She called columnist instead of the scammer

Mary Coffield of Rockdale, received a call from area code 876. The caller offered Mary $3 million and a red Mercedes Benz free of charge after she pays a one-percent prize tax.

The caller identified himself as “Mr. Benjamin,” placed Mary on hold to calculate the exact amount of tax she is to pay, $255 to be paid through the Walmart Green money card.

Mary asked if she could just write them a check? Could she give a credit card payment? No other form of payment was acceptable except a debit card.

Who would consider giving a stranger the debit card information that unlocks their money in the bank? It is unthinkable, but some do.

Who would give a stranger a check for prizes won in a contest they did not enter? It is unthinkable, but some do.

Middle class America is vulnerable to scams because of their financial situations. I t should not surprise anyone that senior citizens try to take full advantage of every opportunity to achieve financial security. It is a comfort when all bills are paid, the credit cards are paid in full each month, the pantry is full of food and no creditors are knocking at the door.

Mary said “I called you instead of Mr. Benjamin.”

Mary recognized the area code number 876 from Jamaica and knew it was a scam. Mary did not get the phone bill. Mr. Benjamin did, hopefully. It would be poetic justice, would it not?

A good dose of common sense will guide us through these temptations. It remains difficult to win contests unless you enter them. Companies are in business to make money and are reluctant to give money away.

A resident living in a foreign country is not going to give the family fortune to a stranger living in the United States. It is logical to think family members and close friends would benefit more than strangers in some inheritance. Just think before you act. Is it too good to be true?

Telephone calls made outside the United States can result in huge amounts of indebtedness to the caller in very little time.

Can you imagine a telephone call costing you $2,425 per minute? You can read about it online at 809-scam.html.

Your phone bill is sent from your local and long distance provider. Your telephone company just collects the bill from the call you made outside the United States.

The argument lies with you and a telephone company in a foreign land. What bills will be added to an already-huge huge telephone bill while fighting this crime is hard to determine. You are responsible for the telephone calls you make, but it is wrong for someone to deliberately mislead a victim into financial harm.

Watch for area codes 876, 809, and 274 and place them on your personal “never call” list.

A caller will entice the victim with promises of wealth, a wonderful prize or a free cruise to achieve the desired response.

Sometimes these con artists will deliver news regarding the death of a family member or say that a friend or relative is ill or has been arrested overseas and needs immediate help.

MEETING—How safe are you in your home? Are you aware of dangers in your community? Do you really know how to protect your home? Do you want some straight talk about ways to protect your life, the lives of loved ones, friends and guard your personal property? A program is planned to kickoff the October as Crime Prevention Month in Milam County. Cameron police chief Randy Dixon is the guest speaker for the Milam County Triad general membership meeting which is open to the public.

Those living inside Milam County and those living outside the county borders would benefit from the program on home crime prevention.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2 in the Cameron Police Department’s courtroom, 308 South Houston.

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2012-09-27 digital edition

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