Everyday, emails show up in either my inbox or junk folder from lord only knows who with interesting subject lines. Here are some of them and comments in the italics are mine:

  • Business proposal. Really, as if I am going to respond to an unsolicited proposal from a stranger who knows nothing about being an author.
  • Congratulations, you’re qualified for a $250,000 loan. What financial institution do you know will call a non-customer and offer a quarter million without filling out a loan app?
  • You’ve just qualified for a $200,000 grant? I didn’t know I applied for one. The best part is that they call themselves the government grant department.
  • Dear friend. Is that how you address your friends? Not me?
  • I need help. We all do, call someone who cares. There is no way I am giving you my credit card or bank information.
  • Claim your lottery prize. If I had a winning lottery ticket, I can do that on my own.
  • Re: with nothing more in the subject line. K., to what are you referring?

Thant’s just a sampling from the past two weeks. The only reason I know what the contents of the note might be is if the email gets through the junk mail filter, I see the first few lines. If it is in the junk mail folder, all I see is the subject line. In either case, it is block sender and delete.

Then there are the phone calls. I must be in a database that gets passed from one spammer to another who are peddling health care, trips, credit cards and lord knows what else.

I keep a log and have started to see a pattern. The morning calls come in sometime around nine, then from another number either just before or after lunch and then one around five or six. Some leave a message, others just call and don’t leave a message if the phone is not answered.

Normally, if the number has a +1 in front of my number it is a spam call. If it is important and real, the caller will leave a message and I’ll call them back.

Some do leave messages. The one I like best is the message “The IRS is coming to arrest me and call this number.” Really. The IRS doesn’t arrest anyone. They send the FBI.

Another one is the call saying, “The police are on the way to arrest me. Call this number to stop it.” Arrest me for what?

A friend has the best way to deal with these people. If per chance there is a voice at the other end, he aggressively asks, “Where’s my refund? You promised me a $500 refund!” The person on the other end doesn’t know what to do.

Sadly, some must fall for these scams because if they didn’t the money would dry up and the scammers would do something else. In my book, they get an F for creativity.

Marc Liebman

September 2018