Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

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This morning we got another phone call from the “IRS” saying it was our final notice that they were filing a suit against us.  We are actually in pretty good contact with the IRS ourselves, and this scam phone call doesn’t even give our hearts a tiny flutter.

 

But it does make me angry, thinking of the vulnerable people who may panic, who may fall for this and call them back, who may even, in all good faith, believe that this is the way the IRS operates and end up sending them money.

 

Those of you who have time on your hands might want to call the number and tell them what you think. If you are an IRS official, even better. People who prey on other people for their livelihood need to find another way to earn a living.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Communication, Crime, Lies, Money Management, Rants, Scams | | 1 Comment

“Yes Ma’am, That Was For a Bus Ticket to Mexico”

“We see it all the time.”

As long as we lived overseas, AdventureMan and I never had a problem with our credit cards. I used ATM’s all over Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait to make cash withdrawals when I needed what my Mom calls “jingle money,” you know, walking-around money for lunch out, for fabrics in the souks, for whatever we needed cash for. It was easy, and it must have been safe. We never once had a problem.

 

nsa-spy-cartoon-2

Now, we’ve had to change our numbers several times.

This one was particularly odd, though. I got a second notice on a card I call my “hurricane” card. When you live in Florida, massive calamity can happen literally overnight. You may have to suddenly evacuate to a strange city and need funds for emergency housing, and housing the pets. No running to the bank for a withdrawal when an area has been destroyed by a tornado; it can take months for infrastructure to be back up and running normally.

The charge was made just after we returned from traveling, so my first instinct was to check my wallet, and the card was not there. Oddly, while it was my account, it was AdventureMan’s card, which has a different number. He assures me he never made the change. I believe him; I find both cards safely tucked away, unused, in a safe place.

I call the bank. I explain that we had been traveling, but neither of us think we made this charge, the only charge on this card, the card we not only never use, but don’t even keep in our wallets. The bank lady takes a look and laughs and says “Oh yes. That was a bus ticket to Mexico. We’ve seen that before.”

Long story short, this kind of fraud has become so routine that they have routine practices that go immediately into effect to protect us, to protect their other customers and to restore our hurricane card.

But when she said it was for a bus ticket to Mexico, I burst out laughing, and all my anxiety disappeared in a heartbeat. No. I did not charge a bus ticket to Mexico, and neither did AdventureMan.

It’s just so odd, to me. These are cards that have never even been in our wallets. They never leave their safe place. How was someone able to use them?

December 8, 2016 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Crime, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, fraud, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Saudi Arabia, Scams, Survival, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Faux Amazon Offer

This morning I got a “special offer” from Amazon:

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-8-32-55-am

 

Very strange. It isn’t Easter. This just smells off.

I checked the return address:

admin@windows.strangelearned.com

That does not look like any Amazon address I have ever seen. I think this is faux.

November 30, 2016 Posted by | Easter, Scams | , , | Leave a comment

“My Mother Poisoned My Food!”

I’ve been disappointed recently, most of the scammers don’t go to the trouble to be believable. You know, the President of Wells Fargo writes me an e-mail about my account that has several mis-spellings, or my nephew who has been arrested and needs help desperately uses really bad grammar.

This scammer, however, has gone to some trouble to be interesting, if not believable.

Hello My Beloved, this is Ms Naomi Solomon from Estonia writing from hospital here in Ivory Coast; therefore this email is very urgent to attend. I want you to know that I’m dying here in this hospital right now which i don’t know if i will see some few days to come.
My Beloved, i was informed by my doctor that i got poisoned and it affected my liver and i can only live for some days. The reason why i contacted you today is because i know that my step mother wanted to kill me and take my inheritance from my late Father. I have a little adopted child named Andrew C. Brown that i adopted in this Country when my late Father was alive and $3.5 million Dollars i inherited from my late father. My step mother and her children they are after Andrew right now because they found out that Andrew was aware of the poison, and because i handed the documents of the fund over to him the day my step Mother poisoned my food, for that reason they do not want Andrew to expose them, so they are doing everything possible to kill him.

My Beloved, please i want you to help him out of this country with the money, he is the only one taking good care of me here in this hospital right now and even this email you are reading now he is the one helping me out. I want you to get back to me so that he will give you the documents of the fund and he will direct you to a well known lawyer that i have appointed, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the fund to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you..
This is the favor i need when you have gotten the fund:

(1) Keep 20% of the money for Andrew until he finish his studies to become a man as he has been there for me as my lovely Son and i promised to support him in life to become a medical Doctor because he always desire for it with the scholarship he had won so far. I want you to take him along with you to your country and establish him as your son.
(2) Give 20% of the money to handicap people and charity organization. The remaining 60% should be yours for your help to Andrew.
Note; This should be a code between you and my son Andrew in this transaction “Hospital” any mail from him, the Lawyer he will direct you to, without this code “Hospital” is not from the Andrew, the Lawyer or myself as i don’t know what will happen to me in the next few hours.

