Giving with Forethought

The question came up on one of the Facebook pages I frequent about a telephone solicitation for a “charity.”

The posted question was: “Two phone calls from cops for kids wanting money? Scam? They did have my name and address…”

Most of the following posts were about advice on how to deal with these types of calls or complaints about robo-callers. One of the posts said that the organization was legitimate and included a link to their website: http://www.copsforkidsinc.org/index.html

Were the phone calls legitimate? I doubt it.

I followed the link to the website and found the following on their About Us page:

Cops for Kids, Inc. will NEVER telemarket with fundraising requests. All of our fundraising is done within Riverside County, California. If you are ever contacted via telephone from someone or some group posing as doing fundraising for our Cops for Kids, Inc. Please call Dave Fontneau, Executive Director for Cops for Kids, Inc. at 951.245.3389 immediately.

Clearly, they do not call people asking for donations and our group is not in Riverside, County, CA.

There is also a Cops for Kids (C4K) group sponsored by the Anaheim (CA) Police Department. They can be reached through the Anaheim City website and through their own website. i called the phone number on their website and asked if they ever solicited donations over the phone; can you guess the answer? Yeah, the answer was: NO.

There is also a Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, but I didn’t call them — and, I suppose there are numerous other such organizations scattered throughout the US.


Joe’s Advice

If you’d like some advice from me about phone scams and charities, here it is:

  1. Don’t answer the phone if the number is unknown to you. Even if you are home and in the mood to speak with someone, do not answer but let the call go to your answering machine or voice mail — listen in — if it’s legitimate, they’ll probably leave a message and you can pick up the phone or call them back.  One of the problems with answering a robo/telemarketing call is that those people now are quite sure they have a “live” number — they’ll keep calling & they’ll include your number in the lists they sell other scam artists.
  2. Get a call blocking device, NoMoRobo or a similar service if you can. They don’t stop all bad calls but many don’t get through.
  3. Do not believe that a “charity” or other caller is legitimate just because they have your information — all of your information is out there and available.  Don’t believe it? Google yourself.  Anything you’ve posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is available to everyone — and there are data-mining programs finding and collating this information every second of every day.  Look up your own phone number on whitepages.com — you may find both your name and address listed.  Value of your house, size, when it was built or sold — look it up on zillow.com.  Want to know how much your neighbor pays in property taxes — look up his address in the county database.  Everything is available out there — sometimes for a price from the bad guys — but it’s there and many of the bad guys have your information.
  4. Never give your personal information to anyone who calls you. The bank doesn’t call you to check your birthday or your account and credit card numbers. The IRS doesn’t call you to ask for money or threaten to send you to jail. The Social Security System doesn’t call you to verify your account number and whether you’re eligible for its programs. Call your bank with a number you know is legit — better yet, go to your local branch — same goes for the IRS and SS. And one of the latest scams I’ve heard — NO, the county is not going to send a deputy sheriff to arrest you for not paying a fine for not going to jury duty — which you “ignored.”
  5. No, your grandchild did not get arrested/have a serious accident/get kidnapped and you do not have to buy a gift card to pay his/her bail/emergency medical bills/ransom.
  6. Yes, keep giving to charities but check them out first: CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are the big three rating agencies.  Give to the charity directly, not to an umbrella group — that’s just another layer of bureaucracy soaking up the money rather than helping those you want to help. Give to one, or a few charities, make your money count; don’t give nickels and dimes to a dozen groups.

Who else can you get good, trustworthy advice from?

Friends, personal – not Facebook – who deal with these kinds of things.
Speak with the Public Information Officer at your local police/sheriff agency.
Your bank/credit union may have someone at your local branch.
Your local senior center/social services agency.
Consumer Reports, AARP and the Federal Trade Commission have advice readily available on the web.

Final thoughts

Most of the people in this world are good; most of the people you will come into contact with are good; however, a few bad people with today’s computer technology can and do create a host of problems for those who are good.

Keep your eyes open and let common sense be your guide.

Lastly, if you’d like to see my record of the possible scam calls I’ve received look here: http://joeaubuchon.net/suspected-spam-and-or-scam-phone-numbers/

And, my MS Word document of calls I’ve received over the last couple of years now stands at 151 pages in length.


View of a cruise ship from Villa Andonis on our trip in 2016.

View from Corfu to mainland Greece/Albania.
View from Corfu to mainland Greece/Albania.

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts on a Monday morning . . .

Charles Manson

Charles Manson is dead at the age of 83. He died some forty-eight years after those he is responsible for killing. 48 years.

How much money did we spend on his incarceration? How many school teachers could we have paid for; how many children could we have given better foster care; how many potholes could we have filled; how many . . . ? And all we needed was a single 9mm bullet (and maybe one for each of his cronies) to put him (them) out of our misery.

