I am the oldest of four children raised by a wonderful mother, a single parent who did her best with what she had. None of us had much in the way of material goods but we were loved and shared a common bond of togetherness in the face of adversity. My Mom taught me at an early age that the most important things in life, like honesty and integrity, don’t cost a thing and that giving and keeping my word was more valuable than anything else I could offer. It is a principle I live by to this day.

My Mom also taught me to respect my elders. I did, still do and now I am one! I’m not sure what happens when you get older, other than the obvious, and I’ve tried to figure out what makes some people susceptible to the schemes and dreams of scam artists and cons? There are no neon signs flashing “potential victims” or bull’s eyes painted on our backs yet millions of people become targets every day and the scam phenomena flourishes in the fertile fields of imaginative minds. I personally became aware of the extensive damage caused by con artists when I volunteered as office manager with the Seniors vs. Crime Project, a special project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

For nearly four years my staff and I worked on hundreds of cases ranging from deceptive salespeople misrepresenting products to checking on a pair of lowlifes stalking elderly people each month when Social Security checks were due to try to get them to buy meat from a cooler in the back of a rusted pickup truck . Food pitches for “great savings”, “reduced prices” and “limited time offers” are geared towards hungry senior citizens trying to get by with very little income and no help from family members. Unfortunately, not all scam victims have favorable outcomes so I lectured, gave workshops, and wrote a monthly column to educate readers and community groups about the potential dangers we all face as consumers. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and I believe that applies here.

Although I no longer work with that particular project, I continue to help others and stay informed about scams. I have written Scammunition™ as a guide. It is not my intent to make anyone frightened or paranoid and it is not legal advice, nor is it meant to replace it. I am simply sharing some of the knowledge I have gained through years of experience so that others can gain a new perspective on how and why they need to learn about scams. Scammunition™ is the result of my efforts and represents my pro-active stance against scumbags. Times have certainly changed since I was a teenager, but my heartfelt beliefs in honesty, integrity, and respect haven’t. I’m here to help. You have my word!

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