Erin's Journals

Monday, July 5, 2021

Just a thought… Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same. [Author unknown]

As always, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Well, this is a big week…so we’ll start with the sugar! I mean, first full week of July, yes, but we’re taking our six-year-old grandson Colin away for two nights to a spot “up island” just a bit.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the deadly heat that BC has been under; fortunately, here on Vancouver Island we’re now firmly in the upper teens and lower 20s since breaking all records a week ago. Also fortunately, the smoke from the countless mainland fires is staying on the mainland, but we’re just a wind’s change away from it affecting our air quality too. So, as in all things, we live day to day and hope for the best. If we get to cycle and have windows open, “Yay.” If not, we stay inside and stay as safe as we can.

But not all dangers come in the window. Some are on your phone and I’m here to tell you about a call Rob got the other day. Pass the salt, ’cause here we go.

He got a robocall from a 1-519 phone number. Cautiously, he answered. It launched into a recorded spiel saying they’d detected two suspicious credit card purchases: one for about $400 for eBay and a gift card in the amount of $3500. Okay, we knew we had made neither of those buys.

Then the recording went on to say we should press 1 to allow and press 2 if these were not our purchases. Before Rob’s trigger finger could hit 2 (as mine likely would have), we stopped and he hung up.

Right away, we called our bank’s 1-800 customer service number (seen on the back of our credit card). We followed the prompts to lost or stolen credit cards and spoke to a real live customer service rep – yes, on a statutory holiday. She was able to confirm that there were no such charges, which was a tremendous relief after having had similar but legitimate troubles earlier this year.

She said that fake phone calls usually cite an eBay charge and a gift card purchase. That’s the first red flag. The second is that our call display showed a phone number with an area code other than 800 or 888 (from Wingham, ON in case anyone cares). Our experience is, if there’s been a suspected fraudulent charge, a live person calls (not a recording) and they ask you about the charges in person, or they leave a message and ask you to call back. In our experience, again, they never ask you to do anything on the phone (i.e. press 1 or press 2).

So there you go. Like I said, danger comes in all shapes and sizes and, in this case, it was just a Canada Day phone call from a number in our country. Or so they’d have us believe. Share this message if you would, please, so that your parents, kids or friends are made aware that this is happening. By the way, it felt really good to let the bank know the phone number of these scam artists. I’m sure it’s a lot to hope for, but maybe we helped get somebody in trouble?

I’ll be back with you Thursday with sand in my shorts and stories to tell. (Which might well be the name of a new country album LOL!)

Rob WhiteheadMonday, July 5, 2021