Latest News

You’d better watch out for holiday car burglars, phone scams


You’d better watch out. You’d better not sigh. You’d better not curse with your fist at the sky, if someone breaks into your car.

Thieves see you when you’re leaving. They know just what to take. They peer in through the windows, they with a heavy object break.

Were we not hearing nonstop holiday music, we could think in prose.

Crime is everywhere, during the holidays, and by everywhere I of course mean Facebook, where someone just posted that her parents Saturday were visiting Columbus’ Flat Rock Park, and someone broke out their car window and took her mother’s purse, which contained not only “a large sum of money” but also cherished personal items.

It would be nice if, in the spirit of Christmas, car burglars would just take the large sum of money and throw the treasured keepsakes back through the broken car window. But they don’t, of course, because breaking a window makes a lot of noise, and they want to grab the goods and get the heck away from whatever parking lot they’re prowling in search of valuables left in plain sight.

It’s no secret the shopping season draws such perpetrators out: These days, the gifts folks buy include expensive electronics they sometimes toss in the back seat while they go somewhere else, like out to eat, leaving that stuff where passing criminals see it and weigh how quickly they can do a smash-and-grab and go.

That’s not the only sort of thief you could be facing this joyous time of the year. Authorities report scam artists posing as agents of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have been calling people to demand payment for fines, “spoofing” the actual number for the court clerk’s office so it shows up on caller ID.

Here’s the notice from the court’s website:

“Members of the public have received calls from individuals posing as ‘agents’ working for or with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The callers then ask the recipient to pay a monetary fine. While the recipient’s caller ID may show that the call comes from the Clerk’s Office main phone number (404-335-6100), these calls are ‘spoofed’ and are not from the Court of Appeals. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals does not call members of the public and ask them to pay a fine over the phone. If you receive one of these calls please hang up and contact the FBI Atlanta Field Office at 770-216-3000.”

Another thing you could do is pretend to take the scammers seriously, and start making up court decisions to yell at them about:

“This is the 11th Circuit? OK, then I cannot BELIEVE your decision in Statesboro v. Miller! Any damn fool knows the STATE has no business telling a LOCAL taxing authority it can’t collect property taxes from a for-profit hospital corporation pretending to run a nonprofit nursing home! FOOLS!”

Scammer: “Sir, we just need your credit card information for….“

“And it was entirely the OPPOSITE of the position you took in Barney v. Pebbles and a CLEAR VIOLATION of the Truman-Capote Doctrine! Have you no respect for PRECEDENT? Have you no SHAME?”

Another thing phone weasels try is sending a text telling you that your bank account’s will be frozen if you don’t immediately go to a web link and plug in all your personal information.

The texts I get claim they come from Wells Fargo, which is funny because Wells Fargo has been in the news a lot lately, but not for giving customers adequate warning about anything it was doing. (“We just opened 3 new accounts to charge U fees 4 & didn’t tell U! Lol!”)

So, in the spirit of the holidays, remember to cherish the little things, this Christmas, like the ones you keep in your purse and bank, and don’t let your guard down.

You’d better watch out.