THE POWER OF SEX

Pepper Schwartz Ph.D.

Pepper Schwartz PH.D

Senator John Enseign and Governor Mark Sanford have joined the ranks of sexually straying political husbands…a pretty crowded category. Both men have been caught with their pants down, even as they have pontificated about sexual morality to the rest of us.

It may be why watching them get busted is a guilty pleasure.

Of course none of us can afford to be sanctimonious. We all know that there is no one who is pure in all categories, even if we can pass muster in a few. Maybe stepping outside the marriage isn’t our temptation-but what about private drinking, a little random shop lifting, or binging on food? Most of us know what it’s like to do something we don’t approve of, or struggle with a backstage life that has nothing to do with what is happening in front of the curtain.

Somehow though, we come down hardest on someone who has sinned sexually. Even though we know the nature of human beings is to fall in love or lust unwisely, we don’t like to admit it- and we are afraid of condoning it. We don’t want to be the perpetrator or the victim. Denial of it as a common human fragility is usually our way of denying our own vulnerability to temptation, flattery or an impulsive and compelling crush.

We know the rules- and we respect them. But we also know that those rules are harder to keep than we pretend they are. The fact is that even if most men and women are monogamous, a huge percentage are not-and that percentage grows when you allow for the fact that ambitious, hard driving, fame seeking people are not too likely to be laid back and uninterested in their sexual appetites and emotional connections. They are, let’s face it, a high risk group.

So, here’s where I stand on this situation. I actually felt sorry for Governor Sanford- it was clear to me that he had deeply loved his Argentinean lady, that he felt he had sinned against God, himself, his wife and his family, and he was miserable about everything that had happened. He wanted punishment, and his frankness and openness about his behavior was testament to his desire for full disclosure and censure. 

Well, if you watched his news conference, you know he got his full measure of humiliation. And his withdrawal from GOP leadership will be part of his fall not only from grace but from power. Still, we might consider a measure of forgiveness, no matter what his wife and family decide to do (since their pain is much great than ours). We could acknowledge that the power of sex is great, the flesh is weak-and the discovery of the marital betrayal has its own agonizing consequences. That should be enough pain for those who want to exact it.

One thing, however, I would like to see from our famous miscreants: a little less sanctimoniousness about sexual issues and a lot more compassion when it comes to relevant social policy. The heart has its own urgencies, and our brain is sometimes no match for our  endocrine system. Let’s just acknowledge that fact and be a bit more understanding and compassionate when the next person -or sexuality related social issue-becomes a headline

STOP MARKETERS, PHONE HACKERS, AND UNKNOWN CALLS

How to Check If a Phone Number Is Real

How to Check If a Phone Number Is Real

Sarah Li Cain
March 19, 2020
Ever receive a phone call from an unknown number and wonder whether you should answer it? With number spoofing and robocalls on the rise, it’s getting harder for consumers to know when a call is from a legitimate person or business. This means learning how to check if a phone number is real may help you better figure out whether to answer your phone the next time you get a call from an unknown caller.

The rise of ‘fake’ phone numbers
More telemarketers and fraudsters use techniques such as caller ID spoofing to mask their number. That way, it appears as though the call is from a local number, making it all the more likely you might be tempted to pick up.

“The goal is for you to listen to their scam with the hope you’ll become their next victim,” said Mark McCoy, director or Reverd, a spam call complaint app. “Sadly, the scammer is able to earn a decent wage this way.”

Unfortunately, robocallers and nuisance phone calls are already a major problem in the U.S. First Orion, a network enterprise company, estimates that consumers and businesses get more than 100 billion unwanted calls from scammers every year. That doesn’t include an additional 30 billion calls from telemarketers. In fact, the company predicts nearly 50% of phone calls consumers receive this year will be fraudulent.

In many cases, nuisance phone calls waste a few minutes of your time, but for others it can result in a loss of money. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losses totaling $1.48 billion in 2018 to fraud (though not all were attributed to robocallers).

In one recent case, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Florida resident Adrian Abramovich $120 million for making nearly 100 million robocalls to advertise fraudulent vacations and timeshares.

But there is little the FCC can do to combat international robocallers and scammers who target U.S. consumers.

