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Reporter's Notebook

February 19, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Anti-scam lessons are well worth repeating

It's tax time, and the warnings about scams are out.

Dennis McCabe of the state attorney general's office cautioned diners at the senior meal site this week at Elm Park Methodist Church in Oneonta about e-mail messages or checks delivered through the mail that appear official but are fake. A recipient would be asked to send money "by wire transfer immediately," or deposit a check, he said.

However, the transaction could deplete the recipient's account, sometimes taking a life's savings, McCabe, assistant attorney general in charge of the Binghamton office, said.

McCabe said he learned in elementary school that repetition sometimes is needed before a lesson sticks. The warnings may seem old, but scammers continue to find victims, he said, and a repeated caution may prevent a costly crime.

"Be careful," McCabe said. The checks or e-mails may be turned over to law enforcement authorities, he said.

Dianne Besunder, IRS spokeswoman for New York, also warned taxpayers about e-mails that appear to be from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS never solicits taxpayers, she said. Recipients shouldn't respond to the e-mailed messages but may forward them to to help the IRS investigate scammers, she said.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., doesn't like to be a stranger to constituents.

This past week, he stopped in Oneonta to visit Ioxus Inc., a manufacturer of ultracapacitors, and to discuss the firm's successes and a recently created partnership with Binghamton University. After a formal appearance at a media conference, local dignitaries sat down with Schumer in the Ioxus break room to talk about needs and issues in the area.

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, Oneonta town Supervisor Robert Wood, Otsego County Rep. Richard Murphy, D-Oneonta, and board Chairman Rep. Floyd "Sam" Dubben Jr., R-Middlefield, among other leaders, were present. Topics mentioned included rebuilding the Pony Farm Road bridge, protecting small banks, economic stimulus funding and federal allocations to area municipalities.

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