We should be adequately warned by now that there are myriad shysters and con-artists out there who would like to take away some of our hard-earned money. Yet some will fall prey.

Scammers come in all shapes and sizes, utilizing the phone system, computers and the mail.

In today’s Rants and Raves column, a contributor notes that he  has received phone calls that he suspects to be fraud attempts. And most likely that is the case.

Scammers take advantage of holidays, natural disasters and other events to shape their spiels.

One caller may say he’s collecting funds for a fireman’s association and another may be collecting for law enforcement organizations. Meanwhile, local agencies will have no knowledge of these alleged campaigns, therefore it’s best if you keep your money in your pocket.

To be safe when you get these calls, ask for detailed information such as names of campaign managers, phone numbers and any other documentation that you might think of requesting. In many cases, the caller will just hang up.

Giving to charitable causes is a good thing. And if you desire to help in this regard, there are many legitimate local organizations that you might want to consider, ranging from United Way to the Food Bank with many others in between.

Another reminder should be to not give out personal information to anyone over the phone. As well, shred documents that no longer are of any use to you but have personal data in them. Scammers are an ingenious species and might extract information from your data that could bleed your bank account.

And given that we are waist deep into the holidays and many people are buying gifts, consider numerous safety factors. We often get some sad stories about this time of year where gifts are taken from cars and houses.

Be aware of your surroundings, and from a larger view in your community, embrace the concept of being your brother’s keeper. Be safe!

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