Old Geezer: Scammers everywhere you look!

The news sources of all kinds are loaded with stories about various scams that go on day after day. It used to be that you could find a place out in the country and get away from all that sordid action, but we all know with the internet and all the free long distance calling that is available there is no place to hide.

By Walt Trandum

Walt Trandum

lots of things are happening and we are not aware because we haven’t exposed ourselves to those who would seek our soft side and give us the business. One of our daughters and her husband made the decision to sell a hot tub that came with the house they just bought. A simple ad on Craig’s list looked to be the best place to advertise. It took but one day before the first offer came and they did some dickering before agreeing on a price. There were what appeared to be just two potential buyers and there were some exchanges of bids until one of them offered more than the price they had advertised.

Fortunately they had agreed on a price with a local person and then they received a large envelop that contained a cashier’s check for more than what the sale price had ever been. Sensing something was very wrong they then discovered that the scam was pretty common and they had been dealing with folks from all over the world. A phony cashiers check sent from Tennessee written on a bank in Texas mailed from some place in a US Mail envelop.  The trick was to get them to cash the bogus check and then mail them the overage amount.

All this sounds pretty stupid but I guess they make it work or they would quit trying. That old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”

Over my many years on this earth I have had the displeasure of knowing some real “Con Men”, and actually worked with some guys who were riding right on the edge of being very illegal operators. What I remember most was how thick skinned they actually were. When you caught them in a lie they would not even hesitate and go right on as if you hadn’t even spoke.

Lately I have been receiving calls from a robot on my cell phone telling me how lucky I was and all the wonderful things I had just won.  Pretty easy to hang up except when you are driving and find yourself pulling off the road to answer the phone. I guess it doesn’t do any good to yell at them, except you get it off your chest!

All this makes we wonder how people with a warped sense of what is right or wrong got that way. Surely they were not among the fellows I met in my Boy Scout days. Stealing or telling lies were not allowed in the organization and not at home. Maybe they never had something taken from them or perhaps they did steal something and got away with it.

I do remember one time when we had bought a new washer and dryer set and thought giving the old ones to someone on Craig’s list would be a good way to get rid of them. I think I did finally put a small price on them and only had the stipulation that they had to take both machines. It was later that day that I received a phone call from the person who bought them. They just wanted to thank us and were so surprised and pleased to find out that both machines were actually in good working order.

One little bit that I remember from many years ago was when a friend had to buy a new water heater. He was a bit perplexed on how to haul and get rid of the old tank. He finally placed the old tank in the new box and put it out on the curb with a for sale sign for $100.00.   The next morning it was gone with somebody who made a shrewd move in the middle of the night.

Over the years I have had many opportunities to share in the pride that comes from working with others to make good things happen. Only those of us with a lot of gray hair can remember the helplessness that everyone felt when faced with world financial depressions and healthcare problems that looked like the end of the world. With hard work and new technology some of those problems have been solved.  It is just too bad we still have  those among us who continue to have no respect for what belongs to someone else.  There are some people that I have even less respect for and they would be those who just tear apart and ruin things and break the hearts of the owners.