An Iron Ranger's View: Scram, you scammer scamming scoundrels!
A scam is defined as a “fraudulent or deceptive act.” Presently, many scams are directed at victims through their computer, their telephone, or another method that can be used to offer victims sums of money.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2019, scammers took nearly $667 million from unsuspecting people. It is my opinion that every one of those who have been scammed should try to put an end to the scams by immediately reporting them to the Minnesota State Consumer Protection Office (651-296-4357) and to the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-382-4357). Contact both places.
There are several ways scammers get your name, phone number, account numbers, or email address. One way is from the used letters and documents you put into the garbage. You should shred everything with personal or account information on it.
Scammers also use obituaries to get the names of vulnerable widows, widowers, or grandchildren. They can get your name if you enter online contests, mail in warranty cards, or fill out surveys. That’s just naming a few of their evil ways.
On Monday, Nov. 16, I had 91 scam messages in my computer’s junk folder. On that same Monday, I had five scammers call my hardline telephone and four call my cellphone. Also, there were six scam messages in my email inbox. And this particular Monday was not much different from the scammer activity every day at my house.
I have tried to put an end to scammers contacting me. I have blocked their messages only to see them come back with a slight change of the sender’s name. I have called the phone company that provides our telephone service. Oddly enough, when I mentioned the word “scam,” I was quickly clicked over to another customer service agent. After this click-over procedure happened five times, I finally caught on that they were not going to do anything about the scammers.
Not only is the phone company refusing to stop scammers, it is allowing scammers to make phone calls using a number from a neighboring town. This makes it more likely that the phone customer will answer the call. By giving scammers the ability to use fake names and numbers, the phone company is aiding and abetting the scammers’ robberies.
Besides blocking and contacting the phone service, I have called the people who provide my email service. They have told me seven times they are working hard to stop scammers. That has turned out to be a lot of malarkey. Every day I get lots of scam messages in my junk folder and in my email folder.
To review, there are two good ways that we can get the scammers to scram. First, don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the caller’s name. Second, call the local government and the federal government immediately whenever you are scammed. I know it might be embarrassing to admit on the phone you were scammed, but I can’t see any other way to end this criminal activity.
Joe Legueri of Gilbert is a writer, lifelong Iron Range resident, regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page, and retired educator who taught English and college writing to grades 7-12 for 35 years at Biwabik and Mesabi East schools.