November 19, 2012
It never ceases to amaze me that people will fall for the same old scams every year. One of the most popular is back and very much alive. The scenario goes like this – and yes it really happens; you leave the mall or box store with nothing in hand. About ¾ of the way to your car – you’re in the boonies of course – you see a young guy and he seems to be selling something.
You amble over and he tells you that he and his partner have just stolen a few computers from the delivery truck and is willing to make you a deal because the cops are every-where. You look inside the SUV and see several boxes that belonged to Hewlett-Packard.
He tells you he’ll sell you one for only $150 bucks. You want to look inside, but he says it’ll attract attention and you’ll both get arrested. And he’ll use the ‘don’t I look trustworthy’ you reluctantly agree and cart home the computer your daughter has been begging for. Then your better judgment kicks in and you open the box or worse yet Christmas morning your daughter opens it up to find……packing peanuts and bricks and wonders what the joke was about? With red-faced embarrassment for you, if it seems too good to be true it usually is. Even if the goods were in the box, remember the law about receiving stolen goods? Does jail sound like a fun after Christmas vacation to you?
And of course during the holiday season when we are feeling more generous the pan-handlers break out in record numbers. Be wary of the people approaching you in the parking lot asking for a ‘couple of bucks’ to get home or for a Christmas present for their child, whatever. Yes there are people who need our help during the season but give to recognized charitable organizations. I will admit I usually have a couple of dollar bills in my pocket to hand out in this case. Never open your purse for them you could become a victim of a snatch and run never to see your wallet and credit cards again.
Then there are the telephone scams. Most charitable organizations will use the telephone to solicit donations but use a follow up letter for you to make your contribution. You never give your credit card information over the phone to anyone. And no one from your bank will ever call you to ask about your information either.