Be skeptical with calls asking for money

Published 6:25 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The call came in late Tuesday morning as I was preparing to leave on an assignment.

The man on the other end of the call (I forget his name, he rattled it off so fast) told me he was with some organization named the American Law Enforcement Association and began to explain how the organization contributes money to legislators and makes equipment donations to police departments. But when pressed him for information whether our local officers were aware of this fund drive, I got a quick “thank you for your time, sir,” and the caller hung up.

Was this guy calling for a legitimate organization? I have no idea, but if I were a betting man (and I’m not), I’d say he wasn’t legitimate. At least when I did an online search of national law enforcement organizations, his didn’t come up.

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It’s not surprising. With the proliferation of the Internet with the many social media outlets and improved technology with cell phones, the number of questionable groups trying to make a fast buck seems to have grown immensely since the days of the landline phone, and they have become a pain.

My wife, who has long since finished college, keeps getting calls from some company wanting her to settle her student loan, which she settled years ago, and she reminds the callers of that fact.

Our daughter, who finished paying off her student loan several years ago, gets the same calls and gives the callers the same response as her mother.

When we traveled to Georgia this summer, my wife got a call from the IRS. I called the number and was greeted by a woman with a definite Asian voice who said “IRS.” When she repeated those three letters, I asked where their office was, and I got silence in return as she hung up.

Working for a newspaper, it’s common for me to get emails from law enforcement and the Attorney General’s office warning people about some new telephone scam going in the area. Some are familiar, like the IRS scam, the utility scam where someone calls telling you your power will be cut off unless you send a money card to a certain address, people being called from some “bank” about an account and being asked for personal information. And most of the targets of these calls are the elderly.

I used to wonder how people could be so easily duped into falling for such things, but now that I’m getting along in years I can understand, and getting older has made me more aware of the fact that at some point in my life I could fall victim to a scam if I’m not careful, and I’m going to be careful as we all should be. We need to ask these callers questions, and if we get a suspicious call report it to law enforcement or the Attorney General’s Consumer Affairs office. I received a call Tuesday and I was skeptical. We should all be.

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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