Not So Pleasantly Surprised

A few months ago, I started receiving calls from Jamaica.  It was the typical scam call, which was easily identified.  I had a little bit of fun with it, for a while, because I liked listening to their pitch.  (Sometimes, listening to a lie is fun when you know that it is a lie.)  At first, it was the typical sweepstakes stuff.  Then, they started saying how they were from U.S. Customs.  I guess that they didn’t realize that U.S. Customs wouldn’t show up as being from Kingston, Jamaica.

Yesterday, the scammers got a bit more brazen.  I’d heard of Caller ID spoofing, and I knew that they did it some of the time, usually in the second or third call that they would make in a row.  I just didn’t expect my family to get one of those calls.  Well, we did get one.  Actually, I guess my mom got the call.  It was from Humana, which is the company her Medicare supplemental coverage is through.  Unfortunately, getting my mom to start giving out personal information can be a fairly easy, especially when she has just woken up.  It is even more easy when she thinks it is someone she can trust.  She was expecting a call about something from her case worker/nurse at Humana, so she thought nothing about them calling.

About four minutes into the call, the Caller ID switched from the fake number to the real number, which lo and behold was in Jamaica.  They were about to get some private details before my dad and I got her attention and told her that it was a scam.  This woke her up, and she tried to get their contact information from them.  They didn’t give legit information and she told them that if she was interested that she would call back.  She thought my dad was mad at her for almost giving out the information, which he was a little perturbed and wasn’t afraid to express this emotion toward her.  When he calmed down, we finally were able to get across how we were going to have to be especially vigilant  about these calls and not giving out any information to anyone unless we were absolutely certain that they were legit.  We also talked about how companies and organizations that we normally will deal with are not going to ask for things like account numbers or socials or anything like that.  They might ask for the last four digits (for some) or some information that isn’t really of any use to identity thieves and other forms of scammers.

It’s weird how this new level of deceitful behavior with scams kind of mirrors some of the new types of comment spam that I have seen lately.  Once upon a time, the comment spam would be easy to distinguish.  It would have BBCode instead of HTML.  It would be filled with drug names or sex-related topics.  Now, though, it looks like the spammers are actually reading the entries that they are commenting on, because the comments almost look like normal comments.  They even seem to get past things like Akismet and moderation filters.  I guess it makes sense that spammers would eventually learn how to adapt so that they could possibly get more exposure and might reel in more people to buy their product/service/nonexistent-entity-that-they’ve-made-up-so that-people-will-pay-them-lots-of-cash.  I just don’t like that they’ve adapted.  It makes being on the internet a lot less fun.  Plus, they’re on basically every site.  I’m used to them at and LiveJournal, and I’m almost used to them at Facebook and Twitter.  Finding them at Tumblr is really annoying, though.  I know that that site is growing in popularity, but I don’t like that so many of my likes lately have belonged to spammers, including “porn”-spam.  Really not cool.  I guess no place on the internet can escape the spam.

I guess I should just get used to these people, shouldn’t I?  They don’t seem to be going anywhere, so I guess I should accept it.  It just doesn’t seem like it should be something that I have to accept.  People shouldn’t have to worry that calls that they receive might take the little money that they might have in an account or might fraudulently use their insurance.  People shouldn’t have to worry that the next comment that they get might be from a spammer who, at best, wants them to buy something once that is not worth a dime or, at worst, might unleash holy hell on their bank account or their computer or cost them in some other way.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.