What to make of the fact that I spent roughly two minutes on the phone this morning with a self-proclaimed representative of the Social Security Administration calling to alert me to acts of financial fraud that had supposedly triggered the suspension of my account. Why did I continue listening after the caller identified herself as “Officer Chelsea Woun, Badge No. 417C2741.” How to account for my failure to hang up when she spoke of the “four federal agencies” potentially recording our conversation?
In the immortal words of Oscar Hammerstein II: Who can explain it? Who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons. Wise men never try. I had arisen late and had yet to brew a cup of coffee. Perhaps I was not fully ready to deal with the world of commerce. In any case, I regret to say I did not utter a firm statement of disbelief and conclude the call until “Officer Woun” alluded to the string of warrants supposedly out for my arrest and seven New York State bank accounts containing millions of dollars in my name.
It turns out, according to the New York Times, that the Social Security Administration recently displaced the Internal Revenue Service as the federal agency that financial scammers are most likely to claim affiliation with.
Falling prey to a telephone scam, the Times story adds on the authority of a Chicago neuropsychologist named Patricia Boyle, can be an early warning sign of cognitive problems or Alzheimer’s. That doesn’t mean that every sap out there is fated to develop dementia. But it might be wise, Dr. Boyle suggests, to monitor such a person’s behavior for potential problems.