Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Look what you...

...made me do!"

Okay. Normally, I am probably the most phone-avoidant person you know. (I like e-mail; I dislike the phone). If I have to cold-call someone it takes an hour of working up my courage first.

But apparently, "anger is an energy" as a friend of mine says.

Something has been happening lately that I find extremely disturbing: phone scammers (either "[RandomWoman'sName] from Cardholder Services" or some kind of a "you stayed at our resort in the past") have been spoofing real numbers. Like, real-real numbers, with the name connected with the number coming up in caller ID.

On Saturday, I got one purporting to be from the local Vision Bank. I picked up, because who knows: some banks have Saturday morning hours and I was afraid maybe someone was trying to claim I had written them a big check or something. (I bank at the local educator's credit union, but it could have been someone trying to cash a check).

Nope. "Valerie from Cardholder Services." I said a few unladylike words, slammed the phone down, and then called Vision Bank - it was someone's voicemail so I left a message saying what had happened, on the grounds that a legitimate bank wants to know that sort of thing.

Well, this morning, the phone rang as I was cleaning* and I ran to check on it - a local number and the name Sheri McCoy. Well, years back, I knew some McCoys, they are since deceased but I thought, "Maybe Sheri is a daughter-in-law or granddaughter" so I picked up.

"Hello!" says a cheery male-bot voice "Our records show you stayed at one of our resorts in the past...."

I said another unladylike word and slammed the phone down. I know this is a scam because I think the last time I stayed in anything that could be deemed a "resort," it was 1995 and I was at an Ecological Society of America meeting, and paying waaaaaaay too much for everything in a ski resort on the off season....

And then I thought: if some bot was spoofing my number, I'd want to know, so I could raise holy heck with the phone company. So, without really thinking, I dialed the number.

I got a man. I politely explained the issue. He wanted to know: do I live in Oklahoma? Oh yes, I said, probably in the same town as you do, I have a 931 exchange also. He thanked me and said he was going to call the phone company and complain, because "this shouldn't happen."

No, it shouldn't. I pay a considerable amount each month for the privilege of a landline, and I don't like this. (Though if this gets worse? I may just end having a landline. Or else never answer it for any reason other than when my parents' or brothers' family's number comes up)

But yeah. We were able to put a man on the moon. We can put hearts from another person into a person's body to replace their failing heart. We have made driverless cars. I can order a book through the ether and have it show up on my doorstep two days later - or better, order a pattern through the ether and have it show up in my inbox SECONDS later - but we cannot stop these scammers?


(* And I can report Pomodoros work excellently for cleaning, as well. I am taking an early "long break" for this but I think two to three more and I should be done with cleaning - living room is done, dining room is mostly done, in the kitchen I just have to wet mop the floor, and then there's the bathroom and some to do in my bedroom....and then I can play, and I can enjoy the next few days in a clean house.

In fact, I was in the middle of "marrying" several bottles of countertop cleaner when the phone rang - somehow I wound up with four partially-used duplicates - and having one bottle under the sink is better than having four.)

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