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Culleton: Be wary of unwelcome phone solicitations, scams

Unwelcome messages to the family house phone fall in two categories: sales calls and scams.

The sales calls are annoying. When they begin with a sentence like “Don't hang up” we know what to do.

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The scams are criminal attempts to cheat the unwary out of big money. A recent one pretended to be from Publishers Clearing House. My spouse commented that contacts from PCH were usually done either by letter mail or by a visit to the home. The scanner stated that they came to our house on Monday but no one was home. Since I am housebound that is impossible.

Another scam is more elaborate but is being repeated several times in our neighborhood. A young boy says, “Grandma I had an accident and am in jail because I was answering my cell phone. Two people are injured.”

Then an older voice comes on and states, “I am his public defender and I need $8,200 in bail money to keep him out of jail.” My spouse replied that we couldn't come up with that amount. Then they hung up.

Variations of this scam state that the grandchild is being held in Mexico for some reason.

A neighbor suggested a clever way to distinguish this scam from a legitimate call for help. Ask the youth if he is George. If he says he is George reply with, “I don't have a grandson named George” and hang up. Any name can be used so long it is not the name of a real grandchild.

An elderly retired federal employee was called with a similar scam. He agreed to meet with the scammer at an airport to give him the money. But when the scammer arrived he was greeted by two FBI agents instead. It seems the elderly victim was retired from the job of Chief of the FBI. He made a phone call to one of his contacts and the scammer will indeed be in jail.

Several people in Eldersburg have been called using this or a similar scam. Tell your neighbors and relatives and give them a warning about this scam.

And now for the political scene.

All of us here in Carroll County should call our county commissioner and urge him to help put Code Home Rule on the ballot in 2020. It passed, but a clever scheme by the club that controls the legislative delegation put the change to five commissioners elected from districts on the same ballot. That received more votes.

Code Home Rule simply means that some items of local legislation that now must be approved by the legislature could be handled locally instead. The change will save time and money.

All the counties surrounding Carroll have gone to the charter form of government. The change to Code Home Rule leaves our current system of government in place but eliminates an unnecessary step, saving time and money.

Thanks to the basic incompetence and many illegal actions of the Trump Administration, the House of Representatives has turned from a solid Republican majority to a solid Democratic majority. The same could happen in the Senate in 2020. If the Democrats are smart enough to select a presidential candidate that is not on the far left, President Trump may find himself unemployed after the same election. My suggestions for a candidate to lead my party would include Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Julian Castro. But it will be hard to pick anyone as incompetent as the Trumpster.

Of course, the Republicans could write off the current president and substitute any of the several excellent members of that party who could could serve with distinction. But it is hard to admit a mistake as big as Donald Trump.

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