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Another scam to be careful about

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By Jim Clark

Beware the 809 area code.

Every once in a while we have to warn you about scams that come across your e-mail.

One which resurfaced recently was the 809 area code scam.

To put it simply, don't call anyone in the area code 809, unless it's someone you know, even if you've been told via e-mail that you've won something, or some other good news.

You'll be charged some fantastic rate per minute on your phone bill, and of course the people who have that number, which is in the islands, reap the profits.

So be smart. Don't call people you don't know.

Another challenge is resisting all these stupid e-mails that want to share an inheritance, give you a prize, or something like that. Here's a news flash: You haven't won anything. They just want your money and/or your information.

I recently got a notice that there was a problem with my PayPal account and would I please enter the information and return it to them. Trouble is, I don't have a PayPal account.

Unfortunately, there might be people who have a PayPal account who take this as a legitimate request. Remember, don't send your information in return. You might pay the price.

I got another one from across the pond that started, "Pleased to make your acquaintance. Permit me to introduce myself..." I just said, I don't want to know you and threw the e-mail in the trash. With that, I lost my chance to share in several million dollars that had been located after the writer's relative had died, and he needed a way to get it into the United States. Yeah, right!

I try to have all these things directed to my junk folder, but junk folders aren't perfect. For some reason, legitimate items get sent there too. I recently got a request from a sports editor of another newspaper asking for some help with something. Unfortunately, it was two days before I saw it.

So don't count on the junk folder taking all your junk. Just look at these e-mails and see them for what they are ... a way of getting something from you that you shouldn't be giving out. Then trash them. That's where they belong.

POLITICS AS USUAL: Thank goodness, the national election is drawing closer. Soon we will be able to turn on our television sets and not see the dumb commercials that are polluting the airwaves.

The major presidential candidates are arguing back and forth over economic plans and health care. Amazingly, the war in Iraq isn't getting much air time. A year ago everyone thought this would be the central theme of the campaign, but that hasn't happened.

It seemed to take the candidates a long time to realize that Americans were really concerned about the economy. Only the recent disasters in the credit markets and on Wall Street woke them up.

For many of us, it's confusing. Stocks are down 500 in one day, down 700 the next, then up several hundred the next. No one seems to know what to think.

The candidates preach change. Don't they realize how silly they sound? For years, the problem has been Congress, regardless of which party is in charge. So what do we have now? We've got two U.S. senators running against each other. That hasn't happened in quite a while.

It's hard to institute change when you're part of the problem.

There's only one way to get real change in Washington, and that's to vote out all the incumbents (term limits, anyone?). Some people are saying that this is the most important presidential election in a long time. Don't they say that every four years? Frankly, I'm not sure it will make one bit of difference.

Finally, there's the way each of them ends his commercial, what started as an interesting phrase which has now grown old and become a clich.

But maybe that's the way I should end my column each week. I'm Jim Clark, and I approve this message.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.