Scammers!

The phone rang yesterday morning. Since I was the only one home, I answered. The fellow at the other end — our call display showed Unknown Number — explained in a thick foreign accent that he was a VISA representative.

“There have been charges to your VISA account and I’m calling to verify that you did indeed make these purchases. The one was made at 3am this morning and the other at 6am.”

I was alarmed. “Well, we certainly never made them.”

“Did you give anyone access to your VISA card or make any purchases online with this number?”

“No.”

He went on to say more. I had a hard time understanding his speech but was beginning to catch the drift. Before he got the chance to ask for my VISA card number, I said, “Thank you for letting us know about this” and hung up.

I called my husband, who checked it out online and found no charges made to our account that morning.

Yesterday evening I received an e-mail from the manager of some financial institution in Israel, asking me to contact her ASAP on a very important matter. I wonder how many millions are waiting for me to claim over there. By the way, that ambassador from Indonesia hasn’t showed up yet with my millions in US foreign aid dollars.

For me it’s annoying, even humorous at times. Still, there are vulnerable people who get these calls and wouldn’t pick up on the clues that it’s a scam. Take care, everyone. It’s a tough old world for naive, trusting souls.

Scam Artists

cushion for old age
taken by an expert fleecer
poor sheep shiver

At Last My Ship Comes In

WHAT A TERRIFIC BIRTHDAY PRESENT!

Someone in the United Nations Headquarters must have heard that my birthday is coming up shortly and they wish to celebrate with me. Or else they have discovered that I am the most trustworthy person on the planet. Only this morning I received this amazing notification that a treasure-laden ship is about to fly into my airport — and MY name is on it!

Here are some details from the e-mail so you can all rejoice with me in my good fortune:

Office of Director of Payment United Nations
United Nations Payment Office Jakarta, Indonesia

This is to inform you about our plan to send your fund to you via cash delivery. This system will be easier for you and for us. We are going to send your contract part payment of US 5.2 million to you via diplomatic courier service. This fund was brought to us from America. It was meant for our local AFEM market. …

Note: The money is coming in two security proof boxes. The boxes are sealed with synthetic nylon seal and padded with machine. … The diplomat attached will travel with it. He will call you immediately he arrives your airport. …

I need your response because the boxes are schedule to leave as soon as you respond. Reply me immediately you receive this message. …

He wants me to send him some personal ID info so they can send the goods. I suppose they wouldn’t want to risk just anybody replying to this e-mail. The problem is that my dear husband has such a suspicious nature. He has never allowed me to send our banking info so I could claim all the millions of dollars and British pounds I’ve inherited at various times through the years.

Can you imagine the size of those boxes, each holding US 2.6 million in cash! I suppose it will all be in thousand-dollar bills? The US doesn’t put out million-dollar bills, do they? At any rate, I’d better call Brinks and arrange for one of their trucks to meet the plane.

One doesn’t wish to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I’m not too sure what we’re supposed to do with this diplomat. What if he has really expensive tastes, like caviar, fresh-caught squid and such like. But since this is the Canadian prairie, maybe he’ll want to try our buffalo steaks? Much more do-able. At any rate I don’t want to waste spend US $1 million just to entertain him.

One problem will be that our trailer is too small for hosting a real live diplomat — especially if he comes with an entourage. Still, he’ll likely want to drop in, get to know us a bit, so I’d best give the place a good cleaning. I’ve been wanting to anyway; this will give me a great incentive. And as soon as I hear when he’s arriving I’ll reserve him a room at the Bessborough Hotel — a famous historic Saskatoon landmark that’s housed diplomats before, even royalty.

I want to thank all of you, dear Yankee friends and followers, for your indirect contribution to my good fortune. You may wish to check into the normal disbursement of foreign aid dollars, but in this case, I assure you that the sum is going to a very worthy recipient. (Blush) Since there’s nothing in the letter to say what I should do with this money, I shall do my best to spend it prudently. 😉

A Classic Bait-and-Switch

Caveate Emptor
(Let the Buyer Beware)

I included this bit of wisdom in a post to Judy Dykstra brown and she was so thrilled to learn a new expression she even wrote a post on the topic. 🙂 Click here to read it.

Her reply jogged my memory. I recall an experience I had on this one myself years ago, when we were living in Montréal. And since today’s Word Press prompt word is infuse, I’ll use this example of a time where I was infused with righteous indignation.

One fine summer day…

He was standing at the entry to one of Montréal’s métro stations. Early thirties, I’d guess, rather shabby in appearance — hardly your ‘up-and-coming enterpreneur’ look — with a small bouquet of flowers in his outstretched hand. “Pretty flowers. Two dollars,” he called to the mass of people passing. The crowd, hurrying to catch the trains, ignored him.

I was part of this human tide flowing into the subway entrance, but when I saw him I paused. Yes, the flowers were pretty, neatly wrapped and ready to go. Plus he really looked like he could use the money, so I opened my purse.

When he saw me step closer and start fishing for the money, he held out the flowers so I could get a good look at them. The bouquet, which even included a rose, was colourful and fresh as a daisy. “Just two dollars,” he repeated.

He took the coin I handed him and I reached for the bouquet — but he was quick. Pulling back the flowers in his one hand, with the other he scooped up a similar bouquet from a bucket beside him, wrapped so you could just see the flowers, and held it out to me. The flowers appeared identical so I grabbed it, nodded my thanks and joined the crowd headed for the trains.

After I took my seat on the subway car I took a closer look at my purchase. Oh.

This bouquet’s best-before date passed yesterday — or the day before. The outer rose petals were withered; the mum blooms were fringed with a bit of brown; the greenery appeared a little wilted. NOT just like the one he was holding out for inspection.

As I thought about the switch he’d pulled I was infused with indignation. What a rotten trick! And a sense of injustice. The man’s dishonest — a cheat! Wounded pride. I’ve been had! Okay, it was only $2, but still… And embarrassment. I should have been watching. I should have protested when I saw him make the switch.

By the time I’d arrived back at the house, I’d decided to let it go. If he was a cheat, it would be on his conscience; I wasn’t going to lose sleep over it. I’d cut my losses — along with the flower stems — and move on.

I trimmed the stems right away, stuck the flowers in warm water and revived those I could. The mums and greenery perked up well for a few more days; the rose was too far gone. And after all, I’d only lost $2. Not worth grinding my teeth about.

I chalked it up to a relatively cheap lesson in life. Economics 101: o caveat emptor!