The orange handcuffs scam

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 31, 2019

Dijla Al-Rekabi sports orange handcuffs after being served “warrant.” Photo by Warren Harbeck

It all began when our Iraq-born Calgary coffee companion Dijla Al-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?

Off. 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).

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

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

Off. 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.

Off. 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.

Off. Miller: Ms. Al-Rekabi, you need to understand the seriousness of your offense. 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.

Off. Miller: Excuse me?

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

Off. 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.

Off. 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 Dijla 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!”


© 2019 Warren Harbeck

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