The Bucks County Consumer Protection Dept. has a great reputation and a great director/staff to help consumers wade through the scams and “rip-offs” so many of us are sometimes exposed to. Our safety net of privacy is gone with the Internet and the access the bad guys have to our information, including phone numbers!

Mike Bannon, head of the consumer protection department, has been a frequent guest on WBCB and a longtime friend. He’s smart and dedicated and gives tons of informed advice and service. Are we listening?

Why are we still being assaulted by phone and computer and why is the senior market especially targeted? One reason may be older folks, retirees, belong to a generation of people who “trust.” But it’s a different world today. You have to lock your doors.

Your convenient cell phone is fair game. I get as many as eight or 10 phony phone calls a day. Do not answer, listen later if there is a message (not likely) and delete! Also, you may note that some of the calls are from a 215 area code and might even resemble your cell phone number. That is called spoofing. Don’t answer.

I don’t care what it’s called but I am relieved to know the providers, like Verizon, are now working on a “plan” to stop this by next year. Thank you.

Here’s an old one usually seen on television, as in Dr. Phil. It’s all about love and money.  The stranger is in a foreign country, England, perhaps and becomes the love object for the lonely and soon the “lonely” is sending money to the new BF. Thousands of dollars needed for an emergency!

I viewed a case in which $245,000 was sent by the starry-eyed and only intervention by the family put a stop to it. One would think that scam was so offensive no one would bite.  But loneliness is the impetus for such traps.

Bottom line – never give out any information over the phone, computer, etc. Do not EVER send money to anyone overseas, even the “grandson” who needs to get out of jail, or a hospital. Yep, it happens and to people I know. Intelligent, soft-hearted people.

We may be more vulnerable with technological advances, but we have the power in our hands. Be cautious, be smart — and if it sounds too good to be true… like a free cruise, it probably isn’t.

By the way, the free cruise I was offered “for you and your special someone only requires $495 for port fees – oh, you can pay us with your credit card now…”