The Mean Spiritedness of the Internet

Think about the worst thing you’ve ever done.  Not even the worst thing.  Think about a time you had an error in judgment and how you would feel if everyone knew about it and made you out to be a horrible person when they weren’t there and they don’t know you at all.  It used to be you could make a mistake and maybe it was big enough to hit the news, but it would be short lived and the news stations would move onto bigger stories.  Thanks to the nature of the Internet, people can condemn this woman indefinitely.

Everyone makes a major mistake at some point.

The Internet is great for many things, but the ugliest part is some people’s eagerness to judge complete strangers, lacking any compassion whatsoever.

The tragic story about the gorilla who had to be shot because the boy fell into its habitat is just one example.  I read about it more this morning and witnessed the following kinds of comments, and not just towards the mom, but the boy too!  I can’t even imagine what this child will go through in life due to this one experience.

“The gorilla died because of that little brat and his (fill in profane insult) mother!  They should have let the boy die!” A 3-year-old boy lacks judgment and he should die because of that?  3-year-olds want candy for breakfast.  They don’t want to wear pants.  They want the opposite of what you want.  They won’t eat a broken cracker.  They won’t drink milk if it’s in a green cup vs. a blue cup.  They think Caillou is a good show. At one point when my oldest was 3, I truly wondered if he might end up in a mental hospital.  Or one of us anyway.  We were all insane 3-year-olds once.  Did we all deserve to die?  It’s bizarre how many people have no tolerance for what they themselves used to be or what they will be someday.

“My child would have been in a stroller the whole time!”  Really?  You take your kid to the zoo and they don’t actually get to see the animals because they’re sitting in a stroller?  Talk about helicopter parenting.  Actually, you just glued the child to the landing pad.  No hovering necessary.

“That mom was too busy taking pictures to pay attention to her kid!”  Maybe she was taking pictures of her other children because they were at the zoo?  I’ve taken pictures of my children at the zoo.  Shocking, I know.  According to what I read, the dad was there too, so I’m not sure why the mom is getting all the insults hurled in her direction.

“That mom should have CPS called on her!”  Clearly she isn’t being punished enough already.  She just experienced the most terrifying moment of her life and feels responsible for one of God’s most amazing creatures having been euthanized, but CPS should be called because of what it took her son seconds to do?  Years ago my son broke the childproof cover off of our doorknob, opened the door, and I thought he let his brother out.  I was doing the dishes at the time and didn’t know until I felt a draft.  I thought he was just playing in his room.  According to the wisdom of certain people, I should stare at my toddler the entire day rather than creating a reasonably safe environment so I can cook meals or do laundry.  Maybe I should put my daughter in a stroller while I cook rather than allowing her to gain any sort of independence?

The shooting of the gorilla was tragic for sure, but what I find even more upsetting is how strangers are treating human beings. Today I saw a picture circulating claiming to be a picture of Betty White in her 20’s and people were even nasty about that.  “Why was her rear end so weird shaped?” they wondered.  It actually wasn’t Betty White, but a different Betty who was a pin-up girl.

It used to be people posted opinions using anonymous names, so I thought that gave some assurance that they could be as nasty as they want with no consequences to themselves, but I’m continually disgusted by what people post under their real names on Facebook.  Maybe they don’t know that what they comment on public posts can be seen by their friends?

People who post stuff like the above, what do you get out of it?  Why is it worth hurting a real human being?  Haven’t you ever replayed a moment in your mind that you wish you could do differently?  What I’m hearing is that bullying doesn’t matter when you think that person is “a waste of a life”.  I feel for this woman and the zoo keepers who obviously thought the habitat was less accessible than it was.

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Talking to IRS Scammers

I had so much fun yesterday!  The day before when I chewed out the Windows Computer scammer, I said, “Why don’t you have one of your buddies from the IRS call me?”

I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but I got a pre-recorded message from “The Internal Revenue Service” saying something like, “There is a warrant out for your arrest due to unpaid taxes.  Please give us a call.”

My goal is to save someone from falling for this.  Please spread the word.  I first called them and wanted to know which one of us was going to be arrested.  She said since we filed joint returns, both of us would be arrested.  She started to giggle when I told her it would be a nice vacation from the kids.  She figured out quickly that I wasn’t for real and I think it was a nice break for her from getting yelled at.

I called back and asked for the Windows Computer department.  They hung up on me.

I called again and no one said anything.  They just hung up.

The third time was gold!  I was on the phone with the guy for so long, my tablet couldn’t record any longer.  It’s a shame because it was getting more hilarious by the minute.  I especially like their comments that my arrest warrant is in “activation mode”.

After the video cut off, the guy kept trying to convince me that I was going to be arrested.  I thought he would hang up when I said I spent my last $1,000 on marshmallows.  I thought he would hang up when I told him we got a $4,000 tax return, but he thought he could then trick me into paying $1,100 in order to get $3,000 more from the IRS.  I guess this tactic must have worked on someone.  I asked him if I could borrow the money from him personally because I was good for it.  I was going to get $3,000 and then I could pay him back.

He said I was going to be arrested for not receiving the additional refund.  How did I not laugh out loud?!  I told him I needed to think about the situation for an hour and he told me most emphatically that I was going to be arrested.  He said, “Do not drop this call.  If we get disconnected, you are going to be arrested.”

My baby started to wake up and I commenced laying on the guilt majorly.  I said, “You hear my baby?  Are you seriously going to come over and arrest me in front of her?  Who’s going to take care of her?  I hope you have someone lined up to help.  I can’t believe you’re going to take me away from my baby because I don’t have $1,000.  I need a loan.”

