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Don’t Fall for Telephone Scams

Beware of telephone scams. I received a phone call this afternoon from a number that I didn’t recognize. I sent it to voice mail because I’m a busy woman who doesn’t have time to mess with solicitations or scams. This call fit snugly into the scam category.

The message I received was a robotic voice telling me that legal action is being taken against me and a fraud case naming me from “before” is heading to the state court. It further said I will be arrested if I don’t return their call.

I happen to know that courts don’t work that way. For one thing, referring to the charges as being filed “before” is a dead giveaway. An attorney or law enforcement officer wouldn’t be that vague. The robotic voice is another indicator of a scam. If I’m to appear in court, an officer of the court will subpoena me. They won’t have a computer call me.

Telephone scams are inundating our society. There is one that preys on senior citizens that really makes my blood boil. A caller poses as the victim’s grandchild, tells the senior that he or she is in jail, and needs bail money. The grandchild impostor then hands the phone to a “bondsman” who instructs the grandparent to send money in some form such as cash or multiple gift cards.

I know some people who fell victim to that scam. They lost several thousand dollars by following the instructions they were given. They never thought to contact the grandchild directly because they honestly believed him to be incarcerated. In this case, none of the family found out about the scam until well after the fact.

My mother-in-law received one of those of calls telling her my step-son was in jail. She was instructed to go to Walmart and purchase gift cards to send to the bondsman. Thankfully, she called my husband to check out the story. My step-son was at work being a responsible law-abiding, responsible adult. She said she almost believed it because the caller sounded just like her grandson.

Another scam for which to be on the lookout is the IRS scam. I know people who have received these calls, too. Someone calls and says you owe the IRS money and they’re going to have you arrested unless you pay them immediately. They want your bank account information to settle the debt. The IRS doesn’t work that way. Don’t ever give your bank account information to someone who calls you.

You have to be careful these days. It’s so easy to fall victim to the myriad of charlatans running amok. Some of them are clever and spin a believable tale. Always be cautious and check the facts.

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