Finally, write me back so that Andrew will send you his pictures to be sure of whom you are dealing with. Andrew is 14years now, therefore guide him. And if i don’t hear from you i will look for another person or any organization.
May Almighty God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish. Pray for me always.

Ms Naomi Solomon

May 13, 2016 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Financial Issues, Nigeria, Scams | , , | 2 Comments

Ten and a half million dollars?

Wouldn’t you think that if you were finding people to help me abscond with ten and a half million dollars, you would do a little research? Mr. Cheong wants to know my name, address, phone number, age, sex and occupation. I have no respect for a scammer who doesn’t do his homework. You can respond to him if you wish; his e-mail address is:

dgersh1@synacor.com

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am Mr. Nathaniel Jung Cheong, I worked for a Bank but i have since stopped due to this project. I wish to place your name as the beneficiary to ten and one half million dollars ($10,500,000) due to the death of the depositor who died without any heirs.

I assure you that this transaction will be executed in a manner that will protect you from any breach of the law both in your country and here.

I am requesting your collaboration with me, the money will be released to you in any country of your choosing. I urgently require the following information for my attorney to start processing vital legal documents:

1
)Name:
2)Address:
3)Tel:
4)Age:
5)Sex:
6)Occupation Status:

Please note that my share of this fund will be sixty (60) percent and I intend that you invest it in your country real estate on my behalf. You may keep the remaining forty (40) percent for yourself. I want you to know this transaction will be directed by me through the help of my lawyer; it will help us secure all vital documents that will support your nomination as the Next of Kin, As the true beneficiary to the said fund, money will be released in your favor. What I require from you now is complete trust and honesty.

Awaiting your quick response,
Mr. Nathaniel Jung Cheong,

May 4, 2016 Posted by | Crime, Law and Order, Scams | Leave a comment

Tel: 302-766-2673 IRS Lawsuit

“We had a phone call from the IRS,” I told AdventureMan as he headed upstairs for reading time with the Grandson.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, I got one too, this morning,” he replied. “Is this about the lawsuit?”

“Yep.” I said calmly, continuing with my Honey Cake.

We’ve had a long relationship with the Internal Revenue Service. As with any long relationships, sometimes there are misunderstandings, miscommunications, even face-to-face meetings with questions, answers and resolutions. Our taxes are complicated by investments and a variety of retirement vehicles, and years and years of overseas living and earnings. It’s complicated. It’s a very normal long-term relationship.

I am posting this because this phone call is a SCAM. The phone call sounds very threatening:

THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING. THE IRS WILL FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU IMMEDIATELY! YOU NEED TO CALL 302-766-2673 IMMEDIATELY!

This is not the way the IRS communicates with taxpayers.

Please warn those vulnerable to deception about this scam.

 

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Lies, Scams | | Leave a comment

Mr. Chairat wants to Share $10M with YOU!

My spam catchers have been so much better at catching these than they used to be, but somhow this one slipped through. If any of you want the 40% of 10 million, please feel free to contact Chairat Khun Chambers, he posts his e-mail as:

Mr. Chairat

ck12@kaito301.sz.cx

 

 

From the desk of Chairat Khun Chambers
Associate of chambers, 29 Chaeng Wattana,
Nonthaburi 11120, Thailand.

Good day to You,

I write you this message under strict recommendation and in good faith. I am sorry at the perceived confusion you may have by receiving this letter from me since we have not previously met. To be Straight, I am a solicitor at law and the personal Attorney to the late Engineer Edward , who used to work with SIAMRAK Company Limited in Bangkok Thailand.

On the 21th of April, 2012 it was reported to Me that my Client, his wife and their only daughter were involved in a Local Plane Crash at Phuket en-route to Bangkok (The Capital City) of Thailand, all occupants in the Plane lost their lives,unfortunately on this same flight were other dignitaries like the Sports Minister and a host of others,Since then I have made several enquires to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this unfortunately has proved unsuccessful.

Hence I seized this opportunity and decided to contact you for your help, I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the money and Property left behind by my client before they get Confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank where the fund are deposits, valued at USD$10 million Dollars has just recently issued me a notice to provide the next of kin of
The deceased or have the account confiscated within the shortest Period of time. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for Close to (4)years now.