Isn’t he so sweet?  He said my baby sounded very cute and after checking with his superior, he was going to have someone from The Federal Loan Department call me.  They would give me what I needed.  I so wanted to keep playing, but I had to go do something responsible.  I said, “Wow, that’s amazing.  Thank you so much!  What’s the most I could get from them?”  He said, “How much do you need?”  I said, “We need to replace our roof and both of our cars.”  He said I should be able to get help with that.  One minute I’m going to jail and the next I’m about to get help with all of my financial woes.

He said, “I’m doing this for your baby.  She sounds so sweet.  We need to hang up now and The Federal Loan Department will call you.”

Sure enough, another call came in.  Another guy from India.

Me:  Hello?

Federal Loan Guy:  Um, hello?  You were just talking to the IRS and I was supposed to call you?

Me:  Huh?

Federal Loan Guy:  Yes, I’m supposed to call you because the IRS said you needed …..

Me:  I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Federal Loan Guy:  This is the number they gave me.

Me:  I guess they gave you the wrong number.

I hung up and then he called again.  This time I answered with a man voice.  Again I told him he must have the wrong number.  Awwwww!!!  All that scam work for nothing!  I talked to the first guy for over 30 minutes.  That’s 30 minutes that he didn’t get to talk to the elderly.

Friends made several suggestions.  One friend suggested I call them back acting really nervous and upset.  I decided some fake sobs would go nicely with their fake claims.  I called them again today.  I’m not an actress, but I play one on YouTube.

I love that the guy handed me over to the woman without saying anything.  I think I may have made both of them feel slightly guilty, but apparently not guilty enough to stop asking me for money.  Once I made it clear that the only thing I was interested in was divorcing my husband for screwing up our taxes, she gave up and wished me a good day.

Now everyone please share this with all of your grandparents, great aunts, uncles, etc.

How to Know You’re Not Really Dealing With the IRS

  1.  The IRS doesn’t call people unless they have contacted you by mail first.
  2.  The IRS doesn’t immediately pick up their phone and say, “IRS.”  In fact, you’re extremely lucky if you are able to track them down by phone.
  3. The IRS doesn’t make you pay money in order to receive money.
  4. The IRS hires some people who aren’t from India. I’m pretty sure they don’t outsource.

If we can share this enough, these people will give up and find some other dishonest way of making money.

Fun With a Scammer Again!

I was having a really bad morning.  I woke up repeatedly last night due to pain and my daughter waking up, probably getting only a few hours of sleep.  I was trying to find the will to do anything besides lying in the fetal position on my couch.

That’s when I got a phone call.  I thought it was a friend.  No, I recognized the number as being one of those “Windows computer” scammers.

I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to mess with them.  It’s amazing how our fun encounter left me feeling invigorated, ready to take on the world!  (Like doing my dishes or something.)

This is our conversation paraphrased.  Some of it I couldn’t understand because he speaks broken English.

Scammer:  Hello ma’am.  I am calling from the Windows Computer department.

Me:  Oh, OK.  Can you hang on a moment?  (I was trying to get my daughter happy.  She’s been screaming all morning and is mad because I’ve been trying to slowly wean her.  But nothing made her happy, so her screaming was all part of the fun.)

Scammer:  *speaking in a different language to I don’t know who*

Me:  OK, are you still there?

Scammer:  Yes, ma’am.  Your computer is sending out all sorts of signals that you’ve downloaded a malicious file.

Me:  Oh no! Is that why it’s been acting so weird?

Scammer:  Are you by your computer?

Me:  Yes.

Scammer:  What do you see on your computer?

Me:  I see my desktop.  There’s a picture of my family.

Scammer:  OK, there is a control key – CTRL on the bottom left hand corner of your keyboard.  Do you see the button next to that?

Me:  Yeah.  The Windows button?

Scammer:  Yes, I need you to hold both of those buttons and the letter R as in Roger.

Me:  OK, F as in Fred ……

Scammer:  No, R AS IN ROGER.

Me:  All right.  H as in Hector.

Scammer:  R AS IN ROGER.

Me:  Roger dodger!

Scammer:  OK, so press both of those keys and the R ……

Me:  Ugh!  My computer just crashed!

Scammer:  Really?

Me:  Yes, it must be because of the malware.  Should I restart?

Scammer:  Yes.

Me:  Should I restart in safe mode?

Scammer:  No, just normal.

Me:  OK!  ……..  HOW DID MY DESKTOP PHOTO DISAPPEAR?

Scammer:  What?

Me:  There was a picture of my family on the desktop and now there’s a picture of cotton candy!   Do you think I have the cotton candy virus?

Scammer:  Do you think this is a funny call?

Me:  No.  Can I talk to Roger?

Scammer:  Why would you want to talk to Roger?

Me:  You mentioned Roger earlier.  I thought he might know a lot about my computer problem.

Scammer:  Don’t you waste my time.

Me:  OH!  I’m wasting YOUR time?

Scammer:  Yes, you are wasting my time.

Me:  I’ll waste your time all I want.  I LOVE to waste your time.  You’re a scummy scammer and while I’m wasting your time, I’m saving a little old lady from being ripped off.

Scammer:  That’s not true.

Me:  Yes, it is.  You don’t even work for a living.  You don’t have a real job.  You spend the whole day ripping people off.

Scammer:  Go.  ____.  Yourself.

Me:  CAN’T HEAR YOU! CAN’T HEAR YOU! CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!

Scammer:  You can’t hear me?

Me:  That’s right.  (It’s pretty much true because my daughter is chasing me around demanding to be nursed, rejecting all other forms of food.)

Scammer:  You are a moron.

Me:  You’re a moron!  You just complained that I’m wasting your time, yet you continue to talk to me.  Why don’t you have one of your fake IRS buddies give me a call?

Eventually he hung up.  I think it’s hilarious he took the time to defend his honor as a person with a real job.