Unfortunately, wrapped up with all the holiday cheer is an upsurgence in unscrupulous people.
After all the looting recently in St. Louis, I wondered how many kids got stolen merchandise as gifts. And how many knew it was stolen? Envision the exchange at a looter holiday. “Here, Johnny, I got you this sparkling new bike.” “Wow, you’re the best uncle in the world!” Yeah, right.
Hey, Looters! Ever think of setting a good example, you thugs? You’re not protesters; you’re criminals who steal and destroy your neighbors’ hard work by looting and burning their stores.
Then there are those who steal delivered packages off the front porches of others. Last week a few got their comeuppance. A couple in Washington, D.C. — tired of having their packages stolen from their front porch — rewrapped a special gift for the porch package pilferers. They videotaped the gift exchange so they could enjoy it for years to come, and share it with local law enforcement. The box they left was filled with dog poo. Ah, pooetic justice at its best.
Now for the real point of today’s blog: telephone scammers who ask for your personal information and credit card number.
Recently a friend received two calls in as many weeks asking for his credit card number. Both of these calls could’ve been legit, but he’s very smart and didn’t give out any information. The first caller identified themselves as from his bank; the second said they were from his new cell phone service.
The “bank” caller asked him to verify his social security number. He didn’t. Then they asked for him to verify his address. He said, “Um, you’re my bank. Shouldn’t you already know my address?” Then they asked for a credit card number and that tore it. He had a few choice words for them at this point and hung up.
The cell phone caller went immediately for the throat. They said his calling limit had been reached, and if he wanted to continue he needed to give them a credit card number. He just bought the phone the week before so he knew that wasn’t the case.
By the way, it’s legit in our age of technology to charge items to your cell phone account much like you do to your credit card account.
In fact, this past October, the FTC reached a $105 million settlement with AT&T for adding unauthorized charges — technically known as “cramming” — to their clients billings.
The FTC has some great tips on protecting yourself from cramming and what to watch for on your telephone bill. Click here.
Today’s Important Lesson Number One: Never ever give out a credit card number to someone who calls you. Only give it out if you initiate the call.
Today’s Important Lesson Number Two: Never call back a number given to you by a caller then give them your credit card number. Scammers can intercept calls and/or set up phone numbers to look like legit businesses.
Now you’re armed a bit better for scam callers. Don’t feel bad if the calls are actually from a company you do business with. You just did them a favor by advising them their policies need to be brought into the 21st Century.
Have a very blessed holiday season, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀
DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.
I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.