‘Don’t fall for a fake check scam’ theme of the U.S. Postal Service
National Consumer Protection Week is being celebrated during March 2-8 throughout postal facilities nationally with this year’s U.S. Postal Service theme of “Don’t Fall for a Fake Check Scam.” This campaign is intended to empower consumers to be aware of scammers, who often look for their potential victims through Web sites, as a work-at-home business opportunity, a prize from a foreign lottery or a transfer of foreign money into a U.S. bank. Once consumers become educated about how the schemes work, they can stop scammers in their tracks before the deposit of that fake check leads to an unplanned expense of thousands of dollars.
These frauds are a growing problem, and millions of American consumers are being targeted by scam artists based in other countries. The Web site, www.FakeChecks.org, was launched last October by the Alliance for Consumer Fraud Awareness, a group spearheaded by the Postal Inspection Service and 20 financial institutions, associations, consumer advocacy groups and businesses. The goals of FakeChecks.org are to increase Americans’ awareness about fraudulent financial schemes, give consumers valuable information about protecting their assets from the schemes, as well as provide a central location where consumers can report suspected financial fraud.
Fake check scams are a fast-growing fraud that could ruin your financial investment and cost you thousands of dollars. There are many types of fake check scams, but it all starts when someone offers you a realistic-looking check or money order and asks you to send cash somewhere in return.
If you receive a check that you suspect is fake, a fraud complaint can be filed online at the Web site www.FakeChecks.org or by telephoning 800-372-8347. The Federal Trade Commission also works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception, and can be reached at 877-382-4357 or log on to www.ftc.gov. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
The best defense in protecting yourself from becoming a victim of fraud is to use common sense. Take your time when responding to offers. Investigate, talk to family, friends and local consumer protection experts. Educate yourself about fraud. Know who you are dealing with, and protect your personal information. In general, consumers should be skeptical of any offer that sounds “too good to be true.”
All of us at the Postal Service hope that this information will be helpful to you in educating and protecting you, our customers.
The writer is postmaster of the Northville Post Office.
Despite allegations, police chief is a man of integrity
Carl Strock’s Feb. 26 column raised, what he viewed as the unanswered question, of whether Gloversville Police Chief John Harzinski’s conduct warranted his “getting the boot.” While not every detail about of this case will become known to the public, I believe that enough information is available to reasonably draw a conclusion about Chief Harzinski’s conduct and character.
Among the facts that are known is that Chief Harzinski honorably served the city of Gloversville as a member of its police department for 32 years. It is also known that the chief’s commitment to public safety included assuming significant service roles in a number of organizations including the State Police Chiefs Association, the Northeast Chief of Police organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Parents Who Host Lose the Most. Harzinski has been a leader in combating drunk driving and underage drinking both in Gloversville and the wider community. He has played a very prominent role in promoting “Social Host” laws — which empower police agencies to intervene with adults with host underage drinking parties.
Among the known facts is that Chief Harzinski traveled frequently outside of the bounds of the immediate area to perform some of the responsibilities that he assumed as a member of these organizations and movements. Arguably, some of these activities did not serve the narrowly defined interests of the city of Gloversville, but they would still be best judged as a form of public service. The chief made no secret of his activities or his travels. Anyone who was paying the least attention would be well aware that he viewed his service role in broad terms and did not shy away from assuming responsibility when a need was identified.
What falls short of being a known fact is the appearance that Chief Harzinski’s suspension occurred as a result of an impulsive decision by Mayor Tim Hughes after an angry exchange between the two. What is a fact is that State Supreme Court Judge Richard Aulisi ruled that the city of Gloversville failed follow civil service law in suspending Harzinski and ordered his immediate reinstatement. While the city put forth claims of misuse of city resources and announced an investigation featuring a high profile consultant, no investigation had begun at the time of the improper suspension and the only explanation offered was an act of insubordination. The now-aborted investigation has the appearance of looking for an “after the fact” justification for ill-advised act.
What is not in evidence is any indication that Chief Harzinski acted at any point in a deceitful, corrupt or self-serving manner. If the city had issue with how the chief fulfilled his role, there was ample opportunity over the years to call attention to this and redirect him to stay closer to his desk. The mayor’s actions, whether influenced by poorly controlled impulses or narrow ideas about public service, reflect poorly on his leadership skills. As a result, the city of Gloversville and our community are the worse off for it. John Harzinski will continue to be the person of integrity that he has been and he will continue to serve the community. When it comes to the allegations against him, the evidence says that there is no smoke and there is no fire.
CBS6 loses sight of what good journalism should be
For many years I was a CBS6 news viewer, and watched practically every evening. I am, however, distressed at the way Channel 6’s bias of the news, and now instead of reporting the news, they have taken to creating their own stories.
CBS6 has taken up the sex offender witchhunt with unrestrained vigor. Reporter Michelle Smith is organizing petitions and has even taken to measuring the distances between buildings. Channel 6 then runs those stories and commentaries on the events they created. This appears to be a flagrant violation of what I always assumed was good journalism.
This doesn’t seem to be limited to sex offender issues, but any topic that CBS6 deems as controversial. Controversies might be reportable news events, but the management creates its own controversies and stories.
I would suggest they go back to a one-hour news format, so that they don’t have to make their own news to fill air time. Meanwhile, I’ll be tuning in any other local news station.