A New Scam, beware

Just when you thought you’d heard it all . . . .

This scam is actually very clever. This one could easily slip by most anyone – beware of people bearing gifts. The following is a recounting of the incident from the victim:

Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone saying that he was from some outfit called: “Express Couriers,”(The name could have been anything) he asked if I was going to be home because there was a package delivery for me that required a signature . The caller said that the delivery would arrive at my home in roughly an hour, and sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine.

I was very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday, and I certainly didn’t expect anything like it. Intrigued about who had sent me such a gift, I inquired as to who the sender was. The deliveryman’s reply was, he was only delivering the gift package, but allegedly a card was being sent separately… (the card has never arrived!)

There was also a consignment note with the gift. He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery verification charge,” providing proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult of legal drinking age, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor.

This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash. He then said that the delivery company required payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that everything is properly accounted for, and this would keep help in keeping a legal record of the transaction. He added couriers not needing to carry a bunch of cash, would make them less likely targets for robbery.

My husband, who by this time was standing beside me, pulled his wallet out of his pocket with the credit/debit card, and ‘John,’ the “delivery man,” asked my husband to swipe his card on a small mobile card machine. It had a small screen and keypad where Frank was also asked to enter the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to us as our copy of the transaction. He then said everything was in order, and wished us good day.

To our horrible surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, $4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines. It appeared that somehow the “mobile credit card machine,” which the deliveryman carried now had all the info necessary to create a “dummy” card with all our card details after my husband swiped our card and entered the requested PIN and security number.

Upon finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we immediately notified the bank which issued us a new card, and our credit/debit account was closed.

We also personally went to the Police, where it was confirmed that it is definitely a scam because several households had been similarly hit.

WARNING: Be wary of accepting any “surprise gift or package,” which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package.

Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.

Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction! Pass this on, it may just prevent someone else from being swindled.


What is your ZIP code?

use zip codeWe all know what the telephone prefix numbers refer to. The small numbers start on the East coast of the United States and move across the country to the largest numbers on the West coast and Hawaii. But do you know what your Zip Code stands for, or your Social Security Number?

Zip Codes were begun 50 years ago when the Post Office Department began the Zoning Improvement Plan which became necessary in order to deal with an increase in business mail. It was designed to  sort delivery of the mail to specific locations more quickly.

The majority of mail handled by the USPS is rapidly processed by an automatic system which scans the address on the envelope.  It is then directed to the area to be delivered to according to the ZIP number on the envelope.   Your ZIP code is not a random number.  There is a definite order to the 9 digit code.

The first 3 numbers of your digit code refer to your general regional city.
The next 2 numbers are the delivery area post office or neighborhood.
Four more digits were added in 1983.
The first 2 of those indicates a sector or several blocks.
The last 2 are a segment or one side of a street.

At the present time there are 41,810 total zip codes. 538 of those are military.
The average population per ZIP code is 7,348.
California has the most ZIP codes, 2,602, and Rhode Island the least with 90. (America Samoa has 1.)

There is another number which you can use to track your packages.  That is a 22 digit tracking number.  This number appears on the receipt you get when you send a package from your local Post Office.  If you want to track the package go to the USPS web site and enter that number.  You will get a day by day listing of the journey your package is taking.  If you don’t see the tracking number on your receipt ask the clerk for it.

So, if you want your mail delivered promptly and compently, use all 9 ZIP code numbers. It makes the process much more efficient.

I intended to address the procedure by which Social Security numbers are allotted, but I found that it is very, very complicated, due to the many misuses of the cards. The Social Security Department has made many changes since the beginning issue of the first cards. And even now, it is not a standard process. Please follow the link below to read about the story of the Social Security number. It is quite interesting, but too involved to publish here.


You’re going to love my daughter

My eldest daughter is an exceptional woman.  She has created at least 2 jobs on her own to make a living.  She consults, advises, repairs and teaches everything you would ever want on your computer.  She has 20 years experience in this and now has made it her occupation.  Her other job is taking care of people who need a ride, temporary care, errands done, practically anything.  These two jobs alone take up most of her time, but when she isn’t busy she writes.

She is in the process of composing a book which will answer any question anyone could ever have about computers.   She also does articles for publication  in regional small papers or world wide article publishers.

Then, she always makes time for me.  I frequently have problems such as my  computer misbehaving, a doctor’s appointment, changing my clock when the time changes or the electricity goes out, whatever I need, whenever I need it.  She will drop everything to help me.  She charges other people to do this, but I get it free.  Lucky me to have her.

If you would like to have her help you and you are in her area you can reach her at 888-347-0052 or click on her link from my blog, PCTechsOnline.com.