Those who prey on the vulnerability of others are not in short supply and the variety and cleverness of their schemes is often amazing. Once your name becomes a part of the Social Security recipient list and the world knows you’re now one of the elderly, a special breed of buzzards begin swooping from their roosts, looking to pick the meat off your dwindling savings account.
Everyday we get a phone call featuring a recorded man’s excited voice saying, “SENIORS, are you aware that….(followed by some dire warning).” If you wait for the end of the recording you’ll be told that if you no longer want to received these messages, “Press 9.” I’m pretty sure doing so just confirms that there really is a person at home and they then call you more often.
Today I got to listen to yet another scam but of a different nature. The phone rings and when I pick it up a man says, “Hey this is Joe and we got an order here from someone in your home, I don’t know who ordered it, but, it’s for a medical medallion that someone there ordered and (his speech pattern is very confused and when I interrupt asking Joe to tell me again what company he represents he just keeps talking) we think we have the wrong address. We need to clear this up so just press ONE and we’ll get it straightened out.” I try to again stop the guy but he presses on, “Yeah, we need to get this straightened out…you know I don’t know how this happened but… (At this point I loudly yell “HEY” into the phone but Joe just keep going and it becomes obvious I’m listening to a recording) just press ONE and we’ll get it solved.” At which time I press OFF and not ONE.
Who knows where pressing ONE would have taken me but, at the risk of confirming my existence, I didn’t let my curiosity get the better of me. The calls do piss me off on several levels. Years ago a law was passed creating a no call list and I was one of the first persons to get my name on the list. It appears today that the list is now meaningless. Secondly, I hate talking on the telephone and even more I hate being interrupted by people I have no wish to talk to. I would damned near starve before working a job that required me to call a person during their supper or their favorite TV program wanting to sell them a brand new style of non-leaking adult diapers. Finally, it angers me that some son of a bitch think that just because I’m over sixty-five I’m not able to recognize a worm dangling from a hook. Worse yet, however, is the fact that so many people, of all ages, are not able to see the worm for what it is and get the hook’s barb squarely set in their jaw.
For years now both my wife and I have lived with several unbreakable rules. We view all hitch hikers as being serial killers and never pick one up. We believe that nobody who is not a close friend is ever going to call us on the phone wanting to seriously do anything good for us, especially if it involves money. We also refuse to support any charity that solicits via the mail, the Internet, or by phone. In fact, we make an asserted effort to give only to local charities and causes. That way we can see the good our money does.