老外不乖/如何破解台灣詐騙電話?老外曝關鍵這一招|Foreigner unveils foolproof method against Taiwan phone scams

A simple sentence can effectively stop most scammers from continuing their charade in Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock) 


Solicitors or scammers, we get this kind of phone call every day about life insurance, a new credit card, a 5G subscription, or free tea samples 


“Hello, are you happy with your car insurance,” the confident voice asks. She speaks quickly and does not let me say a word. 


My answer is always the same though and you should follow my trick: a short sentence made of 13 Chinese characters. It works every time. 


The idea is very simple and starts from a misunderstanding: Taiwanese people are always confused by my Chinese name. 


When I arrived in Taiwan 20+ years ago, my school first asked me to open a bank account. To do so, I needed Chinese name and a seal to complete all administrative tasks. All in Chinese, of course. 


But how to choose a name in Chinese when your Chinese sucksWell, there are many ways to do so: you can ask your teacher, you can ask a friend, and you can ask a specialist.  

有些外籍人士朋友選擇和原姓或原名諧音的中文名字。但問題是我的法語 Bruyas 」,唸出來的話聽起來就像中文的「不要死」;而我的法語名字聽起來又會像某種IKEA的桌子「迪米特里」。這招對我來說,完全行不通 

Some people choose homophones of their first or last nameThe problem is translating my last name (Bruyas) in Chinese sounds like someone who doesn’t want to die (); and my first name (Dimitri) would make me sound like an IKEA table (迪米特里) 


So I thought, Taiwanese people also change their names when they go to study abroad. Why don’t you do the same? After all, there are more Jennifer, David, and Ben in Taiwan than in my home country. 

由於 Dimitri的意思為希臘神話豐收女神狄蜜特的追隨者,因此我選擇龔為姓,名字則因為我來台灣念書,一心「向華」,合起來就是龔向華,方便親友聽懂且好記。 

As Dimitri means “follower of Demeter” (goddess of the harvest) and the meaning of my journey was to go to Taiwan for my studies, I chose to call myself 龔向華, which is both convenient for friends and family and easy to remember. 


The same convenience applies to my phone company, bank, and school which kindly forgot to inform me that they share my private data with their customers too. 


When a salesman, pollster or apprentice scammer calls to sell me something, he is always surprised and actually speechless when I tell him excuse me but I am a foreigner. This is not going to work.” 


The funny thing is that these 13 Chinese characters work so well that my friends also use the same excuse whenever solicitors call. 


If you also want to cut short any unnecessary discussion and leave the phone salesperson speechless, I advise you to say the same sentenceExcuse me, but I am a foreigner. This will probably not work. 


Don’t forget to use your best foreign accent when you say this sentence though. With a little practice, you will see that it works every time.