My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, July 1

Phone & E-Mail Scams

It seems like there are more and more scams involving e-mails and phones than ever before. Last night I got a new one, a phone call from Dish Network telling me I would need to upgrade my DVR boxes, or something like that. The call was from a William Jeffries, who had a distinctly Indian accent with all kinds of busy background noises behind him. The accent and noise made it hard from me to understand what he was saying. He first asked me to hit the menu button twice and it would call up a page that listed all the information about my Dish equipment. Okay. And since only a day or two earlier, Dish had made a change to the appearance of their page for saving programs, I thought this call was something further with their upgrade. But the more questions he asked me, the more uncomfortable I became. I finally told him that I’d rather call Dish directly to see what it was they needed from me. He objected vehemently. I hung up. I went online and looked up Dish phone scams. Yupp. There it was, almost exactly as it had happened. Another lesson learned, but just barely.

And this lesson reminded me of another one I’d just learned. It wasn’t as blatant a scam as the others I’d heard of, but very close. About a month ago I got an e-mail request to take a survey. I can’t remember who asked me to do it or what it involved, but I suspect it was related to all the shopping I do on Amazon. So, I took the survey with the understanding that I‘d get some free reward for participating. Yes, a free gift from about ten categories, one of which was for a free watch. I emphasize the word “free” because the survey also emphasized it. You already know what I should have known, that there’s almost nothing under the blue sky that’s free. Ten days later, my “free” watch arrived, a rather manly-large Axion watch with tiny watch face at the top and a small informative circle at the bottom, four side buttons for setting all kinds of functions—a numerical time readout in both regular time and military time, a space to tell me the day of the week and date of the month, a stop watch function, and an alarm. It’s quite handsome although a bit larger than I’m used to. I rather liked it. And except for the $6.95 shipping and handling, it was free! But a month later I noticed on my credit card statement a charge of $99.95. I called the number listed there. I was informed that the watch was free for two weeks, after which if I didn’t return it I would be charged that $99.95, and that I had also somehow agreed to participate in other such mailings once a month, “gifts” to examine for 14 days before returning or keeping. I told them to take me off their mailing list. I would keep the “free” $106.95 watch because I had no choice, but I was an unhappy buyer of said watch.

This internet practice may not be illegal, but it narrowly skirts the line between scam and legality. I’d consider it a scam. Just another lesson I learned too late, and it cost me only $106.95.
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