Be skeptical

Scams are getting more sophisticated and small towns are far from immune

It used to be that scammers’ attempts to separate people from their money were so ridiculous they were entertaining, almost comical.

After all, the very idea that someone has several hundred thousand dollars that is either yours, or they’re willing to share it with you, is so ludicrous most people’s first response either is, or should be, laughter.

Several years ago someone tried the old “pay me money because the Mafia has hired me to kill you” scam in Rockdale. It was so bad the would-be scammer hilariously mis-spelled the Italian names of the supposed Mafia bosses.

Didn’t they ever watch The Sopranos!

We’re a long way from that. Scammers have become more sophisticated and people, even in rural Milam County, have lost money.

In the past week, The Reporter has become aware of two highly sophisticated scams. One worked and one didn’t. Surprisingly, neither used high-tech. One was by phone and the other through the mail.

How can we protect ourselves?

Read Reporter columnist Ted Hubert on the second editorial page every week. He does a great job keeping our readers up to date on the various scams and schemes which seem to be with us for the duration.

And—it hurts to say this because it shows what society has become—be a skeptic. Don’t believe everything you hear. In fact, it helps if your first instincts are “make them prove it.”

Could that attitude create some friction in our lives involving genuine communications with real people? Of course.

But it’s better than the alternatives. We all have “buttons” that can be pushed. Spelling some mythical godfather’s name hilariously wrong probably won’t push them.

But something might.—M.B.

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2017-02-16 digital edition

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