Carys Weldon Blog

Friday, February 13, 2009

Identity theft, telemarketing calls, and Lifelock

Hi! By now, you've probably noted that I've flunked out on all my New Year resolutions. I, apparently, am going to have to work at getting regular at posting to this blog again.

This morning, I turned on the trap. You know, the tv. It's almost always a mistake for me because I don't write fast, or much at all, if I get hung up in a movie or a series like Millionaire Matchmaker or Bad Girls Club. Have you ever watched those? Yesterday, I got snagged into The Real World: Brooklyn. There was a lot of controversy over one of the, um, girls. Apparently she started out as a he and had the determining appendage lopped off three months before the show aired.

So, I turned on the television, and started watching an old Don Knotts classic: How to Kill a Figg, followed by The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Comedies, of course. Sometimes I just NEED to stare blankly at a screen filled with nonsensical humor.

I really want to watch Bride Wars and Role Models. Have you seen those?

Anyhow, the commercials come all too frequently these days and I was feeling beat up over the whole identity theft thing, and wondering what Lifelock actually does to protect your SS number, and why the heck the government doesn't automatically do it for us. I mean, they issue the number and insist we use it on everything, opening us up for fraud. I am totally disturbed every time I give someone a check and they insist on seeing my driver's license, writing its number and my date of birth. With my signature on the check, and DOB and DL number and phone and address and bank account info...a thief has all they need to steal your identity.

I wrote an article on ID theft that is available for about fifty cents from the Amazon Shorts program. I honestly feel like we are put at risk by the organizations/businesses that insist we give them all our personal information. ID theft is the fastest growing crime in the world, which is pretty scary.

Along with that, I received a phone call this morning. When the caller ID showed up as FFFF, I didn't answer it. I was annoyed, though, because A) It was just after a.m. While I am often up by then, and was up today, I am also an insomniac, and on the few occasions where I am able to sleep in, something like this happens. It's completely annoying. Especially when it is with a company I don't normally do business with, or can't even identify by the caller ID.

So, I got online and typed in the phone number: 616-980-2331. Turns out lots of people are getting calls from this place. It sometimes originates from Feature Films for Family.

Now, I did buy films from them back when I lived in Nevada. They sell only g rated movies, which I liked, especially when I had five kids, all young, and was looking for movies that didn't contain too much objectionable material.

Online, though, I read that the number is being used by another business. Somehow, they've programmed in where the phone rings with the number on the ID but when you hit redial, it goes to another number and company. I have no idea how that can happen. But, it's a sneaky thing.

All this led me to thinking about telemarketing calls. I have kids who work in legitimate call centers. I'm sure we all appreciate the tech support people for our various computers, cell phones, and other gadgets. That's a different thing than the folks trying to scam you into some bargain deal that is NOT a deal.

Like the guy who called me last week to sell me a weekend in Branson. Offered me a $300 package for two nights, three days, plus a show and small meal voucher.

I live fifteen to twenty minutes north of Branson. I don't know if you know this, but there are plenty of hotels in Branson where the rooms are $30 a night for 2 people. And discount show tickets are offered on every corner practically. So, $300 is pretty steep for a weekend in Branson.

Which means, I guess, if you're interested in a weekend in Branson, let me know and I'll run down there and drive through the place, and take names of the hotels with the best deals advertised. The Super 8, by the way, is not a good bet in that town. It's been under poor management and is falling apart. They rented rooms in the summer that had non working a/c, and then got a little nasty when people asked for a room change. Ditto on them not cleaning the rooms well. One of my writing groups used to go there every three months. I swear, and I'm not kidding on this, I was in the same room three months apart and saw some nasty stuff on the same bathroom wall--that had not been cleaned/wiped down in all that time. I simply would not stay there. I feel the same way about the Super 8 closest to the St. Louis Airport...and or the exact same reasons.

Okay, so all this combined to get me thinking about how companies sell our contact information without our permission. There are numerous sites on the web where you can complain. I was honestly wondering if signing up on some of those sites really signed you up on the free information lists.

I registered on the Don't Call List and immediately my number of unsolicited phone calls increased. So, that was a no brainer.

My biggest problem number is supposed to be unlisted but I see it everywhere on the net where you can type in a name to retrieve contact info. EVERYWHERE.

And then, to top all the rest off today, I came across this site:

I just thought you'd be interested in seeing how they go about finding you, even if you're not supposed to be listed. (It's just friggin' annoying, in my opinion.)

Anyhow, thought you might care to read it. Please, by all means, share your thoughts on these topics and your experiences. I'd like to know if I'm alone in being perturbed about all this, or not.

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Posted by CarysWeldonblog :: 6:38 AM :: 3 Comments:

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Thanks for the information. I got rid of my land line awhile back so it has been really nice not having solicitors calling me.
My neighbors had their identy stolen and they have gone through so much trying to get their good name back. Anything one can do to prevent this is helpful
Here in Arizona we have alot of fake ideas and use of someone else's social security number by illegal aliens. It is really a big bad problem
Hope you have a nice Valentine's Day. I have asked for a gift certificate to a bookstore instead of the usual roses. I like flowers but a book lasts so much longer
JWIsley AT

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:09 PM  

We still get a few phone calls although we are on the no call list. David is always telling them so and they tell him it doesn't mean us. He then replies it does to me and hangs up on them. One time a man called and David said "Are the man who is messing around with my wife?" They hung up that time. It was so funny.

You have to get a face book page. I am having so much fun. Although, you would be on the computer all the time and wouldn't get writing done.
I watch Foxnews while I am working on computers because the TV will call me and make me watch tv shows instead of working. But I am getting so tired of all the bad news.
Becca moved back in with Rob. The kids are excited, they say they have a family now. It makes me so sad for them. I hope it lasts.
Thinking postive, it will last......
Later, have a good day tomorrow.

By Blogger Brenda, at 6:57 PM  

We babysat the grandkids today since the other grandmother said she wasn't babysitting the kids anymore. I guess she thought that would stop Becca and Rob from getting back together.
Becca is home now so I am backing up David's computer and going to put in a put in a bigger hard drive.
I am really into face book.
Have a great day..You are loved.

By Blogger Brenda, at 5:46 PM  

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