It seems that people in Decatur and across the nation are, in increasing numbers, becoming the victims of scams. Some scams come over the phone, some in the mail and a growing number from the internet. Warnings of scams being worked in Macon County are often issued by the state’s attory and sheriff’s offices.
As a newspaper editor I receive a huge number of emails each day and, among them, are efforts to dislodge from me personal information or money (or both). Here’s an example of one I received on Friday using the email address of a Decatur resident who has corresponded with me over the years.
Many of you may have received the same email. This is exactly how it was written: “Hope you’re doing well? I need a little favor from you. I need to get an Amazon gift card for my Niece, Nancy. It’s her birthday but I can’t do this now because I’m currently travelling. Can you get it from any store around you? I’ll reimburse as soon as I am back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this. Thank you very much. Though, won’t have access to my Emails shortly. The total amount she needs is $400 (100 x 4) from any store around you. I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin, then take a snapshot of it showing the pin and have the image attached and Email directly to her as I would not have access to my Emails.”
That’s quite a generous uncle — with my money! I notified the local person whose email had been hacked. It appeared the same email had been sent to everybody on the hacked resident’s email list. The technology of today has so many positive uses, but, like about anything else in society, there’s always those who will use something good for their own bad purposes.
• A FEW years ago, I received several similar emails to the one just described, where a “friend” had his wallet stolen while on vacation in Hawaii and he had no money or credit cards to get back to Decatur. He wanted me to send him some money to use until he got his financial distress worked out and he could get back home to Decatur from Hawaii and indicated he needed the money soon so please hurry. He promised to pay me back when he got back. He was desperate!!!!! The only problem was that my “friend” had been in my Tribune office a few minutes before I received the “distress email” from him! Ooops! Be very careful how you respond to such requests. Don’t send money or personal information to these con artists. Keep your money…the State of Illinois needs it for all the new taxes and tax increases!!!
• THE BOWLS in the Central Park fountain were painted with a slightly blue hue mixture. I don’t know if it was a mistake or intentional, but, the more I see it, the more I like it. The light blue on the outside and darker blue in the bowls and basin adds a little more beauty to the fountain.
• A MAN broke out the front glass door of the Subway location on North Park Street late one recent night. Video tape from inside the store shows the man breaking the glass with one of the wrought iron chairs in front of the building (it took several hits with the chair) and then heading straight for the rest room. I guess, when you have to go you have to go. When he finished doing his business inside the rest room, police officers were waiting for him as he emerged — and it wasn’t to take his order for a sandwich! As a business owner myself, I know how discouraging such senseless destruction of property can be for those who serve the public.
• THANKS to those responsible for fixing the clock that stands on the corner of Water and North Park streets —across from the northwest edge of Central Park. One of our readers mentioned the clock was working some weeks ago as I reported in this column. I walked by it today and it has the correct time.
• IT DOESN’T seem possible that the Fourth of July celebration is next week! This year is going by faster than all of that progressive legislation was recently passed in the state capitol! Have a safe Fourth of July!!!