Davidson: Don’t fall for scams

If you have some extra money lying around that you don’t need, I can tell you how to dispose of it very quickly. Just fall for one of the many scams that is taking place all across the country these days.

 

One afternoon a few weeks ago, Janis’s phone rang. When she answered, the caller said he was from the IRS, and that she owed back taxes for the years between 2012 and 2016. He went on to say there was a warrant issued for her arrest and if she did not pay up, they would send the police to take her to jail.

Well, after a bit I felt sorry for this poor guy, because Janis took him to the cleaners. She is definitely wise to the ways of the world. She began to ask him questions like his name, where he was located and for other personal data such as his IRS credentials. A couple of minutes after he called I was sitting there, and she took my phone and began to record the conversation. She then proceeded to give one of the best performances I have ever heard. One thing I forgot to mention is that he had a very distinct foreign accent, and she had a little trouble understanding him, but he said he was calling from Washington, D.C.

He asked for her name and address and she gave fictitious answers for both. She then asked how much she owed. He said, “$4,960.” She said, “I don’t have any money, I am on food stamps and it’s just me and my little dog, and I have to buy food for him.” He then asked how much money she had and she told him $350. T make a long story short, he told her that he would leave her $100 and cancel the warrant for her arrest if she would go down to our local Walgreens store, get a cash card and send it to him. She said, “I don’t have a car but I do have a bicycle and it will take me a little while to get there.” He said, “How long will it take?” She said about 15 to 20 minutes but I am going to have to end our conversation, because the battery on my phone has run down.”

He said, “No, you must stay on the phone.” The conversation ended with him still talking and when we checked the time, she had been talking with him for over 20 minutes. This was quite an experience, but is typical of the large number of scams that are taking place all across the nation. Many of these people doing the scamming are not even in the United States but in some foreign country. I am sad to say that most of the people who fall for these scams are elderly, because older people are more trusting. In fact, Janis has a relative who got a call telling her that her son was in an accident and had to have $900 to pay his hospital bill before he could be released, and she sent it to them.

My own mother passed away this past year at 94 years of age, but before she and my stepdad came here to Conway to live in a nursing home, she was also the victim of a scam. A man called her and told her that he had inherited a lot of money and wanted to share it with her, as a gesture of good will, but needed $1,500 to work out an arrangement with the bank. When I heard about it, I told her it was a scam and not to do it. There was also a police officer who was a member of her church who told her it was a scam and not to get involved.

She kept telling me, “I’m going to get lots of money” and I could not persuade her that it was a scam. She still went down to her bank and drew out $1,500 cash and sent it to him. Of course, this was the last time she heard from him. My message is simple. Warn older people not to fall for scams.

 

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