Letters to the Editor

Scammed in Auburn

I want to alert others about my scamming phone calls. They began so unremarkably.

"Hello, Grandma. This is your grandson." The voice sounded vaguely like either of my two young adult grandsons. "I'm embarrassed, so will you keep this call secret?"

"Maybe. We'll see."

"You know my friend Scott. His mother paid for the trip so we could go to her wedding."

"I don't know Scott, but continue."

"After the reception we had a car accident. The air bag broke my nose and I have stitches in my lip. I can't get out of jail until I pay ..."

"This sounds like a scam," I accused.

"Grandma, you know me. Why would you say that?" He sounded hurt.

"Speak your name to me," I asked.

"Grandma, you've used my name hundreds of times."

"Are you on something? You sound strange."

"I'm taking morphine for the pain. I need your help, Grandma," he pleaded.

"What jail are you in?" I questioned.

"I'm in the Malibu County Jail in California. I need money to get out."

"Speak your name to me," I insisted.

"You said my name a minute ago."

"No, I didn't. If you don't speak your name, this call is over."

My needy caller hung up.

I called the police who said I did the right thing. The officer added, "Your only protection is to stay alert and informed."

Another regular scam I get begins like this. "I'm calling from Microsoft about some problems with your computer."

I've learned to ask up front, "Did you say you are from Microsoft?" When the caller confirms this, I ask, "Will you give me a phone number so I can confirm that you are with Microsoft?"

The last callback number answered, "Thank you for calling Blue Cross, Blue Shield."

As the policeman said, "Be alert, and be informed." I hope this letter helps protect someone.

– Marge Gordon

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