FOWC with Fandango — Commotion

It started, though I didn’t know it, when Facebook released my personal data to Cambridge Analytica. Eventually, they sold the data to who-knows-who in the hacking world and two credit cards and a money-account got hacked.

I thought this had been sorted out. Police reports. Lots of emails. Far too many conversations on telephones with fraud investigators and a complete reinstallation of my operating system because, not content with stealing my money, they also destroyed my computer.

Lucky there were other computers in the house.

Yesterday, I got a note saying that Synchrony Bank decided I must have “given away my account information.” I couldn’t prove that the hackers were hackers. And, after all, they had my name, address and phone number (thank you, Facebook!), so it must be my fault.

But those transactions never occurred. They were canceled so the “recipients” never actually got anything, but according to their computer, these transactions — or at least one of them — did end up on the bank’s computer. Walmart, whose card it was and PayPal, the paymaster in this all agree there was no transaction, but Synchrony Bank, who owns the computer, is sure it did. I’ve talked to various Wal-Mart divisions (and there are many) and I have paperwork from PayPal (also Synchrony Bank), all of which agree the transactions didn’t happen, but Synchrony wants me to pay for a transaction that never happened and apparently, the release of my name and other personal information by sleazeball Zuckerstump doesn’t count.

You’d think these guys would actually talk to each other.

First, the released my data to Cambridge Analytica. That led to having my identity stolen and my computer hacked. How many new ways can they find to become worthless?

I’m at the end of my wits. This commotion has gone on intermittently since last May. I’m tired and frustrated beyond belief. Just about ready to swallow a handful of tranquilizers and sleep for the rest of my life.

Commotion? You want to know about commotion?

If we weren’t so poor, I’m pretty sure I could have my lawyer call their lawyer and it would be fixed in a split second. We don’t have a lawyer on tap … or the money to get one. So on and on it goes.

Commotion, yeah. Also chaos and a certain amount of misery.

WHAT A NOVEL IDEA! – Marilyn Armstrong


“What a novel idea,” she said to her friend.

“Novel … as in … maybe I should write one?”

“Well, if you want to. No, all I meant to say was that the idea was different. Unique. A novel isn’t always a book. It can also mean new or original.”

Jill nodded. “You know, I did write a novel. Well, it was sort of a novel. Really, it was pretty much true, but to make it work as a book, I played around with timelines and combined multiple people into one person. Didn’t I give you a copy?”

“I don’t think so,” Jane replied, “but if you have one to spare, I’d be delighted to read it.”

“Maybe not so delighted,” Jill commented. “It’s not a light-hearted book and some people just can’t handle it.” She looked through her bookcase and found a copy. “Here, I’ll inscribe it for you. Even if you don’t read it, at least you have an original with inscription. It might earn you a buck on a used book site.”


I’m sure you’ve gotten these as email or snail mail. “You are pre-approved. Just fill this out and we’ll send you a quote for the policy that is right for you.”

You are not pre-approved. No one will every pre-approve me for life insurance. There is too much wrong with me. If they do accept you (Garry was great, no problems worth dying for), they do not send you a quote.

If they figure you are not on death’s door, they sign you up for a policy. No quote. No prices for various amounts or types of policy or for that matter, an explanation of exactly what your policy includes. No paperwork at all.

You get an email telling you that you have a policy. This is immediately followed by a bill that will probably knock your socks off.

If this hadn’t happened to me previously with another company, I would have been more upset. I thought I could just tell them to turn it off because we had not applied for a policy. Nope. They had to hear it personally from Garry.

Garry is not currently taking phone calls for reasons I explained with due diligence. They explained he would then have to write them a letter. Which he isn’t going to do because he’s having trouble finding keys on the computer, so a letter — unless I wrote it myself — was a no-go. His disorientation is real, though it is getting better.

I pointed out that no one applied for a policy and he said he couldn’t discuss Garry’s application — which wasn’t an application and which I wrote. I said I didn’t need him to tell me what was on it since I’d filled it out and knew exactly what was on it. I asked them if it was legal to not offer a quote, but convert a request for a quote into a policy — and then start billing?


I said “Well, since I’m the one who pays the bills, I’m not paying this. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, too.”

“Well,” he said, “In 120 days the policy will lapse anyway if you don’t pay.”

“What else might happen?”


“Nothing at all?”

“Nothing. At all.”

“So I can either get complicated trying to find a way for Garry to talk to you — kind of hard because he can’t hear — or I can make him write you a letter. Or I can do nothing and it will just go away all by itself.

I think I’ll go with option 3.”

My problem with this is simple. It’s wrong.

Globe Life Insurance targets the elderly who have trouble getting insurance because — you know, we’re old. They should cut it out. Targeting the elderly is uncool. I’m pretty sure it’s also illegal. I’m not yet confused enough to think that I applied for a policy when I know I didn’t.

But they generate a goodly amount of business from confused people who aren’t clear on what they did or didn’t do. Or what their spouse did or didn’t do.

It’s a pity I’m not a lawyer. I would love to take these scammers to court.

LET THERE BE MUSIC! – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Music

There have been concerts — individuals and orchestral — and I have the pictures. But I thought my very neglected ukulele deserves some attention this morning.

Not only did I take some pictures, but I stopped for a while. I tuned it up using an electronic tuning device. Before now, I always had a piano in the house which I could use to tune, but this time, I needed the tuner.

Then, I took out a pick, the book, and learned a little more plucking. Which reminded me there’s no such thing as cutting your nails too short if you are playing a fretted instrument!

Duke learning to strum

As we get older, everything grows more slowly. Except for my fingernails which grow like mad. I like them really short, not only for the ukulele but for the computer’s keyboard. Didn’t I just cut them all the way down?


THE PATH #writephoto – Marilyn Armstrong

As long as I can remember, I’ve been enchanted by paths and in particular, by paths in the woods. There’s something about them, a kind of magic. You can’t see where the path ends and any time you choose to walk on one, you could wind up anywhere from the parking lot of the local mall to an ancient churchyard.

It’s the not-knowingness that makes it special.

So every time we are taking pictures in or near the woods, I look for paths. Even tiny, obscure, overgrown paths nonetheless hold the possibility of adventure.

Mystery. A hidden future. The unknown calls out and we are obliged to follow.

The long path home – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Perfect wooded path
In Vermont