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Emails to my Therapist

Scam Fatigue

Dear Nicholas, Feeling wrung out and useless after a two-day (successful) struggle shaking loose yet another scammer, I Googled the words “scam fatigue.”

Turns out I’m not the only one who feels done in by this stuff.  The Washington Post says, “Relentless waves of sophisticated phone and online scams are affecting people’s mental health.”

The story lists among the emotional impacts that can occur: lingering anxiety, depression, lowered levels of life satisfaction and happiness, strained relationships, headaches and fatigue. In the last two years, the money lost in reported fraud has gone up 70%. Yet even people who manage to hang onto their money are still affected.

This time, I didn’t lose money. Last time this happened I did. People who have responded to a scammer are, I’m told, more likely to become an ongoing target. I may have increased my risk by writing about the problem. Perhaps I’m doing that again now. But it appears I’m already very much in the cross-hairs.

Scammers go after people’s areas of interest or vulnerability, like age or illness. When I was #duped, I wondered afterwards whether someone had studied this blog to find my weaknesses. Because the approach was to make it appear that I had made a financial mistake that had cost someone else. Anyone who has read my blog often would know I have a dreadful fear of making mistakes, doing harm.

Well, I’m on guard now like never before.

Being on guard–and angry revenge fantasies–can be subtly costly.

I don’t like any of this.



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  • Pat Daly
    January 27, 2023 at 10:13 pm Reply


    • Peggy Payne
      January 27, 2023 at 11:52 pm Reply

      Thank you, Pat!

  • January 27, 2023 at 11:48 pm Reply

    Not to worry Peggy, I think scammers could easily use those words in their genaral phishing. And I don’t like ti either. I guess whatever technology’s positive uses and effects, there are always folks who misuse it. bob

    • Peggy Payne
      January 27, 2023 at 11:51 pm Reply

      I’m about ready to throw it all in the pond.

      • Bob
        January 27, 2023 at 11:53 pm Reply


    • Anonymous
      January 28, 2023 at 1:03 am Reply

      Generally, if anyone you don’t know asks you for information or anything else, just hang up. And besides, people you do know don’t ask you for stuff.

      • Peggy Payne
        January 28, 2023 at 3:29 am Reply

        It’s good advice, and yet the ploys now are not always so straightforward as asking. Someone had already made changes in my Facebook page when I opened it yesterday. And I was told Facebook had done this because I had violated Facebook policy and so on… The tactics are pretty ingenious and ever-changing.

  • Linda
    January 28, 2023 at 1:36 am Reply

    I was talking to friends about this last night. I’ve gotten three phishing scams by email and by text in the past week. One looked quite legitimate, but instead of responding to the number in the text, I called the number on the back of my credit card to verify it was a scam. They asked me to forward the text and the number it came from to them and to delete the text and report it as spam. Probably didn’t do a whole lot, but it made me feel like I was fighting back.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 28, 2023 at 3:25 am Reply

      Congratulations on your triumph, Linda, and thanks for fighting back!

  • Jeanette Stokes
    January 28, 2023 at 4:07 am Reply

    It is exhausting. Always trying to figure out whether messages I get are legit or not. My 90+ year old mother got one. Thank God she hesitated. The voice on the phone said, “This is your nephew John. I’m in a jam and I need some money.” She, like thousands of Americans, has a nephew named John. But she hesitate when she remembered that John had more money than anyone else in the extended family. Thanks for the reminder to be vigilant and for the term: spam fatigue.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 28, 2023 at 4:57 am Reply

      Your 90-something mother did better than I did, Jeanette. I thought I’d be able to spot the next attempt in an instant, but it was so different. Seems like the scammers are coming from every direction.

  • Marie
    January 28, 2023 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Thank you Peggy for sharing all of this.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 28, 2023 at 8:39 pm Reply

      Thanks, Marie!

  • Robert Braxton
    January 28, 2023 at 11:41 pm Reply

    On guard – AND sounding decidely “ground down” – sending you hug(s)

    • Peggy Payne
      January 29, 2023 at 1:15 am Reply

      Thanks, Bob. You read me correctly. And a trip out for ice cream helped to restore me too.

  • Jo
    February 6, 2023 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Peggy, I was targeted last Friday while doing online research on tvs. I got a pop-up that said I had been invaded by a trojan spyware. The screen froze and a “mac iOS specialist” phone number appeared. That call was followed by one “secure line” after another (supposedly my phone was also compromised) so I could monitor any credit/debit cards that end in “5.” The “bad news” was that I had authorized a $25,000 charge for child-porn-viewing. The talk is fast, so I don’t recall at what pint I gave over the last four digits of my ssn. I admit to setting out to a store to get gift cards, but on the drive, I was thinking this can’t be right. And it wasn’t. Pretty shook, I headed to the state employee credit union where I could trust answers to my concerns. End result: I got smart in time. I’m pleased I woke up in time, but distressed I got into it at all.

    • Peggy Payne
      February 6, 2023 at 7:25 pm Reply

      You did a lot better than I did when I first got hit, Jo. Well done. And the $25,000 charge is horrifying. What an ordeal!

  • February 6, 2023 at 6:17 pm Reply

    I’ve written a “Goines On” vignette to demonstrate how Goines has many times now dealt with scammers, titled “Not a mark”:
    “Hello, Goines?”
    Goines’ phone showed an unknown number in Clayton, voice unfamiliar.
    “This is Goines. Who’s this?”
    “It’s Chris. I had an accident—“
    “‘Chris’? Chris who?”
    The caller mumbled something.
    “Please repeat that.”
    “I can’t talk. Gauze in my nostrils for the bleeding. I need—”
    “Oh, did you just take it out?”
    “You need to improve your delivery for the next mark.”
    The caller was silent.
    “But get that bleeding looked after first.”

    • Peggy Payne
      February 6, 2023 at 7:27 pm Reply

      Good job, Morristotle. I wish I still had the chance to deliver a few withering remarks to the guy who called me.

  • February 6, 2023 at 7:59 pm Reply

    Damn Scammers!

    • Peggy Payne
      February 6, 2023 at 8:02 pm Reply


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