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Hi Folks!

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, and everyone is thinking happy thoughts (as well as dealing with all the stress the holidays brings, LOL), I want to bring up yet again the importance of being on guard against scams.

Here's an example that just happened to me moments ago. It's typical:

The phone rang...

Her: Hello, may I speak with Anthony?

(I'm always suspicious when anyone calls me Anthony)

Me: Who's calling please?

Her: This is Marie. I'm calling from the Sweepstakes Award Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Me: Oh? What have I won?

Her: I'm happy to tell you that you've been selected to be eligible to win our grand prize of $50,000.

Me: I am!!?? You're kidding!! This is great!! Thank you! Send the money right away!!!

And with that, I hung up the phone. : )


No doubt, she was a bit steamed at not even having had the opportunity to attempt to scam my credit card number--that's what they do. Had I continued the card, she'd have had some moronic script which includes something like: Now, to verify that our information is correct, I need the last four digits of your credit card. As the conversation continued, she would've then tried to carefully squeeze the rest of the account digits.

This scam is successful in many cases because they are preying on unsuspecting individuals at a time when finances are tight. The dream of winning money, the hopes miraculous riches can take over, causing the trusting victims to hand over information to these thieves.

Contest scams are far from the only ones out there. Every year we get calls from people claiming to represent some form of Police Organizations. I've checked these out also, only to find that our local law enforcement agencies do NOT solicit funds over the phone, and these scam artists merely try to take advantage of people's holiday spirit to get credit card contributions or checks sent. Little or no money ever goes to those in need when it's not a true charitable organization.

So again folks. As sad as it is to say, this is the time of year to be even more cautious with mailings and phone calls.

Tony
...but I still am...

Off2Aruba
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Thank you for the heads up, Tony!
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Tony:

Thanks for your post. This is information that I didn't have and will copy for my file.

Very timely indeed.

Catleen
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A suggestion: Caller ID from your phone company. Anyone without a recognizable name gets our answering machine first. If we recognize them, we pick up. IF not, well .... let 'em try to get any info from my machine.
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Anyone without a recognizable name gets our answering machine first.
If we recognize them, we pick up. IF not, well .... let 'em try to get any info from my machine.


My problem with this strategy is -- These companies will call you hourly and day after day until they reach a live person. I have a caller ID box that holds 25 names. When I come home and find 6 spaces out of the valuable 25 used up in one day by "unavailable" (sure sign of a telemarketer), then 6 more the next day and six the next, that means my ability to use the box as a short-term record of callers to my home (for various personal reasons, I sometimes refer back for these names and numbers) is greatly diminished.

My philosophy is to talk to them ASAP and say the magic words, "Put me on your do not call list." Then they are gone. Until the next company, of course... but I still find that applying this strategy on a committed basis is definitely having long term effects on the number of total telemarketing calls to my home. I even tell the public television people that I will renew when my year is up and DO NOT call me.
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If I get one I put down the phone, NOT HANG IT UP. I then go back to whatever it was that I was doing. Then I let them spew their spiel to their heart's content. When I hear the "BNNNT BNNNT BNNNT" coming from the phone, I go and hang it up. You'd be surprised at how long it is until I have to hang up sometimes.

I like it because its a way to waste their time for them wasting mine. It really cuts down on their attempts per hour and probably they feel and look pretty foolish. They seem to put me on their don't call back list from what I can tell.
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dear pirahnakeeper,

Hilarious!
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A suggestion: Caller ID from your phone company. Anyone without a recognizable name gets our answering machine first.

I thought of this, Don, but I'd need at least two boxes. I just know that I'd be wherever the caller ID box wasn't. ;)

Tony
...but I still am...

Off2Aruba
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