Paranoia or phone call of a terrorist?

Today I received one of the creepiest phone calls ever. It was forwarded to my cell phone and I answered with my usual established corporate greeting.
“(Company name), This is (darkmoon).”


A lady of probably Indian descent started off on how she was a University of Pennsylvania graduate student doing research on polymerization of plastics, and if she could ask for my expertise on a matter she had.
I was like… “I don’t work in that field. Excuse me, but who are you and how did you get my number? This is a business line.”
In all aspects, I did find it strange that someone was calling me during the day, to an unlisted number that only Greensboro residents would call and be calling me on some chemistry questions rather than wireless, which is my specialization.
She went on to ask me for any referrals in the field of polymerization of plastics. I said no, I don’t work in the field, and she thanked me and hung up.
Now why am I freaked out and a little bit paranoid?

  1. I could be totally wrong but polymerization of plastics is the howto on building plastic explosives.
  2. The person wouldn’t tell me how they got my number.
  3. A University of Pennsylvania student calling from an anonymous number for research purposes?
  4. My specialization is in wireless, not plastics.
  5. It wasn’t identity theft since none of the questions were directed at personal information.
  6. A quick search of U.Penn’s chemistry site doesn’t turn up any current plastics research.
  7. A Google for my name doesn’t turn up any plastics type of research of any sort. Not to mention I’ve never published any papers in my life under chemistry. There also isn’t anyone else that has a similar name that links to my unlisted business phone.

After my paranoia attack, I called my cell phone company to see if they could trace the anonymous number. They couldn’t because it was a forwarded call. I didn’t think Vonage would do a trace either since there was no law enforcement behind my request.
Due to the urging of a friend, I reported it to the local FBI office in Charlotte. I told them that the person didn’t give a name (if she did, I didn’t catch it) and the number turned up anonymous. I also told them that polymerization of plastics as far as I know lead to plastique, which wasn’t too far fetched. They didn’t even bother to take my name or take down the information. Due to the fact that I had no name and the number was anonymous, “Sir, I think that was a misdirected call,” was pretty much the sum of it all.
In the end, it could be nothing except my paranoia in this post-9/11 crazed world. But on the offchance that I wasn’t wrong in the assumptions, I hope that someone, somewhere will take heed and at least bookmark this as a possible trace back to whoever that lady was on the other end of the line.