The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

March 18, 2013

In Our Opinion: Village residents, take time to vote/ Beware of scams

The Daily Star

---- — On Tuesday, residents across the region will go to the polls to elect trustees and mayors of their villages. 

In many cases, the results aren’t in much doubt. Many of the open positions are uncontested. 

“As a trend, there are fewer citizens willing to run for public office, including village offices, because of time constraints — and because of the ugliness of it at times,” said Peter Baynes, executive director of the state Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and cast your ballot. Voting in one of the rights we as Americans must embrace. It is the most basic right held by U.S. citizens.

And village elections are the closest to residents.

“Village government is a true democracy,” said Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz, who is not up for election. His village also has no contested elections. “The distance between you and the crowd is about five feet. People approach you on the street with a concern, and they expect you to act on it.”

We encourage everyone who can to cast their ballot Tuesday, whether it is checking the only box available, or making the tough choice between neighbors. Most voting will take place between noon and 9 p.m., but check with your local village clerk as times vary in some locations.

Beware of scams

At least two people took the adage “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” to heart recently.

Scam artists claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House were recently calling people seeking information and sending out real-looking checks in an attempt to get people to send money.

Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin warned residents of the scam last week.

Most legitimate sweepstakes don’t ask for money to enter, claim the prize or pay a fee, he said. Publishers Clearing House never asks for money to claim a prize.

Devlin said his office were contacted by people in the Milford and Maryland area.

“They were suspicious so they contacted us,” he said.

And they did the right thing.

There are numerous scams out there, from buying puppies cheaply from overseas, to cashing checks and keeping a percentage, to mystery shopping.

If someone contacts you saying you have won a contest you haven’t entered, offering a lot of money for little to no work, or asking for a large prepayment for goods, be suspicious. Contact your local law enforcement agency and report it.

Free money is hard, if not impossible, to come by. We’ll add another adage to our advice: It’s better to be safe than sorry.