Scam Alert

If this had happened today, I would have thought it was from a friend, trying to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on me. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke on you, really. This is just odd timing.

Woman at computer (free clip art)
Woman at computer (free clip art)

Yesterday, I was at home, working on the computer. I had just finished all I could do on my income taxes, done a bit of blogging, and had started to work on writing a post for the Ruritan Rapidan District website that I created and maintain in my spare time.

Then the cordless cell phone beside my desk rang. The Caller ID identified the number as 215-249-6100. Not recognizing the number, and thinking it might be a “real” telephone call, I decided to answer it.

I’m not sure now if I’m glad I answered it or not. Often I let the home phone just go to voice mail to screen the calls – there are so many telemarketers “out there” that did not seem to get the message that my phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry!

Be that as it may, I answered the phone. A male with a foreign accent asked to speak to me. Well, our family has dealt with a few doctors recently with a similar foreign accent, so I still thought it might be a legitimate phone call. I replied that I was the person he was asking to speak with.

Then the adventure began. The man identified himself as a Microsoft Windows Security employee. He informed me that he was calling to tell me that his company has identified my computer as having a virus!

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)
Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

As you can imagine, my immediate reaction was to think that this phone call was an attempt by someone who has malicious intent. (And I feel very bad for the many people “out there” that are not technologically savvy enough to see right through this type of ploy, and immediately fall prey to this predatory behavior!)

So, I repeated back to this man, “you are calling me to tell me that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply was, “Yes ma’am, a very serious virus, and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.” I thought to myself “I’ll bet you are!”

My reply to him was “You can tell, from where you are, that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply again, was, “Yes ma’am. a very serious virus. and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.”

Now I’ve decided to have a bit of fun at his expense. So I asked him “Well, I’ve got eight computers here, can you tell me which ONE of those computers has a virus on it? I really need to know which ONE!”

Computer hacker (free clip art)
Computer hacker (free clip art)

Well, as you can imagine, there was a brief pause at the other end, and then the man spoke “you have eight computers there?” to which I replied “yes sir, I have eight computers here, and if one of them is infected, I really need to know which one of those eight is infected, so I can take care of it right away!”

Then the man started to stammer and sputter “ummmmm…. eight computers…. ummmmmmm…. I don’t know….. ummmm….. eight computers…….”

My tolerance for stupidity depleted, I decided to put him out of his misery. I know it’s rude to interrupt, but I interrupted him (sorry) and said “Let me make this easy for you. I don’t believe that you are a legitimate business. I think you are a spammer, scammer, hacker, identity thief that is trying to rip me off. I have all kinds of firewalls, anti-malware, anti-spamware programs on my computers,and I don’t believe that you are who you say you are. Put this phone number on your ‘Do Not Call List’ and do not ever call me again!” And then I hung up the telephone.

Then I went to Google, and typed in the phone number 215-249-6100. The search results led me to a website called callercomplaints dot com, where people can register a telephone number and complain about it. There were already several complaints logged (with details) for that phone number. I added my complaint to the list – you can read it if you want to.

Please remember – when someone calls YOU and wants information from YOU, do NOT GIVE IT OUT! It is a SCAM! Hang up the phone!

This looks so much like one of my kids – but it isn’t

This morning my hubby showed me a photograph that someone sent to his phone. It looked like one of my sons riding a chicken! I asked him how in the world he did that, and he ignored my question. Eventually I heard him tell someone else that it was a picture that someone found on the Internet and sent the picture to him. The photo is not of my son at all, but boy, at first glance, it certainly does look a lot like him!

Man riding a chicken photo credit Richie Nolan
Man riding a chicken (photo credit Richie Nolan)

So I decided to go online and try to find the photograph for myself. It only took a few moments, and I found this website that talks about the photograph and how it was created by Graphic designer Richie Nolan. Apparently the photograph became an Internet sensation months ago (why am I only seeing it for the first time now, I wonder?)

Both my kids have a very strong resemblance to each other, you could guess either one if you’d like! I just think it is really funny! Especially since my kids enjoy role-playing video games, and I can just envision them riding a chicken off to battle!

An exercise in patience

Culpeper Star Exponent
Culpeper Star Exponent

On October 22, I decided to go online to subscribe to the local newspaper – the Culpeper Star-Exponent. The process took several minutes, and I placed the order under my business name of 2 Market 2 Market Your Dot Com. I ordered a special deal of $10.85 a month through some kind of EZ Pay plan.

