Currently viewing the tag: "Amazon"

Joan Bittner Fry

On a Saturday in mid-March, I opened an email from Since I had recently placed an order for less than $25.00 (my first directly to Amazon), I opened it. To my surprise, it was an order confirmation for $4,961.12 for one Sony television with an extended warranty and one Microsoft Xbox console, also with an extended warranty.

There was an Amazon logo at the top and an order number. Authentic, I thought. There was a statement: “If you have not placed this order, call our Fraud Protection Team at 1-425-620-3786.” Foolishly, I did so.  I was directed to three different people, and ended up with Supervisor Max.  He was sympathetic and seemed very believable, because by this time, I wanted him to be. He went through some details, and he said he could see the charges on Amazon. He assured me that he and his colleagues could fix it. 

After a lot of chatter, I was requested to buy three gift cards in the amount of $200 each. I also fell for that. I went to Thurmont to make this purchase. Max wanted to keep me on the cell phone while in the store, but I was directed not to speak to him until I got back to my car. By the time I returned to my car, my cell phone had run out of power. Max probably became desperate, thinking that I might have had enough time to think more clearly—which I had.

Upon returning home, I called Amazon, and they put me in touch with their fraudulent activities division. I was directed to a business who would solve my problem and spent the next hour on the phone with them. Although I was at their mercy, I felt I had to trust someone.  Later, when I looked at the company online, they are supposedly one of the most trusted technical solution providers in the country. I’m still praying that this is the case.

After the problem was fixed, there were more than 30 missed calls lined up on my home phone—all from Max. When I finally answered, his first question was, “Did you get the cards?” I replied “No,” and hung up.  He did not call again.

On the following Monday, I opened my seldom-used cell phone and saw more than 18 missed messages from Saturday—all from Max, who was desperately pleading that I return his call the minute I got it. I’m still thankful for that trip to Thurmont and a dead cell phone that allowed me time to think.

I was a victim of phishing. I never thought the message wasn’t legitimate because of my recent purchase from Amazon. Ironically, page 23 of the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin reports under “Ask the Fraud Team” a story of a person who also got an email from someone claiming to be with Amazon, who said items had been charged to their account. This person ended up giving them their credit card number to reverse the charges. 

The advice given by AARP was to contact the credit card company immediately and have them look into the account and put a flag on any suspicious charges. It goes on to say that you can easily verify activity on your online accounts, either by calling customer service or by logging in online and reviewing your recent activity.

I am writing this article to implore anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to not blame themselves. Identity theft is a serious threat to all of us. If we hide it, we are helping the thieves. It can and did happen to me.

Nothing empowers children more than to be involved in a project that allows them to express their true selves. Their opinions, ideas, and dreams can come alive when they work as a team and are guided towards a common goal.  This is seen every day in sports and other physical activities. But children having fun reading and writing? Seems impossible to couple teamwork and literacy, but that is actually what happened with the creation of My Bumblebee and Me, a new children’s book available on Amazon.

Last spring at Miss Sue’s Child Care, located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, a bumblebee was often seen hovering around the children when leaving the back gate. The children were both curious and fearful of it.  Over time, they decided the bumblebee was quite harmless, and they began to research the insect on different websites. This information allowed the children to be less fearful of the bee and want to assist bumblebees, causing the children to create stories about the bumblebee.

Different theories and stories began to arise from the daycare. “Maybe he is curious about us,” one child remarked. Another child stated, “Perhaps he is trying to protect us.”

Miss Sue encouraged the children to create their own ideas about why the bumblebee was staying at the daycare and used this as inspiration for the book.

“As I wrote the story, I would ask the children their opinion,” commented Miss Sue. “They can be very honest and straightforward with their critiques.  You have to be pretty tough-skinned to ask a young child what they think.  Believe me, they are going to tell you without any hesitation. The story changed direction many times as a result of this.”

The book was edited by Miss Sue’s daughter, Jessica Brown, during the long writing process. After several months of development and revision, Miss Sue personally funded the book by hiring a local illustrator to begin the art work.  Kathleen Renninger of Blue Ridge Summit was hired not only for her talent in art, but also for her expertise in using CreateSpace to get the book published.

The book is dedicated to the children of Miss Sue’s Child Care and has been well received in the area. It is being described as “a delightful story about a young girl who is convinced a bumblebee is trying to be her friend.” Children will delight in this brilliantly colored and beautifully illustrated book, as they experience this fun fantasy-adventure.

Liz believes the bumblebee is following her and her friend, Terry, throughout their day, warning them of danger and pointing out beauty in the world. But Terry is not so sure. Fun facts and information about bumblebees are featured after the story that can empower children with the skills and desire needed to assist this important insect’s survival in our modern world.  A must read for nature lovers of all ages, and an important tool for teachers wishing to strike interest in nature with their students. My Bumblebee and Me is a marvelous addition to your library. Copies of the books are available at Amazon, both in paper form and soon on Kindle, or contact the author for copies at