We thoroughly enjoyed reading the account of a slimy phone scammer, operating out of Canada, who failed to separate $1,800 from a senior citizen. The scammer, posing as a bail bondsman, called Centerville's Sal Giani, claiming Giani's grandson was in jail in a foreign country and money needed to be wired to free him.
Unfortunately for the scammer, Mr. Giani was no easy mark. He called his daughter, Francine Giani, executive director of Utah's Department of Commerce. Giani, who used to be director of the Division of Consumer Protection, was at the phone when the scammer called back, expecting to hear about his money being delivered via Western Union.
Instead, he learned that this was crime that wasn't going to happen. Once Giani eventually identified her position, the human cockroach hung up. A call to a Canadian number, logged on Sal's phone ID, yielded a busy signal.
As Giani mentions, this attempted crime is not uncommon. Utah law enforcement officials log similar reports often. If the scammer scores a swindle, the money is gone for good. The phone numbers can't be traced; the perpetrators retreat to anonymity.
These scams, as well as crimes of opportunity, don't have to happen. Common sense prevents the loss of money and valuables.
A recent rash of thefts in vehicles as well as garages reminds us of this. In West Point, seven vehicles were burglarized.
Most of the victims made it easier for the criminals by not locking their vehicles. Items that were taken included bank cards, credit cards, purses, wallets, Social Security cards and driver's licenses.
We sympathize with all victims of crime, but we also take a dim view of those who do not take proper measures to prevent themselves from being crime victims.
Doublecheck everything, including locks and what a potential phone scammer tells you.
Make it as difficult as possible to be a victim and it's very likely you won't become one.