When I clicked on the “order now” or “submit” or whatever the button was to finalize the whole order, I got an error message that the order did not go through, telling me to call their customer service number. So I called the customer service number, explained to the lady what happened. She apologized and said that she would be glad to help me with that. I had to give her all of the information again, and she quoted me a price $11.40 for the month.

I told her that I wanted the $10.85 price, and she said that deal was only through the Internet and she could not give me that price. I asked to speak to a supervisor, or if I could get an over-ride, and she said no. She did suggest that I wait a couple of days and try to order online again.

Well, I was aggravated, but did not want to wait a couple of days, so I went ahead and told her that I would pay the higher price, so I placed the order through her. The paper was supposed to start the next day, October 23. It did NOT start the next day, there was NO newspaper delivered.

On October 24, I got TWO papers, both dated October 24! I thought to myself, “well, that’s a strange glitch, I will wait and see what happens tomorrow and if I get two newspapers again I will call to straighten the situation out. Well, you guessed it, the next day I got TWO papers, again dated the same day.

Note: looking through the newspapers that I did get, I saw a full-page ad for the EZ Pay subscription of $10.85 on page B7, telling people to call them at 540-829-5496. There was no mention that in order to get that price you had to place the order online!

frustrated woman (free clip art)
frustrated woman (free clip art)

I called circulation to ask them what was going on, and they said that I had TWO subscription accounts now. One in my business name, and one in my personal name! Well, that was annoying on several levels – I had ordered the subscription to be in the business name only, not my personal name, and I only wanted ONE subscription, not TWO!

I explained to the customer service representative what had happened, and that I only wanted ONE subscription, not TWO, so would they please cancel one of the orders. I asked them if one of the orders was for the $10.85, and they said yes, the one in the 2 Market 2 Market Your Dot Com was for $10.85, and they other one (the one in my personal name) was for $11.40. I asked them to cancel the one in my personal name, and keep the one in my business name. They told me that they would do exactly that.

Today, Saturday, I was hoping to go down to the newspaper tube and get my Culpeper Star-Exponent Newspaper. But the box was empty. Hoping that maybe the paper would arrive later in the day, my hubby and I went out running errands for the day and got back home at 5:30. Stopping at the newspaper tube to get the paper, I was very unhappy to find that the tube was still empty! However, in the mail box are TWO bills from the Culpeper Star-Exponent for both of the subscriptions!

Letter to the editor (free clip art)
Letter to the editor (free clip art)

Going inside, I found the customer service number and called them to ask them to make sure that I get a newspaper tomorrow, Sunday. Their office is closed until 6am Sunday morning. I am finding this to be quite the exercise in patience! I am considering sending this post as an email to the newspaper in the form of a Letter to the Editor. What do you think?

An essay about the booster seats of yesteryear

I can remember as a child, there were several times that I had a question about something and for some crazy reason I would call the telephone operator and ask her for the answer to my question. I guess I thought that the telephone operator was the smartest lady in the world! And you know something? The telephone operator always was very pleasant and had the answer I was looking for! Boy, those were the good ol’ days!

Do you remember the old days when a young child wanted to sit at the table to eat, the parents (or grandparents) would put a big, fat, telephone directory on the seat of one of the adult’s dining room chairs so the child could sit there? Growing up in an urban area, I was used to seeing really fat telephone directories. I had a strange kind of fascination with them. I have no idea why, really. I just can remember whenever we would travel to a different city, when we would check into a motel I would go look for the local telephone directory and flip through the yellow pages. I always felt that was the best way to get a really good idea of what the area was like.

Now small business marketing involves much more than a listing in the White Pages and an advertisement in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory. The Internet has done its part to revolutionize local listings. I still use the telephone directory for a lot of things, but usually it is only when I don’t have access to the Internet. I am always sure to keep a current telephone directory near the hard-wired phone at home, and usually last year’s copy of the telephone directory in my car.

Whenever possible, however, I will generate a local search on my computer. Doing that is often faster than using the paper version of the telephone directory. It is definitely time to stop using the telephone directory as a booster seat – I think it is an endangered species. Besides, the town that I live in, the telephone directory is so small it wouldn’t do a lot of boosting!