Falling Victim

Before I admit to falling victim to an internet scam, allow me to lay some groundwork. This scammer found the chink in my armor of skepticism by posing as a representative of Costco.

Now I realize that there are many people who dislike the whole warehouse atmosphere. When I took my niece with me to the Costco in Denver, I was in my element but she felt completely overwhelmed by the chaotic shopper frenzy that she described as “Christmas in July”.

I simply love the concept of having limited choices, utilitarian displays of reasonably priced merchandise, a quality store brand (Kirkland), rotating seasonal items, cheap gas (sometimes 40 cents a gallon cheaper than the neighborhood ARCO), and a staff that’s fairly compensated. Add to that, unparalleled people watching, and it’s my idea of an adventure.

So, when I saw an email offering a gift in return for completing a short survey, on my phone, I proceeded to answer the simple questions. When I reached the end of the survey, my scam radar was aroused by the value of the “prizes” from which I could choose. Rule #1 – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. In retrospect, the second clue should have been that there was a very short time window in which to select your prize. Nonetheless, I eagerly selected a pair of electronic tracking devices. And then came the hook. The lucky recipient had to pay only shipping and handling. Hmm, I thought, let’s see how much they want for shipping and handling. Lo and behold, it was quite reasonable: $6.70. About the time I was debating which credit card to use, the bell that had been stifled by the rosy glow of Costco loyalty, began to penetrate my consciousness.

By this time, I had provided my name (slightly altered), address, phone number (the landline that gets only telemarketing calls anyway), and my email address. (I figured it’s easy enough to block unwanted email.) I went to my PC to look at the email more carefully. Outlook shows the sender’s email address and scams are easy to identify. No doubt about it, it was a scam and I had almost sent my credit card information.

When I read about people who actually fall victim to these scams, I can’t help but think that I’m too smart, too skeptical, to wary, to fall for one. But this made me realize that I’m just as clueless as the next person if you manage to find my blind spot.

10 thoughts on “Falling Victim

  1. There are more and more scams in the e.mails and they are more and more clever . You have almost been caught , Judy. But fortunately you had no time to use your credit card .What a relief afterwards for you!
    Until then I suppress all e.mail which does not look adequat with the true organism imitated .
    Love ❤
    Michel

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  2. I learned from this, not to respond to email on my phone. My PC is much better at filtering out spam and if shows me more information about the sender. It’s a bit unsettling to realize that I’m as vulnerable as anyone else. I much prefer that feeling of smug superiority, however unwarranted.

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  3. Yikes!! I am very reluctant to make any purchases online. I never use my phone for financial transactions… I’m glad you listened to that gut instinct! If something is Free then it had better be absolutely free – otherwise I won’t jump. They can send it to a PO Box too!

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    1. The scammers grow more inventive every day. The expiring auto warranty robocall must be lucrative because they call my home phone and my work phone nearly every day. Another one I like is when they tell you your credit card has been charged for a purchase and you should call if you didn’t place the order. A while back the IRS was suing someone in my household, they didn’t say whom was being targeted. Even though it was obviously fake, the first time I got the call made my heart jump. There ought to be a law! Oh, right, there is. It’s called the “Do Not Call” list and clearly nobody respects it.

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  4. I still have to tell my mother daily to check where the email is from and don’t answer the phone unless it’s a saved number. She has gotten 3 extended warranties before I caught her and she still says they can be helpful. Ugh!

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      1. Lol! Yes, she drives a minivan actually. She wrecked it (she said a girl ran into her at a light which I wasn’t there so can’t say who hit who) and put a huge bandaid sticker over it and never got it fixed. She has also crushed the water drain pipe on the side of the garage but refuses to give up parking there. She’s 77. Silly mama!

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    1. I just read the last half dozen entries on your site but didn’t see where I could comment. I always enjoy reading the stories and routines of people from other walks of life. It’s interesting to learn how different folks are and yet, find similarities in our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

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