We Need To Talk About Kevin

, , , , | Legal | November 12, 2019

(My mother is in her sixties and thus part of the demographic that credit card phone scammers tend to target. However, despite being mildly technophobic, she’s nobody’s fool and has devised a strategy to get the scammers to take her off their list. I was privileged to witness this recently.)

Mom: *checking her phone screen as it rings* “Oh, look, a call from Kevin. I bet he wants to help me with my Visa Mastercard account.” *answers the phone and listens for a moment* “Sure enough.” 

(She presses one to speak to a representative and puts the phone on speaker.)

Me: “Mom, what are you doing? That’s how they confirm your number is live! You’ll never get rid of them now!” 

Mom: “Watch and learn, sweetie.”

(The call is answered by a guy with an almost cartoonishly thick accent.)

Scammer: “Yes, hello, this is Harry, and we are calling to help you with your Visa Mastercard account–“

Mom: *at full “cranky old lady” volume* “WHERE’S KEVIN?” 

Scammer: “Uh… pardon me, ma’am? My name is Harry, and I’m calling to help you with–“

Mom: *still at full volume* “NO, that’s not right! My phone said this was a call from Kevin! I want to talk to Kevin! You put Kevin on the phone right now or else–“

Scammer: *click*

Mom: “And that’s how we deal with that.” 

Me: “I love you.” 

Mom: “I know.”

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Looks Like She Just Discovered A New Legal Term!

, , , | Legal | November 9, 2019

(I work for a legal office. We are a small office and I am the only secretary here on this day. I get a phone call.)

Me: “[Law Office].”

Caller: “Yes, hi, I’d like to speak to an attorney. Are you an attorney?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I’m just a secretary. Our attorney is in court. Can I take a message?”

Caller: “No, I’d just like to speak to an attorney. Are you an attorney?”

Me: *internally screaming* “No, ma’am, I’m not. But may I take a message?”

Caller: “Yes, I want to see about suing someone for alienation of affection.”

Me: *pause* “Can you give me some more information, ma’am?”

Caller: “Yes, my husband cheated with a floozie in [Town] and I want to talk to someone about alienation of affection!”

Me: “Ma’am, are you wanting to get a divorce?”

Caller: “Oh, no, we’ve been divorced for two and a half years… but I found out that before we got divorced, he was cheating on me with this woman from [Town], and now I want to sue her for alienation of affection!”

(I took her contact information for the message and hung up. As soon as the phone was disconnected, I had a hearty laugh for a minute. I’ve worked in the legal field for years and never heard the term “alienation of affection” before!)

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When Copay Saved The Day

, , , , , , , | Legal | November 6, 2019

(This takes place after I receive a statement from my medical insurance company, who is also my provider.)

Agent #1: “Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [Agent #1]. May I please have your name and insurance number?”

Me: “Hello, my name is [My Name], and my number is [number].”

Agent #1: “How may I help you, Mr. [My Name]?”

Me: “I am calling about the statement that I received in the mail recently. There are several charges against my insurance that I don’t recognize. Those are the charges from [dates], for [amounts].”

Agent #1: “So, you are claiming that you did not make these charges?”

Me: “Yes, those are not my charges, and no one else has my insurance information.” 

Agent #1: *suddenly defensive* “So, are you saying that someone here at [Company] ran charges against your insurance? Could it be more likely that you gave your insurance card to someone else, and now you are trying to rip us off? I don’t know what you did, but we are not responsible for what you do, and we aren’t going to help you defraud us!”

(My insurance is very good; my copay is never more than $20 for Schedule 2 drugs and surgical procedures. Regardless, the accusation infuriates me more than the insurance fraud.)

Me: *furious, but keeping my temper in check* “Now you can transfer me to your manager.” 

Agent #1: “Why? So you can lie to her, as well? I’m not going to let you try to rip off [Company] anymore. Don’t call back or I’ll give your number to the federal government for insurance fraud!” *hangs up*

(By this point, I am absolutely furious and am about ready to call National Insurance Crime Bureau myself, but I decide to try one more time.)

Agent #2: “Hello, thank you for calling [Company]. May I have your name and insurance information?”

Me: “My name is [My Name] and my number is [number].”

Agent #2: “How may I help you today?”

Me: “Does the word HIPAA mean anything to you?”

Agent #2: *slightly confused* “Yes, of course. Every medical company follows HIPAA rules.”

Me: “Apparently not.” *explains situation* “Now, the first agent accused me outright of giving my insurance to someone else. I, however, have to wonder how your company gave my private medical information to some random person. That is a major HIPAA violation.”

Agent #2: “If you’ll hold for a moment, my manager wants to speak with you about this.”

Manager: *taking the line* “Hello, my name is [Manager], and I understand you have some issues with some charges against your insurance?”

