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Striking a blow for grandparents and other old folks everywhere

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

Like many of you, I’ve been hearing about clever telephone scams victimizing senior citizens by taking thousands of dollars from them through a variety of fictitious scenarios.

Admittedly, I have been critical of those who fell for such obvious frauds as the driveway sealer or house paint that washed off in the first rainfall or the bogus call from a bank or credit card company about refunds of overpayments.

My wife got a call telling her that her Social Security card had expired. Her father was told that the warranty was running out on a car he sold six years ago.

Telemarketers are the biggest nuisance in my life. I hear friends and family complain about the ingenious methods used to trick us into answering those calls.

No one has been able to explain how those cunning crooks got my cell number or how they can make it appear on your caller ID that an incoming call is from a local number.

In fact, I recently got a call that my caller ID said was coming from a number listed to my neighbor who died a year ago. I didn’t want to relive that family’s grief by telling them about the call.

Last month our house phone rang one evening at dinner. The caller ID reflected the 606 area code. I assumed it was someone we knew.

The connection was not the best. I could barely hear the person calling. Finally, I determined that it was a young woman. She said she was my granddaughter and that she needed help.

Thinking it might be a prank call from one of my two granddaughters who go to college in Ohio, I asked if the call was coming from Cincinnati where the older coed is a student at UC.

The caller responded by saying again that she was in trouble. I detected a foreign dialect and then she totally blew her cover by frantically addressing me as “Grandpa”.

It’s not that I’m such a good detective, it’s because all of my 18 grandkids call me “Papaw”.

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