Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sometimes I feel very very old. But my age has little to do with problems associated with the advent of high tech society. I am talking about scammers and whackos, using the anonymous cloak of the web or other tech devices to harass and defraud people or just to mess with people, because they are so unhappy or bored with their own lives. Or because they lack empathy or direction or such actions are harbored in their homes or upbringing.

I am happy to say the Oregon Department of Justice has been a friend. When I first got my tracfone, I was beleaguered by robocalls from debt collection agencies. It seems tracfone immediately sold my personal information, linking my land line and tracfone number. My land line was previously had by someone who must owe everyone in the world money. The calls to both my land line and cell were never ending.

The companies would not stop their illegal tactics when I asked they stop and informed them I was not the person whom they wished to target. One companies robocalls began with a loud obnoxious sound blaring over the message machine. This was followed by a threat. Even though it was a message, they declared if I continued to listen I was agreeing that I was the person, then the name, not mine, that owed them money. Everything about such calls are illegal.

To stop them, I filed a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice against both debt collecting companies. The Department of Justice got these calls stopped!!!!!

A government on the ball agency? You bet they are! I'd like to send them flowers!

As for the people who contact me via e-mail about cats or donations and make claims, and try to mess me up or take my time and aren't who they say they are, man alive, that is not nice. It is so hard to know who, on the web is real or fake or playing games or a mean nasty vindictive issue laden stranger striking out at anyone. I never knew, before the world of the web, how many people out there have such huge issues with almost everyone else or who make a hobby of pretending to be someone they are not to mess with other people.

I know, at this time of year, spring break, there are teens online, playing jokes and kids will be kids. I remember making prank calls as a kid and thinking it was terribly funny, although it probably was not funny to the person on the other end of the line. You can't really do that so much with caller id anymore, and with overly serious people anxious to turn kids pulling pranks into criminals for such actions.

I try to remember kids will be kids. I also try to assume most of the weird or fake e-mails, or fake promises are kids playing kid pranks, because it's easier on me to think that, than to think it is some adult, issue laden and angry at the world, hunched over the computer in some darkened little room, being vile.

Delusions can be my friend. I want to think people are good. I really really want to believe, still, despite everything. I just do.

High tech devices and inventions like computers, broad band, digital cameras and cell fones have made connecting to people far easier. So helping cats find homes and support is so much easier too.

With the good always comes the bad. That observation does not result because I'm getting old and fear high tech devises. I embrace these new technologies that allow a person without any means to achieve far more than they could ever have done without web access and a relatively cheap camera. I now travel virtually, touring neighborhoods and far away places on google maps street view!

I say it because the bad people now have a whole new world of ways to exhibit their badness. Bad people will always be out there being bad--stealing, lying, cheating and trying to hurt other people. Not all of them are scruffy looking or in black hats either.

Life goes on and life includes a lot of hard things and encounters with bad people. Life includes all sorts of bumps, bruises and hard knocks.

I can't pigeon hole everything as bad or good, or even my own behavior as bad or good all of the time. The gray areas are just life too. I love the tech devises. I love how they help me connect to others far away and to people who adopt cats here waiting.


  1. Sometimes I get e-mail from someone who says they have some particular cat problem and go into dramatic detail and ask for help ...but it's from a fake e-mail address.

    I don't really understand why someone would go to all that trouble. I really don't.

  2. I don't either, Chriss. Strange that people would waste so much of their own time with that, let alone to be so demanding on wasting the time of strangers. Those are selfish or self absorbed people maybe?

  3. Thats why I am glad we had a chance to meet - it makes it more real - also, I think those who actually send you something or donate real money (even with checks and credit cards!) tend to be real. Those who promise much but deliver nothing can probably be chalked up to pranksters.

  4. Thankfully though, even if anyone claims to be someone they are not, there really is no such entity as "anonymity" online. Everyone has to have an ISP and a computer an IP number and even those who say use a CyberCafe or a library (unless they have false ID) can be tracked down. I know I found some idiot whose ads affected one of my computers and reported him to the police. It turned out he was living near Montreal. So, I am not paniking just yet! I just hope the police and govts keep up with the bad guys!