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November 26, 2007

Good Deed or Scam? (OT)

Filed under: Barnes & Noble, Bill Bickel, books, charity, Christmas, scams — Cidu Bill @ 7:20 pm

Maybe somebody who works at Barnes & Noble can clear something up for me:

Barnes & Noble stores has special displays of children’s Christmas books by the registers, and they’re asking customers to buy one or more and leave them in a special box to be distributed to needy kids (because in our county there are no needy kids living in Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist families; but that’s another matter).

I bought and donated a couple of books, and then I started to wonder: Customers are buying these books at full retail price which means needy kids do get free books, but Barnes & Noble gets their normal profit, which is give-or-take half the retail price of the book — and I wonder whether this special display also makes a good dumping ground for Christmas books that aren’t selling (because how many people are going to be very selective about books they’re giving away to strangers?)

If I’m missing a fact or two that might put Barnes & Noble in a slightly better light here, I hope somebody will tell me.

September 7, 2007

Well, isn’t THAT interesting…

Filed under: Bill Bickel, credit cards, crime, fraud, scams, Visa, VOIP, Vonage — Cidu Bill @ 12:01 am

The phone call I got yesterday from somebody claiming to represent Visa was actually from Vonage, an attempt to get my new credit card number so they can continue billing me after they refused to put through my repeated requests for cancellation (see previous update).

Wow. At least I was right about this being a scam to make fraudulent use of my credit card.

September 4, 2007

Credit Card Scam

“This is the Security Office at **** Visa. We’ve discovered a possible fraudulent charge to your account. Please call us back immediately at 1-800-***-****, and have your credit card number ready.”

Not a bad scam as scams go. I’m sure they caught some fish.

As obvious as this should be, you should never call any number other than the one on the back of your card.

As it happens, I called the number on the back of my card, asked to be connected to Security, confirmed that they hadn’t called me, and tried to explain to a brick wall that I was calling to let them know somebody was making these calls in their name. The brick wall didn’t quite understand how this scam worked, and advised me not to give out my credit card number to anybody. “Yes, thank you, I got that,” I said. “That’s why I’m talking to you instead of to the criminals who called me.”

Then the brick wall asked me for my mother’s maiden name again.

August 10, 2007

What Part Of Cancel Don’t They Understand?

Filed under: AOL, Bill Bickel, scams, telephones, VOIP, Vonage — Cidu Bill @ 5:17 pm

Just wondering… Has anybody else had a problem canceling a Vonage phone account? I’ve called them three times already, but somehow the cancellation never managed to go through. Sounds a lot like the scam AOL used to pull, until they were prosecuted for it, in which they’d simply ignore cancellations and continue to bill (former) customers’ credit cards.

I’m one of the lucky ones: My credit card was compromised last month (usually not a lucky break), and Vonage keeps trying to bill my now-closed credit card number without success. Several times a week they e-mail me asking me to call them to give them a new credit card number to bill.

Probably not gonna happen.

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