Meadow Hill

Don’t fall victim to scam artists. We were!!

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A scam is a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation according to Daniel Webster. So, why am I writing something that everyone obviously knows, but do you really? Peter and I knew that seniors are easily targeted, and still, we joined the fastest growing list of newest victims.

We didn’t pause and think or act calmly, and the thieves knew we were hooked!
If sharing our foolery can help just one person, then I’ll try to make our experience easily understood and pray it never happens to you. It’s the “Grandparent Scam,” and we have been informed. It is frightening and confusing at the same time, to receive a phone call from someone who says he’s your oldest grandson, and he’s in some kind of jam and really needs your help. We think it sort of sounds like him, and we’re caught off guard, and he quickly keeps the conversation rolling, saying to Peter, “This is just between the two of us, you have to promise not to tell anyone.” This was the first big “red flag.” Grandson needs quite a big sum of money immediately sent to him and promises to pay back, but keep it quiet!

The story goes something like this. He’s been in an auto accident with two of his guy friends. The ambulance came, but no one was hurt. They had wine with dinner, and grandson is the driver of the rental car involving another car, and also wrecking some government property. Grandson does not pass the breath test by less than a fraction of a point. Oh, and he’s in Miami, not at college in New Jersey. “Another red flag.” The car has been impounded and all their personal things (wallets, phones etc.) with it. Peter and I are panicking at how best to help them. At that point, grandson asks if his lawyer can talk to us. That charming man told us how to get the money to him ASAP. Peter must go to Home Depot or Wal-Mart and purchase three gift cards in the amount of money demanded, call the lawyer from Home Depot and right then and there, read the numbers on the back of the card, over the phone to the lawyer.

We thought that was that! However, it continued into the next morning with another phone call from grandson begging for another gift card in the same large amount, or they would be in jail. With no time to think rationally, Peter couldn’t race to Home Depot fast enough for that precious gift card, and by now, Peter and I were fighting, he was overwhelmed and wiped out and did exactly the same thing all over again.

Our emotions grabbed us and we reacted with our heart and not our head. Sadly, we were guilty in not calling the parents from the start of this debauchery, and too, too late, we realized this was not making sense. We called the Town Police who came to the house and informed us, this has been going on in our area, all kinds of scams, for some time. These animals are actors worthy of Academy Awards for the destruction they cause, emotionally and in our hard-earned savings, and they should rot in jail. That money is gone, period! We went to the police station to file a report, and we were beyond upset because like most of you, we don’t have that kind of money. I’m really angry now because that money was going to do some much-needed house repairs this spring.

Grandparents are led by their hearts, and for our kindness and big hearts, we are targeted by these heartless thieves. A tough lesson learned! If you are smart enough to recognize a scam, hang up and immediately call the local police for help.

If you’re a victim of a grandparent scam or another form of fraud, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network also provides tips and advice on how to spot and avoid scams.

For forty consecutive years, Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra have opened the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida.

On February 28, once again he entertained the audience with a variety of music and song. As always, he paid tribute to the American Flag and American Veterans. Sturr has been a major supporter of veterans all his life.

Proud to be there in his audience was Newburgh’s James Formato, who has devoted his life to helping our Veterans and who has supported their many worthy causes.
May you always have an angel at your side.

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