Service of Suspicion

August 3rd, 2009

Categories: Fear, Suspicion, Technology

I appreciate my credit card company for sending me a new card when it suspects that someone has violated its database putting in jeopardy the integrity of my account. This has happened twice in about a year. It rouses my suspicious nature causing all sorts of repercussions in the way I do-or refuse to do–business.

I won’t speak with so-called representatives from Verizon who call the office to tell me they can save me money. I get their phone number and call the Verizon number I have to confirm the legitimacy of the other number and while I’m on the line, to learn if there really is a new program that will save me money. I can’t be the only one. I’ve been getting letters from Verizon lately. [I suppose anyone can mailĀ a fake letter…oh, my.]

E-Z pass and the IRS have sent me emails, or at least that’s what the emails claim. I won’t respond. In the former case, I called E-Z Pass to check if the query was real. In the latter, I passed along the e-mail to my CPA who said don’t touch it and don’t give my banking information to anybody over the Internet. Until there are no other options, I won’t send in my tax forms electronically.

I’m almost the only person I know who refuses to bank or pay bills by email. Everyone who does it says they are thrilled with the savings in time and postage and they boast how green they are, implying that I’m killing trees. They don’t tell me how long it takes them on the phone to right a typo when they’ve meant to pay $300 and instead, they’re in for $3,000 because they hit “send” too soon. I also want to know how long it’s taken them to find a phone number to call in the first place.

Doesn’t everyone get daily fake warnings from banks they’ve never engaged [or heard of], telling them that their online account has been compromised or is about to close? For someone who won’t bank this way, these scams act as yet another red flag. [I’ve written some banks and visited the customer service desks of others with proof of the improper use of their logos. The swindle business must be thriving because regardless, the same email fakes keep coming.]

Speaking of frauds, social networking counterfeits abound. Because I can’t keep up with all the networks I’ve already joined, when invited to connect with a new one, I always ask the sender what the benefits are. Lately, the penalty for joining without asking is embarrassment because the perpetrators scoop up all the names in the mark’s email address book and out goes the invitation to hundreds more. Obviously, if you haven’t heard or read about the network, take care, regardless of who invites you to join.

None of this is new. I follow the path of my ancestors when on the other end of the phone the voice of a so-called policeman asks me to support a fund. To this age-old sting I say, “Mail me something, please. I don’t give money over the phone.” Click.

What are you suspicious of these days? Has your electronic bill-paying always worked for you? Have you been caught by email fraud?

5 Responses to “Service of Suspicion”

  1. Carolyn Gatto Said:

    Thankfully I haven’t had any problems with electronic bill pay. In fact I love the service. But would you believe, in this day and age, my utility company still sends men to read the meter, without first setting up an appointment or otherwise attempting to alert me? I don’t care if he’s got a company ID, or even if he’s driving a truck with the company logo on it. If he shows up at my door and I didn’t initiate the appointment, he’s not getting into my house.

  2. Iris Bell Said:

    Regarding your comment–I’m almost the only person I know who refuses to bank or pay bills by email–I say, “Me, too.” And I don’t care to have my Metro card refilled automatically. That sounds like a nightmare in the making.

  3. Arthur Mills Said:

    There is a balance between over regulation by the Government and under regulation. The Internet is one clear case where under regulation has happened. The whole business is a free for all, and Caveat Emptor all the way! Even the smartest, “tech-saavy” of us get gulled.

    On the other hand, had the goverment, to keep us safe, intervened in how the Internet came to be, we would likely to have been decades behind where we now are.

    I’m enjoying reading your Blog.

    Arthur

  4. Hank Goldman Said:

    Make sure you don’t always use the same password for everything you do. Hackers know how to crack the codes of simpler sites so then it’s a relatively easy step for them to unlock the door to more complicated online financial records and activity.

  5. ASK Said:

    I still pay bills the old-fashioned way — by snail mail. I don’t open e-mails from people I don’t know; I just hit the “delete” button. Online banking sounds like a nightmare. For me, it’s much easier to write a check and mail it. I have ordered products online because in many cases, it’s the only way to find replacement parts for certain appliances…like lost vacuum cleaner tools. But the Internet is not infallible: Because I live in a funny town that sounds like it should be in New York rather than New Jersey, some web ordering pages have told me my home address is incorrect (!), so I wind up ordering by phone anyway.

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