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I've had two four phone scam attempts on me or my family recently. I don't know if it's just random clustering or if this is a problem on the rise. In case it's the latter, I thought I'd mention them here so folks can be on the alert.

"Blood thinner drug" scam

I got this one twice this morning (28 October). Two calls from people with Indian accents (the second obviously not named "Jack" as he claimed) who said they were calling from a "Medical Center" and that someone in my house was taking a "blood thinner" medication, the name of which escapes me now. They woke me up with these calls so I had no patience to listen to them for long, but this appears to be a brand new scam connected to a court settlement with a German drug manufacturer. The only other information on it I could find was a report given here:…

Grandson Bail Scam

My mother-in-law "Joan" didn't fall for this one, not so much because she's particularly savvy but because she was a poor target. The scammers call random elderly women, hoping to get one who has grandsons but doesn't keep in close touch with them.

A week ago, Joan received a call from someone claiming to be a court official from the Dominican Republic, saying that her grandson had been arrested and needed $5,000 to get bailed out. The "grandson" was put on the line. Joan didn't quite recognize his voice, but the grandson he sounded most like was my own younger son, who is 15 and autistic and very much neither under arrest nor in the Dominican Republic. She has three other grandsons, though. One, my older son, is 18 but severely disabled and also living at home. A third grandson was already in prison. That left only one possibility, "Jack", who she had not in fact spoken to for awhile. Jack had a tendency to get in trouble with the law and had been known to travel on short notice, so it was not impossible that it was him. So she asked "Is this Jack?" and was naturally told yes.

Joan may not have spoken with Jack in years, but she was in close, frequent contact with his mother, "Patti", who lives in my house and helps us with child care. Joan was suspicious, but after putting the scammers off she gave Patti a call, where she naturally found out that Jack was safe at home, gainfully employed, and neither in the Dominican Republic nor under arrest.

The scammers actually had the cojones to call Joan back to pressure her for the money, telling her the judge was waiting and time was short, but by then Joan had already reported the attempted scam to the police.

CNN story
FBI warning

IRS Investigation Scam

This happened just this morning, and it was simple enough. My phone rang at 6 AM with a recorded message purporting to be from the IRS. It had supposedly been found that I had failed to report all my income from 2012 and that I had to pay back taxes that were due before "legal action would be taken against [my] name," along with a callback number to the 202 area code.

While the Washington, DC area code might have made this SEEM legit, the immediate red flag was that the IRS never issues tax irregularity notices by phone. I know this from personal experience. Back in 1988 I received a noticed in the mail about unreported income from my 1985 tax return. I quickly figured out why, so the matter was easily resolved, but the point was the IRS always initiates these matters by mail.*

Online research showed me that the progress of this scam might run as follows: If you call back, you will be put in touch with an "investigator". He'll give you his name and badge number, and then tell you that you owe $1,000 or more in back taxes and penalties, that your bank accounts and other assets have already been frozen, and that legal proceedings will begin to seize your property unless you wire the amount owed to them immediately. He may even "confirm" your identity by giving the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. He may also suggest you get an attorney.

This is all calculated to scare the bejeezus out of you to get you to send the money as fast as possible, before you have time to think about it. Needless to say, don't do it.

Parade story
IRS press release

Microsoft Tech Support Call Scam

This one happened just today. (I'm editing this entry on 24 September.) It was a cold call with no caller ID. A man with a heavy foreign accent claimed he was calling from Microsoft. He was kind enough to tell me he assumed I was the owner of the computer in the house, and that my computer was generating numerous errors which they had recorded on their own servers.

I hung up at that point, as I wouldn't have fallen for it even if this one hadn't been tried on me before. He was going to direct me to my machine's error logs. Were I not a professional software engineer, I might indeed find all the routine error messages that get logged pretty much every time I reboot my machine to be kind of scary. They were going to ask for access to my machine, at which point they were going to charge me some kind of "modest" fee to make the repairs they were going to try and convince me were necessary.

Needless to say, Microsoft does not, and practically speaking, cannot and has no reason to, log every minor event on every machine running a Microsoft operating system everywhere in the world. If you get a cold call from someone claiming to be tech support, who somehow has information on the internals of your operating system, don't believe them. Ever.

Malwarebytes page on tech support scams

*I had taken an early morning paper route that year, for which I was paid like a contractor with the income reported on a 1099 instead of a W-2, and I had incorrectly reported this as wage income. What made it a wash was that the wages I had reported were higher than I could account for by any of my available records, so if I were to amend my return to reduce it to what my records actually showed the difference would have more than made up for any self-employment tax I owed.


Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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I'm just here to show off my writing and to stare at the pretty pictures.

I don't usually thank people for faves, even though they're much appreciated, just because that's a conversation that never really goes anywhere. But I almost always reply to comments!

Current Residence: Santa Cruz County, California


When some nimrod posts a rough draft he hasn't even bothered to edit, and then gets ticked off when someone else doesn't want to critique it on the realistic grounds that rough drafts are always shit anyway, and then complains that this isn't "professional" -- and then blocks the critic from replying -- I'd really like to reach through the screen and choke the shit out of the entitled little bastard.

Take the trouble to produce something worth critiquing first, you moron.
Koschei the Deathless poured some zavarka into his glass, topping it up with boiled water from the samovar. "It's that time of year again, my dear."

"Indeed," replied Baba Yaga. "Where have you stowed your heart this turn?"

"I did the usual needle-in-a-duck-egg. So absurd! I must laugh even as I expire. And what of you? You are freer than I. Shall you help or hinder?"

"Hinder, methinks," said the witch, sipping her tea. "If I help too much they stop respecting me."

"A wise choice," replied Koschei. "We must never lose their respect."

A young man’s voice sounded from outside. "Izbushka, izbushka! Stan' k lesu zadom, ko mne peredom!"

The hut stopped spinning. "That means I must be going," said Koschei. "Good fortune to you, my dear."

"And to you as well, my love.  Let us make an interesting tale of it!"

Koschei vanished as the prince cautiously entered.
Curtain Time
Written for OfOneSoul's microfiction contest on the Lit forums. Prompt: Fairy Tales.
The Reed 1 book for Kiss Me Kate called for her to triple on clarinet, alto sax, and flute. That was no problem. She was a good reed player, and could even have quadrupled on piccolo had the musical director asked. The problem was that goddamn horn player sitting right behind her, whose lip always gave out halfway through Act II. If there was one thing that grated on her nerves more than anything else, it was a pitchy horn. Community theater being what it was, there was nothing the musical director was going to do about it either.

That night she brought her piccolo case anyway. Halfway through Act II she opened it. There was no piccolo inside, but the Beretta felt good in her hand.
Triple Reed
Written for OfOneSoul's micro-fiction contest on the Lit forum. Prompt: Orchestra.

So: UKIP has won its first seat in Parliament, the Lib Dems seem to be in a death spiral, and since the Scottish independence referendum the SNP has seen a "surge" in membership at the expense of Labour.

What are the Brits here hoping for in the next general election? Things are gonna be different this time, I'm thinking.
So I just bought a new handicap van, and am trying to get the old one ready to sell. One problem with the old van is that the windshield leaks. Every time it rains you get a puddle on top of the dashboard. "No problem," thought I. "I'll just peel that trim off, run a new bead of sealant around it, and we're done!"

Well, nope. The trim was held on by clips. Was held on. A very, very long time ago. Mostly now it seemed to have  been held on by adhesion from damp redwood debris that had slipped behind. About half the clips were missing, and half of those that are still there won't hold on to the trim. I now have a windshield with way to much sealant around it, and gunked-up trim that won't stay on. So now I have to call an auto-glass guy to take the windshield completely off and re-seat it, AND scrape out all the gunk I put in there.

This is why I hate doing stuff like this myself. It's fine when it goes well. When it doesn't, you end up more fucked than you were before.

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j0rosa Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for faving my 'Water Buffalo and Young Rider2' :iconthankssomuchplz:
leothefox Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014   Artist
Love Tards Many many thanks for faving

Chess Men by leothefox  
bribesdemoi Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
thanks for your :+fav: !
leothefox Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014   Artist
:hug: Thanks so much for faving

Ace of Blades by leothefox  
Kedori Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I am happy to see that "Nude Beach" has made it to your favourites.  Thanks for the add.
TheMaskedModel Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2014
Thx for faving. :peace:
EnvyTalks Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the llama!
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I always reciprocate llamas!
leothefox Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014   Artist
Clefairy :la: Thanks for a bunch of faves, buddy! :iconpsplagamerplz: 
ppgrainbow Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconthanksllamaplz: :hug:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I always reciprocate llamas. Llamas are good.

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jgilronan Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave
leothefox Featured By Owner Edited Sep 18, 2014   Artist
Excited Thank you for faving

Sailing to Silent City by leothefox &Dark Castle by leothefox  
Pixx-73 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the fav. Thanks for everything! Have a nice day.
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