Friday 23 April 2021

fraud, a con merchant, scam, a rip off

What a strange day. I feel I’ve been ripped off three or four times today. It’s a record for me. I’ve never knowingly been conned nor paid over the odds for shoddy goods or workmanship nor been fooled into accepting something poor or ‘not as advertised’. But in these times of chronic penury and unemployment amongst, in particular, folks on less than the minimum wage, I came close to being a victim of a scam today - more than once.

Scenario one

A workman was going to do DIY for me as I can’t do it myself. I don’t do DIY. I GAMI instead. ( Get a man in). But this workman has put off coming round three times already. And, what’s galling is I gave him an advance so he owes me his time. I understand he may not be able to make it for a whole variety of reasons but jobs have to be done. I’m tripping over extension leads in our kitchen waiting for ‘the man’ to turn up and use them... Do I put them away? As soon as I do we all know what will happen.

Scenario two

Our local co-op is closed for a refit. Yes. Even in a pandemic. A time when for some people their local shop has been their lifeline, their time of social mixing and distancing, their link with reality. But hey ho. None of that matters - our store was only refitted five years ago. My god the logo and colour scheme is so last decade. 

So what do people like me do between big shops? I have a choice:

I go to my very local corner shop and pay heftily for some items, less for others


I go into the city to one of the bigger supermarkets 


I use Deliveroo.

Today I chose the latter.

After watering all my plants, repotting my tomatoes and peas, weeding, moving geraniums and trays of leek seedlings into the greenhouse and sorting seed trays for sowing my beans I felt like making a quick order for one or two vital groceries. Yes it was quick to do but by 3:25pm - the deadline for the delivery slot - I received a message to call the rider. He or she couldn’t find our house. But he or she was on the phone every time when I rang so I left a message. Then an odd text message came up about verifying who I was with HSBC. My bank isn’t HSBC. I immediately sensed a scam and reported it via ‘chat’ to Deliveroo. Minutes later I had a phone call from Sainsburys head office in London and an official-looking email from Deliveroo. Head office was concerned that a) the rider hadn’t even collected all my order from the store and the author of the email was concerned that b) there was strange activity on my bank account. I was in the middle of an attempted scam. But Sainsburys and Deliveroo were on to it. And I wasn’t charged. I merely re-ordered my groceries and within minutes a genuine rider turned up with the groceries that, scam or no scam, I still needed. Phew!!!! I just hope whoever was behind the rigmarole has been identified and apprehended, me lud.

scenario three

I managed to make a staycation booking today. It is for three of us for a week in July and is before the schools break up for the long summer holidays. (Except they might all be doing summer school to make up for lost learning due to covid closures.)

A little while after the booking confirmation had come through the fees had risen. (They were already hefty imho but there was very little choice of accommodation left to book, for all the reasons we know). But costs had gone up by about £600. I complained to the owner/manager who has now given us seven nights for the price of six and the overall total is about £800 cheaper than it might have been. Another sneaky rip off which I narrowly avoided. 

It seems we have to have eyes in the back of our head, have to be alert to any suspicious or unexpected text or email and have to ignore landline phone calls from unknown numbers like the plague. It seems scams, frauds, rip offs and cons are the way some people are making money out of those of us who can still afford to GAMI, have groceries delivered and have a July holiday on the south coast.

I remember the tale of someone who was furious that their purse had been stolen. And a wise soul said ‘You may feel awful but how desperate must you be to have to steal a purse in the first place?’ 

But I’m still cross some folk out there think I’m a push over.

It has indeed been a strange day.  Behaviours during the pandemic have altered. All done under the cover of lockdown. Like spivs. The black market. That sort of thing. 

Different people are feeling the pinch. But I’m also somewhat distracted. Not only, among all of today’s shenanigans, did I break the handle to an Emma Bridgewater mug, rendering it useless, after, again, tripping over the extension lead in the kitchen for the man who isn’t there, but I decided to go to bed about 10:30 pm. I’d had a fruitless day.

Bed would be the best place for me. Or so I thought. 

But ... I’d only left the electric blanket on all day and the windows shut. It was like an oven in there. Even going to bed has been an ordeal this evening. A strange day indeed.