As fast as one internet scam gets exposed, somebody thinks up something worse and, somewhere, someone falls for it.

But usually it’s a ruse so stupid, you wonder why anybody would even attempt it. That old line attributed (perhaps unfairly) to P.T. Barnum, about a sucker being born every minute, is as true as ever. Deception just works faster, and spreads farther, through modern media.

I got two phone calls purporting to be from federal agents, just hours apart on Monday, warning that my name and address were on a package containing illegal narcotics. It was a recorded call — a woman’s voice, not identifying which agency is after me (DEA? FBI? ICE? USPS Inspectors? Law & Order SVU?), nor did it address me by name. 

The disembodied voice sternly told me to press “1” and speak with a special investigator who had the goods on me.

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