The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 11, 2013

Be careful of the Grinches

The Commercial-News

---- — A member of the Indiana National Guard, seeing what appeared to be a good deal on a computer tablet on Craigslist, an online exchange, recently set up a meeting to make the purchase. Instead, two Indianapolis brothers now stand accused of killing him during an apparent robbery gone bad. It was a scam police said they had set up before.

Unfortunately, as many people celebrate Christmas as a time of joy and giving, others look to prey on their neighbors for their own gain. There are reports of fake charities, collections of toys and contributions that are pure shams, and even those who pretend to be without resources during this time of giving when they really just want to make a few dollars by taking advantage of the kindness of strangers.

One Tilton woman recently told of someone knocking on her door, selling items supposedly for a child in school. The seller said she was almost out of gas and broke. The Tilton woman, being a compassionate person, agreed to loan the salesperson some money for gas after a promise to be repaid within the hour. Needless to say, the kind-hearted woman still is waiting on her money.

There are simple things to do to protect yourselves from the Grinches this time of the year. Always be sure to lock your house and vehicle, even if you’ll be gone for just a moment. Check on those who say they are collecting for a charity, or ask and verify the organization’s address before sending in a contribution. Stay aware of what — and who — might be around you and avoid isolated areas of parking lots.

No one wants to think of bad things during the season of joy. But taking such common-sense steps will go a long way toward making sure your Christmas stays merry.