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SoCal Edison warns customers ‘finger-fat call fraud’



SoCal Edison warns customers 'finger-fat call fraud'

Glenn Egelko does not have very swollen fingers. Nevertheless, he almost fell victim to what was known as “fat finger-call fraud”.

As if we weren’t worried enough, right?

Egelko recently had a few questions about the Southern California Edison utility bill. He looked at his latest statement and found a number for customer service: (800) 655-4555.

As happens to all of us from time to time, Ventura residents misplaced one digit, accidentally connected to (800) 655-4556.

And through the rabbit hole the hoax of the telephone he left.

Egelko, 70, heard a recording that did not say he reached Edison but, again, did not say he did not. It just plunges into saying he might qualify for “special promotions for selected callers.”

The special promotion is a $ 100 “shopping certificate” that is said to be good for purchases at Walmart, Target and other retailers. All Egelko had to do was pay a $ 1.95 fee with his credit card.

“As soon as they said they wanted my credit card number,” he told me, “I hung up.”

Egelko said he did not realize he dialed the wrong number until he checked his phone and found he was wrong with one digit.

“They don’t tell you who you have reached, so how do you know?” He asked.

Of course it was intentional.

Egelko accidentally discovered one of the devious ways in the world of remote marketing: shady companies bought hundreds or even thousands of telephone numbers that were only slightly different from well-known companies such as utilities or large companies.

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This tactic relies on consumers who are not aware that they are really connected to a telemarketer and think that the company they want to reach only offers attractive offers to customers.

Before you know it, you can be hit with recurring monthly fees for services that you didn’t know were registering.

“This is a very sophisticated fraud,” said Amy Nofziger, director of victim support for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

“Almost all large companies and organizations are caught up in this,” he told me. “Even the AARP service number also has a fat-finger version.”

I followed Egelko’s path down this special rabbit hole. The $ 1.95 fee for a $ 100 “shopping certificate” – and the credit card number you provided as part of the transaction – will actually register you in a discount coupon program that costs about $ 50 a month.

Or you could be drawn to one of a number of other offers, such as a medical alert device that will definitely come at your own expense, or a roadside assistance plan.

I called Edison’s insufficient number several times. Each call opens with a recording asking benign questions like whether I am older than 50.

Answering yes to each question leads to “Jessica,” which sounds friendly but is actually a more deceptive recording with a deliberate gap in the script that invites responses to questions and creates the illusion that you talk about with real people.

After Jessica gets the bait, you end up going to honest people, who will aggressively try to sell you various services. He will also hang up as soon as you start asking too many questions, such as what is happening.

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There are a number of telemarketers who play this game, AARP said. In this case, the non-Edison number leads to the call center for the Profit Savings Discount.

Or maybe it’s run by Discount & Savings Advantage. Or maybe the Premier Prize. Or maybe the benefits of shopping in America.

I am given a different name every time I ask, even though Discount Savings Advantage, and its variant Discount & Savings Advantage, appear most often.

I found online complaints about this outfit and its marketing tactics for years. But for hours rooting through public records there was no trace of company ownership paper. Whoever they are, they are very hidden.

Is this illegal? Unfortunately no.

“As long as they are not misrepresenting themselves, they have the right to buy certain telephone numbers,” said Nofziger.

He added that most telemarketers who operate this scheme are very careful not to claim to be a number entity that misleads you, you think. Instead, they bend backwards to prevent you from catching.

Consumer Reports warns that many finger call frauds involve toll free numbers. The telemarketer will buy the exact same number as the company, but instead of the prefix 800 or 888, he will use 866 or some other legitimate alternative.

If you provide your credit card number, said the organization, “The only thing you will receive is additional charges on your credit card, bank account (if using a debit card) or telephone bill.”

“Even worse, you might find that you have been automatically registered in the ongoing subscription service, you will be billed for every month.”

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If that happens, said Nofziger from AARP, good luck.

Although most telemarketers claim that they make it easy to opt out of recurring fees, he said, many who use fat ploys will either ignore the request or tie you up for as many months as possible.

Don’t hesitate to contact your credit card issuer and stop dubious payments, Nofziger advises.

I share Edison’s close-numbers with Edison. Sally Jeun, a spokesman for utilities, acknowledged that customers could easily think they would contact the company.

“We will never ask for your credit card number over the telephone,” he told me.

I asked Edison’s message to customers who found themselves in the same position as Egelko.

“Hang up the phone,” answered Jeun.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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