How I flunked my IQ test

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…

13 thoughts on “How I flunked my IQ test

  1. Ralph Hightower

    You got suckered! Admitting as such, takes guts.

    Giving out your cell phone & provider to a web quiz?

    Tweet SC Consumer Affairs @ SCDCA.

    Then too, I’ve reported spammers located in Columbia, SC to the SC Attorney General and they say I should contact Consumer Affairs. Consumer Affairs say they have no jurisdiction over spam, which is correct. McMaster refuses to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which grants sole authority to sue to Attorney Generals & Internet Service Providers.

    SubscriberBase is the spam operation operating out of Columbia.

  2. Karen McLeod

    I’ve gotten to the point where I shut everything down the minute anyone I didn’t contact myself asks for any personal info at all. But the whole point of these scams is to prey on those who, however briefly, let down their guard. If they only fleeced the permanently innocent they’d quickly run out of money and become unprofitable. It’s precisely because every human being, including you and me both, has unguarded moments (tired, bored, weak, depressed, angry–you name it) that allows these rotters to make the money they do. Mr. McMaster needs to go after them. They’re much more effectively predatory than most crooks, and anyone is a potential “sucker.”

  3. Burl Burlingame

    Too bad you weren’t a FaceBook Friend a couple of months ago. I fell for EXACTLY the same thing with EXACTLY the same results, and also came clean about my idiocy. (You should be getting a refund check for the fake premium calls, btw)
    Oh, and I’m also an IQ genius, ha-ho.
    Since then I refuse all FaceBook quizzes and come-ons.

  4. jfx

    Interesting how the Verizon place has a lady posted at the door to try and get people (who are already there in person) to call instead. I wonder if she is trained to try and deflect only visibly agitated customers, or all humans who attempt entry for any reason.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    There is no deposed Nigerian functionary’s account just waiting for you to claim it, either. If you’d won a sweepstakes, you’d have to have entered it first. If you win the lottery, they deduct the expenses from your winnings; you do not have to front any costs. If the lottery happens to be run by an Anglophone country, chances are the English will be pretty good in the letter you receive.
    Facebook cannot tell you what Personality Disorder you *are* (loved the phrasing on that one).
    None of your bank, eBay, Paypal, etc., needs you to tell them your personal information to clear up any account discrepancies. (BTW, if you get those emails, forward them to,, etc.)…
    and Happy Father’s Day, Thanks for the smile!

  6. Lee Muller

    There are a bunch of other scams going around that try to build your land line number for $10.00, too.

    What angers me is that our Congress, legislature, DOJ and Attorneys General do nothing about this. The state Consumer Affairs Office is a joke and should be shut down.

    All this sort of phone fraud and Internet fraud and porn could all be so easily stopped, but the politicians let it go on, and protect it.

    That’s why you have episodes like last year, when someone walked into that Internet San Francisco spam provider and shot the owners to death, and got away Scot free. There was another like that in Moscow last year, too.

  7. bud

    Ouch! I used to fall for scams like that when I was younger. But after getting suckered into an encyclopidia selling racket I developed a very thick skin for stuff like that. We were trained to tell customers we were making a “placement” for free as a way of promoting the encyclopidieas. All they had to do was purchase these inexpensive reference books for kids. And they only cost $700! I thought I was doing folks a favor until I came to the house where a dude already had received his “placement”. Turns out he received 10 volume 6s and missed 9 other volumes altogether. Yikes. He never did get satisfaction from the company. After a week in Macon Georgia and nothing to show for it I caught the bus back home and never made a penny. Life is full of lessons like that. At the end of the day I’m actually glad I did it.

  8. Bart

    bue, are you sure you aren’t my old buddy, Charles? He worked for a company doing the same thing years ago but when he went to the home of a man who was suckered in, Charles had to run for his life. Seems the people in Macon were not too thrilled with the “inexpensive” reference books. Not only did Charles go home broke, but owed the guy in charge several hundred dollars.

  9. Ralph Hightower


    One of the problems is that we have an Attorney General that decides which Federal laws he is going to enforce.

    The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 grants sole authority to sue spammers to the states’ Attorney Generals and to Internet Service Providers; I am don’t belong to either group. The law removes the right of private citizens to sue spammers.

    I had a roundabout with the Attorney General’s office and Consumer Affairs regarding a spam operation located in Columbia, SC. In a conversation with the AG’s office, they told me to contact Consumer Affairs. So I did; Consumer Affairs told me they don’t have jurisdiction to prosecute under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Reading the law, Consumer Affairs doesn’t; the AG does. But the principals of the spam operation contributed to Henry McMaster and other politicians running for office.

Comments are closed.