How to Avoid Being Used by a Scammer

A scam can be defined as a fraudulent business scheme.  Sometime we refer to the people who do this as con artists or scammers.  Before the internet, it was actually harder to scam people.  Go figure.  In one of my posts, I mention looking for websites that don’t seem to have a point of contact, photos of the person, or just seem off somehow.  What they are offering you sounds too good to be true.  We are going to explore that just a little bit further.

Scammers, fakes, and con artists have one thing in common.  The story never adds up completely.  They might have built an elaborate web of lies meant to confuse you and others just like you.  They look for a spot where you might be emotionally weak, and when they find it, they go in deep.  This has happened to me before with the sale of a timeshare.  Yup.  Something never added up about the company that offered to sell my timeshare.  Always do a background check.  In this case, I had and nothing was coming up…yet.  Just a feeling that this was wrong.

A few warning signs you might be able to spot:

  1. They seem too good to be true with their credentials, history and background of elaborate stories.
  2. They constantly praise you, reach out to you, and confide things in you that you are not supposed to tell anyone.
  3. They have an uncanny way of staring at you or speaking about themselves as if they are the answer to your needs.
  4. They won’t give you exact details of where the money is going, but they really need it right away.  They appreciate you giving to x, y, and z charity.
  5. Note: If you want to help a charity, do your research and see if they disclose their financials, explain what they do, or even provide evidence of non-profit status.  They should be well-regarded by other organizations in their field and known for their work.  If you can’t find anyone they have previously helped with documented sources and testimonials, it might not be real.
  6. The best type of scams will play off your emotions…be aware of the hook they are using.

One thing that is best for all of us to learn in this digital age is NOT to reveal too much information the person can use.  Keep a healthy distance and observe their behavior.  Oftentimes, they change wording several times on what their end mission is going to be.  They are trying to map out the best copy to get the most bang…for your buck.

These people are actually incredibly adapt at changing their personalities as the need arises.  Most of the time, these people will hide behind their computers…unless they have bigger visions for their plans.  Just note any irrational behavior, anger at you not doing exactly what they asked you to do, or excuses that they use to cover things up.  These people are trying to gain your trust so that in the long run, they can use your wallet.  If someone new in your life is asking for money, it is time to reflect on the above tips and see what happens when you give them space.

If someone is trying to intimidate or verbally abuse you because you have gotten wise to their game, remember, you can walk away and report it to the proper authorities.  I reported the timeshare group to everyone I knew, lodged complaints with my bank against the group and warned many others that it was a scam.  Don’t wait until the person has your money.  Be smart and stay safe.

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Bad Company

3 Signs You Know an Ass Hat

Do you know an Ass Hat…or perhaps live with one?

To start this post off, first we have to define what an “Ass Hat” actually is.  The term basically means they are wearing their ass as a hat…or they have their head so far up their ass, etc.  You get the drift.  The person is usually quite arrogant, rude or even obnoxious.  Ass Hats can be found most anywhere.  Unfortunately, they think rather highly of themselves, so the natural habitat of an Ass Hat is anywhere other people might agree with them.

Sometimes, people can wear an Ass Hat and just be in a  bad mood.  You can recognize those people because they have the ability to actually remove the hat.  But just in case you need help, here are 3 signs you know an Ass Hat.

How to recognize an Ass Hat

  1. The person is angry and grumpy all the time…for no apparent reason.  You say hello to them and they glare at you, but you literally just arrived at work so what did you do?  Nothing.  You just exist and therefore they are angry.  The problem is not yours my friend.  Walk away.
  2. They put you down, your department, your project, your clothes, whatever it is that you actually like and worked really hard on…they hate.  Why?  Because you did something better than them.  That’s all it takes for the Ass Hat to rear it’s ugly, erm hatness.  Yes.  They put on an extra-large sombrero of Ass Hatness just because you did a good job and got praise from the boss.
  3.  They are a victim of “The Man”.  That’s right.  The Man is trying to hold them down, or back or whatever, but their head is so far up their ass that they don’t even know who The Man is…or if there ever was a man.  Maybe, truthfully, it was a woman and they are just pissed because a woman is doing a better job than they are.  Hmph.  Think about that Mr. Sombrero of Ass Hatness.

