Don’t be a victim, be vigilant

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

By The Staff

There are always people out there who want your money …  without having to earn it. Hardly a day goes by when you don’t read about someone who “lost their life savings” to a con man or some sort of fly-by-night organization.

We’ve come across a couple in the past week. Here are some details.

The first information came from Richard Lasher, who submitted the following information:

“Perhaps by printing this information other seniors will not be taken in and lose money to a con man.

Several seniors in Oak Run paid a deposit to a man for various projects ranging from installing a water heater to tinting windows.

After many phone calls and broken promises he never showed up.

The seniors went to the Sheriff’s Office on State Road 200 and were treated very well while filing a report. They were then instructed to contact the State Attorney’s office and follow up with the police report.

One week later the State Attorney’s office wrote letters to each individual informing them that no crime had been committed and therefore the only option would be to go to small claims court.

To file a claim in small claims, each individual would have to pay a fee and then the court would follow up. Since the con artist had nothing the individuals would just be out the money.

We hope, in having this printed, to alert others not to pay anyone without checking to make sure they are licensed and ask to see work they have completed.”

That last sentence is great advice. Better still, don’t do business with any alleged contractor-type if you didn’t initiate the contact. If they come to you soliciting business, look out!

The other scam involves Medicare. You get an official- looking note, one of those where you have to tear open the ends and you see information inside. It already has some of your info, but it asks for your Social Security number and other details.

Then you look at the bottom, and in very fine print, you see that it’s “not affiliated with any government program or agency.” In other words, you’re giving your information to someone and you don’t know what they are going to do with it.

You have to be vigilant all the time. We’d hate to see any of you show up in our police reports as victims.