A couple more phone scams to be aware of.

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Mom is still savy about junk phone calls, dad with dementia is not. I take care of bills for them so while reviewing the capital one card bill I saw two charges where dad had been sucked in.


MY CREDIT COMPLETE


Twenty bucks a month gets you worthless ID protection. This company and others like it have been fined millions by the Feds. It's a huge industry that's practically worthless.



AMERICAN DISCOUNT


These creeps solicit magazine renewals and tack on a $160 charge for a discount club. My 85 year old parents can get great discounts on computers and trips to Vegas.


I called both companies, they were ever so polite, agreed to cancel the charges and take dad off all lists. We shall see.


And yeah, I know, time to get the card out of dads wallet. Welcome to world war three........

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What I am posting here is sorta of a scam with vendors. I was calling around to get carpet cleaning for my parents vacant house to help bring down "that odor".

There's the old saying, don't judge a book by its cover. The first company came in a shiny fancy new truck. There were two workmen to give an estimate. One used a measuring device, the other punched numbers into a calculator. Gave me three quotes from $750 to $1,600 depending on what type of work I needed, yada, yada, yada. Plus the price included 20% first time user discount. Hard sell type of person. Told him I will get back if interested. It felt like they were jacking up the price because the house was For Sale and that I probably looked desperate.

The second company, an one man operation, came in a beat-up old rusting truck with the name so faded you could barely see it. The owner looked homeless as he was very scruffy looking. He walked around the house measuring the rooms in his head and quoted me $275 to steam clean and deodorize.

My boss uses the above person for carpet cleaning and handyman work so I know he does a good job, so he wasn't a stranger to me. Plus he could patch a hole in the ceiling of my parent's home office where there was a water leak and paint the ceiling for $150. So guess which price I took. I know, got to be careful about you get what you pay for. But I know this guy does good work. Plus he gave me a lot of other suggestions to make the place show better :)
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Another call I've been getting is from someone who claims to be a Michael Gibson. I have no idea what it's about b/c between his accent and mumbling, I can't understand what it is he's pitching. I can't back trace the number through a reverse trace. The area code would be an Indiana number, but he could be spoofing and calling from someplace else, like someone's basement in a dirty dump where he spends all his day trying to scam people.

Two others that have been around for years are the hearing aid "trial" to test new hearing aid devices, as well the "private funding" enabling hearing aid providers to offer aids at a discount.

Years ago we did see one consultant who was offering the so-called private funding discount, not b/c we believed the come-on but b/c we wanted to get a baseline hearing test. Even with the so-called private funding, the guy wanted about $4K for each aid.

When the owner came in for the big sales pitch, I pressed him about the so-called funding, he admitted it was a marketing tool (read "gimmick").

The latest twist is that this outfit called the other day to schedule an update hearing for Dad. It's been years, I've had no contact with them, but obviously they keep my contact info.
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My mind must be on a cycle today rather than being able to think all at once....

Everyone, don't forget that you can use the provisions of the Fair Credit Billing Act to challenge unauthorized charges.
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BTW, Windy, I've been told by a relative that Capital One is a nasty outfit to deal with. A relative in the Navy had to get a JAG attorney involved to straighten out a bill - C1 was padding the bill - I think the issue was unlawful interest charges, but I don't recall all the details.
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I too have a "No construction, windows, siding, roofing, religious or any other kind of solicitors" sign on my front door. Generally it keeps people away, but last year 2 very, very, very aggressive guys working for the local electric company tried to use a different approach to convince me to sign up for the utility's appliance repair program.

After seeing what a fiasco it was with the utility heat provider, I would never sign up with either of them. I prefer commercial companies which compete, rather than monopolies which don't know the meaning of competition.

A couple of times the Watchtower or some other aggressive religious outfit ignores the sign. If I hear them knocking, I use the peep hole to see who's there, wait till they leave, then I walk up and down the street till I find their car, then very obviously stand so they can see me and write down the license number, vehicle make, etc.

Once one of the women asked me what I was doing and I told her it was part of the neighborhood monitoring system for scam artists and criminals. Of course she tried to assure me that she was a good Christian out to save souls or whatever, but I just walked away.
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I'm the same way, freqflyer. I rarely answer the door. Making matters worse is the fact that I have a "no solicitations" sign on my door - can't miss it, yet I still get people trying to sell me crap. The worst are the bible thumpers - I guess they don't view what they do a solicitation. My house is set up high and I can see quite a ways up and down our street. On occassion I'll see them before they come my way. I hand write a huge note and tape it in the screen door, warning them to think twice before they ring my bell!
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Another issue are door-to-door sales. Some folks are very pleasant but once in awhile you will get the hard core salesperson who doesn't want to take no for an answer. I got tangled up with one last year, I wanted an estimate for new gutters, but later I changed my mind.... so I called to cancel... oh my gosh they wouldn't let go.

I finally sent an e-mail saying I was within the Federal law 3-day cooling off for door-to-door sales. But the daily telephone continued until one day I finally did answered and a very sweet woman was on the line and I asked her politely please remove my name and telephone number.... and she did :)

Yet the same company salespeople swarm over our subdivision like locust trying to get work. We are an older subdivision where the houses are 30-35 years old, so prime targets for new roofs, new siding, new windows, new front doors, new gutters.... [sigh].

It has gotten to a point where I won't answer my front door unless I see a car in the driveway.
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Twenty bucks a month for computer checkups on a dialup system. That's cute....

What I am finding is that mom sleeps late, dads up bright and early and the calls start at about 8 am. These parasites have his MO and know he's a kindly, demented old guy. Once mom is up the calls decrease and she can nipp them in the bud. She told me today that she's tired of these guys "And I've just been getting a real smarty mouth with em ". Go get em mom!
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Windyridge, last monthly I got caught up in that credit ID protection thingee... all I was doing is getting Dad's free yearly credit report from the credit bureau to make sure everything looked good... and I was very careful not to click on anything that would trigger that ID protection. But lo and behold, they got me. I found out about that while viewing Dad's email account so I quickly fired back that he never signed up for said protection. They cancelled it immediately.

Another thing I had to do was call AOL which was Dad's email provider. I had noticed on the past 3 credit card statements that Dad was being charged for computer checkups at $20+ per month, and another $5 for something else offered by AOL. I know this was my Dad's doing as he never was a happy camper with his computer speed.... HELLO, Dad was on dial-up and living in a large metro area, of course he will have trouble trying to connect to AOL or the internet. So he was trying all different solutions instead of signing up for cable or FiOS.

I called AOL and it was easy to get Dad off of these items. I just had to know the security answers. The one "what is your Mom's maiden name" kept coming up wrong until I realized it was Dad's mother's maiden name that was on file, not my Mom's maiden name :P
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