Category: SMS/Text Message

Text to 911

In case of an emergency, many parts of the USA support Text to 911. This technology allows you to contact 911 for help via text message (SMS).

The FCC reminds everyone that you should place a voice call to 911 whenever possible.

Much of the Shenandoah Valley[1]Warren County, VA has assured me they support this tech, even though they are not on the FCC list is covered, as shown on the FCC’s Public Safety list. Please feel free to verify other American cities and counties using that list. Or, reach out to your local police department or county offices to ask.

For more details, read up at the main FCC page for this technology.

References

References
1 Warren County, VA has assured me they support this tech, even though they are not on the FCC list

Gift Card Scams

If a stranger asks you to pay using a Gift Card, I need your next thought to be SCAM! Program yourself to mistrust anyone asking you to go buy a gift card. Gift cards are just like cash and should only be used as gifts, with people you know, love and trust.

  • If someone on the phone says they’ll fix your computer and you can pay them using a Walmart Gift Card, s/he is a scammer.
  • If someone on Facebook asks you to buy them Google Play Gift Cards so you can participate in a Bitcoin-Generating investment operation, that is also a scam.
  • If the IRS contacts you regarding tax arrears, and says you can avoid jailtime by buying them several Amazon Gift Cards, the whole thing is one big lie and scam!

And so on. Gift cards are sought after by scammers because the funds on those are largely untraceable and unrecoverable. Those guys know that scammy credit card charges can be disputed and removed, fairly quickly. But if they can get the number from a gift card, they will instantly syphon off that money, with no chance of reversal.

So please: Let the mere mention of a gift card be a red flag to you that you have encountered a scam. Legitimate companies will never run you to the store to buy such things. If you encounter a gift card scam, disconnect the call or delete the messages and move on!

Informed Delivery by USPS

The 2001 Anthrax Attacks led the USPS to begin scanning and tracking our postal mail. All USPS mail is photographed and/or scanned as it passes through sorting machines and sent on its way. This mass surveillance program is called Mail Isolation Control and Tracking, or MICT for short.

Eventually (in 2017), the USPS decided to share this bevy of information with its customers, in the form of a program called Informed Delivery. If you sign up for Informed Delivery, you can get a preview of your mail that will arrive later that day. This service is free to all eligible addresses, and you can sign up at this site. Typically, you will receive an email each morning, showing an image of all mail arriving that day, but they also appear to offer a text notification option, too!

I can see so many uses for this tool. If you have a problem with missing mail, it might give extra information about where it is getting lost. If you aren’t at your residence every day, it can give you a heads-up when something important has arrived. It might also help you intercept a birthday present that’s arriving for your spouse. And so on.

It even works for some PO Boxes, but you must try to sign up at their website to find out if your address is currently eligible.

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