Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Darker Side of Humanity

Earlier this year, two blog posts caught my eye:

First: What Happened to Kindness?  It's a good question.

Next: Scammers (one man's experience with scammers trying to trick him).  After reading this post, you may never trust anyone again.

What depths are some of our fellow humans capable of sinking to, preying on the elderly and other vulnerable populations (among other crimes against our own species)?  We've been warned, with the recent death of my mother in law, about scammers who will try to send us bills "she owes" or try other tricks to benefit from our loss.

We were told about obituaries that gave out "too much information" - but identity thieves love them.

Why? Because there are  people who use obituaries to steal from the dead and their families.

It's not just the old "burglarize the house of loved ones while they are at the funeral" but outright identity theft.  One of the first things we had to do after getting home from the funeral was contact credit bureaus to make sure her credit was frozen and she was marked as "deceased".

Do you need to fill your car's gas tank?  A skimmer may steal your credit or debit card information.

Can you depend on anyone, anymore?  Even the government warns us about scams (a warning well worth reading, by the way.)

Is this what has happened to kindness?  We can't trust anyone in everyday interactions anymore.  Even phone numbers and emails aren't what they seem.

My late mother in law was scammed at least once in her life (by a "driveway repairman") and saw through an IRS scam several years ago only because they insisted on her paying "the IRS" with Rite-Aid gift cards.  The "IRS agent" knew enough about her late husband to scare her.

I work with someone who witnessed a family member trying to deal with the "grandson" scam - it was so realistic. Turns out the scammers have ways of finding out personal information.  That is what happened with my mother in law and the "IRS" - they had personal information on my father in law, who (at that time) had been dead over 10 years.

There are the new Medicare card scams.  

Scams targeting those who are victims of recent natural disasters.  And it goes on and on.

If you think you are smart, and it can't happen to you - well, it can.  I received a scam call from someone pretending to be from my insurance company shortly after my spouse was injured in an accident (perhaps I should blog about that one day).  Fortunately, I decided to check into the phone call (it was a message left on my machine) with the insurance company, using their normal customer service number - and their reaction was pretty interesting, too.

Back to the blogger who asked "what happened to kindness" - she now tries to look out for acts of kindness in her everyday life.

Maybe that is what we need to do, too - if not out of self defense, then something enabling us to reconnect with our fellow human beings.

Don't let the bottom dwellers defeat us.

Easier said than done.

Has anyone you know been scammed?


  1. Some of those scammers string together a lot of legal-sounding language. A friend of mine got one of those phony IRS calls and thought it was real. Fortunately she has an accountant do her taxes, so she got off the phone with the scammers and called her accountant.

  2. Right now, about once a week, I get a call from the 'CRA' (Canadian equivalent of the IRS) telling me I'm about to be arrested for tax evasion/fraud/reallybadstuff. I just laugh and hang up. But there are many, many people who have been taken in and lost thousands. I have been scammed, however. I paid for a three-year renewal on one of my website domains. Only to find out that the company I had paid wasn't the company who held my domain. And they kept on sending me letters. Really official-looking letters.
    What truly amazes me is the lack of any sort of empathy or feeling for someone going through something terrible. Plaguing widows and orphans. And people who have just lost someone dear. There is a special kind of purgatory for someone who will do that!

  3. It's amazing how low some people can go. I don't know anyone who has fallen for one of these, but I know people who have had people try to scam them. All you can do is watch out and hope that the clues will surface to let us know it's a scam.

  4. So sad but there have always been those wanting to take advantage of others. At the moment, I'm receiving several calls a day from the "Social Security Administration" telling me that my number has been temporarily frozen due to fraud issues and advising that I need to call them as soon as possible. One sounded quite convincing but we have to remember that the federal government sends letters, it does not have people call you on the phone.

  5. Just had my checking account cleaned out by a person who called themselves "Crystal Savage"- with a mobile withdrawal using a faked check. These people if caught should be killed. It's why people still do these things. Punishment isn't strict enough!


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