All in all, if you read between the lines, you know that an Ass Hat is merely around to try to hold you back from your full potential.  It’s even worse if you were ever married to one or dating one.  You are worth so much more than an Ass Hat is capable of giving you.  He sees only what’s in it for him, how far he can get ahead, or how to make you feel worthless if you are smarter than him.  He will try to make you feel like less, but you are so much more than that.  Recognize the signs of Ass Hat entrapment, and don’t play the game.

Ass Hat

Irritations…

I don’t know when it became acceptable for others to simply do whatever they feel like doing at any given time, speak to you however they feel or act however they want.  Today’s society drains me as there seems to be no common courtesy in the world anymore.  Yesterday I went to my local health food store.  Unfortunately, I said I wasn’t going in there ever again after something happened the last time I visited.  I spent about 6 months personally boycotting the store.  Seriously.

Until I needed some things that no one else sells.  So I made my trip up there hoping I was going to see him…the cause for irritation.  I made it into the store and poof, he magically appeared.  Throwing a comment over his shoulder as he walked by me, can I help you find anything, as he kept walking away from me.  Yes, actually you can.  I need coconut butter.  Using a simpering, irritated voice “Oh my God. You are like the 5th person to ask for coconut butter.  I do NOT have it. I have coconut manna. What do you all want it for anyway?”  As he sighs heavily like I am putting him out.  Did I mention that he is the owner?  Well he is. 

Let me tell you about the first time I ran in with my whole family to get something.  It was like 4:45 p.m. and I needed something as I eat gluten-free.  Some of my ingredients are difficult to get.  I am sometimes, erm lots, depressed when I can’t eat similar items my little family is eating as we used to make things together.  We have changed our whole eating habits for me as a dinner ritual, which is nice, but occasionally, I want a cookie darn it.  So we went in to get some ingredients only this guy has.  Seriously, it wasn’t much of a list.  I went in and they yelled out “Closing in 15 minutes.” as a way of greeting us.  No hi.  No hello.  No welcome.  Nothing.  I got my little things with my husband and kids as we were on our way to my parent’s house, and went to the counter.  From behind the counter a voice says “BETTER late than NEVER” in a seriously ugly tone.

So number one, I am doing this guy a favor by shopping in his store.  Number two, I get no recognition, no greeting, no courtesy.  Number three, it’s like I am putting him out by being a customer.  So I refused to enter the store for months and apparently he hasn’t changed because after he “helped” me yesterday, he proceeded to mention things he can’t sell now because we are getting a Whole Foods soon and people would just drive there, which by the way, is 40 minutes away right now.  So let me just gently remind you all, if you are a small store owner, a business person of any kind and someone is doing you a favor, don’t speak to them like you can’t be bothered or perhaps “don’t have the energy” to treat them right.  They will remember.  Trust me.  Treat the person how you would want to be treated.  It’s just a small thing in this world.  Kindness.  Pass it on. 

Kindness

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Motivational Monday…code of conduct

One of my biggest faults, or one of my biggest assets depending on how you look at it, is my inability to keep quiet when wrongs are being done.  Whether it would cost me my job or not, which by the way it never has, but I’m just saying it could, I have made it a point to share the things that go on behind the scenes.  Why do I do that?  Because quite simply it boils down to a code of conduct I think human beings should personally hold themselves accountable to whether or not anyone is looking. 

This includes e-mail messages, private messages, cyber-bullying, phone conversations, texts and the like.  Just because you can’t see someone, does not mean they don’t have feelings.  I honestly wish I didn’t have a hard time with people being nasty…maybe I could be like the see no evil monkeys and just sit there and pretend it doesn’t happen like so many people.  But you see, that’s why the world is in the mess we are in now.

As a teacher, the desire to teach tiny people social-emotional skills was very important to me.  We are losing our HUMANITY as sure as I sit here and type this.  Parents were not showing respect to teachers, principals and other school staff.  They were not showing respect to other parents, and they sure weren’t able to teach respect to their children.  This week alone I saw friends post about children doing horrible things out in public and the parents were…on their phones ignoring the children.  The children then acted out more, etc.

So adults have taken on a kind of behavior that was not seen 20 years ago.  They think they can say anything on Facebook, post anything on social media, and it is okay.  We need to bring back social skills to our children.  We need to teach interaction with other human beings and we also need to learn the word “NO”.  No, you can’t treat me that way.  No, you can’t act a fool in public.  No, you can’t come in here on the first day of school and kick your momma.  I am going to have something to say about that.  Just as you can’t “cuss” at folks.  So teachers, hold your ground.  Hold.  Your. Ground.  As you prepare for this year, do what you know is right.  It’s okay to take time to teach social skills.  It’s okay to say no, you can’t act that way in my room.  Period.  Maybe, just maybe, the tiny ones will go home and show some of these very fine social skills to their folks.

