TERRE HAUTE —
I was coming out of Baesler’s parking lot and had driven about a block when my phone rang. I thought, “Oh my, now she’s calling me to get something from the grocery store and I had just left!” When I said, “Hello,” a voice on the other end, said “Mr. Mott,” and it was a young man with a very heavy Indian accent. (Not Native American, Indian of the country India.) He asked if this was my address and he gave me my former address. It took a little while before I could get him to understand me, and I could hardly understand him at all.
After some confusing conversation, he got through to me he needed to send me a new Medicare card. I thought that was strange since I’ve been getting new information from Social Security at my address for the better part of two years. When I pulled up to my house, I learned he wanted me to identify the last four numbers of my checking account. I told him I never give any banking information to strangers over the telephone. After trying to convince me it was all on the up and up, he said, “I’ll have you speak to my supervisor.”
In the process of getting his supervisor on the line, I could hear a lot of voices, seven or eight, talking to other people about the very same thing. Then, a man with less of an Indian accent got on the phone. I asked him if he was calling from Mumbai, and he said, “No, no, I’m calling from Washington, D.C.” He then said, “We have the last four numbers of your checking account and we merely need you to identify your numbers so we can see if you are the right person we need to send your Medicare card to.”
I explained that I was driving in my car and I didn’t have my checkbook with me. And I do not have the last four numbers of my checking account memorized. I asked him to call me back in one hour and by that time I would be home. He said he would do that very thing.
Of course, I was already home, but an hour would give me time to make some phone calls. The security people at First Financial Bank assured me they never give out any information to anyone for any reason regarding individual accounts. The only way someone could get information about my account would be for me to march in with them and assure the bank it was OK.
Then, I called the fraud line for Medicare and they said I was not getting a card in the mail, but if I was supposed to be receiving a new card, they don’t need any information because they have it all. They said this is a scam, and wanted to know if I had the caller’s phone number. I told them the phone number where this call was placed was blocked to my cell phone. It was a scam.
I thought it stunk, but before I begin to take too much credit, I’m really not smart enough to carry the numbers in my head they wanted. Keep in mind … never give any numbers concerning any accounts at any bank to a person over the telephone. Fortunately for me, I did not.
If you’re a senior citizen, please stay alert. Do not give out that information to anybody, especially if it sounds like he/she is calling you from Mumbai, New Delhi or somewhere in India. A real smart scammer would sound like somebody right next door.
I would like to say we have many excellent people in Terre Haute from India. My doctor is from India, a good doctor and a good man. And I’ve gone to specialists from India and they are good people. These idiots in the boiler room trying to get information out of me never did call back. Having been armed with the information from First Financial Bank and Medicare, it would have been a very intriguing phone call. As it were, it was something to write about and to warn you, the reader, this was going on and it could happen to you.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star.
TERRE HAUTE —
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An important gauge for measuring the long-term prospects of a community is the well-being of its children. For all the effort and progress Vigo County has made in rebuilding the economy and improving its quality of life, chronic problems with the welfare of its children still exist.
- Readers' Forum: March 14, 2014
RONN MOTT: Ukraine 2
The situation in the Ukraine should let us know plainly, and openly, the old saying about a leopard never changing its spots is true. Vladimir Putin is a KGB officer, grew up a communist and, from all appearances, still believes like a communist.
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It’s been more than a decade since local police officials declared methamphetamine as “public enemy No. 1.”
READERS' FORUM: March 13, 2014
• Celebrating the Girl Scouts
• Challenging the politicians
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on a cool day (Part III)
• Resolving to praise ISU
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- READERS' FORUM: March 12, 2014
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A few days ago we talked to John Anderson of the Greencastle Presbyterian Church. He’s the coordinator for a mission of the church that builds ramps and stairs for those who are physically handicapped in Putnam County.
EDITORIAL: Thinking warm thoughts (Part II of III)
• Renewing a local library commitment
LIZ CIANCONE: We’re not only ones ready for springtime
During the most recent of our numerous descents into polar temperatures, I was astounded to see a dozen or more robins up to their ankles in snow. They were fluffed out to about twice their normal size. I suppose that was an effort to provide a bit of feathered insulation against the cold.
READERS' FORUM: March 11, 2014
• Meat-free path to the fountain of youth
• Faulty point?
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on cool days (Part I of III)
• Something good’s brewing
• Y we can’t take it for granted
FLASHPOINT: Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t
At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.
READERS' FORUM: March 10, 2014
• Our government’s heart and soul
• A plea for more give and take
MARK BENNETT: New public-access point begins quest to create more spots to experience river
Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
EDITORIAL: Ads on the sides of school buses? What have we come to?
Ads on the sides of school buses do not constitute a sign of the apocalypse. Western civilization will survive.
Flashpoint: President should stop Medicare Advantage cuts
Virtually all elected officials — Republicans and Democrats — share the goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance and helping families receive the best coverage to meet their specific needs.
Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014
Mardi Gras great event for Swope
EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar
Please pray for Ukraine innocents
Sinful thinking on road to hell
Liberty — or licentiousness
People will not always agree
Botched chance at leadership
RONN MOTT: Radio now a long lost love
I fell in love with radio when I was 16, just a few short weeks before my 17th birthday. The man who did the deed and hired me was Adlai Ferguson.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Welcome to girls teams, fans
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
EDITORIAL: What do Sony cutbacks mean?
It is easy to understand why shivers run down local people’s spines whenever rumors hit the streets about Sony DADC’s plant on Terre Haute’s east side. With more than 1,400 people currently employed in Sony’s production and distribution facilities, the community has grown somewhat dependent on the economic stability Sony provides.
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
RONN MOTT: Knicks
The big noise in the NBA is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay with the New York Knicks or go elsewhere.
If my memory serves, and it doesn’t always, Carmelo left the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him, to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple. It was loudly proclaimed at the time that Carmelo wanted to play for a championship team. The Knicks’ ownership bought a bunch of players and spent a whole bunch of money to aid Carmelo in helping the Knicks to get to a championship.
EDITORIAL: More ill will against gays
If you’re a feral cat wandering freely through a trailer park in Indiana, the General Assembly has taken action to make your life better.
Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014
Utilities do need tighter regulation
Great work by TV sports staff
Editorial: A good place for persistence
The topic of Gov. Mike Pence’s effectiveness as the state’s top governmental leader during this year’s General Assembly will be hashed and rehashed after the session closes down in the next couple of weeks. At best, the first-term governor will get mixed marks.
- Readers’ Forum: March 5, 2014
RONN MOTT: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington
I remember when by edict the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were lumped into a single celebration called “Presidents Day.” I thought it was stupid then, and I still do.
LIZ CIANCONE: Antiques show better than any modern programs
I’m not a big fan of television.
Readers’ Forum: March 4, 2014
Lunatic ravings of the far right
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- Editorial: Our children in poverty