I seek your consent to present you as the Next of kin of the deceased on your immediate approval and acceptance to assist me in this matter, so that the proceeds of this Account valued at USD$10million United States Dollars can be paid to you after which you and I can share the money.40% of the total fund would be for you while 40% for me, %10 for the expenses that will come out of the transaction and the other 10% will go to the charity and the motherless homes.

I have the necessary logistics that would be used to back up your claim at the Bank where these funds are deposited temporarily, all I require is your honest cooperation to enable this deal through and your willingness to carry out this project with me till it’s fruitful end.I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate Arrangement that will protect both of us from any breach of the Law to cover up your reputable name.

Please get in touch with me if you willingly accept this offer, So that I could forward immediately to you the necessary details on how we are to carry out this project to a fruitful end.

Sincerely,
Barrister Chairat Khun (ESQ)

February 11, 2016 Posted by | Crime, Scams | Leave a comment

AOL Termination Scam

I keep getting these; it’s just annoying:

Screen shot 2014-11-03 at 7.47.01 AM

And here is the return address – of course, not AOL at all:

Screen shot 2014-11-03 at 7.48.42 AM

November 3, 2014 Posted by | Financial Issues, Scams | , , | 2 Comments

Baton Rouge Strangeness

Baton Rouge was a city we really wanted to like, and there are so many things about Baton Rouge we DO like. While we were there, however, every single day, we experienced a little bit of bad JuJu, a little bit of strangeness. By the grace of God, it was ameliorated by the goodness and kindness of others, but it was just strange.

First, I have to tell you I am not a huge fan of shopping, but every now and then when I find the right thing, I know it and I buy it. When I found Trader Joe’s, I knew just what to buy, quality products we love. Then, I headed out to Macy’s, a store we do not have in Pensacola.

The Mall is huge, but it was early in the morning, I got a great parking spot, and although I had ended up far from Macy’s, I enjoyed the stroll. This is the first thing I saw, and it delighted my heart.

MallAnimals

00MallAnimals2

What is not to love about this menagerie of zoo animals for little children to ride through the mall? Children HATE mall shopping, but this is a game changer 🙂

I actually didn’t find anything I loved at Macy’s, but I did find two very classic T-shirts I knew I could use, nicely made, so I went to buy them and the cashier asked if I wanted to use my Macy’s card. I said “sure” but it turns out because I hadn’t used it in a while, I had to re-instate it, and when you do that, you get 20% off all day and the next day, plus a WOW card that gives you more discounts, plus another 20% off when they bill you. Holy mole, sign me up! But even though I looked, I really didn’t see anything else I wanted.

Back at the hotel, I told AdventureMan about this hot deal and talked him into going back to Macy’s with me. He looked, but he also didn’t find anything he liked, and then I found the children’s section, ummmm, errrrr . . . .. grandchildren’s section, and there were all kinds of things I liked a lot, and Christmas is coming, so lets get a little dollar-cost-averaging going. (AdvntureMan is rolling his eyes.)

When I went to pay, the patient salesgirl rang everything up, and then had to call some number because my total was high, and then asked me to show my driver’s license. I knew I had it, because I had it earlier when I re-instated my card. So I dug. It wasn’t there. I dug some more, I looked and looked, but no card. I was so embarrassed. The patient clerk held all the grandchildren clothes while I went downstairs where I had shown my card earlier, and sure enough, there it was. Thank God! What if we hadn’t gone back to the Mall? Months go by where I never show that card, and months from now I wouldn’t have known where to find it. I felt like my guardian angel was sitting on my shoulder. And it still felt like strangeness.

When I went back upstairs to the cashier, I showed the drivers license, and she called the security number again, and he asked me all kinds of questions, places I lived years ago, what cars are associated with my accounts, it was totally strange, and AdventureMan is looking bullish, steam coming out of his nostrils, stamping and huffing and puffing (he is hungry). Finally, he tells the cashier I am OK, and she rings me up, very apologetic. I told her it is just the times we live in, and honestly, I want security to be tough on people who might pretend to be me, so it was just a minor inconvenience. But just another little piece of Baton Rouge strangeness, little things that could eat away at happiness and well being if you let them . . . .

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Character, Customer Service, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Scams, Shopping, Technical Issue, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

698-722 Text

Today I received a text from my bank telling me that a document from them had been returned as undeliverable and telling me to click on the blue hypertext with my banks name dot com.

It didn’t smell right, so I called my bank, and no, they had not sent that text.

Did you know when you get a phone call or text that seems odd to you that not only do you not have to answer, but you can go online and check that number? Just google the exact number and you will find records that show if it is a scam or telemarketer. It is a wonderful resource.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Communication, Crime, Financial Issues, iPhone, Scams, Technical Issue | , | 3 Comments