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01 July 2018 - Beware of Scams and Thieves

There was a time when we thought the only crime in farm country was cattle rustling, but like everything else, that certainly has changed. I remember years ago when a farmer friend of mine said the thing he didn’t like about Interstate highways was the fact they brought criminals and thieves out of the city into the country. I don’t know if that is really the case, but I was recently reminded, in the California Farm Bureau Newsletter, that theft is a concern on farms and ranches.

Let me quote . . . “Thefts of tractor, farm implements, trailers and other farm equipment create headaches for California farmers and ranchers. One Central Valley county, Tulare, has reported thefts of nearly half a million dollars’ worth of heavy equipment so far this year –although more than half of that has been recovered. Deputies encourage farmers to mark their equipment, lock it away and take other steps to deter thefts.”

Every time I drive in the country and see heavy equipment - combines, planters and tractors, parked in the fields, out of sight of the farmstead and in te dark, I am concerned because that makes it too easy for thieves to haul it away in the dead of night.

Then, there are hundreds of scams out there, like one that hit me two years ago and as my sister in Westby, Wisconsin learned a week ago, is still active.

The phone rings and when she answers, a voice sounding much like her grandson says “Grandma, I’ve got a problem. I am in jail at this town in Pennsylvania because the police found drugs in my friend’s car when we got stopped for running a stop sign. I need $9000.00 to get out of jail.” My sister absolutely panicked, said she was on Social Security and didn’t have that kind of money, but she would call his dad to get help, so give me a phone number so I can you back. The phone went dead. She called me in tears. Two years ago when I received a similar call, I was amazed at how much the caller sounded like my grandson.

My firm advice . . . don’t send money to anyone requesting it on the phone for an emergency, AND, ask your ‘grandson’ a question that only he would know the answer.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.