My “recently closed mortgage”

scam

I received an odd postcard about “your recently closed mortgage.” This was interesting because I didn’t have a “recently closed mortgage.” Well, there was the one I did back in 2000.

The postcard looked very much like the image shown here except for some small details. Mine mentioned that the mortgage was “recorded on August 16, 2021.” But my version did not mention any specific financial institution. Same phone number, though.

Heartland Bank noted that it “did not sell your personal information.” Also, “We would not send confidential account information on a postcard. Account information will always be mailed in a sealed envelope with our logo, sent via an encrypted email, or we will call you directly.”

Wauna Credit Union also clarifies the situation. “Often times, scammers will pull what’s called the ‘phantom help’ maneuver, where they’ll encourage you to reduce or even stop your mortgage payments while they work to lessen your costs (for a moderate fee, of course). Unfortunately, by the time you realize you’re being taken advantage of, the phantom helper is long gone.”

My card also has this same H.W.C. text. “If you look reeeeeeally closely in the bottom right-hand corner of the examples we’ve provided, you’ll see an ‘All information provided by H.W.C.’ and a ‘Not affiliated with…’ disclosure. Problem is you can grow old searching for information about H.W.C. and come back with nothing solid.”

Wauna makes the calls

I thought to call the number, but my wife thought I ought not. Fortunately, Wauna was willing. “In fact, we tried all the numbers we were able to find. Some connect to a live person, others are recordings, and one dialed directly to an automated system. Regardless of which number, we were eventually probed for personal information. Funny enough, these fraudsters refuse to give out any information about themselves, or even the actual company they are working with.”

American Southwest Credit Union, First Guaranty Bank, and First Federal  Savings Bank have been among the entities misrepresented, going back at least since December 2018.

In fact, the action is SO pervasive, here’s a generic denial letter. This discussion expressed the outrage of a victim. “How in the world is this even legal? Shame on them, shame on the government for letting this happen, shame on the post office for delivering it knowing fully well it’s S-C-A-M!! SCAM SCAM SCAM!!”

Someone responded: “The government can’t stop these, and the post office can’t legally discard your mail. Yes, it’s a scam, but the only thing you can do about it is throw it away.” So I have. Burned it, actually.

February rambling #1: the earth is not flat

Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers.

EqualityEquity_300ppi.IISC

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s response to rapper B.o.B’s rant insisting that the Earth is flat and we’ve all been lied to.

How 37 Banks Became 4 In Just 2 Decades.

Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain LOLITA To Me. And Amy Biancolli on what women want.

White America’s ‘Broken Heart’.

Weekly Sift: Back to Ferguson.

Say — you want a revolution?“Changing presidents or even changing minds isn’t enough. A real revolution has to change a lot of people’s political identities.”

On Antonin Scalia: On The Death Of A Brilliant Public Servant and Don’t tell me not to be glad.

The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams Shuts Down Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Haters.

Voting in the USA, from overseas.

The Great Dictator Speech – Charlie Chaplin + Time – Hans Zimmer (INCEPTION Theme).

Why People Who Are Scatterbrained Are Actually More Intelligent. Well, duh.

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy. Missing, though, is Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers. Mr. Bob Elliott died at the age of 92; an appreciation of the duo.

Joe Alaskey, R.I.P. at age of only 63. Boy from Troy, NY made good.

Stupid Phrases for People in Crisis. Or, more politely, the unhelpful things one ought NOT to say.

In Defense of Artist Glenn Brown.

Now I Know: The Crack Tax and Unchecked Baggage and D-N-Nay.

An unfortunate incident on a Friday in the dead of winter.

Why Do Some People Say “Yuge” Instead of “Huge”?

The explanation of the chart below:
JEOPARDY.wildcard_info

Music

Coverville 1111: Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond Cover Stories.

Jaquandor: songs from the movie High Society.

Muppets: Does Dave Grohl Drum Battle Trump Animal vs. Buddy Rich? No, it does not.

Jed Clampett Rocks Out (Beverly Hillbillies Clip).

What’s the point of music? Ask Peter Gabriel.

New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’.

NY State Senate’s Bowie resolution.

45s doohickey.

sjw
(Definition of SJW)

Google alerts (me)

That’s the Way of the World – Earth, Wind and Fire.

Today we have trolls.

[Top image per IISC.]

Endangered skills?

I find it online banking so much easier than the paper version.

Satellite-navigationWhen you know you’re going to be unavailable, and you want to write ahead, you do list thingies. Thanks to fillyjonk:

20 Skills Facing Extinction
According to a survey, “younger generations have a lack of interest in things like reading maps, tying knots and remembering phone numbers. They don’t know how to knit, use a compass, darn a sock or write in cursive. Here are the following 20 skills facing extinction.”

