
By this point my mind is spinning. You are still bantering with Jamie who seems to be back and forth on whether this is actually happening or not. I then realize that you haven’t even asked me for my SIN number. Doesn’t the CRA need that to divulge any information about your account?
I grab the phone from my husband and start screaming at you. You tell me that I will go to jail if I continue to speak to you like this. By this point I am so infuriated that I don’t even care. Take me to jail if you must. I will spend my five years in the pen plotting against you dear phone agent.
Finally Jamie comes to his senses when you ask for my cell phone number. “Well if you are the CRA shouldn’t that information be on her account?” He says. Then we tell you that we are going down to our local government office to set this straight. You say that we have one hour before you send the police to our door. I’ve got to say, great job for committing to the bitter end.
So what I’d like to say to you, my scam artist, is thank you. Thank you for causing me to dry heave stringy saliva all over my living room carpet. Thank you for pushing me to the point of screaming bloody murder at you while my daughter sat in the next room listening. Thank you for increasing that already cynical outlook I have on this world-weary planet. And thank you for making my day just that much crappier than it already was.
I do hope that this letter finds you one day and reminds you that the targets you victimize are people with worries and ordeals who are merely trying to move on with the daily grind, just like you. Except not at all like you, we have chosen legitimate ways to make a living. It’s probably time to rethink your life choices man.
Looking forward to never hearing from you again.
Lindsay Brown is an Alberta mother of two and freelance columnist.