Me: “No, I have issues with what your company has done, by the admission of your own agent and the charges I see here. There are charges on my account that I didn’t make. Now, one of two things happened here. One, someone else was allowed to use my insurance information to schedule an appointment, see a doctor, and get several high-class prescriptions, all without checking to see if they were me. That would be so many HIPAA violations I can’t even count them all. Or two, someone in your company is scamming insurance for money or drugs. That would be insurance fraud, in which case I would be within my rights to sue.”

(The manager is suddenly quiet, followed by the sounds of typing. When she comes back on the line, she sounds a little shaky and nervous.)

Manager: “If you’ll just bear with me for a little bit longer, I think I might know exactly what happened. Can you please confirm the dates, doctor’s name, and pharmacist name listed on your account?” 

Me: “The dates are [dates], all of them are listed as being with [Doctor], and the prescriptions are all listed as filled by [Pharmacist].”

Manager: *eerily calm now* “I think I have found the problem. Please give me a phone number, and I will call you back as soon as I get what I need.” *gives my number* “Again, my name is [Manager] and my direct extension is [number].” *call disconnects*

(She called me back about three hours later and explained everything. It seems that it was, in fact, insurance fraud: hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of it. From what the manager told me, the doctor, the pharmacist, and [Agent #1] were all family. It seems that they had been running a MASSIVE insurance scam, one where the doctor ran up fake appointments against insurance, usually avoiding triggering patient copay by billing it as a copay-free appointment. He would then write prescriptions, also against insurance, which would then be filled by the pharmacist, also his sister. They would then take those prescriptions and sell them for a much lower price and pocket the money. [Agent #1]’s job, it seems, was to direct patients away from any suspicion. Usually, he succeeded by claiming it was some type of hidden fee, but that insurance would handle it and there would be no charges for the patient. They messed up this time, though; my insurance is through the state, and one of the prescriptions that the doctor wrote automatically triggered the copay on the state insurance plan, thus my problem. This manager just happened to notice the family connection, and, when she opened the records, she put it all together from the appointment records. Things drug on for a while, and the doctor tried to run once the feds started investigating, but in the end, all three were arrested. Last I heard, they are all facing very, very long sentences. As for the charges? They were reversed with no difficulty by the manager who took my call the first time.)

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Scare A Scammer With Something Illegal

, , | Legal | November 3, 2019

(I have a scammer constantly calling my home and cell about a vehicle warranty. To double-check myself, I read through the warranty I do have, leading me to believe this is a scammer. They do somehow know my car and my name, but the warranty isn’t due to expire until next year. After this last one, I decide to have a little fun.)

Scammer: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, may I help you?”

Scammer: “Hi, I’m calling on behalf of your 2016 Dodge Dart. Its warranty has run out and I need to renew it for you.”

Me: *quickly realizing this is the scammer* “My car?”

Scammer: “Yes, miss, do you still have it?”

Me: “Oh, my gosh, no! I sold it for drug money! Heroin is expensive, you know!”

Scammer: “I… I… I… B-but… Uh…”

Mom: *instantly cracks up laughing*

Dad: “What did she just say?”

Brother: “[My Name]!”

Me: “Huh, they hung up. What’s with you all?”

(My mother laughed for a good while, which was the first time in a while, and I haven’t been called back in a few days… so far.)

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Slim Chance Of Success

, , | Legal | October 31, 2019

(I’ve been receiving spam calls from a beauty centre lately. When I try to get them to stop calling me, this conversation ensues.)

Caller: “Hi, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “I’m calling from [Beauty Centre]. You signed up for two free slimming sessions.”

Me: “No, I didn’t.”

(I definitely can’t afford it, so I’ve never signed up for any such treatments.)

Caller: *quickly changing tack* “Congratulations! You have won two free slimming sessions!”

Me: “Didn’t you just say I’d signed up for it? And now you say I’ve won it.”

Caller: “Yes, you signed up for it, so you won two free sessions.”

Me: “Thanks, but I don’t want it; please remove my name from your database.”

Caller: “But you won it.”

Me: “I don’t want it.”

(I’ve heard enough stories about these so-called free giveaways; you need to sign up for a thousand-dollar package to receive the free sessions, and they won’t let you leave until you do.)

Caller: “Then do you want to pass it to a friend?”

Me: “No, thanks. Just remove my name.”

Caller: “You have to pass it to a friend or take it yourself. Otherwise, we will still call you.”

Me: “I don’t want it, and I don’t want to give it to a friend. Just remove my name from your database.”

Caller: “I can’t do that; you have to take it or give it to a friend. Otherwise, we’ll still keep calling you.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You want to give me two free sessions. But I don’t want it. So, you want me to give it to a friend, to whom you would have to give two free sessions, as well? But I don’t want to give it to my friend. So, you don’t have to give away free sessions. However, you’re still going to forcibly give me the two free sessions, failing which you’ll continue to call and harass me?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “You want to give away your services for free that badly?”

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