Paul Osborne's

Scammers Are Calling Residents Of Macon County

The number of scammers calling local people seems to be increasing  in Decatur and Macon County
Elsewhere on this site is an article about another alert issued by Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott and Sheriff Thomas Schneider -- this time about residents being targeted by a new telephone scam.
What makes the latest crop of scammers seem credible when people are called is that Caller ID reflects the number of a legitimate business or government agency.
For example, if the Caller ID indicates the call is coming from a a law enforcement office such as the sheriff, or virtually anyone else, it seems legitimate.
You have to be really careful these days. Scammers can cheat you out of your money while you are at home in Decatur and they are in another country thousands of miles away.

• FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE: As I alerted citizens a few weeks ago, a scammer was calling our subscribers and telling them they needed to renew their subscriptions immediately -- and asking for their credit card number so they could complete the renewal process.
Our Decatur Tribune telephone number even showed up on the Caller ID making it look like the call came from this newspaper.  
That was going to pose a major problem for us.  People would be thinking they were renewing their subscription, but we would be completely unaware of it -- and the scammer. What caused a problem for the scammer is that a citizen called us about being asked to renew, but she wasn’t a subscriber. She wanted to know what was going on.
Apparently, the scammer, who didn’t have our subscription list, was calling citizens at random telling them they needed to renew, even though they wouldn’t know who was actually a subscriber.  
I immediately got the word out to local law enforcement and to the public through our website and print edition.  
What really foiled the scammer is that most readers know we don’t accept credit card payments and if anyone called you, or calls you, claiming to be from the Decatur Tribune -- and asks for your credit card number, it’s a scam.
In fact we never call anyone about renewing their subscription or subscribing to the newspaper.  Renewal forms are mailed to subscribers.
Call me old-fashioned, but all the technology we have today makes it easier for someone to fleece people out of their money -- especially with the Caller ID adding credibility to the call.
Be careful and don’t trust your “Caller ID” to identify the person making the call.
I wouldn’t want to work without a lot of the technology we have today, but we need to be skeptical of what comes to us electronically.

• CAMPAIGNING: Decatur Park Board of Commissioners candidate, former judge John Davis, stopped by the Decatur Tribune office last week to get started on his advertising campaign.  Davis is out working hard to get elected and we’re going to hear quite-a-bit from Davis and the other candidates for all the offices up for election in the coming weeks. 
The election will be April 7th and it will be here before you know it.

• GREAT DAY:  Monday had great weather for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. march in our fair city.  It was clear and the temperature was unseasonably warm.
I remember participating in the marches, both as a private citizen and officially as mayor, when it was very, very cold. 

• CANCELLED: City Clerk Linda M. Swartz has issued a notification that the January 22, 2015, Traffic and Parking Commission meeting is cancelled.  The next meeting will be February 26, 2015.

• RAISE NEEDED: Earlier this week Decatur City Council candidate Bill Faber promised to introduce an ordinance establishing a minimum wage of $10 per hour for all workers within the City of Decatur. 
Faber explained, “This pay raise for Decatur families will stimulate the economy and lift families out of poverty. This is an investment in our most important resource - the families of our town.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Faber’s position, it’s a move that is bound to get him attention in the city council race.

• WEBSITE UP: David Horn, another candidate for city council, has notified me that his campaign website is up at .
It contains some brief biographical
information, his campaign platform, endorsements and campaign video.
I’ll share candidate website addresses as I receive them.

Race For Decatur Mayor Starting To Show Some
Signs Of Life Following
The Holidays

With the mayoral (and city council) election less than three months away, campaigns are starting to show some signs of life -- but not much.
Mayor Mike McElroy, who has three challengers in his bid to be re-elected was the first (and only at this point) to file his D-2 Quarterly Report with the Illinois State Board of Election for the last quarter of 2014.
“Friends For Mike McElroy” filed the report on Jan. 2, showing the income, expenses and closing balance for the quarter. 
McElroy had a fund balance of $11,133.07 heading into this year.  He started the last quarter with $12,557.20 in his account but had a transfer out to Rodney Davis for Congress of $1,000 in October and other expenses of $624.13.
McElroy had one contribution of $200 from Councilman Larry Foster during the quarter.
I’m sure the contribution pace will pick up now that we’ve moved into the “after the holidays” campaign mode.
When we went to press with this edition none of McElroy’s opponents for mayor had filed a Statement of Organization with the Illinois Board of Elections.

FUNDRAISER: A campaign fund-raising event has been announced for mayoral candidate, City Councilman Patrick McDaniel, at the Downtown Cafe, 217 North Main, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28th.
The suggested donation is $25.00.
In addition to McDaniel, McElroy’s other challengers are Bishop G.E. Livingston and Dustin Chapman.
I’ll let you know when they notify me of their fundraisers.

CLOSED...FOR NOW: Nathan Pierce, Executive Director of the Macon County History Museum on North Fork Road, says: “The Macon County History Museum will be closed starting January 19 through the end of February for renovations and maintenance. We will be installing wall panels to help facilitate the changing of exhibits as well as other updates and maintenance.”

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.  



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Paul Osborne
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