How to try and find out if a phone number is from a real person
Stopping scam calls may not be possible, but you can lessen the number of unwanted calls by not answering calls from unknown numbers. There are also ways you can check to try to see if the phone number is real before deciding whether to return the call.

Look it up on social media. Many businesses will have an active social media profile. For example, a company’s Facebook page will likely include an address and phone number. At the very least, you should be able to see the business’s website to better determine whether it looks legitimate.
Use an online search engine. Sometimes an online search may yield the results you’re looking for. If it’s a legitimate phone number, the name of the business will usually show up as the first result in a Google search.
Conduct a reverse phone lookup. When you enter an unknown phone number into a reverse phone lookup tool, the service will try to find the person and any other details associated with that number. If no results turn up, that could be a sign the number is spoofed.
Download an app. There are legitimate apps for both Android and iPhone you can use to help reveal an incoming phone number. Unlike caller ID, these apps usually display the type of phone number (landline or cellphone) and whether the number is likely from a spam caller.
Use a phone validator. This tool allows you to type in a phone number to see how likely it is a spam caller. In some cases, you may be able to see additional details, such as the location and name that’s associated with the phone number.
The bottom line
While robocallers and phone scammers aren’t going away anytime soon, there are tools and services you can use to better combat nuisance callers. And if you do find yourself on the receiving end of a suspicious call asking for money or personal information, simply hang up and don’t give the caller any details.

March 19, 2020

Ever receive a phone call from an unknown number and wonder whether you should answer it? With number spoofing and robocalls on the rise, it’s getting harder for consumers to know when a call is from a legitimate person or business. This means learning how to check if a phone number is real may help you better figure out whether to answer your phone the next time you get a call from an unknown caller.

The rise of ‘fake’ phone numbers

More telemarketers and fraudsters use techniques such as caller ID spoofing to mask their number. That way, it appears as though the call is from a local number, making it all the more likely you might be tempted to pick up.

“The goal is for you to listen to their scam with the hope you’ll become their next victim,” said Mark McCoy, director or Reverd, a spam call complaint app. “Sadly, the scammer is able to earn a decent wage this way.”

Unfortunately, robocallersand nuisance phone calls are already a major problem in the U.S. First Orion, a network enterprise company, estimates that consumers and businesses get more than 100 billion unwanted calls from scammers every year. That doesn’t include an additional 30 billion calls from telemarketers. In fact, the company predicts nearly 50% of phone calls consumers receive this year will be fraudulent.

In many cases, nuisance phone calls waste a few minutes of your time, but for others it can result in a loss of money. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losses totaling $1.48 billion in 2018 to fraud (though not all were attributed to robocallers).

In one recent case, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Florida resident Adrian Abramovich $120 million for making nearly 100 million robocalls to advertise fraudulent vacations and timeshares.

But there is little the FCC can do to combat international robocallers and scammers who target U.S. consumers.

How to try and find out if a phone number is from a real person

Stopping scam calls may not be possible, but you can lessen the number of unwanted calls by not answering calls from unknown numbers. There are also ways you can check to try to see if the phone number is real before deciding whether to return the call.

  • Look it up on social media. Many businesses will have an active social media profile. For example, a company’s Facebook page will likely include an address and phone number. At the very least, you should be able to see the business’s website to better determine whether it looks legitimate.
  • Use an online search engine. Sometimes an online search may yield the results you’re looking for. If it’s a legitimate phone number, the name of the business will usually show up as the first result in a Google search.
  • Conduct a reverse phone lookup. When you enter an unknown phone number into a reverse phone lookup tool, the service will try to find the person and any other details associated with that number. If no results turn up, that could be a sign the number is spoofed.
  • Download an app. There are legitimate apps for both Android and iPhone you can use to help reveal an incoming phone number. Unlike caller ID, these apps usually display the type of phone number (landline or cellphone) and whether the number is likely from a spam caller.
  • Use a **phone validator**. This tool allows you to type in a phone number to see how likely it is a spam caller. In some cases, you may be able to see additional details, such as the location and name that’s associated with the phone number.

The bottom line

While robocallers and phone scammers aren’t going away anytime soon, there are tools and services you can use to better combat nuisance callers. And if you do find yourself on the receiving end of a suspicious call asking for money or personal information, simply hang up and don’t give the caller any details.