23 October 2009

How I Was Nearly Scammed

At about 17:30 today my phone rang. All it said was "Blocked." A man identifying himself as "Potter County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Porter" told me that one of my employees was being held on a DUI charge and had chosen to use her one phone call to ask me to post bond for her. (For reasons I can't detail, he said things that made this sound especially legitimate.) He knew my name and occupation, her name, her description, and that she'd been sick with the flu recently; he knew my whereabouts, even claiming to be "tracking my iPhone via GPS" and telling me which streets I was turning down/parking lots I was pulling into.

I don't know anything about being arrested or posting bond. It's been awhile since I watched Law And Order. "Deputy Porter" was a very authoritative and compassionate sounding man. He sounded like pretty much every cop I've ever known. He quoted laws, statutes, and regulations. He was never pushy in the slightest. It was intense but laissez-faire at the same time. He put me on hold several times to "push paperwork through" and "see if he could get her into the final court for the day."

As I was about to send the money to "the bail bondsman" my trusty paranoia finally kicked in to combat my adrenaline. I realized I had no way of really knowing who it was I'd been speaking with for more than thirty minutes. I hung up the phone and used Google Maps to get the Potter County Sheriff's phone number. I called and asked to speak to "Deputy Porter." Yeah. No such person.

I almost sent $700 via MoneyGram to a "bail bondsman." It was surreal. I'm still in utter disbelief, even hours later. I ended up giving a sworn affidavit to an Amarillo Police Department officer. It is being forwarded to their Fraud/Forgeries Division.

Always be certain of who you're talking to on the phone. Tell them you'll hang up and call them back. I know I'll never again smirk at the thought of someone falling for a scam. These guys really are pros.


04 October 2009

Witty Title Here

Had quite an experience this evening. Attended an Evensong service in which three local church choirs performed John Rutter's Gloria together. My parents were singing in the choir so I went to support them and experience the performance. There was an organ, trumpets, trombones, and percussion instruments accompanying the choir--all of which were phenomenal.

For someone who was born into and has spent all of his life in the church, the whole experience was very alien. At least 95% of the audience had been AARP members for many years and were dressed in very formal attire. There were objects I hadn't seen in a church meeting place in a long time--pews, a pipe organ, offering plates (passed to help cover "the expenses of the evening"), hymnals, programs, fresh flowers, a large wooden pulpit, and the flag of the United States Of America. We stood and sat, stood and sat, and stood and sat. I felt very badly for many of the elderly folks who I saw struggling and cringing each time this took place.

The music was spectacular but the whole experience was a bit strange to me. It felt awkward and very sterile; too clean for my tastes. I need to be able to get down and dirty at church. Does that make any sense? I don't like things too polished.

I'm watching Bruce Springsteen We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions right now and feeling closer to God than in that austere building with Latin beautifully sung over me. I'm not entirely sure what that says about me. And I'm okay with that.

K, love you, bye.