Over the last month the Mid-Columbia Senior Center has received several calls from individuals who have received spam calls. So I guess it’s time for the semi-annual reminder on how to avoid scams—even for those of us who think “How could a person be that stupid?” Scams are becoming increasing sophisticated, and any of us could be “that stupid.”  

You likely already know the basics: don’t ever wire money or send cash or gift cards as a form of payment; don’t give your Social Security number to someone who makes an unsolicited call to you; and no, your Social Security number cannot be suspended, revoked, frozen or blocked. (T he Social Security Administration (SSA) may call you if you’ve working with the agency on some issue or claim. But to make sure it’s truly the SSA calling, hang up and call SSA’s main number at 800-772-1213.

Also, many of us are learning not to answer calls from unknown numbers. On my phone I try to keep my contact list up-to-date, so I know who’s calling. But I still feel guilty whenever I ignore a call, especially if it’s a local number—but half the time it is just an unwanted solicitation. If they really want to talk to you, they’ll leave a message. I just have to remember to check my voice messages!

What I didn’t know were these two suggestions by AARP:

• Don’t return one-ring calls from unknown numbers. These may be scams to get you to call hotlines in African and Caribbean countries that have U.S.-style three-digit area codes and you could incur hefty connection and per-minute fees.

• Don’t follow instructions on a prerecorded message, such as “Press one” or “Press Yes” to speak to a live operator (it will probably lead to a phishing expedition); and don’t press any key to get taken off a call list (it will probably lead to more robocalls.)

Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline, 877-908-3360, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. eastern time with questions. This free resource, available to everyone, can provide the information you need to protect yourself and your family.

•••

On Thursday, March 12, at 11 a.m. Stephanie Becker from MCMC will be discussing “Coping with the Blues”—how to pick yourself up when you’re down in the dumps. Learn how to maintain your health and well-being during difficult times while making the most of the rest of your life.

•••

How are you planning to spend St. Patrick’s Day? Drinking a bottle of Guinness by yourself? Why not have some fun by attending the 23rd annual “St. Pat’s at St. Pete’s” St. Patrick’s Day concert, 7 p.m. at the St. Peter’s Landmark Tuesday, March 1. Victor Johnson, the River City Dudes, and others will join Cascade Singers community choir, the ensemble, and “Almost-All-Irish-Almost-All-Brass Band” for classic Irish songs, novelty numbers, traditional favorites and sing-alongs. Admission is a free-will offering to benefit St. Peter’s Landmark.

•••

The Arctic Circle restaurant was located where Montira’s Thai Cuisine is now, and Momma Jane’s replaced Pat’s Pancake House. But before Pat’s Pancake House, Gary Conley remembers Jumbo Drive-in and Ed Smart’s Secondhand store (I hope I got that right). Does anyone else remember them?

I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Virginia Johnson, John Huteson (who asked if anyone remembers the Hoot Owl Café), Tiiu Vahtel, Ron Nelson, Cherie Monette, who, along with her husband, worked at the Arctic Circle and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

•••

The 50s and 60s were a time of cold war tensions. But it came especially close to home when Fidel Castro led a revolt to overthrow Batista’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for the failed landing operation in April 1961 on the coast of Cuba by Cuban exiles opposed to the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a tape of Ed Sullivan’s interview of Fidel Castro shown Jan. 11, 1959, on his variety show.

•••

Well, it’s been another week, still waiting for my once-a-year good idea. Until we meet again, my wife told me there comes a time in every marriage when 70 percent of the conversations are someone yelling from the other room, “What?”

•••

“Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.”

An Irish Toast

•••

Meals-on-Wheels dinner served at 12:00 at the Center

Menu

Thursday (12): Meat Loaf (Music - Tom Graff)

Friday (13): Open Face Turkey Sandwich

Monday (16): Salisbury Steak

Tuesday (17): BIRTHDAY DINNER Pork Roast and Gravy

Wednesday (18): Hamburger

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