Coffee heat rising


Wow! In the past few weeks and months, I’ve been the target of scam after scam after scam!

Latest: a Paypal scam.

In comes a message from PayPal saying I charged up a piece of furniture for something over $900. Uh huh.

You understand: we closed that account months and months ago. As in “enough time for my former business partner to go back to graduate school, earn a master’s degree in psychological counseling, complete an internship, and open her practice as a shrink.”

The months, thus, translate into years. At least two or three years.

Trying to reach a human at PayPal is damn near impossible. After running round and round and round Robin Hood’s Barn, I finally did get ahold of a fella with a pleasingly exotic accent. He says the problem is hereby solved: the fake charge is disallowed and the account is closed.

Right. I’ll believe that when I see it. Or when I don’t see another notice of a fake charge.

You know, there are mailing lists organized by age. That’s how AARP knows to start hustling you to buy a membership, the minute you hit about age 62.

My guess is that some list now shows me as pushing 80 — which (can you believe it? I sure can’t!) is pretty close. Thus the various bad actors know there’s a good chance enough of my marbles have slipped away that they can scam me easily. Hence the endless stream of telephone scams.

I’ve stopped answering the phone — either land line or iPhone. Almost every call is a hustle of one sort or another.

And yeah: I do know about the National Do-Not-Call List…har har! They just ignore that. They know nothing will happen. The numbers they appear to be calling from are spoofed, so even if you were to call the feds and complain, it wouldn’t matter: you couldn’t provide the information needed to track them down, even if they were calling from within the US (which they probably aren’t).

With the iPhone, you can block all incoming and set the thing to let only selected callers through. But I still haven’t been able to figure out how to use the complicated damned thing. As devices go, it’s just brain-banging.

This PayPal stuff spooks me. I’m afraid that if I refuse to pay for the phantom furniture, they’ll wreck my credit. This is one reason I posted a narrative of the little saga here at FaM: If Paypal starts harassing me for the supposed charge, I’ll have a record of when it happened and a public statement that it’s fraudulent.

Basically consumers are pretty much defenseless against the barrage of soliciting and scamming phone calls. It’s virtually impossible to block them without blocking access from legitimate callers. And look it this involved rigamarole Verizon recommends to us!!!

Seriously, guys? Who has time for that kind of BS?

I’ve stemmed part of the tide by blocking calls from area codes where I don’t know people. The Phoenix metropolitan area, for example, has three area codes: 602, 623, and 480. Blocking calls from area code 623 cuts down significantly on the harassing advertisements…but it has a BIG (and obvious) downside. One of my doctors’ offices is in the 623 area code: they can’t get through to me on the phone. Same is true for anyone in 480. Or 520 (Tucson). Or 213 (Los Angeles). Or 415 (San Francisco), 408 (San Jose), 510 (East Bay), 562 (Long Beach, Whittier, Norwalk, Lakewood, Bellflower, Cerritos, southeast Los Angeles County and a small portion of coastal Orange County)…. That is a WHOLE lot of friends and business acquaintances who are cut off from reaching you by telephone. I give out an email address whenever I can, but the truth is, most people don’t quite grasp the problem.

And the problem, apparently, is that as you advance in age, you become a juicier and juicier target for telephone scammers. Before I started blocking area codes and some local exchanges, I’d get as many as ten or twelve calls a day from crooks pestering me.

The 21st Century…Dante would’ve loved it!

2 thoughts on “Scamarama!”

  1. I was thinking maybe someone in the choir could help you learn what you need to know about your iPhone. Or maybe they know a teenager that could help you.
    I don’t answer any calls on my cell phone that aren’t in my phone. If they leave a message, I listen to it and block the spam that it usually is. Hardly ever get any real wrong numbers anymore.

    • Good idea…but… People assume you know this stuff, just as folks in my generation assumed that everyone knew how to use a household telephone. They don’t seem to know where to even START to show you how to use thing, nor, we might add, do they want to do so. People are busy: ya can’t get away with asking them to teach you something you should have learned 20 years ago. {sigh}

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