Richard’s Almanac: Beware of bad intentions

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Watch out for scammers!

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Watch out for scammers!

It was good to meet County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) and TJ Hatter from the New York State Attorney General’s office last Wednesday at the Senior Citizen Center and listen to them speak about seniors becoming victims of telephone scams.

The speakers essentially gave the same advice that Island Police Chief James Read gave me a few weeks ago: “Hang up!”

TJ also reminded us that we have answering machines for a reason.

“If you do not recognize the number, let the machine pick it up,” he said.

He explained that the scammers rely of fear, intimidation and kindness.

“A typical scam is to call and tell a grandparent that a grandson has gotten into some trouble and needs money right away,” TJ noted, adding that the scammers will also say that the grandparent should not tell the parents.

Another type of scam is intimidation. For example, a call from the IRS claiming that you owe money on your taxes. This can make someone very nervous. It’s unsettling even though everyone should know that the IRS never makes phone calls. Sometimes the callers will ask for gift cards as payments.

The third method of fraud involves kindness. You might receive a call saying that you have won a cruise to someplace exotic. You’ll probably be asked to send some money to cover taxes or processing fees.

Always be wary of things that seem too good to be true, TJ noted, particularly the guys who knock on your door ready to pave your driveway or make some other home repair.

“They’ll ask for money for materials and never return,” he warned.

Bridget Fleming said that she was available to speak with constituents in her office on Washington Street in Sag Harbor.

Before TJ and Bridget left, a brochure called “Smart Seniors” was distributed to everyone. It is published by the office of the New York State Attorney General and contains valuable information for seniors about staying safe and scam-free.

On another subject, I decided to take advantage of the Historical Society’s inaugural Farmers Market for this season.

What a treat!

In addition to the cheeses and chocolates, puzzles and pickles, seafood and strawberries, and many local vegetables, there was also honey, free plants, chicken burgers and chaga.

I was very familiar with all the products available except for chaga -… which I’ve never heard of. It was available in a solid form to be brewed at home or bottled like iced tea. It’s pretty tasteless but promises many beneficial results for the user.

I learned from the brochure and the woman selling it that chaga is a mushroom that grows on white birch trees in cold climates. According to the brochure chaga has been used in Russia, Scandinavia, Europe and Asia by medical practitioners for an array of ailments for thousands of years.

It has been taken to treat many problems affecting seniors including heart disease, hypertension, cancer, COPD, digestive disorders, varicose veins and many other problems.

It is said to slow the aging process and support vision.

You learn something every day!