Local News: Beware Possible Scam; Florence Man Dies from Storm Injuries; Read for the Need; Rhody

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Local News

Residents Warned of Another Possible Phone Scam

When the phone rang at Lindy Gessaman’s home Tuesday, the caller ID said it was from the “Social Services Coordinator” and the man on the other end of the line said he was calling to help.  But, she said, something wasn’t quite right.

Lindy Gessaman – “You know, having worked in banking and being aware that there were banking scams out of Africa and Jamaica, my interest was piqued right away because of the accent that the man had.”

But still, she heard him out as he explained the purpose for the call.

Lindy Gessaman – “They had hired him to work with people and help them with their income.  And that was another red flag for me.”

Gessaman said the man knew the name of her insurance company and supposedly private details about her financial matters.

Lindy Gessaman – “Questions that they asked lead you to believe that they really are from the Social Security Administration and they’re working in companion with your medical insurance company to make sure that you have enough income to qualify.”

But, she said, she knew it wasn’t legitimate and the caller was simply engaged in “phishing”… with a “p-h”… the process of tricking the recipient of the call into giving up some sort of personal information that can be used for ill-gotten financial gain.

Lindy Gessaman – “They’re just digging for information and sometimes they hit gold.”

She said she knew it was a possible scam right away, but was concerned that others might be duped into giving up key information that could cost them big.  She first called a variety of law enforcement and regulatory agencies who all explained that there was little they could do based on one phone call… so she decided the best way to prevent someone else from being scammed was to talk to as many people as she could.

Followup to the story:  Another Florence woman, Jeannette Harris, reported receiving a similar call the same evening.  The caller ID listed the number as originating from Trinidad.

Florence Man Dies from Storm Injuries

A Florence man, severely injured in January when a tree fell on his car during a windstorm, passed away last week.  54-year old David Tai suffered a broken neck the morning of January 18th after dropping his daughter off at school.  In the end his spinal injuries proved to much to overcome and Tai passed away April 11th.  There will be a public memorial service at Burns’ Riverside Chapel on Kingwood Street, 11-AM Saturday.  He will be laid to rest at West Lawn Cemetery in Eugene next week.

Under Age Drinking Targeted

It’s being called a Town Hall, but in reality it’s all about raising awareness about underage drinking.  Judge Cindy Cable, with Lane County Justice Court says a recent study shows that 49-percent of 8th graders at Siuslaw Middle School, and 80-percent of 11th graders at Siuslaw High School said it would be easy for them to get alcohol.  Of the middle schoolers surveyed, one in 12 reported they had engaged in binge drinking… while more than on in four of the 11th graders had done so.  Cable and several members of the Florence Area Prevention Coalition will offer training specifically for owners and employees of alcohol retailers tomorrow from four to six pm at Siuslaw Public Library.  It will provide information about the effects of underage drinking.

Read for the Need

The official kickoff of collection of “gently used” books for the Read for the Need book sale coming up June 2nd and 3rd hasn’t happened yet.  But, already 14-year old Taylor Graham has accumulated donations of books, CDs and audio books for the annual sale that will benefit Florence Food Share.  The donation boxes go out May First at Grocery Outlet and Food Share.  Graham started the first book sale when he was seven years old and has raised thousands of dollars to help feed the hungry.

Rhody Pins Available

It’s time to “get your Rhody on”.  Rhody Pins, commemorating the 105th annual Rhododendron Festival are available for $4 at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center and participating merchants.  This year’s pin features the festival’s theme… “Nothing Short of Wild”.  Proceeds from sales of the pins go to support the Miss Rhododendron Scholarship Pageant.

By the way, you can meet the Rhododendron Princesses this afternoon at the monthly Chamber Noon Forum.  That’s at noon at Three Rivers Casino’s World Buffet.