A woman gets a phone call from her granddaughter. The young girl is hysterical. She is being arrested by the police, and she needs $5,000 or they're going to put her in jail.

Grandma follows instructions and gets the money to where she was told.

A man is using his computer when it freezes with the warning that it has malware and to call a number. He calls it and is told they can unfreeze the computer, but it will cost $500.

He sends it.

A couple on a fixed income gets an email claiming that an unknown relative living in Nigeria has died, leaving the couple $5 million, but they need to send $5,000 to have the money put into their account.

They send it.

A man is sitting at home on his day off when his phone rings. It's his boss, asking him why he applied for unemployment benefits. When he replies that he hasn't, his boss informs him that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services called him about it. The man calls the bureau and finds out that someone using his personal information, including his Social Security number, has applied for unemployment benefits.

These are all fictional accounts, but they are just like those taking place daily in our community.

Scammers do not care if they steal from the elderly, the young, the gullible, a man or a woman. They do not care that they steal from someone on a limited budget. Nor do they care that they have a conscience.

They are out to steal and scam from anyone that they can find. They do like to prey on senior citizens and the less tech-savvy people, but they’ll take advantage of anyone.

The police blotter we publish lists numerous scams taking place locally. In fact, there are so many that we leave out several each week.

Starting this week, we will be featuring a periodic article about ongoing scams.

Bob Kern, a retired federal prosecutor, saw many types of scams throughout his career. He will be able to help you, our readers, stay alert, stay safe and keep your hard-earned money. He details up-to-date scams, including ones involving stimulus checks and coronavirus testing kits and vaccines.

He will advise you what to do if someone attempts to scam you and how to avoid being fooled.

Read his column. Follow his advice and avoid anything that sounds too good to be true or just doesn't sound right.

Getting scammed is not an embarrassment. But it is something you can avoid with a little knowledge and healthy skepticism.

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