Jim Mora

Jim Mora was fired as UCLA’s football coach.

According to the LA Times, UCLA will pay some $12,000,000.00 to buy out the last four years of his contract.

$3,000,000.00 a year for a football coach? I thought the purpose of a university was to educate — not to act as a minor league team for a professional sports league.

Maybe I’m behind the times, but I would much rather my tax money go to provide scholarships for the next generation of doctors, scientists, engineers and teachers than to would-be future millionaire quarterbacks, pitchers and one-and-done NBA guards.

“I should have left them in jail.”

Can someone we have elected to high public office really believe that it was better to have left three young men in danger of being jailed for years in a foreign country, rather than to have helped gain their release, just because a boy’s father was publicly ungrateful to him?

A case of punishing the child for the words of a father?

Justice League

Justice League, from Warner Brothers, took in some $96,000,000 this weekend. That was about as much as the next five movies combined. Yet, it was a disappointment.

A $96,000,000 disappointment — aw . . . breaks my heart. C’mon, guys (and gals) how about something new and entertaining that’s not just for teenagers.


Thanksgiving

Is it just me (again) or is there more attention being given to “Black Friday” and the buying and selling of billions of dollars of goods imported from East Asia than there is to giving thanks for what we have?

Oh, yeah, and what about those who are forced to work on Thanksgiving Thursday?

I wonder how many of them are among our lowest paid workers, some working more than one job, and are giving thanks to have a job and are happy to have the additional hours to provide for themselves and their families — especially here in expensive OC SoCal?


Well, perhaps some of these thoughts aren’t so random after all.


Another gratuitous cat picture.

Smoke and Mist on Di's robe and British flag blanket.
Smoke and Mist on Di’s robe and British flag blanket.

St. Thomas of Canterbury, Goring on Thames

St. Thomas of Canterbury - Stained Glass Window Behind Altar
Stained Glass Window Behind Altar

St. Thomas of Canterbury - Exterior from main road.
Exterior from main road.

St. Thomas of Canterbury - Exterior from church graveyard.
Exterior from church graveyard.

St. Thomas of Canterbury - Interior Facing Altar
Interior Facing Altar

St. Thomas of Canterbury - Interior Facing Away From Altar.
Interior Facing Away From Altar.

St. Thomas of Canterbury Banner
St. Thomas of Canterbury Banner

St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, Goring on Thames


Fishing on Veterans Day

The rain was pouring and there was a big puddle in front of the bar just outside the American Legion Post.

A ragged old Marine Sergeant was standing near the edge with a fishing line in the puddle.

A curious young Navy fighter pilot came over to him and asked what he was doing.

“Fishing,” the old Marine said.

“Poor old fool,” the Navy officer thought to himself and he invited the old Marine into the bar for a drink.

As he felt he should start some conversation while they were sipping their whiskey, the haughty fighter pilot asked, “And how many have you caught today?”

“You’re number ten,” the old Marine sergeant answered. “Two Navy, three Army and five Air Force.”

Power Outage

It was a cold and blustery here in the OC of SoCal. The rain started about 4:30 am; I know because it woke the cats and they woke me — demanding an early breakfast. So, I fed them and realized that the rain canceled today’s golf game — grumble, grumble, grumble.

Went back to bed for a couple of hours more sleep.

The wife woke about 7:00 am and as we got out of bed I heard a crackling — like very loud static on the TV — and then: BANG!

Looked out the window and saw that the transformer on the power pole across the street had exploded. And, then I realized that our lights had gone out.

The power was out and my desktop Mac, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down.

Then I discovered that my mobile phone battery was dead.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat and talked with my wife for a couple of hours.

She seems like a nice person.


Joe and Di at Yorba
Joe and Di, Mid-1980s

Aging

As I get older, I realize:

#1 – I talk to myself, because there are times I need expert advice.

#2 – I consider “On Trend” to be the clothes that still fit.

#3 – I don’t need anger management. I need people to stop pissing me off.

#4 – My people skills are just fine. It’s my tolerance for idiots that needs work.

#5 – The biggest lie I tell myself is, “I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”

#6 – I have days when my life is just a tent away from a circus.

#7 – These days, “on time” is when I get there.

#8 – Even duct tape can’t fix stupid – but it sure does muffle the sound.

#9 – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes,
then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?

#10 – Lately, I’ve noticed people my age are so much older than me.

#11 – “Getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering why I’m there.

#12 – When I was a child, I thought nap time was punishment. Now it feels like a mini vacation.

#13 – Some days I have no idea what I’m doing out of bed.

#14 – I thought growing old would take longer.

#15 – Aging sure has slowed me down, but it hasn’t shut me up.

#16 – I still haven’t learned to act my age.

And remember….. Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.


HB Sunset Pier
HB Sunset Pier