Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Most, if not all, of us have caller ID and we tend to screen calls choosing those calls we’ll pick up and those we won’t. When we see an 800 number on the screen it tells us tells us it’s either a business call or a telemarketing company. But, it could also be a scammer calling and make no mistake there are some very sophisticated scamming companies out there.

We hear more, these days, about online scammers or email scams originating from all over the world with the intent of defrauding people of their identity and/or money. We forget that scammers started out doing this by telephones and they still are. Don’t think that just because you’re using a cell phone you’re safe. Getting people’s cell phones isn’t that difficult these days.

Scammers use 800 numbers; after all they are a business, just not a legal one. Are you familiar
with the 800 prefixes in use in the United States? Not all 800 prefixes are toll-free numbers.

Here’s a test for you: which of these numbers, off the top of your head, isn't a toll-free number? 800, 888, 877, 876, 866, and 855? Keep in mind there are only 5 toll-free number prefixes in current use in the US and the FCC has reserved the prefixes 844, 843, and 822 for future toll-free use. Were you able to pick the bogus one out?

The prefix 876 is not a toll-free prefix. It’s the area code of Jamaica and it’s often mistaken for a toll-free number.  Surprised?

If you’ll notice the pattern established by the FCC for current toll free prefixes, bogus numbers tend to stand out.

The Jamaicans have quite a scamming business going on with the use of their area code and one of their most popular targets are seniors. Even if you aren't a senior, your parents,
grandparents, or aunts and uncle could be. So it’s a problem that affects us all. Sad to say, but this has happened within my family and my stepfather was a successful businessman for years, and is now in his late 70’s. He lost a substantial amount of money and fortunately my mother got suspicious and made mention of the situation and the sibs stepped in and prevented even greater losses. Law enforcement was brought in and legal steps were taken to recoup a portion of his losses and bring the scammers up on charges.

The obvious scams involve alleged lottery winnings. It’s something we get online but also via
phone scams. In fact this “lottery/sweepstakes” scam is on the Better Business Bureau top ten scams of last year. There is quite a list of different frauds/scams and you can check some out at, and another good place is
 and this one also addresses emails etc. Be aware there is also a new medicare scam going around

To compound the problem the scammers try to convince the victims not to tell their family but instead make it a surprise. Oh, it’s a surprise all right. If the scammers feel like they have a potential mark or victim the phone calls will increase in frequency—sometimes hundreds of calls.

Here are some tips from BEWARE: SCAMS FROM AREA CODE 876

§         If you get a call saying you’re a winner – don’t pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate operations won’t require you to pay to collect your winnings.
§         It’s against federal law to play a foreign lottery – so if you get a call [or an email] it is likely a scam.
§         Never wire money to anyone with whom you are not familiar.
§         Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers.
§         Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls.
§         Be aware that there are many 3-digit area codes that connect callers to international telephone numbers – especially 876.
§         If you do not have Caller ID, consider adding it to your phone service. Caller ID allows you to add a Call Intercept feature that screens calls and offers the option to reject suspicious international calls.
§         If you do not make international calls, ask your telephone provider to block outgoing international calls.
§         Contact your phone service provider, local authorities, or the Federal Trade Commission to report a potential scam.

deposit photos
Bottom line is; if it sounds too good to be true it generally's untrue, a lie, fool's gold.

Like my brother puts it, don’t be a stupid schmuck and get…well you get the picture. J

Monday, August 12, 2013


Many of you know that my area has been declared a disaster area due to flooding. It’s been awful for so many people impacted. Most of the rivers are in my greater backyard, meaning minimum ten miles away from the closest leg of the twisty and winding Big Piney River. The Gasconade and Roubidoux are further away—at least 30 minutes away. They all interconnect and man what a mess when they all hit flood stage. The Big Piney has lots of little streams and creeks that shoot off from the main river. We happen to have one finger that winds around the backside of our property and it wrecked havoc with flowing over the county roads, flooding fields, trapping people at home, not because the waters came into their houses but because they couldn't use the roads to get out to yet more roads that were also closed and flooding. But, we faced minor issues in comparison to towns 30 minutes from here and closer to the rivers. 

We've been getting a lot of rain the past two weeks from a series of slow moving thunderstorms and more than our normal rainfall. We got quite a lot the first weekend of August and already the rivers were high from all the runoff. The ground was saturated and the storms that blew into our area Saturday and Sunday and just kept coming. By Monday morning it was getting serious.  We were getting a lot of warnings for flooding and flash floods.

In this area we have a lot of low water bridges—maybe two or three feet above the normal water flow. (click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

These streams and creeks are fed by the big rivers we have in the area but, low water bridges can flood, even without the additional river water feed, with a couple of days of steady rainfall. We’re in hill country so water runs downhill to these creeks and streams. We've learned to expect rising water and flash floods. Most county roads have an alternate way out and around these low bridges. This series of storms…well, lets just say, I didn't go anywhere for a couple of days and I’m on high ground.

We received about 15 inches of rain in 48 hours. Roubidoux Creek was 18.6’above flood stage on Monday the 6th and 20.14' August 7th at 6:30 pm by morning it was well over 21 feet, Little Piney almost 15’, the Gasconade was cresting at 28’ over flood stage on Wednesday the 7th and higher. The streets and roads in that area disappeared under the water. Even a section of I-44 closed due to a lake where the interstate used to be. Houses were half or more full of water. Some were pulled off their foundations by the force of the water. We tend to forget just how destructive water is when in flood stage. Especially flash floods.

Flash floods can be extremely dangerous, instantly turning a normally calm creek or stream into wall of water and sweeping everything in its path downstream. Scary to see, but even scarier to hear it coming and know you have seconds to react and get the hell out of its path. During this storm some of the rivers rose fifteen feet (that’s 15) in twenty-five minutes. Think about that. Flash floods can turn streams or creeks into a Class 4 and 5 whitewater rivers. No lie.

Like I said, we live in hill country and flash floods happen. One of the things that amaze me is people’s stupidity thinking they can cross a familiar road that’s flooded. Did you know that 66% of flood deaths occur in vehicles when the driver makes the mistake of thinking they can navigate through the floodwater? Especially at night. If the water is flooding then it means there is a current and one that is usually much stronger than a person thinks.

Six inches (6”) of fast moving water can knock a person down. Six inches can reach the bottom of most passenger cars and cause you to lose control or stall. Two (2') feet of rapidly moving water can float a large vehicle, even a bus or firetruck.

That goes for you and your pickup truck, Mr. Yahoo Smallbrain. “Well lil’ lady, I got me this here won ton pickup truck. It’s tuff. I’m tuff.” 
 “Uh-huh. I’ll be sure to send a tow truck to pull your sorry butt out of the mud once the waters recede. If we can find you.”
According to The Weather Channel, one-third of flooded roads and bridges are so damaged by water any vehicle trying to cross stands only a 50% chance of making it to the other side.

How high is the water? Well, I like the sign that says, TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN. 

Sounds smart to me.