There’s a very good story in the NYT today about scams, posing the question, “Are we getting scammed all the time?”
I apologize if people can’t see this because of the paywall (maybe this will be your freebie), but the author talks about a scam job offer they got (he’s a free-lance illustrator) and the final tip-off was that they wanted to pay him in advance. That was obviously a way to get access to his bank info then either pull one of the “Whoops, I overpaid you, please refund 99% of it,” then they cancel the transaction, or maybe just enough access to pull it out directly.
I know some people who have been scammed. One thought they were calling Delta Airlines, but whomever answered what she thought was the right number conned them into sending them several hundred dollars in Target gift cards to pay for a flight. That’s nothing compared to what I just heard happened to a friend who got taken for around $100,000 (you read that right) by a mail order bride scam in Asia. Nearly every day I, and I’m betting most of you, get a text from a number you don’t know asking how you’re doing, inviting you to a party, etc.
About a month ago I saw another article, either in the NYT or NPR, about how the Asian girl who just wants to say hi is really a victim, male or female, of human trafficking. The very next day I got a message on WhatsApp, which I almost never use, from a pretty Asian woman (maybe) asking if I was my sister’s (by name) brother and could I send her my sister’s contact info. That was creepy to say the least.
I have spent some time watching YouTube videos of some people fighting scams, primarily Scammer Payback and a guy named Jim Browning. That came in handy a couple of weeks back when “my pastor” sent me a text asking if I’d get a couple of Google gift cards for women in the hospital. I knew that was BS, and messed with them for a while just to keep them from moving on too quickly. I eventually asked them if they liked Pierogi, the pseudonym that the guy on Scammer Payback uses to stay anonymous. When they said they didn’t understand I said he’s the guy on Scammer Payback on YouTube. Then added, “We’re done, a$$hole.” The scammers had somehow gotten access to the church directory and were sending texts to a lot of people. Fortunately the office admin got an email out to everyone quickly warning them about it.
So, please, all my UF.N, or even if you’re a UF.N nemesis, be careful out there.