Some time ago, I read that we might know a lot of people but generally we have perhaps two or three best friends. You know the ones. These are the people in your life who come to you for support during a crisis, and you go to them.
Perhaps a child has been in trouble, a parent aging into dementia, a spouse who is depressed or a neighbor who insists on shoveling snow from his drive onto your property. Big issues, small issues. You have friends with whom to share not only the difficult times but the great ones.
You get an unexpected promotion, you’ve lost 15 pounds, your youngest was just accepted into the university of her choice or you won the church raffle. I have such friends. They mean a lot to me and have for years.
A new friend has just been added to my list of friends: The Federal Trade Commission. Yes, the FTC will start getting appropriate greeting cards from me. I may erect a monument to this entity on the front lawn. I might be able to have a white baseball cap embroidered with “I LOVE THE FTC” in red on it.
I have fallen in love with the FTC and here is why. Almost daily, I receive emails not in my best interest. They are all basically the same: “We hapy say you get new subscition to year annuel repair list on computer. We success have paid $567.83 to ourself for you from account. Please call 000-000-0000 if wish to not have excallet serve for one year from now.”
If not a computer security scam, it is an invoice saying $4,964.38 has been paid by me for a souped-up television with a two-burner gas range and a 12-cubic foot refrigerator attached that will sail a cold one into my hand if I push button E22 and twirl my hair at the same time.
Howard D. repeats his plea that I call his toll-free number if I don’t want the service and one of his “experts” will refund the payment. Really? I know that if I call to demand this charge be removed, I will be asked to give the “expert” the credit card number used or the bank account numbers. And perhaps my Social Security Number. If I do this, I have just given away my identity to a group of demons who will steal every cent I have.
Never, ever call these jerks. But do double-check your bank, credit and debit card accounts to ensure that none of the money mentioned in the email has left your control. If it has, immediately call your bank or card company.
Now back to the FTC. If you get such emails (or suspicious phone calls), you can simply google “ReportFraud.ftc.gov.” Up pops the means to report these criminals. Make no mistake: that is what they are. Reporting them to the FTC is easy.
When you reach this site, you simply fill in the blanks or answer the “yes/no” questions. It takes very little time to do this. You will be asked for the email sender’s name and address. The sender might be “Edgar Eager.” If you notice that little down arrow at the end of the name, carefully click on that. It will show the full email address and will read something like “EdgarEager7655@gmail.com.” Type in the full address on the form.
It is easy to report these vipers. Please do not call them. They are trained to get as much information from you as possible using heavy pressure techniques. I am of “a certain age,” and my age group is often targeted. Do not be taken advantage of.
Has someone used a friend’s email address asking you to buy gift cards for her that she will reimburse you for later? Don’t fall for this. I’ve gotten two of these attempts within the past couple of weeks.
We’ve worked hard for what we have. Don’t let these scavengers rob you. Be alert, be careful, be safe. Please.
Susan Keezer lives in Adrian. Send your good news to her at Lenaweesmiles@gmail.com.