Monday, January 25, 2010

I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

When I came home from carpool today, my housekeeper was practically shaking with excitement. "I got this call," she tells, me clutching her cell phone, the joy coming off her in waves, "I won a contest!" Now, bear in mind that this whole conversation is in Spanish, which I do not really speak. So it's kind of like having a phone conversation where there's a bad delay -- I react to things slowly, a few seconds after they've been said. "I won a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with my children, plus $1000 for clothes and shoes, and my flgiths are paid for and the hotel and Disneyworld, a vacation! And all four of my children, and I'm a winner" -- around this point is when I caught on, and my heart started sinking.

At first, I thought I was going to have to be the one to tell her that she hadn't won anything, that she was being offered some kind of time share thing or whatever, but it got worse. They had told her, you see, that she only needed to pay the taxes on the trip -- about $400. She wanted me to check out the information, maybe call the woman who had called her, and just double check that everything was on the up and up.

So I took the information into my office, did a basic Google search, and of course discovered that it was a scam.

But it got worse.

I took my time coming back out of my office, because -- really, who wants to break someone's heart like that? But eventually, I had to go tell her, so I went out and I said, in my faltering, halting, broken Spanish, "I think it's not good. I think they take the money for the taxes and disappear. I'm sorry."

She had kind of expected it, because she didn't break down or anything. She was disappointed, but not crushed. And then she says, "Do you think it's a problem that I gave them my credit card number?"

She saw the look on my face and reacted pretty quickly, pulling her card out of her bag to show me. It's a debit card (of course it is!), and I told her to call them right away and report what had happened. "OK," she said, and started to put the card away. "No, now," I said, gesturing for emphasis. "Right now."

She tried to call, but holy crap, life is not easy when you're poor and you have a crappy debit card. In the end, Mr. WG placed the call and navigated through the ENDLESS menus until he got a person who spoke English AND Spanish, and we had a little meeting in his office, we and our housekeeper and the CSR on the phone, and we canceled the card and they'll mail out a new one. And that will take 5 business days, so I gave her $100 to have something in her wallet until it arrives (her balance was about $140, but I only had $100 in cash), and I just want to make it clear that I hate the people who prey on people like my housekeeper, because it sucks.


Shosh said...

wow. people are mean. so sad.

DESJ and Company said...

that is terrible.
You're awesome to help her.

Teej said...

Thank goodness she told you about it. Otherwise... well, thank goodness she had only $140 in her debit account?

Anyway, 1-0 for the good guys. Kindness beats jerkiness again.

moplans said...

oh that is awful. I am glad you were able to help.