I’ve written a lot about scams over the years – mostly on my vintage & antiques website because small businesses are frequent targets of such nasty creatures, but also intermittently on a blog I call “Stories of Entitlement – or Grow Up Already”. (www.storiesofentitlement.wordpress.com)
In one of those blogs, I detailed a scam that someone attempted to dupe me with, but which I knew from the very first text was a fraud…. and I kept that guy going for a couple of weeks. It was fun for a while, especially when he’d try to push me into cashing a “check” he sent… and I’d snap back with “Listen, I told you I was busy, and I don’t have time for this right now. Have you told your bank that mine needs proof of availability from them?”
After a while, he seemed to figure out I was stringing him along, and I didn’t hear from him again. So very sad. It was fun while it lasted.
Anyway, the Bangor Police Department has a great Facebook page – and they’re getting pretty famous for it. But the message below is probably one of their best.
Look, while you are standing around the office discussing how you cannot believe how people can be so gullible and get caught up in scams, there are folks all around you who are being caught up in scams.
I was trying to come up with something that would actually help us get the message out there in order to help avoid yet another call to us about someone new becoming victimized.
My suggestion—today—is not tongue in cheek, there is no hyperbole, no ridicule, no judgment.
Take a moment to discuss the possibility of being scammed with your parents, your grandparents, or anyone who might fall for an official-sounding phone call requesting money in any form.
While thousands and thousands of scam phone calls are made every single day, a very small percentage of folks fall for the ruse.
Typically, the victims are folks who are trusting and a bit worried about being implicated in a crime, worried about their grandchildren, or who feel that there is no way that people cannot be trusted.
Have a sit-down conversation with family members who might fall into the category of trusting, law-abiding citizens. Seniors, shut-ins, and those who have a difficult time with the reality that not all people have their best interests in mind.
Seriously, sit down with them, tell them to always double-check with a trusted family member before EVER sending money, gift cards, credit card numbers, or social security numbers to anyone for any reason.
We cannot reach everyone, but if each person who reads this will take responsibility to inform their own family that scammers are out there using phones to manipulate people into sending them money, maybe, just maybe we could eliminate a few victims.
Leave a prominent note that reminds them to contact you if someone calls them asking for money. Explain that it is very rare for their grandchildren to be in Mexico, or needing money after a car accident. Tell them to NEVER give out their own loved one’s name to the scammer.
We have to take responsibility for those in our own family circles. Don’t wait until a criminal separates them from their savings.
This would be a far better Christmas present than a new candy dish. Please, have a conversation with that person in your life. You might make a huge difference in their future.
All we have is each other.
Thanks for trying.
Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.
Lt. Tim Cotton
Good stuff. Please take Lt Cotton’s words to heart… when anyone is defrauded of their money, it can have a devastating impact not just on their finances, but on their mental and physical health, because of the grief and terror from seeing their bank account emptied, and the horrible shame that they’ve been so easily taken advantage of.