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An older friend (yes, there are some older than me!) received three different telephone scams in the past few weeks. They were obviously hoaxes and she called the police who told her she needed to get the name and telephone numbers of the scammers. Now if scammers were willing to be conned the way they con, there might be some benefit from such advice, but I doubt such a query would result in any information being given. My friend was very shaken by the phone calls and even went so far as to call the organizations mentioned in the scams - banks and telephone companies, just in case her future credit would be affected. I spent some time convincing her she would be fine.Today I got an e-mail from a supposedly "religious" woman in South Africa informing me that her dead husband had deposited over $4 million in an account before he died, and now she was seriously ill and wanted to give the money to someone who "would use it wisely for the Lord's use" or some such melarkey.In an attempt to be a good citizen I called the Police Department to alert them to the scam. They informed me it was an "old one" that had being going around for a long time (news to me) and told me to inform the Attorney General's office so they could alert the public. I dutifully called, and was curtly told to delete the e-mail. I would have thought - but maybe I'm wrong - that the e-mail could be traced to the perpertrator which is why I called in the first place.The question is: how are people alerted to such scams? I know the Journal World alerted us a few weeks ago about the "all over Lawrence calls" telling us our accounts had been compromised - and this, of course, was after the fact. Next time my friend gets a telephone scam, or I get one in an e-mail, do I just delete it without alerting anyone, and hope for the best that no-one falls for it?