'Attempted scamming' should be a crime

How are we singled out and targeted to receive scams? People in foreign countries do not know our names and addresses, do they?

The simple answer is yes. These criminals do know names, address and, many times, our telephone numbers.

How do they get them? There is no telling really, but chances are high that you provided the information.

Most of the time it is willingly, but at the time you have no idea how this data will be used.

Signing up for city water service becomes a public record, filling out a chance to win a boat or car in the local mall, or some business making a profit on the side by selling this information are some example of why you are being contacted.

Have you Googled in your name, address, or telephone number in your search engine and read all about you, yet? It will surprise you.

This is important because the scammer sets out to answer this question in the letter, as seen in a recent attempted hit in the Rockdale area.

A con artist sent wonderful opportunities to Rockdale on May 5, and another arrived the next day.

Two different companies sent basically the same scam to Stella Booker. Is it any wonder why she might be suspicious?

In both letters the first sentence explains why Stella is contacted.

The first letter is from MS Reach Agency located in Dayton, Ohio.

The opening sentence reads "This is to inform you that based on a previous survey by our affiliate Consumer Survey Specialist you indicated to be interested in an additional income on parttime basis."

Then you are told the good news. You have been chosen. This is a lucky day because you have been picked to become a secret shopper.

This is the beginning of a full time job, if you qualify.

Don't tell a soul about this. Your self-training starts now. A check is enclosed for $2,730 as your first payment.

The money is itemized and the money will flow as soon as you call to verify the $2,100 amount has been wired at any Western Union or moneygram.

This method demands that your money must be wired and received prior to their check to you being deposited.

The bank officials will inspect the check and know that it is worthless.

It is easy to see how women would love to find a job that would pay them to shop.

Have you seen the bumper sticker that says "A woman's place is in the mall?"

The second letter baited their hook with a business career as a mystery shopper.

Is there a difference between a Secret Shopper and a Mystery Shopper?

The answer can be found on line. Go to http://www.champagneliving. net/2008/11/mysteryshopping secret-shopping-your. html.

You can get information on Myster y Shopping Prov iders Association. The MSPA has a list of all the real companies and will steer you away from the fake ones.

Stella called her daughter, Becky to explain her outrage. An amateur detective agency was formed on the spot and these two set out to expose these crooks for whom and what they are.

They reported the scam locally to the police and to the post office.

They found that the Milam County people were very concerned, supportive, and wanted to put a stop to this type activity.

On the other hand, the Canadian post office (the letter was posted in Canada) and the law enforcers in the foreign country to our north were not concerned and provided little help to get at the root of the matter.

The ladies were told that no crime had been committed so no charges could be made.

The Bookers challenged this statement. Why is it necessary to be victimized before prosecution can be processed? It is an attempt to steal someone's money.

It is an attempt to empty the nest egg of the elderly and that is criminal. This has merit. Do you have to kill someone before you can be charged?

One can be charged and sentenced for attempted murder, can they not? Should we push forward with this notion?

Letters to our representatives and senators at both state and national levels would be a start.

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2009-07-09 digital edition

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