In an age where they have invented self-driving cars, it amazes me that we still have to deal with scammers, fraudsters, and other undesirable people via the telephone. Caller ID helps but not all of the time.
I’ve received those calls from the “IRS” telling me that I owe money. They are free to come get me. I guess there are still those who fall for that ruse because the criminals are still making those calls around tax time. Other scams include the jury duty scam claiming that you missed jury duty, the grandparent scam claiming that a grandchild is in jail, and scams involving a “help” desk.
There was one particular scammer who called me claiming to be from Microsoft and saying that my computer had been infected with a virus. I told him that my computer was fine, and that I would not turn on my computer. A few minutes after I hung up, there was another call from a different number. The very same guy was on the phone and claiming to be from Microsoft again. I laughed and told him that I was not going to fall for his scam. Then I asked him if that scam really worked. Click! He hung up.
I also get calls from so-called police and sheriff organizations asking for donations. I tell them that I never donate to phone solicitations and if they really do represent a sheriff or police organization they should support that policy.
One time I got a call asking for donations for breast cancer victims. The lady who called was very belligerent and was insistent that I donate. Excuse me? I decide who gets my donations. This particular call came during a rough time for me as I had just had surgery for breast cancer. I finally told her that I had breast cancer myself and hung up.
I also don’t like getting calls from various candidates during election time. Television ads are bad enough, but I can always turn off the TV. They don’t need to be ringing my phone.
AT&T has a very helpful application called Call Protect. It does block some of the fraudulent calls, but not all. It is amusing to get calls that actually say they are from telemarketers. If only they would say they are from criminals.
Scammers have also been able to get area codes to use in your area to make you believe that the call is from someone you might know or want to talk to. It has gotten so bad that I don’t answer the phone unless I recognize the number. I figure that if the call is legitimate the caller will leave a message.
I also have to watch out for official looking e-mails. That can be tricky at times. I have learned to not click on those e-mails and go directly to the website to log in and see what is going on. Most of the time my on-line account is just fine. I still get e-mails occasionally from people who have obviously been hacked. I don’t click on those links. Just hit delete.
In addition, I sometimes get strange text messages. Those get deleted, too.
The funniest phone call I have ever received was this morning. The Caller ID said, “Fraud Likely.” I didn’t answer, but I got a good laugh. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our calls were identified with labels that identified who was calling instead of just saying “Anonymous,” “Unavailable,” “Invalid Number,” “Private Caller,” etc? Oh, well. Maybe some day.