You know those quizzes people are always taking on Facebook — like “which ‘Friends’ character are you,” or “what’s your real nationality?” Well, I took one of those one day recently, and as I was taking it, a dialogue box popped up saying that some of my friends — one of them closely related to me — had “challenged” me to take an IQ test.
Well, this hit me in one of my weak spots, naturally. As y’all know, one of my few skills is that I’m good at tests. Whether it’s the SAT or a current events quiz or whatever, I tend to score way over what you would think by looking, say, at my high school transcript. I play way over my head. Some people have a natural ear for music; I test well. Just one of those things.
Add to that the fact that I was recently laid off, which makes me additionally vulnerable — all that much more eager to show off, if only to myself. You know, the “I’ve still got it” phenomenon.
So I bit. I went to take the test. And boy, did I do well. The questions were so easy as to arouse one’s suspicions under most circumstances. Sort of on the “answer this correctly and you win a free dance lesson” level. One was how many states are in the U.S., and only one of the multiple-choice answers was anywhere near 50. The hardest question was picking the 16th president — even if I hadn’t known it was Lincoln, he was the only option offered within a century of the right time. I think the closest ones before and after were Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton.
But instead of thinking, “Hey, wait a minute — what kind of scam test is this?” I’m going, “Man, I’m really acing this? What kind of IQ do you get with a perfect score?!?”
Then, when it was done, I get a page that tells me I just need to do one thing before my IQ score will post on Facebook — type in my cell phone number, and choose my service provider.
Which I did.
First of all, my extremely high IQ score never showed up on Facebook.
Second, I started getting these text messages. Really stupid, irritating text messages, saying stuff like “Which male celebrity from ‘The Hills’ is dating Paris Hilton?” I am not making this up.
I would have protested, except that, you know, I didn’t want to tell anybody how I had let myself in for this. Because as dumb as it was to fall for this, I was smart enough to see what had happened.
Anyway, earlier this week the Verizon bill came. And I had been charged $29.97 for 3 “Premium text” messages. Yes, ten bucks apiece.
So I got on the horn to Verizon and got them to block all such messages subsequently, which they agreed to do. Of course, by this time one or two more had come in, which will be on my next bill, no doubt. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Because, you know, I had signed up for them.
When I got off the phone, I reported to my wife that I had taken care of the problem, going forward. She asked, how in the world I came to get such messages? I said, “How about if we just leave it at, I’ve taken care of the problem, and not delve into that?” But I went on to explain, and she agreed with me that yes, I had certainly flunked the IQ test.
Oh, but the tale doesn’t end there.
Today, I was in the Harbison area shopping for Father’s Day for me Da. And suddenly, I got another one of those messages, from the same source, which the words “Premium Messaging” appearing in the headline field.
I immediately went over to the Verizon place, fuming, and got in the queue for service. The lady at the door urged me to call instead because I was in for a long wait, but I said no, obviously one couldn’t get this taken care of on the phone. I was all indignant.
Fortunately, the wait wasn’t long at all. When it was my turn, I went through my indignant spiel again, and the service rep took my phone, and clicked on the message. It said, “Premium Messaging to this mobile number has been blocked…”
So I looked really stupid again. I thanked the guy, and thanked the lady at the front door, and left sheepishly.
But you know what? Deep down, I have this gut fear that it’s going to show up on my bill again anyway.
Of course, this kind of scam should be illegal. Anyone who practices it should be drawn and quartered.
But who’s going to report them? The victims know how stupid they’ve been…