March 22nd, 2012


Living Dangerously

I think the preschoolers infected me again last night, but this time with energy. They were insanely hyper, literally (and I'm using the word properly here) bouncing off walls. I kept having to intervene before they hurt themselves or punched a hole in the sheetrock. Then I came home from choir, finished proofreading a book, then stayed up until 1:30 reading a book because I was so close to finishing it and I wasn't really all that sleepy. Now, though, I'm sleepy. And it's cool and rainy. Maybe I should have saved the book to read today, since now I'm all out of library books. Crisis!

We also had a floor show to go with the usual fellowship hall dinner last night. The teens are doing their musical revue this weekend, and they were getting ready for their dress rehearsal, so they came in and performed a number for us while we ate. Man, I wish we'd had something like that when I was a teenager, but at my church, we barely had a youth choir. The youth director, who didn't even read music, would use those tapes where on one side they have the song with a generic choir singing the song and then on the other there would just be the accompaniment. We'd sing along with the choir a few times, then sing it with the accompaniment, and that was it for any music program for the teens. We definitely didn't do musicals.

And now I'm waiting for the end of my 48-hour countdown. A couple of days ago, I got a rather alarming phone call telling me that there was about to be a restraining order put out on me, and I needed to call a certain number and give this case number within 48 hours if I wanted to take care of it before they put out the restraining order. I know that's not how that works, so I figured it was a scam, but it was still rather alarming to hear. I took down the info so I could look it up, and I was still reading the Google results on the company name (yep, scam) when my parents called to say they got a call looking for me, with the same info. Which was consistent with the reports I found in my search. I got the same results searching the company name and the phone number they gave me.

What seems to be happening is that they call people, threatening some kind of legal action (it varies), but saying they can resolve it if you call this number. Then two things seem to happen. A lot of people who do call say they get put on hold for a long time or never get an answer. Someone reported that they contacted their phone carrier about these calls and the carrier said it's one of those things where they want you to call back that number so it then gets forwarded to one of those off-shore numbers where they can charge you huge amounts for the call -- thus the long hold times. But then other people report that they offer to settle the issue for a certain amount -- usually big enough to be worthwhile but small enough that people will be willing to pay to make a potentially big problem go away. And then they either want all your credit card info or they want you to wire money. Then once you bite on the scam, they never go away. You keep getting "legal problems." A lot of this seems to involve fake debt collection on payday loans, but I've taken out two loans in my entire life -- a car loan that's been paid off for twenty years and my mortgage, which is current. I've never even carried a credit card balance. I pay them off in full each month. I also can't see why anyone would want a restraining order against someone who never leaves the house and who barely calls family members and barely e-mails friends. But I can see where people who might be in some difficulties might react in fear and fall for this, especially when they're doing stuff like calling family members to make it look more real. For me, the calling the family members was a clue that it was a scam because the timing worked out that they were calling my parents at the same time as they were talking to me, and I know that in the real world they aren't supposed to call family members unless they can't reach the primary person. If they're talking to me in person, then there's no need for them to call anyone else.

So, now the countdown on that 48 hours is coming down to the wire. Will someone actually file a restraining order on me? Will they figure I'm onto them when I don't respond and move on to another victim? Will they try me again (and this time I'll tell them that I've researched them and I know exactly what they're up to)? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I've spent the last couple of days re-reading a book I wrote nearly three years ago. Although I've noticed some writing tics I had at the time (oh, the pet words) and wanted to tweak a few things, I think I like this book more than ever. It was a real roller-coaster ride to read, and by the end my heart was racing and I was breathless -- and I wrote it. Now to do something with it. That's another stay tuned thing.

And now since I have no library books to read today, and since the Television Without Pity forums seem to be down (I will begin twitching very soon), I suppose I'll get to work on the final proofread of The Current Project. If I don't get arrested or something.