1. Reading a map: Yes, I can do this; I often serve as a navigator, going back to my childhood. What I CAN’T do, apparently, is refold a road map properly. But I have loved maps since my grandfather gave me maps from his National Geographic magazines; still have a few of them.
2. Using a compass: I have, but haven’t had much need.
3. Tie a specific knot: Depends. I was excruciatingly slow learning to tie my shoes; I wore penny loafers until I was nine. On one particular job, I had to tie boxes in bundles of 20, and I had a bear of a time; I quit after two weeks. Ah, let’s say no; literally, I was no Boy Scout.
4. Darn socks: I never have.
5. Looking something up in a book using an index rather than ‘Googling it’: I AM a librarian, and in my office is a shelf of reference books, which I find not only easier to use than Google, but far more reliable.

6. Correct letter-writing technique: I DO know this, but haven’t much need of late.
7. Understanding pounds and ounces: I know a ton about this.
8. Knowing your spelling and grammar: Despite the typos in this blog, I really am quite good at this. I’ve even been known to offer correction to others, and they correct me.
9. Converting pounds and ounces to grams and kilograms: 2.2 pounds is a kilogram; knew without looking it up.
10. Starting a fire from nothing: Well, I’ve done it with a piece of glass and dried grass, but not in a long while. But NOTHING nothing? No.

11. Handwriting: I know the rules, but the truth is my handwriting is terrible. Thank goodness for the computer.
12. Understanding feet and inches: It helps to have a young daughter who is learning this anew, but yes, and fathoms, and furlongs, and miles.
13. Knitting: No, nor any of those other fine arts, such as crocheting.
14. Remembering a friend or relative’s phone number. Several of them, if they haven’t changed, including both of my sisters. The problem is that people get cellphones, and get new numbers. Then I NEVER remember the new numbers.
15. Remembering a partner’s phone number. I know The Wife’s cellphone number. I also remember her Social Security number.

16. Identifying trees, insects, flowers: Not my strength, except for the really obvious ones. Ah, a purple flower…
17. Touch typing. I’m a terrible typist.
18. Baking bread from scratch. I’ve done it, don’t particular enjoy it.
19. Taking up trousers. No.
20. Wiring a plug. A qualified no. I’ve actually done it from modeling another, but not my strength.

I also have changed a car tire, though it’s been years. I can figure out square root by hand and occasionally do so, just as a mental exercise. I hate automatic bowling scoring because I’d rather do it myself.

They also apparently listed “10 essential skills for modern life”

1. Searching the Internet: Evidently, I have figured this out, and not just Google.
2. Using/ connecting to WiFi: Done that. It’s fun traveling on a bus and finding the goofy hot spot names.
3. Using a smartphone. Rarely have done this. And I so seldom use my dumb phone.
4. Online banking. Actually, I find it so much easier than the paper version.
5. Knowing about privacy settings online: I probably should do more.

6. Searching and applying for jobs online; I’ve actually been on the other side of this, on search committees. Don’t much like it, but it’s “efficient.”
7. Being able to turn the water off at the mains. Haven’t had the need.
8. Using and following a sat-nav: You mean GPS? I’m inherently suspicious of it, ever since I was in my brother-in-law’s car some years ago and we literally drove around in circles. I like road signs, directions, maps. Mark Evanier has a good example of blind reliance on GPS.
9. Updating and installing computer programs. I’ve done it. There’s usually something wrong, and I have to reinstall.
10. Working a tablet: I like them. I can work them. The problem is that I tend to kill them.

The poor tellers

I ended up five cents under, and spent nearly a half hour not finding the error.

Of all the recent stories about economic inequality in America I’ve read lately, this one jumped out at me: 1 out of 3 Bank Tellers in New York on Public Assistance. I’ve never worked in food service in any capacity, or in a large retail store, but I was a bank teller, for a month.

It was the winter of 1977-1978, at the end of a not great year, in which I lived in Charlotte, NC; Binghamton, NY briefly; Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, NY; and New Paltz, NY, before drifting up the Hudson River to crash with friend Uthaclena and his first wife, and their two dogs (his I loved, hers, not so much).

After a year of being underemployed, I secured a job working at the Albany Savings Bank in downtown Albany. I was a teller in February 1978, making $6,000 a year. Every day I had $9K in my drawer, more on Wednesday state paydays and Fridays. It was depressing, getting all dressed up in a dress shirt and tie I couldn’t afford to look “professional,” with the “chance of upward mobility.”

My trainer was a former teller; she was a decent person, and undoubtedly a good teller, but a lousy, and impatient, teacher. When I finally got on the window, after the training, on the second day, I ended up five cents under and spent nearly a half-hour not finding the error.

This made it easy to quit, with three days’ notice, to take a job with the Schenectady Arts Council’s government-funded program to bring arts into the schools, starting the beginning of March. I was the bookkeeper, but it wasn’t the same level of pressure. Didn’t have to wear a tie. And I was making $8,200 per year, not a princely sum, but way better than at ASB.

The downside, ultimately, is that the funding abruptly ended in January 1979, leaving me unemployed for nearly five months, but it was definitely the better choice.
***
You should watch Money on the Mind if you can. In nine minutes, it addresses the differences even perceived wealth differences can make.

Jaquandor’s liberal screed, which I agree with.