(Trail Times file photo)

Be wary of telephone fraudsters

“Do not press any buttons, do not respond at all. Hang up.”

A quick reminder. If you get a phone call warning you of some financial/legal peril, it is a scam/fraud/crime. Full Stop.

Do not press any buttons, do not respond at all. Hang up. If you are worried, contact somebody you absolutely trust, or the institution involved in the warning, be it your bank, or the CRA, or your medical clinic. If in doubt about whom to call, call the police.

It seems, as we approach American Black Friday and the ensuing holiday spending spree, fraudsters have been energized.

I bring this up because I have been phoned by three different scammers in the past two days. One claiming to be CRA, one claiming to be somebody in government warning me that my SIN had been cancelled because somebody had used it in a criminal activity, and, just this (Thursday) morning, waking me out of a very rare sound sleep, one claiming my credit card had been used on Amazon and in a foreign cash transfer.

I hung up on them all. The one this morning actually called back. I hung up again, but called my credit card issuer just to make sure. Things were, of course, fine. With any luck, and rigorous attention to the, “DO NOT RESPOND,” rule, they could stay that way.

Please relay this to all of your friends, family acquaintances, etc. especially if they are old, like me, and may not be aware of the vicissitudes of the on-line world. I am not the only one who might be jarringly awakened and sleep deprived when such a call arrives. Perhaps put a card beside every phone and on every keyboard saying, DO NOT RESPOND.

Lots of us could have more than Christmas ruined if that rule is not followed.

• Well, we know now.

The Smoke Eaters have a few more steps to take if they want to compete for top spots, in the division and league.

Vernon was able to shut down the Big Three, in terms of Smokie scoring, and marginal depth showed up.

Penticton, which shut them down earlier in Trail’s home barn, allowed a little room Wednesday, and marginal depth showed up. As I mentioned more than a month ago, Trail will not succeed if simply stopping their top few guys decides the games.

The team has improved, especially on defence, and a few of the newbies have been contributing on the score sheet, but more needs to happen.

From the look of recent results, the Smoke Eaters will compete for a middle tier spot in the standings unless their offensive threat is broadened to include everybody on the ice. That seemed to happen on the extended road journey, but it will need to start happening again if Trail is going to unseat the top dogs in the division.

All that said, I am still hopeful. It may be a few tweaks in pairings is required, and that needs to happen whenever the injured players return to playing shape, anyway.

This coming week gives the Smokies an opportunity to re-right the ship. Back to back against West Kelowna, a team Trail has done well against – even before it gelled pretty well on the road odyssey – might re-start the chemistry before more serious challenges against Wenatchee and Salmon Arm arise.

A very good thing is that the Smoke Eaters have been strong in the late going, including in Penticton Wednesday. That is a good a reason as any for fans to stay involved during games and speaks well for their road trip potential.

Home again, for the second time in 33 days, Saturday. Should be another big night at the big barn on Victoria Street. Hope I see you there.

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