By Bob Harris
The latest scam is an attempt by crooks who call you and attempt to get you to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card and then have you call them back with the number on the back so they can access the money.
The scammers have been calling and claiming to be either collecting money you owe to a utility company or the IRS or to settle an auto accident or claim to be a niece or nephew or cousin or other family member who had an accident or was arrested or is ill and needs money. The scammers may claim to be foreign lawyers or doctors.
The criminals want you to go to a drugstore or other store and buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card and give them the access code on the card so they can take the money. They will ask for whatever amount of money they think you would be willing to spend or a random amount such as $653. Sometimes they ask you to wire them the money.
Be aware that this is happening. No utility company or government agency will ever call asking for immediate payment using a Green Dot MoneyPak card. If someone calls or e-mails you asking for money, never give out your personal or financial information or send them any money.
Just hang up on any such calls. If you want to check on a call or e-mail, then do not use any number the caller gives you but one from your bill or the phone book or from a legislator or your local precinct.
The June 2014 Newsletter of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association printed a warning from community affairs Officer Peter Capozzi, of the 107th Precinct Community Affairs Unit, which warns of “skimming” by crooks at ATMs.
The criminal attaches a phone card reading device over the authentic card reader either at the entrance door or on the ATM itself. Prior to using an ATM, make sure there is nothing loose, out of place or crooked. Look for adhesive tape residue or scratches.
When entering your personal identification number, cover the keyboard with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
The AARP July/August Bulletin warns people that if you receive an e-mail from your bank or a big store to report a problem with your account, do not click the link and log in. The e-mail is a fake and it takes you to a bogus website. When you log in, the crooks take your password.
The June 2014 Bayside Hills Beacon Newsletter warns people that new clothing collection boxes are illegal and an eyesore. They do not belong to any regular charity but to a shady, for-profit company that sells the clothing to make money. The city has to give a 30-day notice to the owner before removal.
The city will be sued if anything but a crayon notice is placed on the box. The people move the box down the street after 30 days if they are getting lots of clothing to sell. Call 311 or your community board about boxes.
GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Community activist Mandingo Tshaka has written a book about his days as a singer with the Ink Spots and his years of community involvement.
Tshaka was on Community Board 11 for 17 years, worked to establish a park behind MS 158, made the city recognize an old slave cemetery which had been paved over, fought drug dealers and made the federal government admit that the White House and Capitol was built with the help of slave labor.
The 83-year-old civic leader worked with me on civic issues decades ago.
BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: One of the arguments the gun lobby makes to encourage gun ownership is to license more gun owners to make us safer.
Well, in June in Las Vegas a husband and wife shot and killed two police officers. A resident who had a gun permit, Joseph Wilcox, tried to stop one killer but he did not know there were two of them and the second one killed him.
So much for civilians with guns protecting us from killers.