CriticizeHold. Your. Ground.

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The fugitive…

Sadly, I am not referring to the movie or the TV series made in 1963.  I am referring to my own child, but let me back up and tell you from the beginning.  Monday is not generally a day that I love anyway unless it happens to be a snow day or a day off from work.  Today was difficult because of the time change and the fact that it was beautiful outside, and I wanted to be somewhere else.  All that aside, the last thing you want to hear when you go to pick up your children is “Can I talk to you a minute?”.  I really want to run screaming from the room saying you’ll have to catch me first; however, I restrain myself and paste my fake smile on as I answer “sureee”.

The sentence that came next was not one I want repeated ever again.  It was worse than being cussed out.  The after-care lady said my child was being mean to another student and she used the dreaded word “bully”.  I was furious and embarrassed as she told me another mom approached her and said my child was being mean to her child.  Okay.  Let’s take a deep breath.  I have been dealing with more than my fair share of third grade drama, so let’s look at the whole picture.  I asked her what happened exactly.  She really couldn’t say due to privacy issues.  Okay then.  Can you tell me how exactly my child was being mean?  No, the other mom just said she was.  WTH?  Calm thoughts.  Do I know this mom?  Aha.  The look in her eye.  I know this mom.  I finally figure out on my own, who the child is.  It is NOT someone from her class, but they are in the same before/after program.  Don’t worry readers, that other lady is still gone.

I pull my daughter over and we discuss what happened.  Someone was following her all around and would not leave her alone, so she asked them to stop.  It happened again and she told them she would not be their friend if they didn’t leave her alone.  Hmmm.  And THIS is why a mom used the word “bully”???  I mean, really??  I am caught between being mad at my child and being mad at the parent and after-care worker.  Maybe there is more to this story.  So I take the high road, and say I will speak to her about this and we will fix it.

I am so mad in the car I can’t even look at her.  I don’t even bother to ask her to explain again.  I call her father and say all sorts of things about how we didn’t raise a child to be this way and what happened to our sweet girl who put everyone first, and all manner of things I’m sure ummm, some other parents say.  The word restriction pops out of my mouth and perhaps the word spanking (which does not happen here), and things that will magically fix this.  She is in the back seat listening and yes, I knew that.  I was playing the ole’ scare tactics.

She goes quietly to her room without being told.  I gather the mail and a magazine has just arrived courtesy of my wonderful aunt.  I flip through it and something catches my eye.  How to handle name calling and the blame game.  I read them and calm down.  I ask both my girls to come to the table and tell me what happened.  It still doesn’t sound bad enough to use the word “bully”.  She just went through this and knows what it feels like.  Could she be using her feelings and projecting?  Nahhh.  That’s not her.  A bully is someone who habitually badgers or intimidates smaller or weaker people.  Leave me alone or I won’t be your friend.  Yes, that is mean.  I am not sure what third grader hasn’t said that before, but maybe there are a few who don’t use that phrase.  Does that mean every child who says that is a bully?  No.  We really do need to teach social emotional skills in children; however, we do NOT need to label everyone and everything.  Sometimes a kid is just a kid and they need to work things out on their own.  So I explained the choices she makes and the words she uses will have a lasting effect on her friendships.  I go up to her room again to check on her later and she is crying.  I feel like the worst mom in the world.  Even more so when I knock over a bag of clothes…with a flashlight and wallet inside.  Sigh.  Baby, please tell me what this is?  This isn’t packed for a trip to grandma’s is it?  Nope.

The runaway bag.  Poor thing.  I didn’t realize I was that terrible.  I feel so horrible.  I gather her up and tell her how much I love her and her little voice comes out of the covers and says “I didn’t think you did when you were talking to daddy.”  Poop.  You got me there.  Well, sweetie, mommy was very upset at what happened and I never once said I didn’t love you.  Sure I told daddy you might be on restrictions until someone tells me something good you have done at school, but that didn’t mean I don’t love you.  I will always love you no matter what.  All I have to say is please, pleaseeeeee don’t let me hear anything else about this again for the rest of the year.  I can’t take anymore drama.  And that my friends is how I avoided a tiny fugitive on the run from being accused of a crime that was far more serious than it really appeared at first.

If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says, “keep away from children.”
~Susan Savannah