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HomeColumns, Opinions & Misc.View from the comfy chair: Scammed!

View from the comfy chair: Scammed!

Nothing frustrates me more than to be deeply in REM sleep mode and the telephone begins to ring. I’m off on another dream-adventure and in the distance I hear my phone ringtone very faint at first and then louder and louder. I thought to myself, why do I not mute my phone for naps? I brought my energy level up to the point that I could groggily answer the phone.


In a very distinctive Bahamian dialect, I heard, ‘Hello Jooell! I have some exciting news, you have won the Irish Sweepstakes, $1,000,000 dollas! To collet these monees, you need to pay taxes of $3,000.00 please give me your credit card numbers so we can expedite these moonees to you!’

Ok, after waking up from a nap, I’m not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it occurred to me that if I truly won the Irish Sweepstakes first of all I would have had to buy a ticket, and then I would have expected someone with an Irish dialect or accent to call me.

I responded; ‘Thanks but I already have enough money to live on and I don’t want to send any to you!’ Then I hung up.

I was Scammed! A scam is a dishonest scheme designed to cheat and con you out of your money. They play on the fact that everyone likes to be a winner like winning the lottery, or to do the right thing if they owe taxes, or to make sure our credit information is correct to protect our credit rating. They offer us incredible deals on everything from credit card rates, energy costs and they keep getting more creative every day. They pretend to be a relative in desperate need of money etc.

I took on this topic because a friend of mine was recently scammed out of thousands of dollars; yes it’ a real threat. I remember a few years ago when my 90+ year old mom was living with us and I was cutting the grass. I noticed her running out of the house waving her arms and yelling.

I stopped the mower and heard her exclaim: ‘Your being arrested, the sheriff is on his way!’

I tried to calm her down, took her back into the house and pushed the redial on the phone to find out and it was answered by another foreign accent. He went on to tell me that I owed the IRS $500 and that Sherriff Shea was on the way to arrest me. I told him that Sherriff Shea was a friend of mine that we go to the same church, and are board members together at our local Mission, it took him aback and he just hung up.

Phone scams are up 60% 2017 over 2016. On average according to Market Watch, it costs victims $430 or $5 Billion annually!

Top Scams: Google business listing scams, Winning Lottery, Heating & Cooling Scam, IRS scam saying you owe taxes, Natural Disaster scams, Bank scams, Credit card scams, Free vacations, You are being arrested scams and more.

There are also computer e-mail scams, many of the same themes but they look official because the technology creates the documents. Scams like Amazon stating that they are holding your order until you contact them and give credit card information. Some take months to develop and begin as an e-mail lover affair, then they need money to come to the United States or for a medical emergency.

I have received numerous e-mail scams from some mysterious lawyer, Esquire or foreign government official telling me that one of my long lost relatives has died and left me with an estate of $5 million dollars. Even regular ‘Snail’ mail can be a scammer’ tool in practice since 1872, when it was classified as a Federal Offense.

Every day thousands of Michiganders are contacted; Using phone, e-mail and regular mail, by people trying to scam them. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO WARN YOUR ELDERLY FRIENDS AND RELATIVES!

Ask them to get in touch with you in anything comes similar comes up; it may save them from loss of money and embarrassment. Ok, now I’m setting my phone to mute, it’ time to resume my nap!

‘Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others. – Joel


-¬ Joel M. Vernier March 6, 2018

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