Northeast Times

$9,000 windfall just a con game

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.

LOC­AL EVENTS

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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