Sep 14 2012

Phone Scams

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This has nothing to do with RVing, but our blog site is a good place to vent. 

We stopped by Don's parent's home yesterday. They said they had just received a phone call from our granddaughter saying she was in an accident and in jail and needed money. We questioned why she would call them and not her mom or dad or us. Their reply was that she said she didn't want anyone to know. Just after we got there, the phone rang and Don's mom insisted she talk to the caller. While she was doing that, Jan got on the cell phone and called our daughter to ask how our granddaughter was and explained the phone call. Our daughter assured us she had just had a text message from our granddaughter and she was at work. I went back into the kitchen to tell my mother-in-law that her great-granddaughter was fine, but she was busy writing down bank account numbers, routing numbers, bank address, etc. being dictated to her by the attorney for the case. We insisted she not write anything more and that all was well, and we got the phone from her. Don questioned the caller and asked for his name and phone number so we could have our attorney contact him. The caller said, "I am an attorney."  Don promptly told him that he wasn't our attorney. Then the caller had our "granddaughter" come to the phone. It was a two minute wait and Don gave me the phone. A girl came on the phone and was crying, telling me she was our granddaughter (using our granddaughter's name) and she was in trouble. At the same time, the "real" granddaughter called our cell phone and let us know she was fine. We gave the phone to Don's mom so she could hear her voice herself. I told the scammer that we were talking to our granddaughter and that she or no one else in on this scam ever call this number again. She hung up immediately. 

I then called the state police and told them about the call. They said it's been going on for years and there's no way to stop it. I told him we had a bank name and address in New York City, an account number and a routing number. He said that didn't matter. Even in cases where people had sent money, it was untraceable, going to another country. 

This could have had a much worse outcome. We arrived in time to prove it was a scam. I'm not sure Don's parents would have wired the money, but they were visibly shaken and upset thinking their great-granddaughter was in any kind of trouble. And Don's mom was being diligent in getting all the information to wire money. And the whole affair was quite convincing. When the fake granddaughter called, she said, "Hi, Grandpa. It's **********. Happy Birthday." He had a birthday less than a month ago. Then she began to tell him the story and that she was in New York. That gave Don's parents pause because they could think of no reason she'd be in New York. The second phone call was a male stating he was an attorney and he had all the information they needed to bail their great-granddaughter out of her problem. When I was on the phone with the fake, I could easily have believed it was our granddaughter if I had not already made the call to verify she had not been in an accident. 

We found other instances on the Internet. These were people that had actually sent money. Their bank's employees caught onto the scam the second time they came in to wire money and stopped them before any more money was sent. These people that were scammed said the callers even used family nicknames. There was no reason to doubt the call wasn't from their grandchild or great-grandchild. 

How do they get so much information. Don's parents aren't on the Internet. They rarely use credit cards. They don't travel. I have found sites where too much information is available, such as address, phone number, astrological sign (pinpointing a general birth date). However, these sites don't list names of great-grandchildren. Could it be something from Facebook? That would take some real searching. Maybe Ancestry.com? I'm guilty of having a family tree online. Again, it seems that it would be really difficult for a scammer to trace someone through that information. But they are getting it through some source. I must say I am becoming more cynical and more paranoid with each passing day. 

So this is a beware. And, by the way, we saw on the Internet that there's another scam going around where the caller says they are from Medicare and checking to see how the Medicare recipient is doing. I'm not sure what kind of information they're requesting, but never ever give any personal information over the phone. These scammers are good at what they do. 

As a society, we are usually trusting. And our society is now so open and there is so much personal information out there, we are all vulnerable. 


Aug 22 2012

To Toad or Not To Toad

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If you're not an RVer, you may not know about a toad (towed), sometimes called a dinghy, a tag-along. It's the car that follows along behind an RV like a good puppy. Sometimes they're on a dolly (two-wheel trailer) or are being towed 4-down (all four wheels on the ground), or are in an enclosed trailer or all four wheels on an open trailer. 

There are a lot of opinions about towing a car and how to go about it. We personally don't have a toad. We bought a motorhome because we don't like to tow anything. We've been traveling for three years and, so far, it's working. When we're traveling, it's easy for us to not have a car. We stop at grocery stores or Walmarts to replenish our cupboards and refrigerator. We find most campgrounds are within walking distance to stores. We stayed at Sunshine Key RV Resort and there was a shuttle to Key West. While at Fort Summit KOA in Davenport, Florida, they had a free shuttle to the amusement parks. 

The only time we miss having a tow vehicle is when we're visiting friends or family. If necessary, we'll rent a car from Enterprise because they pick us up. And we've found that Enterprise is nearly always close to a campground when we need them. 

There will probably be a time when it will become necessary for us to have an additional vehicle. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 


Aug 14 2012

It’s official

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It's official. Our personal Facebook page is deactivated. However, our Adventurers2 page is active. I will post to it from time-to-time about new entries to this site. 


Aug 13 2012

My Travel Log

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I received this from a friend via email. And it is perfect for our travel blog. 

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.  I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.  I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore. 

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.  I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.  Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older. 

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!  I may have been in Continent, and I don't remember what country I was in. It's an age thing. 


Smiles and hugs to all!


Aug 13 2012

Reasoning

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Why on Earth would anyone deactivate their Facebook account? Well, I have a myriad of reasons. Number one, I am addicted to Facebook and have to break the cycle. I spend every day playing games all day long and, when I'm not playing games, I'm reading posts. And then I have "liked" so many of the sidebar items, my entire wall is covered with ads. To find my friends' posts, I have to search through pages of ads and nonsense. So, I decided it's time to take a break. 

Facebook has had many changes since I joined several years ago. When I first joined, there weren't many people my age. Now, most of my high school classmates are on FB–and that's wonderful. But it has also changed to the point where my friends' posts don't appear. And there are so many inconsequential posts. 

I recently got an iPhone and that is probably the key factor in not wanting FB posts. I had notifications turned on so I could see what folks were up to. My phone beeps day and night. And, yes, I could turn off notifications; but, then, I would not see friends' activities. A catch-22. 

I left a message on my FB wall saying I was going to deactivate and that if anyone wants to follow our travels, to go to our blog site at the URL on the wall post. And, if anyone needs to reach us, to leave a message through this site or at our email address. 

I know several people that don't use Facebook and they seem to be surviving. I decided to see if I can survive without all the notifications. I will miss the friends' posts of their children and all the adventures. But I'm hoping those same friends will stay in touch the "old-fashioned" way. We can also receive unlimited texts. So, if you have our cell phone number, please feel free to text us. 

I may find I can't live without FB. Time will tell. It's an easy fix to reactivate. I'm sure there will be more to this saga.