John Howell Sr. Editorial 11/25/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tis the season for worthy warnings, Fa-la-la-la, la sisboombah

Tis the season — for warnings.

News releases from state agencies this week include one warning from the Attorney General’s office about scams and another from the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation about deer in the roadway. Both threats are approaching their seasonal peaks.

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Every week scammers come up with another twist to beat someone out of their money, either with identity theft or phone scams.

AG Jim Hood suggests using credit cards with care, debit cards sparingly and with caution. Monitor credit card and bank accounts often, especially during and after the holiday season. Watch for unusual activity.

(I recently noticed unusual charges on my credit card. They started on Oct. 3, five different charges from the same place over a couple of weeks that totaled over $850. The credit card company immediately credited my account back with each transaction as I reported them. The investigation is still pending.)

Shop online carefully and only buy from websites with security certifications such as TRUSTe or VeriSign, the AG warning continues

What makes the phone scams so aggravating is that they work best on our elderly, that trusting generation who were taught so well to be courteous to anyone who calls on the telephone. The obvious solution is not to be rude but just don’t speak on the telephone with anyone who calls you who you do not know. Period.

And don’t trust your caller ID, either. “They (scammers) can even spoof and use the institution’s real phone number,” the AG says.

“Remember, your financial institution will never initiate a call to you and then ask you to verify your account or personal information on the phone.”

And about those deer at night on the roadway? That’s easy. Slow down, honk your horn a lot, and urge our legislators to suspend all seasonal restrictions on hunting deer, especially at night with spotlights!