In what appears to be a strange, but relatively harmless phone scam, jiu-jitsu gyms all over the country are getting called by a woman who claims to be a brown belt and seems to only be calling to waste owners’ time and then scream at them.
The phone calls have been going on for years and were brought to light on the internet around a year ago, when Reddit threads began popping up mentioning phone calls from a woman who went either by Laura or Gabby and claimed to be a Gracie Barra brown belt from locations ranging from Florida to Poland and seemingly everywhere in between. Most recently, she’s been going by the name Paulina or Paulinda.
“Paulinda’s” phone calls have become almost an underground joke and rite of passage in the BJJ community thanks to their consistent and bizarre nature. She calls academies, cites her rank, and starts asking questions that steadily get more outlandish in nature — one consistent question involves asking if she’s allowed to wear a thong while training. She then becomes irate and will often begin yelling and accusing the person who took the call of being a racist or sexist before hanging up. Many gym owners have said that she’ll also threaten to call the police on them or accuse them of harassment (even though she’s the one calling).
Multiple academy owners have reported dealing with the issue for months or even years. “Paulinda” appears to be just one person (judging by her voice), but uses different phone numbers from all over the world, so blocking one usually has no effect. Hanging up on her sometimes results in her immediately calling back even angrier than before, so many people recommend ensuring that she’s the first one to hang up, whether that means just letting her wear herself out or getting her to cut the call short by other means. Academy owners who have dealt with her have tried multiple ways to get her to stop calling, including blowing a loud whistle or air horn into the speaker of the phone, trolling her back with ridiculous responses to her questions, or simply putting a male student or instructor on the phone (she often refuses to speak to men).
It’s unsure of what this woman’s motive is, but thus far, it doesn’t seem like she’s trying to scam people out of money or physically harm anyone. However, you can never be too careful (especially considering the fact that this is not typical behavior of someone who’s mentally stable), and phone harassment is a misdemeanor in many states. If you begin receiving calls from this woman, consider filing a police report so the BJJ community can hopefully get one step closer to figuring out who she is and not have to worry about her calls anymore.
If you’ve been one of “Paulinda’s” victims, share your story in the comment section on Facebook so other academy owners know what to expect if they receive a call from her.