Editorials

Avoid being the ‘sucker’ of the minute

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” The origin of this quote, supposedly by P.T. Barnum, creator of the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, is as phony as the incident that created it. The words are accurate, however, many reports say it was not Barnum who uttered the now-famous phrase. Rather it was his competitor, David Hannum. The snit, between Barnum and Hannum was over a fake fossilized human giant. The key word is,“fake.” The human giant was as fake as the phone scams circulating through Middle Georgia.

The Better Business Bureau has been inundated with calls from people who have received what has been termed the “IRS Phone Scam.” The callers identify themselves as IRS personnel and they inform the potential victim that they owe the IRS and need to pay right away or off to jail they go. There are variations of this type of phone scam. In another, scammers parading as a law enforcement official call saying that a family member is in jail and bail must be posted. Not.

While the Better Business Bureau had a spike in calls, that is a good thing. It proves people were wary of the scam calls they received, but these criminals probably strike the mother lode more than we would like to think. Here is a good rule of thumb that’s bound to protect you and loved ones from falling victim: Don’t give the caller any personal information, and when in doubt, hang up. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether P.T. Barnum or David Hannum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” because it still rings more true than false.

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