We all know about fraud, but this is fraud of a different kind. It isn’t the Nigerian Prince with a zillion dollars he wants to send you if only you will give him all of your personal information. Not even one of the phony contractors who’ll do your driveway for short money “because he just happens to have a lot of concrete leftover in his truck.”
And, it isn’t one of the enormous crew of local and foreign hackers who just want to steal your money, credit cards, and maybe the deed to your house.
No, it’s a PAC. Inevitably, it’s a Trump PAC. Democrats will drown you in email. The GOP is more clever. They pretend to be some local organization until, at the end. they race through the truth. If you are a little hard of hearing or your phone crackles, you could miss it.
So — first you figure it’s your “Police Benevolent” group because the introduction is sort of like that, though that isn’t really what he said. But as he gets to the end of his “rap,” he mentions that he represents a PAC and your donation is not tax-deductible … and you realize you are being hacked by Trump’s functionaries!
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.
There are tons of fake places that say they need your money to cure cancer, help heart attack victims. All manner of pleadings for money. I remember getting one call from an organization — a pleasant-sounding young woman was on the phone — explaining that they collect money to help out women who have breast cancer. They actually give real money to cancer sufferers.
“Really,” I said. “So when shall I get my check?”
“I’ve had cancer in both breasts so I must surely be on your list. Obviously, you are calling me to let me know how much you are sending and where to send it, right?”
She hung up.
The IRS Nonprofit Charities Database has a tool called “The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool”. This tool allows you to enter the name of an organization and see if the organization is exempt or not. It is important to verify that an organization that claims to have a 501(c)(3) tax exemption is actually exempt.
Most of these calls are for some kind of cancer donations. A few are more obscure: collecting funds to stop climate change, help veterans. It’s always a good cause. No one with a conscience would fraudulently collect for these things, right?
Problem: these people have no conscience. They really don’t care about anything but the money.
The truth? Unless it is YOUR police department, it’s either a political PAC or fraud. If you live in a small town, there are just a few police and you will recognize their names, voices, or minimally, their mid-Massachusetts or wherever-you-come-from accent. They won’t sound like a Pakistani, Russian, or “who-knows-where-that-one-is-from” accent. Your local cops sound like locals.
Real charities also don’t call you at dinner time to ask for money either. There are websites that list legitimate organizations as well as how much of the money they collect gets to whatever cause they represent.
From the Federal Trade Commission, consumer protection advice includes:
I got a fraudulent call this evening from “Social Security” telling me that they are going to “turn off” my benefits. Robo-call, naturally. I was supposed to “press 1 to talk with one of their officers.” I hung up, found the Social Security site, and there was a statement that “If you have received any of the following calls (list of frauds currently in use), HANG UP. ”
There’s an advertisement on television — it’s all over the airwaves because it’s the end of the year and the givers are giving — for the American Cancer Society. They have these people saying how they called them and they got so much help from them. Like places to stay while they were being treated for their family and themselves, free rides to doctors, etc. But when I had cancer, I called them hoping they were able to offer any help. You know, things for people who actually had cancer. Garry had two 75 mile rides to an from the hospital every day. I couldn’t afford rehab. I definitely could have used a bit of assistance. They were very willing to take my money, but when I asked them what they could do to help me they said: “Nothing.”
No transport, no temporary housing, no financial help, or even advice. Nothing. Just because an organization is big and can afford television advertisements doesn’t mean they aren’t also dishonest. If you have money to offer to charities, make sure they don’t just raise money to keep their jobs because the bigger they are, the less money they probably donate to anyone.
Frauds, hackers, and lying politicians. What a great country.
We have a big fat fraud running the country while the hackers are running wild in the streets. Do not mess with them. HANG UP. Don’t chat and don’t try to outwit them. You may be smart, but they have amazing tools with which to work.
HANG UP THE PHONE. Especially if it’s a cell phone!