Recognize scams before you're hooked

It makes no difference where con artists, hackers, crooks, or thieves live in today's world. modern technology brings them just around the corner from us.

Ponder this for a moment and you will realize the many dangers we face daily were not concerns for our parents at all.

Your address, telephone number, and other personal data are public information. It does have a bright side, however.

There are tools that can be used to locate these unscrupulous people. We have ways good people can access to fight back without costing anything.

The Google search engine is unbelievable w ith its speedy accuracy in finding information and putting it at your fingertips.

Those of you who have access to a computer, can do a few little things to better both the availability of an individual's personal data plus discover how simple it is to identify telephone listings.

Go to Google. Enter your name, then look at the menu provided for your name, address or telephone number.

Not all of you will find your personal data there, but it is surprising to see how much is included.

Another tool is www.ZabaSearch. com. This is a free "people" search.

If you type in your name in the window that is provided, then select "Texas," you will find that several Texans share your name.

You must cursor down to find the listing with your address. Many times this will give your name, address, telephone number and year of birth.

Usually the names of the cities are in alphabetical order. If you moved from one Texas county to another, you may find both listed here.

This little exercise takes little time and it provides interesting reading.

Free sites, like www.Langenberg. com, do offer services for pay.

You must request a special service from the company before you will be charged. It will cost nothing to check the benefits the company offers without charges.

This site prov ides reverse directories. You have a telephone number of an individual, or businesses and you want more information about them, you enter the number in the proper window.

Langenberg also offers access to white pages, yellow pages, translations, a person finder, zip codes and area codes. A wealth of information is at your fingertips.

Milam County is producing more and more scam investigators.

The goal of Milam Count y TRIAD is to educate its members so that they are aware of tactics used by con artists and to arm the elderly with methods for finding truth in our wicked world.

This is happening as you are reading this article. It is a way to provide power to the good to fight evil.

It allows potential victims to take control and stand on solid ground and meet daily challenges face to face.

When phishermen/phisherwomen enter your home uninvited you can investigate the situation and avoid being hooked. (Pun intended).

Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas gives seniors several ways to safely avoid being hooked by scammers.

• Remember the one that made the first contact. If you order an item from a company, you know who you are dealing with.

If an outsider makes the initial contact, you have no idea who is on the other end or what they want from you.

• Look for the bait on the hook. It is usually a large sum of money. Everyone needs money. It might be a vacation. We are attracted to cruises and a visit to some island.

Another attractive bait is automobiles. But the bait could be a negative hunk of bait. A grandchild in need of immediate help or a threat on your life or the life of a loved one. Take note of it and do not overlook the obvious.

• Watch for attempts to get your personal data. If you are asked for bank account numbers, social security numbers, and specific data that identify you, you can be assured that a con artist is close.

Never give this information to a caller. Hang up and call the company or bank yourself.

• A con artist will ask for money up-front. Money to pay tax, or fees, or whatever to release the prize.

Usually you are instructed to wire this money or pay cash. You cannot stop payment on cash.

Repeat these over and over until you are familiar with these rules:

Who called who, identify the bait, protect your personal data, do not pay out money, and finally do not wire or use cash in these transactions.

Milam County TRIAD gave you the tools. Now go to work. Spread the word. Fight crime.

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2009-07-02 digital edition

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