The callers say they’re from the government and they want to give you $9,000.
The very idea of that is bound to provoke a chuckle, but some people really are making such calls. That doesn’t mean what they’re offering is genuine.
The money is not for real and neither are the so-called government reps, Margaret Recupido, an aide to City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.), warned members of the Normandy Civic Association during their Feb. 11 meeting. The callers dangle the notions of big government payouts to elicit personal information, Recupido said.
She said residents, three from Normandy, told her about the phony calls the day of the meeting.
“The folks were all senior citizens who received calls from someone identifying himself as a government official,” she stated in a Feb. 12 email to the Northeast Times. “He tells the person that the government has $9,000 for them — an overpayment in one case, a ‘senior bonus’ in another.”
After making that pitch, Recupido wrote, the man tries to ferret out information about the individuals.
Two of the residents just hung up on the caller, and the third laughed at him first, Recupido wrote. The residents did not tell the man their names.
“Obviously, we are dealing with another shameless scam to fleece the senior public,” she stated.
Such telephone schemes are not uncommon. The Northeast Times has published stories about several cons in the past few years -— from phony sweepstakes news to threats of fines for not appearing for jury duty to utility bill scams — all aimed at harvesting money, personal information or both.
How should people deal with those out-of-the-blue calls?
They should say nothing and hang up. That’s the most frequently repeated advice from government officials and private experts.
Don’t engage these con artists in conversation even if you’re doing it only to mock them. They’re looking for any information about you they can get. Any tidbit might lead them to your name, address or Social Security number, and that information can lead to identity theft, ruined credit and years of financial headaches.
Another popular dodge is a call about the repair of your burglar alarm system. You tell the caller there must be a mistake because you don’t have an alarm system, and, if you do that, you might realize it’s time to get one.
The Normandy reunion/fundraiser is scheduled for May 2. See story on this page. The association will be conducting a “Bingo for Bags” night from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on March 8 at St. Martha’s church hall, 11301 Academy Road. Tickets to the BYOB event are $30 each and must be purchased by March 1. Tickets will be sold only to those 21 years old or older. Call the civic association’s treasurer, Theresa Olsen, at 267-304-6912 for information and tickets.
There will be a fundraiser on Feb. 23 at Katie O’Donnell’s, 4501 Woodhaven Road, for the Bashwinger and McHugh families, who were left homeless when a Jan. 22 fire made their Normandy Drive home uninhabitable.
The fire’s cause was traced to an extension cord, according to Capt. Clifford Gilliam, Fire Department spokesman. The fire was reported at 7 a.m. on Jan. 22, Gilliam said, and firefighters arrived at 7:06 a.m. The fire was under control in 17 minutes, he said. There were smoke alarms in the house that did work, the captain said. The Red Cross put family members up in a hotel, spokesman Dave Schrader said on Feb. 13.
At the Feb. 11 session, Councilman O’Neill told members he was pleased with the Lannett Company’s decision to locate in two buildings once part of the old Internal Revenue Service processing center on the Roosevelt Boulevard.
The Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical company bought the properties in December, the Northeast Times reported last month. Lan-nett in-tends to re-devel-op the prop-er-ties for man-u-fac-tur-ing, product de-vel-op-ment and ware-hous-ing, company spokesman Robert Jaffe said. The com-pany has not de-clared a timetable. Lan-nett man-u-fac-tures and dis-trib-utes gen-er-ic med-ic-a-tions. Foun-ded in 1942, the com-pany is based at 13200 Town-send Road and owns oth-er fa-cil-it-ies at 9000 State Road and 9001 Tor-res-dale Ave. To-geth-er, those prop-er-ties cov-er al-most 14 acres and fea-ture 160,000 square feet of op-er-at-ing space, the paper reported Jan. 9.
O’Neill, who had opposed any retail use of the industrially zoned former IRS site, told Normandy members that he didn’t want any shopping centers there because “they cannibalize each other.” Stores move from one shopping center to another, he said, creating more problems by leaving the older locations empty.
The association’s president, John Wisniewski, said there have been several burglaries in the neighborhood lately and a local gas station has been robbed repeatedly.
He urged residents to call 911 to report anything they see that seems suspicious and not to assume someone else reported the same thing.
O’Neill chipped in on that point, stressing neighbors should report anything they see to police. If the police don’t know about it, they can’t respond, he said.
Some good news in regard to police coverage, the councilman said, is that 10 graduates from the next Police Academy class will be assigned to the 8th District, which includes Normandy and other Far Northeast neighborhoods. ••
Normandy Civic reunion scheduled
The Normandy Civic Association has scheduled a reunion/fundraiser for 7 to 11 p.m. on May 2 at the FOP Lodge 5 headquarters on Caroline Road. Tickets are $40 per person, and tables of 10 are selling quickly. To purchase tickets or for information, call 215-828-3678. ••