Inside looking out: Wanted dead or alive!
Is it just me or are you getting more and more scam phone calls and emails every day?
In the past week, I have supposedly won an iPhone 12, an Audi 7 fully loaded luxury automobile, and a $500 gift card to Home Depot. That’s just from my email list.
About 50%, or so it seems, of my phone calls come in with the words, “Possible Scam” printed at the top of the screen. A few of these calls go to my message box, and for some odd reason, they are all 39 seconds long with dead air recordings.
Oh, I’ve also been charged with Social Security fraud and federal tax evasion and I will be arrested unless I pay the scammers to set me free.
Perhaps the most creative scam came one afternoon last week while I was calling my friend and somehow his contact number was intercepted. I heard an angry, authoritative voice say, “Who are you and how did you get this number? This is a secure line at Site 51 and is highly confidential. We are going to have to track down your location and make an investigation into how you got this number and why you are purposely intruding on a secretive government facility. Hold on until I get my superior.”
Area 51 is where the government allegedly houses alien spaceships. I heard a lot of commotion in the background with whirling noises and alarms going off until another voice spoke to my phone.
“We will lock down your location,” said the voice. “What is your intent in breaking through our secure line?”
I decided to play the game. “I’ll tell you, but first I want to know who I’m speaking to. What’s your name and what is your title?” I asked the voice.
“Are you trying to spy on our operations?” he asked.
“What is your name?” I shouted into the phone.
“We intend to find you and bring you in for questioning unless you provide us with some pertinent and personal information.”
That’s when I knew what was coming next and I hung up. All of this scamming makes me wonder how far our sense of human morality has fallen. Recently reported by this newspaper was a story that an area family had paid for a rent-to-own home in Tennessee and when they got there with their U-Haul, there was no home. They had been scammed through an ad on Craigslist.
Scamming makes tons of money for those who have decided it’s more lucrative to rip people off than to work a real job. The website Statista reported that scammers took in $19.7 billion in 2020 from Americans alone.
Of course, scammers risk getting caught and charged with fraud that brings a maximum of a $100,000 fine and depending upon the severity of the scam, up to 30 years in prison.
Yet the legal consequences have not deterred this illegal behavior. Scamming is one of the fastest growing “businesses” in the world today, perhaps because it is so difficult to catch these criminals, especially if they are operating from beyond our country’s borders and change their contact numbers frequently.
Every time you open your computer, you risk getting hacked or scammed as well. According to Los Angeles attorney Greg Hill, “Internet fraud is a general term meant to cover a variety of cybercrimes carried out over the Internet or email, from identity theft (phishing), to health care fraud, to hacking onto a computer network or into someone’s personal computer, to “you’ve been identified as the only living survivor of billionaire Joe Jones” and “to claim your inheritance you must pay a nominal $625 processing fee by wire” (to Nigeria usually), work-at-home scams where one must pay a $49 registration fee (but then receives nothing in return) to sophisticated wire fraud scams.”
So, what all this means to me is that you can’t believe in an offer that sounds too good to be true, but then again, there’s always the “What if it is true?”
What if I really did win the iPhone 12, the Audi 7, and the Home Depot gift card? What if they do know something about my taxes that they think I haven’t paid and since I do receive Social Security, am I getting more than I’m supposed to get?
If all this is true, then, I’m going to pick up my Audi luxury car, drive to a Verizon store for my new phone and stop at Home Depot to buy a good pair of wire cutters with my gift card.
Then I’m going to drive westward and if I see no one from the FBI is after me about tax evasion and social security fraud, I’m going to travel to Site 51. Once there, I will use my wire cutters to break through the security fence and sneak inside the facility where I will take pictures of the alien space ships with my new iPhone 12. Since the feds are looking for me in Carbon County, I’ll drive to a cheap motel somewhere in the Arizona desert while I’m listening to my Audi 10 speaker Sirius radio system connected to the Bluetooth from my new phone playing Bon Jovi’s song, “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
I’m a fugitive on the run!
I’ll set up my business from the motel and sell photographs of alien spaceships for $99 a piece. Each picture will come with an official document of authenticity signed by the President of the Planetary Public of Nonpeoples.
I can hear you laughing from here, but I have to go now. My phone’s ringing.
“How many did you say? You want four spaceship photos? Certainly. I can throw in our gold-plated frames for another 50 bucks and your total comes to $446. Your credit card number is … ?”
Rich Strack can be reached at email@example.com.