Eat something that frightens you

By Mike Hiller:

I’m a foodie so when I hear ‘Eat something that frightens you,’ the words get committed to my long-term memory bank. Must have happened across this advice from the radio or I read it in a paperback book maybe. Can’t say that public speaking, or confined spaces, heights, or things that go bump in the night, or even spiders scare me all that much. Killed plenty of creepy crawlies in the name of machismo; let a few go in the name of feminism too. You’ve seen tarantulas for sale at exotic stores as pets. Many of their various species are in fact quite docile.

Still, there’s something instinctive, something repelling, off-putting about them. Like the slither of snakes, something compels you to stand guard, to beware and weary. To take notice their fangs and awkward movements of eight legs navigating uneven terrain. To face fears is an exercise in courage, not through intrepidness, but rather through humility. To be humble and courageous enough to say “I’m afraid.”

My cousin, a few years my elder, and I share a bond. The age difference is slight, not great enough to be a stand-in father and son bond. Still, we understand one another. He’s successful by any measure of the word. I have his respect and he mine. He has been and continues to a role model of mine. A long-distance mentor if you will, a reference tool, and referrer of good reads, good beats, and great eats.

We trace our Blue-collar lineage back through West Virginia to Wales. I have the utmost respect for those who came before us, equipped with roofing hatchets and cedar plank; as I do for my Homosapiens and Neanderthal relatives before them with stone and hide in hand. Our collars are however, white and not in the clerical sense. First of our heritage and tasked with creating new traditions to be paid forward to generations that will follow.

My cousin is my brother and I love him. In addition to neckwear we share many things. Included in that list are fears. Sharing these fears and knowing how best to respond to them is imbedded in the RNA of comradery. Here transcribed is our latest conversation that I share with you in hopes there is something to glean, to learn, and to pass on to others in due time:

Josh:

‘I might have got hacked. Bank called, asked for a different name…I said wrong number.   They called back and asked for me, said there was an odd charge on my account. They then asked for my ATM pin. Clearly, I said no. He got pushy and rattled off my card number, social security number, and address. That’s when I hung up and immediately called them back. It was the same number that called me, but when they answered they said no one from there called me and they show no record of suspicious activity. What now Credit Guy.’

Me:

1st) With the government shutdown still going on scams are on the rise; 2nd) Banks never, never call out someone’s SSN or account number over the phone; 3rd) Scams can emulate a false cid easily.

Josh:

‘I hear ya. I’m concerned that whoever this is has my card number, address, and social. Should I be?’

Me:

What I tell everyone is ask for a call-back number and call them back. Banks will rarely call you first. Typically an email is first since calls are more costly.

Me:

So this place, these scammers, have your SSN. So does 100 other scam shops. A card number on the other hand is more worrisome. Shut that down asap.

Josh:

Cool

Me:

Next is a credit freeze/alert with all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). You’ll need to set these up all independently through each Bureau. What they offer is basically a ‘do not extent credit without verification’ option.

Josh:

Do that also?

Me:

It’s up to you, but here’s the link. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0279-extended-fraud-alerts-and-credit-freezes Bottom line is you want them to forget about you and move on to greener pastures. My guess is you’ll get more calls like this. If they rattled off your info more than likely they’re going to try and open accounts in your name since name, address and SSN is really all you need.

Me:

Wish I had better news. Better safe than…., you get it.

Josh:

Ok. Thanks

Me:

You’re welcome, good luck. You can do it all online. Speed matters

Josh:

Credit alerts set.

Me:

They/thieves will always go after the lowest hanging fruit first. Having an account number, which means given a pin they can drain an account. Next would be setting up lines of credit which you just snuffed out.

Me:

This gave me inspiration for my upcoming blog. Know you won’t mind if I do, or if I take liberties. Btw, I had a suspicious charge on my credit card two weeks ago. Arby’s in Chicago. I told the bank that Arby’s is ok in-between meals, but if I’m going all the way to Chi-town I’m going to be eating some great food damn it.

Josh:

But Arby’s has the meat. Cool blog and help others.

I’ll tell you what frightens me. What scares the living hell out of me. What needs to be faced down, eaten, consumed. It’s not a fry box full of hairy tarantula legs or even a marshmallow-sized spider abdomen. I’ve eaten those things already.

It’s fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of sins, of ill intent, of disease and demise. Quite the full plate. An entree and a’ la carte buffet in fact. Felt a bit puckish today. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the ID theft of an appetizer here presented. Good luck and eat well my friends. Devour your fears.

Mike Hiller