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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


No-Scam November: be cautious, skeptical

It’s No-Scam November, Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser reminded the public this week, and that means extra scrutiny is being directed at the bogus offers many of us receive all year-round.

Because of the Internet and highly advanced telephone techniques, the odds of getting ripped off have soared since the days of door-to-door salespeople of home siding and the driveway re-pavers who “just happened to be in the neighborhood on another job.”

As unsophisticated as those approaches were, they still worked on occasion, especially when “vulnerable adults,” a euphemism for naïve and trusting elderly people, were involved.

But, as we continue to discover, age is not the factor it once was in terms of gullibility, as more and more people tend to believe just about anything these days if it strikes the right chord.

That has given scammers and con artists a much larger crowd to work with their “can’t-miss” investment opportunities, fake lotteries and sweepstakes, nonexistent charities, bogus invoices and alerts that “your account is in default.”

There’s seemingly no end to the ways people are being targeted, and as we emerge from a year of economic desperation, many of us are too ready to believe whatever we’re being told.

As Heiser said this week, her office and local law enforcement are focusing on preventing these frauds, especially as the holidays approach. Their advice is to be skeptical of any phone call, alert or notification that even hints at being too good or too bad to be true.

Recipients of such messages and pitches should be extra careful not to provide any information or to act in any other manner until checking with trusted friends, family members or local authorities, including the state’s attorney’s office.

And if, as one con game goes, a stranger informs you that a relative has been jailed and needs bail, it can wait. If it’s true, they’ll still be there tomorrow.