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Scams are despicable, predictable

Seeing another rash of scams target our citizens is disturbing, but it's not all that surprising.

Both the Wadena Police Department and Wadena County Sheriff's Department have been dealing with an uptick in the number of scams in the area.

Scammers and their pitches have become far more detailed and sophisticated than they were years ago. Gone are the days of the Nigerian prince who just wants some help getting money into the country.

Today, scams are often more personal: a frantic call from a teenage voice claiming to be a grandchild in need of help, a job offer or an offer to buy a car or other item that just doesn't seem on the up-and-up.

We shouldn't be shocked that scams are on the rise. With a global recession, scammers are becoming more desperate and those who are scammed often are willing to roll the dice to get out of a tough financial spot themselves.

That doesn't make bilking people out of their life's earnings any less despicable.

Common scare tactics such as posing as an authority figure or a large company one already has a relationship with are being used today. To protect yourself, always, always verify the authenticity of the source before sending off any money. And if someone claims you've won something, you've won it and should never have to send them any money to get it (of course, if you really won, you'll have to file taxes on it later.)

The Minnesota Attorney General's Web site has a comprehensive list of recent scams that can protect you from an innocent mistake costing you dearly. Visit it at www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/ConAlert/Default.asp or call AG Lori Swanson's office at (800) 657-3787 to get help.

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